Getting started in the music licensing business can be a slow and painful process. In the beginning, there is a lot of leg work required to get started and usually success doesn’t come quickly. Unlike playing music live where you get on stage and get immediate gratification in the form of applause, adulation and hopefully money at the end of the night, music licensing is a long term process. There are forms to fill out, music to upload, different versions of your songs to mix, phone calls to make and on and on.
So why pursue licensing? Well unlike performing where you are paid once and that’s it, with music licensing you can potentially get paid over and over for the same song. I have songs that I wrote over ten years ago that I still get regular performance royalty checks for. Several shows have purchased licenses for these songs and they use them every year and every year I continue to collect royalty checks over and over. I don’t do anything at all at this point to earn this money. This is really the beauty of music licensing, the ability to earn income from your music passively.
To be honest, I enjoy playing music live much more than I do licensing my music. Licensing my music doesn’t excite me in the same way that getting up on stage and playing in front of a live audience does. Although it is exciting to hear your music on television, the whole process is much slower and much more drawn out. But from a purely business standpoint, licensing makes more sense. I can only play so many shows and I can only play one show at a time. But with licensing I can continue to write new songs and license them at the same time that my existing catalog earns me income.
When I was younger, what really drew me towards making and performing music was the idea of playing in front of people and the adrenaline rush that goes along with that. And that still is what I enjoy the most. But I’ve gotten smarter about the business side of making music as I’ve gotten older and give more and more thought about how to maximize the revenue I make from music. It takes time to start seeing substantial money from licensing, but it’s possible and once you start seeing results, it makes all the effort you have to put in initially worth it.
In : August 2013
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