Adventures in Music Licensing & Scoring!
July 2020 Vol. 8, No. 7
PDF (Has images, and best for links)
* I do hope everyone is surviving out there! It is an epic marathon at this point, and will require patience and understanding on many levels (just like music licensing!) - see my "This is a Test" video below) My best advice is to offer help and hope to others. You may not be able to pay their bills, but you can help them create income to get through the crisis. You have nothing to lose by wearing a mask. You have potentially a lot to lose, if you don't. Just saying! Stay safe.
* I am having increasing students take individual Zoom online sessions. It can be for someone just starting, or a follow-up. It's been a really good way to work. I can share all of my documents, videos, and even all of the related websites. I can show you exactly how registration with your PRO, pitching portal (TAXI/Songtradr, etc.), all work, too. If you are interested in a session, please email me. I am available on most days (I am on PST). I can meet in person (with masks!) in my studio near Seattle. I have to say, Zoom has been just as good for this kind of session, though. (Note: Skype, FB messenger and even the phone also work, but Zoom seems to be best, audio and video-wise. You can even record the session!)
* Welcome new readers! Please feel free to email questions about music licensing (and scoring). I will answer you by email, and add your questions (anon.) in the next newsletter. (see below)
* I can really use your help. My film, "As the Earth Turns" is on Amazon! I've spent the last two years working on this a composer and producer. It's been a mind-boggling adventure. It is incredibly important to get reviews on the Amazon platform - you can just put stars, and/or write something). Please watch and review the film. (see related article about the audio below)
* I hope you are motivated to keep creating tracks for future projects! If you are like me, you might need motivation. Hopefully, this newsletter will help. I do recommend companies like TAXI, Songtradr, Musicgateway, etc. as ways to at least see the opportunities that are out there. Even if you don't join them, you can get an idea of what is "in demand". You can always hit up music libraries directly with tracks developed from these opportunities and briefs. Personally, nearly all of the placements I have gotten came from pitches other than the one I wrote the track for. Those initial opportunities did motivate me to write the track, though!
* Please feel free to submit articles, questions, links, etc. to this newsletter.
* I would very much appreciate any testimonials you have about the class or individual sessions. This feedback helps with promoting future classes. Please email me (see below).
ONLINE Music Licensing Classes available: (Please share)
Classes taught on Zoom (free app) via private invite and password. I can share tracks, videos, documents, chat, etc., all while I teach. It's actually pretty cool and easy to use (download zoom.us for phone, tablet, or desktop - best). I'll send you an invite. I will email an invoice (Paypal) before the class starts. Payment by credit card is possible, but you will need to call. Classes may have minimums. I would bill you until I have reached the minimum amount of students. Note: If you are interested, and these times do not work, please let me know. I may adjust the times if there is interest.
One-on-One session: $70/hr; $120 2 hrs. (Email to schedule)
(ZOOM-best, FB Messenger, Skype, Phone)
Prerequisite: None. Beginners or experienced composers, songwriters & producers welcome.
Email to register.
This is an extremely targeted and efficient class that can focus on tracks, metadata, organization, marketing, PROs, copyright, libraries, royalties, etc. You can send tracks to me for review, and get ideas on improving your licensing game.
Making Money Licensing Your Music - the original beginner's class!
* The next licensing class, in Seattle will be Saturday, October 3, 2020. ($65 for 3hrs, Saturday 9am to noon.) It will be either LIVE In-Person, or online, depending on condtions.
I Got Nowhere to Go, In a Hurry Blues
PANDEMIC BLUES SINGLE RELEASE!
Anyone going stir crazy? Here's something that might help you dance in your space wondering what kind of bizarre Twilight Zone we are now in? I just released this classic blues-style original track, in a hurry! It took a global pandemic to get me to sing and play blues-harp again!
(Support this newsletter - Buy the damn track for a buck! Thanks!)
NEW Radio Interview with Ed about "I Got Nowhere to Go, in a Hurry Blues" and film-scoring!
(43 MIN IN)
* "As the Earth Turns" Update:
New interview: (Pretty comprehensive)
more reviews and interviews on:
I am so very happy to announce the film I produced and composed, "As the Earth Turns" is now on AMAZON (free for Prime), Google, and Youtube Movies! After 80 years, this amazing SCI-FI film can is now available for the entire World to see!
