Licensing your Music for TV & FilmIf you are  interested  in  licensing your music for use  in TV & Film, you have made a good choice! Not only  is  this a great promotional  tool, but can also be highly  lucrative  in  the  right hands. Many producers and musicians don’t even approach  this  side of  the  industry because  they  feel  it’s only done by big  executive  producers  at  the  studios  of  the  Film/TV  Channel…well  it isn’t…atall….  in  fact,  the  large majority  of music  for  films  and  television  is from producers like you! This may seem unlikely, because all the songs you may be able to think of are ones you know…but that proves my point! All the other  songs  whether  on  Adverts,  Films,  TV,  Games  are  produced  by  like-minded music  producers.  If  you  feel  you  have  tracks  ready  for  TV  &  film,then its worth putting in the effort.

So how do I get my song on a Film for example? I hear you asking. Well, in principle,  it’s  actually  quite  easy!    We  are  going  to  look  at  the  ‘agency’ approach…

Make sure:

  • You own 100% of your music
  • Your tracks are of professional quality
  • Your tracks are professionally mastered
  • You have legally cleared all the samples you have used in your music (if you are not using royalty free loops/samples!)
  • You have a CV of your music experience

If you tick all of the above, the next stage is to apply, or get in contact with the appropriate agencies.

Applying to these agencies  is very similar to applying to a record  label, and can sometimes be easier! If you want more info about this it would be worth checking our ‘Exposure to record labels’ tutorial.

When a Director (for example) is searching for music for TV, Film & adverts, he will generally find it through music agencies, either directly through music agencies A&R, or searching online on the music agencies website, where he can generally find a huge directory of music, and will most likely find what he is looking for there.
So you would be applying to the agency, not directly  to a  film company  for example…maybe an obvious thing to say, but  its worth pointing out anyway to save any confusion!

Whether you’re applying by email or by post…

Make sure you:

  • Write a brief and concise cover letter
  • Include 3 or more finished tracks, or exerts of your music
  • Include your contact details
  • Follow up on your application

Applying  to  the  agency  of  your  choice  is  not  like  applying  for  a  job  at Macdonalds! You are simply getting  in contact with  this agency  to  let  them know that you have music that you  feel would be well suited  to their music archive.

If you feel your music is well mastered, suitable for film, TV, advertisement, etc, then why not give it a go? There are many music agencies out there who will happily accept your music if it is of good quality and it fits well into their archive.

Licensing Agreements

When  licensing  your music don’t  just go  for any  company  that  responds  to you, make sure you feel you trust the company, and can see its worth your time and effort applying. A good music agency should have a list (online, or upon request) that shows credits of what they have licensed their composers & music producers music to.

Make sure:

  • The  music  agency  is  big  enough  for  you  to  see  some  return  (yes money!) for your music
  • They are a legitimate company
  • They  are  licensing  musicians  music  for  a  reasonable  amount  (for example, not $10/£5 a track)
  • They have a good selection of music
  • They have a good website, and good customer service
  • If you want  to aim high, see  if you recognise any of  the other artists represented by this agency

Once  you have  sent your demo or  showreel,  cover  letter  (or email) and,  if you’re  lucky,  you will  receive a  reply! Depending on  the  company, and  the quality content of your music, if they get back to you (this may take a while) they may ask you  for more  info,  they may want  to discuss more details via email  or  over  the  phone  regarding  xperience,  possible  other  companies, labels, royalty free music companies etc you are/have worked for, and other info about you. Make sure you give  them all  this  info, your one step away, and  your  main  aim  now  is  to  secure  an  agreement,  or  contract  with  the company to license your music.

Once you get to the stage where you, and the company  feel  it  is  in both or your  best  interests  to  sign  an  agreement  licensing  your  music,  and  you receive  the  agreement,  below  are  some  guidelines  on what  to  expect/look out  for,  these  are  just  guidelines,  be  sure  to  have  any  contract/agreement checked out with a  legal  representative before  signing, and make  sure you are prepared to commit, and undertake anything lined out in the contract.

Make sure:

  • The agreement if official, and legally legitimate, if you are not familiar with  contracts and agreements,  it  is advised by anyone  in  the music industry to seek  legal advice at this stage. Its up to you whether you do, and solicitors (especially good music solicitors) can cost allot, even to  have  them  look  over  a  contract,  unfortunately,  there  is  no  way round this, its just the way it is!
  • You fully understand every aspect of the contract/agreement
  • You  are  a  member  of  a  musician’s  royalty  collecting  agency  like PRS/MCPS (UK), ASCAP (USA) or a similar organisation in your area
  • You know what you can, and can’t do,  for example, how  long will the company be  licensing your music for? Can you sign with other similar companies, or are you signed exclusively to this company,  if you are, make sure it’s worth your time.
  • You can verify  the person who you are signing  the contract with and for.  The  best  way  to  do  this  is  to  have  the  agreement  sent  via post/mail, with a return address.

So…If you are happy you fully understand the agreement/contract, it’s up to you whether you sign it, and send it off. Be sure to have a signed copy sent back  to  you  (so  you  have  a  version  with  both  your  signature  and  the company’s representative’s signature on it)

And  that’s  it,  you may  well  be  hearing  your  song  in  the  next  advert  you watch,  or  be  half  way  through  a  film  at  the  cinema  and  have  a  big surprise…who knows!

Good Luck!

This article is part of music production tips & tricks from PrimeLoops, and thanks to the collaboration with FindRemix I bring it here to you :)

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