Adventures in Music Licensing
September 2018 Vol. 6, No. 8
* It been raining a little, and has cooled off in the Pacific NW! Late summer and fall are very nice here. No smoke! Good luck to folks in the hurricane zones.
* Welcome new readers! Please email any questions about licensing. I am always happy to respond (and it will go into the next newsletter) Look deep into this newsletter. There are some real gems of info here.
* I continue to meet individually with folks that have taken my licensing class, along with newbies. The info is continually changing (as you can tell from this newsletter!) You are welcome to schedule a time to meet. I prefer to meet in Edmonds, in my studio. We can take a listen and analyze at your music for licensing potential. I have time most days, including weekends. Fridays are best. Phone and Skype are available for those people not in the Pacific NW.
* The next music licensing class is quickly approaching on Oct 20, 2018. Please share this with any musicians, bands, songwriters or composers you know in the Pacific Northwest. If you live outside of the Pacific NW, I am going to take my class on the road. Please email me, if you have any connections with music schools in your area. I can offer a combination morning Licensing Workshop, and afternoon Percussion Clinic!
* I would very much appreciate any testimonials you have about the class. This feedback helps with promoting future classes. Please email me (see below).
Recent adventures in licensing:
* To be honest, I've been creating so much music, it's getting hard to keep track of it! I've been steadily pitching. I can report that at TAXI pitch did result in a library contacting me. The crickets stopped for a moment! I've already submitted a custom request for the Happy Birthday music.
* I am starting a big scoring project. More info soon!
* Songtradr - I continue to have a number of tracks shortlisted, and in final selection. (Supervisor is listening). Nothing has been picked, but a number of tracks are still in play. I am pitching some halloween music, and holiday music, as I speak!
* Canadian webseries! The first of four episodes I scored, recently is now online! This one is in the film-noir style (I recommend watching previous episodes to get
* New music/videos
This video features a very kinetic orchestra piece ("Can't Stop, Gonna Drop"). It was originally done for a Elfman-style pitch on Songtradr (made final). I set it against a classic Buster Keaton action sequence ("College" - he did ALL of his own stunts!)
This video features music from my Songtradr digital release, Moving Images (Spotify, Itunes, etc.). (Tracks from previous pitches!) The film was actually shot on my Android phone (I didn't have my regular camera with). A serendipitous moment occurred at the beach. I added the track after shooting, and it worked pretty well. In fact, a local film festival requested it to be shown in a few weeks! A LOTof serendipity in this project. You never know...
Regarding the above release, "Moving Images", I put the word out on the release on social media with the Songtradr link. That Songtradr page has had well over 1000 hits. I continue to get notices daily from Songtradr for each hit on the page.
Songtradr: https://www.songtradr.com/user/playlist/fcqziwfnfhfgkjkc Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/09TYXAyhqmL9mgCWd12JW4?
Tales from the Tech-Side:
* Better strings: Absolutely combine your string sounds! I've been using a combination of EW, Logic (EX24) and Soundfonts. I try to overlay a solo violin on top (very subtle) to add life to the sound. For short sounds, I'm going with a combination of staccato and short. Play around with repeat options on EW Strings! Also, there are a LOT of settings on the player on EW. I went years without looking at them. You can change mic arrangements (try close mics, especially on pianos), open and closed piano top, ambience (reverb) within EW Pianos. Wow, what a difference. I may go back and redo older piano tracks.
Questions from the Audience: (please email!)
I was wondering if you might be kind enough to point me in the right direction with Publishing. The pros and cons of going Non-exclusive vs. exclusive with certain songs? MO
The eternal fight between non and exclusive goes on. The landscape is changing, too. There was a time when exclusives would pay you for the song upfront for the privilege of pitching it, publishing it, releasing it and give you a percentage and royalties on any sales or sync licensing. Keep in mind, an exclusive publisher, is basically like a record deal, and they take your publishing, so you may not be able to do anything with the track or even the song, itself, in the future! They would own the song.
There are exclusve deals with libraries that only are exclusive for licensing. You can still release the song for sale (whatever that means, anymore!)
Non-exclusive deals are always the safest, because you can do anything you want with the song, and put it as many places as you want.
Non-exclusive re-title - gets complicated. That's where you might want to take my class or invest in a session with me!
Best advice. Get computer savy. Understand platforms like Songtradr. Learn to research music libraries. There are resources, free and pay (musiclibraryreport.com). Even a google search for the name of the library and "reviews" may have results.
My music wasn't accepted into a music library. What should I do? Does this mean I am not good for this kind of thing?
Some libraries have gotten harder to get into. I've uploaded many tracks that may never go anywhere. Lately, I think libraries have gotten overwhelmed with tracks. There are a couple of times, where they've told me the music is fine, but they are prioritizing certain genres (corporate/trailer,
etc.). My tracks are there, but may not be viewable on the site.
I've been rejected 100 to 1000x more, than accepted to libraries, music supervisors, publishers, pitching companies, film directors, film producers, bands, musicians, gigs, corporations, auditions, jobs, newspaper reviews, and 100s of opportunities I've had.