* I do have a HUGE, but very fun, favor to ask, it would be a tremendous help to me, and you will get a serious kick out of it. My film, "As the Earth Turns" is now on Amazon! I've spent the last two years working on this a composer and producer. It's been a mind-boggling adventure. It is incredibly important to get reviews on the Amazon platform - you can just put stars, and/or write something). Please watch and review the film. It's 45 minutes, has my score (it's silent. Music IS the dialogue! Please use good speakers or headphones) The film is in rentals now (costs a few bucks)
If I received a review from everyone on this list, (good, bad, whatever!), the film would have an amazing boost and be set up for a great run on TV. You really will have a treat watching it. It's a 1938 up-to-now-unreleased film! I own the LLC that owns the film-estate! It is so wild, that folks have questioned whether it's for real! They think its either a film that I simply added music to, or re-created it. I wish I could make a film this authentic! I would be Spielberg. Speaking of him, here's the LA Times review! (We did an Oscar-qualifying run, in LA last fall. I kid you not.
Had Steven Spielberg been a 16-millimeter camera-toting teen in the 1930s, his home movies might have looked like “As the Earth Turns.”
Michael Rechtshaffen, LA Times
Please use good speakers or headphones for the film. The music IS the dialogue!
This film was directed by Richard Lyford when he was 20 years old, living in Seattle, Washington. He went on to work for Disney, and direct an Academy-Award winning documentary in 1950.
The film is great for ALL-ages, and is a wonderful way to show younger viewers the artistry and power of "silent films". There is no strong language in the film, and it is comparable to 1930s Flash Gordon serials. It's the length of a TV show, and very entertaining to watch! It has a nice twist and a surprisingly emotional finish.
121 festivals, 135 awards/nominations
(including 34 for best score!)
"Had Steven Spielberg been a 16-millimeter camera-toting teen in the 1930s, his home movies might have looked like “As the Earth Turns.”
Michael Rechtshaffen, LA Times
INFORMATION ABOUT THE FILM:
Here's a private video (4min) about the film and how the project came to be:
(I am working on a Biopic about the director)
I am still busy with the film, and looking for opportunities to show it (Retirement communities, Schools with film programs (HS, College), Film history clubs, NW History Groups, Theatres, Activity centers, etc.). If you know anyone that might be interested helping make that happen, please let me know. Thanks!
"As the Earth Turns" will be on Turner Classic Movies in the Fall of 2020! Other distribution is now in the works! If you see the film somewhere, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!
You can get the original poster (& mugs, t-shirts, etc.) here:
PS: I am considering a limited run of the poster (signed, with all the laurels) friends and fans of the film. If you are interested, please let me know.
Upcoming confirmed screenings of "As the Earth Turns":
Beach Cities Inspirational Film Festival, (Moved to April 25, 2021, San Clemente, CA (Time TBA). "As the Earth Turns" won the "Crystal Wave Award" (Outstanding Recognition) in 2019.
121 festivals!, 134 awards/nominations, including 34 for best score!
Speculative Film Fest - Move to 2021! TBA, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport (SWOC - Seattle Westercon Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention).
(Click poster for full size)
My soundtrack album is available! (Amazon, Itunes, etc.)
Nominee: Independent Music Awards!
Recent adventures in licensing:
* What I did on my summer vacation Dept:
Yesterday at about 9am, I got an email brief from a library/publisher, that I work with regularly. It was for a 6-month ad, budget unknown. This person can have some pretty interesting opportunities, though. The music was funky, light, against a quirky video. It was due at 11am. I decided to go for it. I quickly improvised a track with synth guitar, synth bass and live drums on my DAW (Logic). I put bass down, along with piano at the same time The high register of the bass sounded cool, and helped create the guitar track. It was coming out OK. About 10am I received another email from the library, telling me it was now due at 10:20am! Eek. I rushed like all hell, and got the track to the library at precisely 10:20am, and I mean 10:20am! OMG. It was just about an hour for the whole thing. The track wasn't mixed well, but I thought, why not. What do I have to lose? The publisher did send the track to the client, which is a good sign. I did work later on the track adding organ for a cool Booker T vibe. I may continue to tweak it. Even though this was for an ad, I went for a solid 3-minute track, not knowing what the need was. Also, this was likely non-exclusive, so I figured I will have a workable track, in any event.
