So you want your music to make you money and be heard all around the world right?
Let me guess, your plan is to create the music and put it on SoundCloud. Chances are you’re not selling the music on your page, nor are you giving it away for free download.
So my question for you is, how will the world hear it and when do you make money from it?
One of the biggest setbacks I see young musicians face is a lack of knowledge of the music industry. Not only do they lack the knowledge, they lack the vision of what it takes to build their reputation in a way that will deliver long-term benefits.
When speaking to them and asking about their goals, they all want more SoundCloud plays, YouTube views, and more exposure, something the business world considers “vanity metrics.”
Here’s the thing…
The music industry has subjected to a variety of changes during the past decade. One area that has always been overlooked for whatever reason is…that’s right, music licensing.
Not only has licensing been around since the early 1900’s, it’s only becoming more popular. In fact, musicians are leveraging their music licensing placements to generate recording and publishing deals.
For example, I recently worked with Mountain Dew, composing some of the music for their NBA Finals commercial.
Check it out here:
In today’s world, you won’t just hear your favorite song on the radio. You’ll also hear it in commercials, television shows, movies, and even video games. This is fascinating news for the musicians and artists who are looking for ways to get more exposure. By licensing your music, you’re provided with the ability to share your creations with people around the world, all while getting paid for it.
When you license your music you will have the opportunity to receive a variety of benefits. The ability to collect multiple paychecks from fees and royalties can be considered as one of the most prominent benefits out of them all.
What’s a Sync Fee?
I thought you’d never ask.
A synch fee, or synchronization fee, is paid to the owner of the master recording copyright (Your Song) for the usage of their music in a television show, film, commercial, etc. Not only do you get paid upfront for the usage of your song, you also get paid a royalty every time the song is broadcasted.
Keep in mind that these terms are all negotiable and every situation is different.
The majority of these negotiations happens one of a few ways but is usually handled by a publisher and the licensee. That’s if you are in a publishing agreement with a publisher.
Publishers exploit your creations for commercial usage via synchronization licenses. In other words, the publishers shop your music to get it placed in advertisements, video games, TV shows, and movies.
If you are in a publishing agreement, you’ll be providing a percentage of copyrights to the publisher, who also receives a royalty.
If you own 100% of your publishing and writing, you collect all the royalties that are owed to you from digital streaming, mechanical royalties, TV shows, movies, video games and public performances.
One of my favorite perks of music licensing, aside from getting paid, is many of these opportunities are non-exclusive. This means that depending on the opportunity, you may be paid a one-time sync fee for the usage of your song. After this initial payment, the licensee has the right to use this song as much as they want, without having to pay you each time it’s used. With a non-exclusive agreement, you retain ownership of the song and can use it for other licensing opportunities.
The image below shows part of an agreement used for one of my biggest licensing ventures. In the example, the terms of usage are displayed:
As great of an opportunity it is to sync your music, it’s not the easiest of things to do. Like everything else in the music industry, music licensing is competitive and who you know can go a long way. The better your relationships with companies and music supervisors that can sync your music, the better your chances of a placement.
If you’re interested in synching your music but don’t know where to get started, I have a simple solution for you. Click here to receive instant access to music supervisors.