An analogy I like to make is that a songwriter seeking out licensing opportunities is like a manufacturer seeking out a distributor. As a songwriter, you’re in the business of writing songs. Writing songs is a much a different craft than selling songs. In the same way that the craft of building and manufacturing guitars is much different than the craft of distributing and selling guitars, the business of selling and licensing music is a lot different than the art of writing music. Just because you’ve written a great song doesn’t necessarily mean you have the skills or connections to sell it.
Apart from the actual songs you write, the most important thing you can do in terms of seeking out licensing opportunities, is to focus on building connections that will strengthen your distribution channels. There really isn’t a secret or shortcut for doing this (that I know of). This simply requires good, old fashioned, effort. This requires diligently and consistently reaching out to people who are in the business of licensing and selling music. It requires sending out emails, making cold calls and so on, just like it does in any other business.
On one end of the spectrum there are all the tv shows, films, production companies, ad companies and so on that buy music. On the other end of the spectrum there is you the songwriter. In between are publishers, music libraries, music agents and so on, all the people who connect songs with projects. You simply have to focus on building relationships with these people. The more connections you have, the greater your chances of connecting your music with projects that need your music.
Can you go straight to supervisors and pitch directly to projects? Sure. Just like a guitar manufacturer could sell directly to consumers, the end user. But in the same way that guitar manufacturers like to sell through retailers that have an existing customer base, it’s advantageous to work with someone in the licensing industry who has an existing client base that is in the market for music.
Alternatively, you can try both approaches. Spend part of your time researching and submitting to projects directly when you can and spend the rest of your time connecting with publishers and the like. Then, when your distribution channel is in place, you can get back to writing more songs. After all, isn’t the music what’s it really all about? I know for me it is.
In : October 13
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