Moral of the story:
You really do rarely have anything to lose, to go for this kind of crazy, outrageous opportunity. This was as direct as it gets (no fees, no portals, etc.), and probably not a cattle-call (although I wouldn't be surprised if I see the opportunity appear somewhere else!) I feel the library can only be impressed that I tried hard to get a track to them, that quickly. I also had to push extra-hard to beat the even shorter deadline! I am his "go-to" composer for this kind of track (and many other styles). I have gotten paid placements from him, and they continue to pay good back-end. When I was in LA last year, I met with him, in person, too. It was great putting a face to the contact!
New placements! My music is on these TV shows! (Both from the same music library. I've ever had two come in at the same time from them). The "upfront" fee is good, but will likely take many months to process from the network to the library (quarterly payment), and then to me. "Be patient, young Luke!"
Stargirl season 1 episode 7 CW Network.
Track: Football Funk (was also in Blind Side, Scooby-Doo, The Mystery Begins, and others!)
Update: I watched the episode. I, honestly couldn't find the track in it. Two possibilities:
1) It was hidden way in the soundscape (football game with dialogue, crowd noise) and was very deep in an extremely reverby mix. It's possible the editor only used a section with drums that are harder to identify.
2) It was pulled at the last minute. This does happen, but pretty rare.
The only way to know is to see the cue sheet (I contacted the library, and they don't for sure, although assumed it was in the show). In the end, I can wait for my royalties in 9 months+ to see if it's on there! As I said before, "Patient, young Luke!"
…and this huge iconic series!
This is a tremendous placement! Just what the doctor ordered.
Twilight Zone Season 2 Episode 10* available now (Released 6/24/20), on CBS All-Access (You can get a free 7-day pass. Good time to binge all of the Star Trek stuff, too!) (*about 7 1/2 minutes in)
Track: The Springs in Your Step
Backstory: The library sent me a notice of the placement with the wrong episode. I watched that one (it was a "Groundhog Day" story, OK, but not great), and couldn't find it. On a hunch, I looked at the next episode, a saw it looked a bit vintage. Voila! There it was, in all it's glory.
The track was originally created in 2018. I'm not quite sure what the motivation was. I am guessing it was for a TAXI pitch (or something like that). I did submit to one of my favorite libraries, though. They had requested vintage music previously, so I thought it might work. This is a very picky library, and it is also the one that placed both of the above tracks!
Moral of the story:
It is possible that most of your success will come from second chances. Nearly all of my placements have come from secondary opportunities after the first pitch didn't work. I ran a drum shop for twenty-five years. I can tell you that most customers don't buy the first time. They look, they shop, they compare price, value, quality, etc. Even then, they may not buy from you. Another customer can come in 5 minutes later and immediately buy something, too. At least with non-exclusive tracks, you can resell the track perpetually! You never run out of stock. You DO need to get as much stock in your store as possible. Use any motivation to write a track, and after you have hundreds, if not thousands of tracks, you will have sales! I rarely write without motivation. That's OK. It just means I need to FIND motivation out there through libraries, TAXI, Songtradr, etc.
(PS: The above Twilight Zone track is also used in my Pandemic video: "Let's All Go to the Kitchen" see below)
Honey, your royalties are in, dept:
* BMI Strikes Again! Unlike ASCAP that has delayed payments due to the Pandemic, BMI has been paying EARLY! God bless em! The overall take is a bit less than usual. I am hearing that from other composers. The Pandemic will likely lower some earnings in the next few quarters, although for broadcast, if anything, folks are watching MORE TV. I am hopeful that my score will be very interesting royalty-wise in the future, especially as it moves to TCM (Broadcast). Most placements are 10-30 seconds. The film is wall-to-wall music for 45 minutes! I will have new placements from this quarter that will pay in 9 months - Just like childbirth!
Recent placements in "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and "Castle Rock" are now paying well!
Movie Channel, Discovery, TBS, Netflix: One exclusive track for "Cold Light of Day" was an overnight pitch from 2012. The library asked for a minute and I gave them three minutes. That was a very good idea, because they used 1:42. Anything over a minute pays a LOT more. As they say, "BIG MONEY!"