In the film TV world we have a saying. Write Submit Forget Repeat. Those that are successful at this, live by those words. Its not easy, even if your music is perfectly produced and recorded. It simply may not fit with someone else's library, film, T.V. show, etc. Its not the music's fault, necessarily. The film or show is what's important. This is the media business. Music is one small aspect of it. If you are a director, you really don't care about the music, unless it suits you. Same with a library. If they don't have a demand, they won't bother stocking the track. I had the same problem owning a drumshop for 25 yrs. Supply and demand. I had great stuff but some simple didn't sell.
You can create always create more. You can learn recording production and create new music daily. I guarantee that you will never be sorry about the success of you music as long as a another track is in process. This morning a jazz track was rejected for an op, and I created a new sitar and tabla track which is being listened to by a music supervisor right now. It may get the gig or not. Either way, both tracks will be in a dozen libraries within a few months. It may take years for either to get a
placement. It is a very long game.
This is a business. This is YOUR business. Businesses can require investment in time, products, equipment, education, etc. I have consistently invested in my businesses since the beginning. Some have succeeded. Some have failed. I will say, I have led a full life. I have and generally do enjoy what I do. That is success to me. The dollars simple help pay for the enjoyment. I have had help. That's why I try to help others.
Good luck! Believe in your music. Take a walk and listen to it. Others will too.
I was offered a 2-year songwriter/publishing contract with a publisher out of Nashville. The contract states that I will pay half of the recording costs ($6,000/4-songs) for them to professionally record my songs with their players; I would sing. The songs would then get pitched to TV/film, etc. CW
You are already recording professional music. You have a band. If you really want to create your own solo brand, then hiring pros to back you up, getting arrangements created, recording in a high quality studio would take money, whether you did it yourself or let a company do it for you.
The idea of a publisher is rarely to charge the artist to cover costs, although typical deals have historically had upfront advances to the musician. If the record company didn't make money, the artist might have to pay back the advance. It was like a loan to keep the musician afloat while the company was developing them. In the end, record label deals are extremely tricky. I would hire a music lawyer to look over the contract (and that might cost you $500!). They would probably say, be extremely careful. I really can't say whether this company can do anything for you or not. What is their track record? Have you talked to other artists that have done this, and asked if they were successful? How much money did they make? If you can turn $6K into $60K, sure. My guess is it ain't gonna happen.
Red flags are all over this. It is very rare for a publisher to ask an artist to pay to participate in a deal. Any company that believes in you, should have enough confidence that if THEY invest in you, THEY
will make money. This sounds like a way for a company to make money off of you, and get their studio engineers and studio musicians some employment. I can believe in Nashville, there are tons
of musicians that have no band, have no recording tools, no business skills, etc, that would agree to
of musicians that have no band, have no recording tools, no business skills, etc, that would agree to this arrangement, in belief that they will become a star.
This is still the short answer!
If I had $6K to spend, I would create my own studio ($500 and up), hire my own musicians (or barter!), and educate myself about recording, music business, etc. I would have my own publishing (register with BMI/ASCAP). There would still be money left to join orgs like TAXI, go to their free for members convention (Nov), put my music in zillions of music libraries (FREE), and basically create a career in this. http://edhartmanmusic.com/resources_for_composers_and_songwriters/ for a long list of things your can do!!!!
You can certainly hire a promoter, business manager for an hourly fee ($10-25/hr), but you can also learn how to do everything yourself. The bonus of educatiing yourself, is that when you are successful, you will know all of the jobs you need done, so when you do hire someone, you can make sure they are doing the job correctly, and not being ripped off!
Bottom line, unless a company can guarantee you will make money on your investment, it is a HUGE risk. $6K in the stock market is probably safer!
One more pay to play deal!!
I did some tracks with a friend and we solicited a music library. They said they would place the tracks in their library for a $50 ʻservice feeʼ. (to cover metadata, box.com, digital agreement) Non- exclusive. One-year. 60% of upfront sync fee goes to you. You would see writer/publisher royalties on the back-end from your PRO. What do you think on this? JC
You can certainly get your tracks in plenty of libraries for free. I just went through my list on my website and updated it. Othewise, hard to say. If the library had an impending deal they could easily take the fee out of the sync. The meta is something that libraries do or have the composers do all day, everyday. Theres really no big cost to accepting a track. I have paid fees like this, if there was s pretty high sync fee or connection to be made. Its a bit of a gamble. The 60% sync to you is better than most (50%) and you keep your publishing. The seems a bit high. $20 would be more in line. Get more info about the company. I would do BBB research.
Keep the questions & comments coming, and I will answer as best as possible. (I may use them in my newsletters, anonymously)
LINKS OF THE MONTH:
Hey-I gotta make money, too! If you have learned anything from these newsletters please check out my SWAG!
Ed Hartman MusicSWAG!
Ed Hartman Patreon Page: (Call it a voluntary subscription to this newsletter!)
An In Depth Guide To Meta-Tagging Your Tracks For Stock Music Libraries
10 Tips to Get Your Song Noticed, Heard, and Synced
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 week:
If no one decided to try blend blue and red, there would be no purple! Fusion is necessary in order for music to evolve.