Successful Production Strategies For Landing Licensing Deals by Gary Gray
Today's post is a guest post from producer/engineer Gary Gray. Gary and I recently created a program all about how to produce music that will meet the standards necessary to license your music. Check out our program here:
If your goal is to break into the Music Licensing world and to start getting your music licensed for TV Shows, Commercials, Films, Video Games, etc., then it is important to plan for success BEFORE and DURING the Recording Process as well as AFTER. Normally, songwriters and producers strategize and plan how they will get their tracks licensed only AFTER a recording has been done.
Before you even begin a recording session, it can pay off big time to do your homework. One should ask themselves what their goal is with any given recording before they get into the studio. For instance, let's say you decided you wanted to submit your next track for licensing to a Major Motion Picture Music Supervisor.
Read what one very successful Major Motion Picture Music Supervisor has to say about music production:
"It's very important to get your tracks mastered," says Lindsay Fellows, music supervisor for movies like The Avengers, Bridge to Terabithia, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. "It's a good spend. You end up with a volume level that is going to be competitive with major label commercial releases. A lot of indie stuff I get is 30 decibels lower than major releases. It's flat and it doesn't pop, which isn't good."
In the course "How To Produce Music That Will Get Licensed And Make You Money," the subject of Mastering is embraced extensively. Refer to that section of the course and apply what you learn. It could make the entire difference in getting your tracks accepted for licensing or not.
Do It Yourself Or Hire An Engineer?
You could also opt to hire a Mastering Engineer to Master your tracks after you have recorded your production. I used to do just that when I first started out. While learning the craft, I figured it would be a good idea to get my tracks mastered by a Pro so that I could increase my chances for success in the meantime. And now, people hire me to Master their tracks for music licensing submissions. The way I approach my work is to always let my clients know exactly what I did while mastering, in writing, in detail, so that the process is a learning experience for them.
Taking this process back one step further, you may even decide to hire a Mixing Engineer to mix your tracks once they have been recorded. I have many clients from around the world who hire me to both Mix and Master their tracks for licensing. Again, I try to convert each job into a learning experience for the client, with the goal that they Mix and Master their own tracks at some point in the future. This is the strategy that I used in order to learn how to Mix and Master myself - besides being apprenticed and mentored by other engineers, I hired engineers and learned from them during the process of getting my tracks done.
Of course there is also the consideration of finances. One can either afford to hire an engineer or they can't. If you can't - here is the good news: There is an echelon of quality standards in the Music Licensing world that allows you to submit tracks right away. In other words, there is a pecking order of perfection, or a ladder of quality control that exists - and you can take advantage of this starting right now.
Let me explain:
The type of submission that requires the least amount of technical perfection in your productions is Television Sound Track Music. Many times, NOT having your tracks mastered is totally ok and can result in you having your tracks accepted for licensing. Why? Because the television broadcast medium is a lower fidelity sonic medium, AND often times, music is used under dialogue, so the fact that the tracks might be "30 decibels lower than commercial recordings" is totally acceptable.
The next most demanding category of Music Licensing submissions is Video Games. In this category of submissions, many pieces of music are combined by a Mastering Engineer for the final compilation and post-production steps when a game is being made ready for release, so if your track is not mastered, it will get mastered in the final steps by the Manufacturer's Mastering Engineer.
The next most demanding categories are commercials. This includes radio and television commercials. Here you would want to either be competent at mixing and mastering, or hire a competent mixer and mastering engineer for your final submission.
And finally, the top of the ladder is Major Motion Picture submissions. The quality of sound reproduction systems in a Movie Theatre are quite good, and any flaws will show up loud and clear in this medium. So, here too, it is a good idea to either be competent at mixing and mastering, or hire a competent mixer and mastering engineer for your final submission.
Whether you feel you are ready to Mix and Master your own tracks right now and land licensing deals, at least know this - in the hands of a good Teacher/Mentor, you will be able to become a Pro Mixer and Mastering Engineer in a lot less time than you could even imagine. The biggest barrier I find in each of my clients/students is a self-imposed mental barrier that they are somehow not good enough or that they would need "years of training" to be able to produce Pro Masterpiece Recordings.
For more detailed information regarding Sound Recording and Music Licensing - study "How To Produce Music That Will Get Licensed And Make You Money."
Los Angeles, California
In : November 2012
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