"Lucifer" - my favorite show is doing well on Netflix, too - another over-a-minute track!
Some decent revenue from Muzak (yes it is still around)! 200K+ plays for a number of tracks. The tracks are not what you would expect. One is a brass fanfare, and the other a fife and drum "Battle Hymn of the Republic". I am NOT making this up! It is ironic, considering recent placements were "Musak" style vintage tracks!
New Videos and Music: (Please share!)
(Videos are a great way to promote your tracks, too)
For the ages, especially this one. This video is resonating more and more as we all get asked to do things that are not always comfortable.
Them music is an older electronic track of mine. I added an interesting narration, that is in the spirit of "Desiderata" a famous poem by Max Ehrmann. ("Go placidly amid the noise and the haste...")
"Into the Known" (2020 Pandemic Film)
This is my first "narrative" film (with a story). It was done for the Roger Corman Pandemic Film Festival! The rules were it had to be shot with an LG Android Phone in and around your house. It's in the "Twilight Zone" genre. It was a tremendous education in cinematography, acting, editing, lighting (had to only use existing lights), sound design, scoring, etc. It took about 8-10 hours, in total.
"The Great Pandemic of 2020!"
A vintage newsreel/PSA. WASH YOUR HANDS!
"Let's All Go to the Kitchen"
This video is for anyone that is watching movies and shows at home. It's a little original intermission feature I just created for a film festival, that you can play in-between features! It's a take-off on the classic drive-in shorts to get you to the refreshment stand! It's my gift for your home-theatre experience! Get out the popcorn!
New track (actually the piece is from 1985! This event is inspired me to revisit older tracks)
From the Darkness Comes the Light - A song of hope.
Recent Adventures and Thoughts about Scoring:
* The audio issue on Amazon for As the Earth Turns" was resolved. The file (done at a very good mastering facility) had made a mistake with the channels. As I suspected, the 5.1 surround channels were reading as center, making the music sound very reverby, and in the background. Lesson: Always check your work, and that means, throughout the production, in theatres (I had another problem there!), and even if it's on TV. Take a look at it. I waited a week. It wasn't terrible, but considering music IS the score for this silent film, any audio issues are extremely important. You can bet that I am checking with Turner Classics right now for it's the premiere in the fall!
* I made a very big decision. I am now working on a biopic film about Richard Lyford, the director of the film I scored and produced. I now own the film-estate and have been researching his life for the past two years. I made a short documentary, and have audio and video interviews. I am putting a team together for the project:
Lyford 2-minute Pitch Video:
https://vimeo.com/407707133 (no password)
I decided to go ahead and write the screenplay (at least the first version!). This is a massive new direction for me. I have written a little (I certainly write a lot of newsletters!). Hopefully, it will turn into a production, and be filmed in the Pacific Northwest. It can help put a LOT of folks in the industry to work. I hope to score it, if possible, as well. Hey, why not? What have you got to lose, right? You only live so long, and right now, one never knows...
* Lots of interviews about scoring, licensing and filmmaking:
Tales from the Tech-Side:
* I recently added a bunch of plug-ins that were on sale (or free). Some are mastering-oriented, and doing a nice job of speeding up my mixing. Izotope's "Vinyl" (FREE) plug-in is good to make something sound like its from an old-record, etc. https://www.izotope.com/en/products/vinyl.html
My favorite may be Mongoose, but Boz Digital Labs. It's a terrific mastering plug-in (put it at the end). It EQ's the bass to the middle for classic R - L Center mixing. It has really pumped up, and cleaned up my pop-style tracks. I got it on sale for less than 1/2. Keep an eye on this one. It may go on sale again. A lot of companies have done this during the crisis.
* I use Handbrake (FREE) to rip mp4 scenes off DVDs, when necessary. I just updated it it, to grab a scene from a DVD. It's pretty easy. You just have to figure out the chapter (section of the DVD) to grab. It can take a few minutes. It's good if you have a track on a show or film, and want to create a private demo reel (you'll need a release to use it publicly). https://handbrake.fr/
Articles from Readers!
