Many musical artists don’t think about how to generate alternative revenue streams to supplement the money they make selling albums and playing gigs. Many artists avoid thinking about the business aspects of the industry in a more broad way than simply “play a gig and get paid”. This is a subject that has interested me for many years, as the financial roller coaster of being a professional musician can be very trying at times. When I was younger and working as a full time keyboard player, I could be playing in a big Broadway or Off-Broadway show one day, and the next be just another unemployed musician scrambling to earn a living after the show closed. But then I met Larry Rivers, the man who taught me how to merge art and commerce to generate revenue. My experiences with him have greatly influenced how I approach earning a living as a creative artist.
Entries in music licensing (10)
There has been a great deal of buzz about music licensing in recent years, and with good reason! Compared to other revenue streams, licensing can have potentially big payouts for indie musicians. It’s also a pretty confusing aspect of the music industry. Just how exactly do songs get on those TV shows? The conductors behind those licenses are music supervisors.
What is a Music Supervisor?
Music supervisors oversee the music-related aspects of TV, films, and video games. They are in charge of interpreting the producer’s vision, finding the right track, and negotiating the contract with the artists. Of course, there are MILLIONS of songs out there, so finding the right one is no easy task. On top of that, licensing for use in visual mediums is a juggling act, with as many as eight separate deals depending on how many parties are involved (songwriter, recording artist, record label, publishing company, etc.) and how the song will be used.
Most young bands these days understand the importance of synchronization licensing—a really great use of your song in an ad, TV show, movie, video game, or trailer can help launch your band to the next level. However, many of those same songwriters and artists don’t really know how to get their music licensed. As the Creative Director at Round Hill Music publishing, it’s my job to help land the songs we publish in advertisements and other media. Here’s what I’ve learned so far in my career that might be of help to you.
The Top 5 Biggest Mistakes To Make When Clearing Music For Licensing
By: Chris Rucks | Music Dealers
There are various aspects to music licensing that can get pretty complex, pretty quickly. Among these is music clearance, essentially the process of locating the owners of a song and obtaining permission from them to license their music in your project. It’s wise to approach the clearance of a song with some important ideas in mind. So, we’ve compiled a list of a few of the most common pitfalls to avoid when clearing music for licensing.
The job title loosely describes what being a music supervisor is about. If you think that their job entails them sitting back and watching others do work you are mistaken. In fact they have several responsibilities that they must complete. Music supervisors are often present during the creative process, working closely with the artist, guiding the project towards a future movie, commercial, TV pilot or video game.
Following on from our Getting Music Placed in Film / TV post, many of our community were interested to find out more about the role of licensing’s gatekeepers – better known as music supervisors.
To get the lowdown, we spoke with the wonderful Season Kent - Music Supervisor at Clear Songs. Her recent projects include: The Fighter, Limitless,Dear John, Revenge, Macgruber, The Strangers and more.
After our recent post about getting music placed in video games, we had a bunch of requests to find out also about the same process for advertising. We spoke with James Alvich from MAS (Music and Strategy) who provides a full range of solutions for brands and advertising agencies including original composition, music supervision, licensing, talent procurement, and sponsorship packages. James has over 11 years experience in advertising, specializing in television, radio and online commercial production.
I’m kinda obsessed with how artists make money mostly because artists constantly ask me how they can make more of it.
Several weeks ago, we proudly blogged in support of The Future of Music’s incredible undertaking Artist Revenue Streams, which is a must read for any artist looking to monetize their music.
The FMC has begun to release the results of their in-depth study and they have identified 42 ways artists can earn money.
Numbers 5 & 6 on the list are:
5. Composing Original Works for Broadcast (an original jingle, soundtrack, score, or other musical work for a film, TV or cable show, or an ad agency…)
6. Synch Licenses (Typically involves licensing an existing work for use in a movie, documentary, TV, video game, internet, or a commercial).
BMI began sending communication regarding the restaurant’s lack of proper licensing back in September of 2009, but it wasn’t until May of 2010 that BMI even bothered to visit Fosters to verify that the business was actually playing unlicensed music. (From page 32 of the PDF.)So without verifying anything, BMI starts demanding payment from a restaurant for “Piracy”.
This is how the mafia demands “protection”.
Music licensing is the licensed use of copyrighted music. It also ensures that the creators of musical works get paid for their work. In layman’s terms it can be viewed as leasing your property out to someone for a fee, based on how and where they intend to use it, and for how long.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)