"Jack" Of All Styles, Master Of None

Posted by Aaron Davison on Thursday, October 17, 2013 Under: October 13

There are two main approaches I see songwriters taking when it comes to getting their music licensed.  In today’s post I’m going to discuss these two different approaches to licensing and give you my opinion on what I think is the most logical approach of the two.

Approach #1 – Anticipating Licensing Needs And Writing A Lot Of Different Styles

This is an approach I see a lot of writers taking as they attempt to enter into the business of licensing music.  I was speaking with a client this morning and he was discussing all the different edits of his music he was making and all the different styles of music he was writing in an effort to cover as many bases as possible so that he could be as prepared as possible for as many potential, hypothetical licensing scenarios as possible.

I completely understand why writers take this approach.  They read or hear about different styles of music getting licensed and they think, “hey, I can do that” and off they go recording a bunch of new material in the hopes that they’ll cover enough ground stylistically, that something they write actually gets licensed.  I don’t think this approach is necessarily wrong.  Writing in new styles is a great challenge and can certainly force you to stretch and grow as a songwriter.  I’ve done this myself, but in my own case I’ve waited until I was specifically asked to write something for a specific project.  To me this makes a lot more sense than just randomly writing a bunch of material hoping you’ll find a place to pitch it. 

Which leads me to the other approach to licensing that I think is the best of the two approaches…

The Other Approach – Writing And Pitching What You Write Best

I always advise writers who are first starting out to simply write the kind of music they enjoy and are inspired to write first and foremost and start pitching that.  Although there are a lot of different styles of music that get licensed, the “best” and “strongest” songs tend to get licensed more frequently.  It’s much easier to do a really great job on a song that you actually believe in and are excited about.  This is harder to do when you’re just cranking out a bunch of random songs in the hopes that you’ll find a buyer.

If through connecting people with the music you actually enjoy and are inspired to make you get invited to pitch to projects that are slightly out of your comfort zone, then by all means go for it.  I’ve written a lot of different styles over the years as a result of pitching my music to different licensing opportunities I knew about.  Some of these songs were licensed and some weren’t, but in all cases they were for specific projects.  I wasn’t just blindly writing music with the hope of maybe, someday licensing it somewhere.

The Bottom Line

Here’s my bottom line advice.  Be aware of what kind of music is being licensed and what kind of music licensing trends are taking placed, but don’t be obsessed about.  If you’re going to obsess over anything, obsess over the quality of the music you’re making.  Obsess about making great music.  Because at the end of the day, there’s always going to be a market for “great” music.

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Happy Songwriting!
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In : October 13 



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