Please email me if you would like to submit something for this newsletter. It can be about anything in music licensing and scoring. I would love to hear about your personal adventures with music libraries, PROs, music supervisors, directors, etc. You are already an authority on something. Just dig in and share. Thanks!
Questions from the Audience...
(Please email me. I will try to answer quickly. Any questions I use in future newsletters will always be anon.)
Do you have any thoughts about Musicxray?
I will say, that Musicxray.com (no membership, upload as many tracks, and $5-25 per submission) does give you the client contacts, although they will tell you not to submit outside Musicxray. (Most companies on there refer you back to Musicxray if you try.) It’s an interesting service. I have gotten some work from them, but it can be pricey per submission. There are presentation videos from the clients that tell you what they want.
Per submission fees:
$5 - Musicxray fee, typically.
Ffree to $$ submission fees (some $ go to the client -a bit of a red flag, IMO)
$10 one-time “X-ray” fee for any song you submit. (after it has been “xray-ed” you don’t have to pay this again. For me, with hundreds of tracks, it gets expensive. I generally only pitch one track for an op, here). I can say that most of the time I do get a response in a few weeks, yes or no. I would be very careful with them, though. Caveat Emptor!!!
What do I do if I want to produce my own music? My end goal is just this. I want to create music that lives on Spotify that can be used as Copyright Free music that will avoid a DMCA strike in YouTube or on my live Twitch streams. How does one go about starting that? Do you have a reading recommendation? Videos to start with ? I know nothing about this
You can create any music you want and post it on Spotify, etc. I use CDBaby to distribute it to many places (either a single or an album). They will ask you if you want to have them “monetize" or collect “ad revenue" for your tracks if they get used in other videos. They will also ask if you want to let them market the tracks for other licensing. I say no, myself, to both. I use libraries to get music in TV and film. I use adrev.com to collect on other people's uses of my music on Youtube. I do it, because there is one video that a track of mine was placed in years ago, and it collects decent revenue. Basically, it’s $100 per 100,000 views. That’s not great, but this video has over 1M views. I do use Google Adsense (which owns YT) to collect on my own channel. I have adrev.com “Whitelist” my own channel so all of my own tracks have no copyright problems upon my own personal uploads.
There are also music libraries that may want to collect ad revenue, although I don’t work with them, or let them (only one company can do it on behalf of your catalog)
For you, unless you have anyone out there (Google Adsense, adrev.com, CDBaby, etc.) monitoring and collecting for your tracks, they can be used anywhere by you or anyone else without a copyright strike. There’s nothing to trigger it. You have to have the track uploaded on a revenue-collecting site to trigger the strike.
If you do get lucky and have a track get used in a viral video, you can always have your collection company “whitelist” any channel. For me, it’s a simple email with a link to their channel.
Regarding other platforms, like Spotify, there is very little control to where tracks wind up. They can get on other playlists, without your consent (good and bad). The more listens, the more potential revenue. (.$0.006 cents/per play!) There may be other forms of collection coming for other platforms, but they are probably going to be by the platform itself. I believe, Facebook will monetize for you if you reach 10,000 followers. YT allows you to collect after you get 1,000 subscribers (and 4,000 hours of watch time). They moved the goalpost a few years ago, and I had to really work at it to get there.
I do think that you should always consider ways to monetize your music, through licensing to music libraries, etc. You will always be able to use your own music, anywhere (unless you give it to an exclusive publisher). Other people should pay for your use. You can always give it to them, if you want, but it does have value. That value is important for people to understand.
I saw your post on Facebook of a guy who had found a lost film saying that maybe you could score it. I have a similar situation. I have found a lost hour-long feature from 1921 and am not sure exactly what I want to do with it. It is not a super famous lost film that everyone is looking for, but it does have a mid-sized star and director of the period and it is a crime film that I found pretty entertaining. I have had it scanned in 2k and it looks quite nice. I need to do a little more work on stabilizing the picture, but it is in pretty nice shape. I have considered doing a Kickstarter to help pay me back for the scan and have it put on dvd (or possibly blu-ray) for the backers. Ben Model and Ed Lorusso have done this and they have been backed pretty easily on nitrateville and other old movie sites. Do you record scores for old silent films? How much would this cost? Do you have other ideas for what could be done with a rediscovered lost silent film like this?
