When I licensed my very first song back in 2002, I got rather lucky. I submitted a few songs to the person who would become my publisher for over a decade. My publisher passed on my original batch of songs saying she had no need for them. So I went back to the drawing board, booked some more studio time and recorded one new pop song I had written. It was sort of in the vein of John Mayer/Train etc. It was a really catchy song and was well produced. I sent it to my publisher and she loved it. She said she knew somewhere she could pitch it right away. About three weeks later I got an email from her telling me to watch an upcoming episode of The Young And The Restless and that my song would be used in the episode. I was ecstatic. The first song I signed to my first publisher was licensed in less than a month from signing the contract. Wow. This was really easy I thought.
It would be close to a year until I licensed my second song and in retrospect I realize I got pretty lucky with the first one. So why do some songs get licensed right away, while others just sit, collecting dust and not generating any money? Well, it all boils down to whether or not your songs fit the needs of the clients your publishers or libraries are pitching to.
When I sent the first song I licensed to the person who became my publisher I had no idea she worked with the TV show The Young And The Restless. I also had no idea what kind of music The Young And The Restless uses and whether or not my music would be a good fit for their show. I was completely shooting in the dark and I just happened to get lucky. It was the right song at the right place at the right time.
When my publisher sold her company a few years ago, the new owner had a very different approach to screening music. When I would submit songs to her she would ask where I saw each song I sent her being placed. This threw me off at first, but the more I talked to her the more I realized the importance of really knowing where you’re trying to place your music. I don’t think you necessarily have to write music with specific tv shows in mind, but the more clear you can be about where your music is potentially a good fit, the more successful you’ll be in licensing your songs.
By doing a little bit of research you can easily find out what shows publishers/libraries are working with. Once you find that out, you can watch those shows and listen to the music they’re using. A lot of artists are making a lot of music that they’re just randomly submitting to anybody and everybody who will listen. I am all for taking a diverse approach to getting your music licensed. I think in most cases, it pays to cast a fairly “wide net”. Just be sure you’re casting your net in the right waters.
In : July 2014
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