My situation was entirely unique. I was contacted by the great-niece of the actual director who made the film when he was an amateur in 1938, at age 20! The niece took over the film estate (and has since sold it to me). We initially created an LLC, I became producer, did a massive film festival run, entered it in the Oscars(!), and put it in distribution. Keep in mind, I was compensated to do all of the labor on the project. That doesn’t happen every day. It has continued to take over my life! I am now writing a screenplay about the director!
To take an existing film from history, may likely require some research. I would be careful and have an entertainment attorney check it out. You want to make sure copyrights are clear. I do wonder if older silent films, that are technically in the public domain are all available. Occasionally, estates figure out ways to protect the film. Also, existing music may be attached to the film, at least the publishing, as it was played live. There could be actors and producers (and their estates) involved. They may want to get involved, too. I would talk to others that have gone this route for sure to hunt for any issues. Watch Turner Classic Movies for composers that have done this.
For our film, even knowing the history in detail of our film, we still had to go through clearances and now E&O (Errors & Omissions) insurance (not cheap!) to get the film to be available on broadcast TV. On-demand and even DVDs may not require insurance. Of course, doing a film on Youtube is probably doable without a lot of issues, especially if the goal is promotion and there is no monetization. I have created short videos using public domain footage and my own tracks.
There is the cost of not only writing, scoring and performing the music (live or electronic - mine was a mix), but also mixing it, and potentially making 5.1 surround mixes etc. For me, I was lucky enough to have financial support to have my primarily orchestral score mixed in a top post-studio with an excellent engineer.
I do recommend that composers pursue any and all opportunities to become producers. It is another world, and full of it’s own business needs and insanity like the music industry. You will learn how filmmakers have to deal with all of the details. Knowing your client’s business is always helpful. It is all doable, and you can write grants, raise funds, etc. Writing for deceased directors is good and bad. You don’t necessarily have direction, but then again, you don’t have direction!
I just did this great interview about my project for more details…
LINKS OF THE MONTH:
Music supervisor discussion:
Free sync contract template:
Help with copyrights:
iZotope Ozone 9 Elements Is FREE Until June 5th! (may still be active)
Good books on songwriting for TV and film by Dean Krippahaene:
Demystifying the Genre
Demystifying The Cue
Syncsummit - FREE daily chats about music licensing, music supervisors, etc.!
Syncsummit Music Supervisor Listening Sessions are now 50% off, and ONLINE!
Meet Music Supervisors in person! ($$)
TAXI Daily Quarantine Happy-Hour!
GET YOUR MUSIC HEARD BY A MUSIC SUPERVISOR DIRECTLY: (ONLINE!)
CDBaby DIY Convention ("Plague Permitting")
KEY WORLDWIDE MUSIC INDUSTRY & SYNC EVENTS LIST 2020:
ASCAP - I CREATE MUSIC EXPERIENCE - ONLINE - FREE! May-June
New track - The Heartland (originally done for a film)
http://edhartmanlessons.com (Lesson info, etc.)
http://edhartmanmusic.com - (Studio information, music, bio, links, calendar, etc.) FREE listening. Lots of music for soundtracks, movies, TV, commercials, etc.
My recordings on CD Baby:
Drum and Percussion, "As the Earth Turns" T-Shirts and SWAG!
(Note: Threadless is reducing their commission, so a bigger percentage goes to the artists!)
I've created a number of original drum, mallet and percussion designs. Check em out!
Ed Hartman Patreon Page: (This is a FREE newsletter. This is the closest thing I have to a subscription!) Is this newsletter worth at least $1 to you? Honestly, this newsletter takes HOURS to create! I'm not complaining, but it has been getting bigger. If you can support this newsletter, that would be wonderful!
Video of the month:
Salsa Beethoven! - This is cool.
Ed Hartman Consultation
I am always available for one-on-one consultation, in person or via phone or Skype (call or email to set up)
One hour: $70.00
Two hours: $120.00
Groups: contact for price
I will be happy to critique your music, make recommendations for marketing, suggest libraries to put you music in, help figure out studio configurations (although I am not a heavy tech person. I can recommend people, though), and give you general career advice. If you are interested, please call or email.
Joke/Quote of the month: (Very timely)
"One of the purposes of music is to make people happy and I think one can be happy only if everybody is happy."