Five Reasons Your're Not Licensing More Music
If you aren't licensing as much of your music as you'd like or if you simply haven't been able to successfully license any of your music, then most likely one or more of the reasons below is why:
1) Your Songs Aren't Good Enough - If you've been actively trying to license your music without success then this is the first place you need to look. Are your songs good? Are your songs great? I know this is a hard thing to be objective about but you really need to try to distance yourself a little and assess whether your music really is as good as other music that is being successfully picked up. Supervisors listen to a lot of music and they gravitate towards songs that fit the criteria for the scenes they need music for and for the songs that they simply like the best. Write great songs and people will take notice.
2) Your Production Isn't Good Enough - If you write great songs and you've been actively trying to license them without success then there is a good chance that your production is lacking. Your songs needed to be well produced and mixed and mastered in accordance with broadcast quality standards. If you're not sure what this means, simply go listen to 10 or 20 songs that have been successfully licensed and check out the production. How does your music compare? Music licensing doesn't have to be a guessing game. Study others that are successfully doing what you want to do and use that as a barometer for determining where you stand.
3) Your Music Is Too Obscure - Music that is licensed in projects like TV shows, films and advertisements is used to fit a specific need that the music supervisor has for the scene in which your music is potentially being used. Usually supervisors have a particular sound or style in mind when they are searching for music to use and usually they're looking for artists that sound similar to other popular artists. This one is tricky because I don't think in general it's a good idea to try and sound like someone else and I don't want you to feel like your stifled creatively when you're writing music. BUT, with that said, it's really important to be aware of what kind of music gets licensed if you're trying to license your music. Makes sense right?
I made a video about this topic awhile ago that I posted on YouTube and someone commented that great artists like Frank Zappa or Bob Dylan weren't concerned about this when they were writing music and I agree, they probably weren't. But they also probably weren't thinking about trying to license their music in TV shows and films when they were writing songs. I'm assuming you are since you're a reader of my newsletter, so just keep in mind that if you're writing music that is too obscure you're going to limit the number of places your music could be potentially licensed. You can write music that is commercially relevant and still be very creative.
4) You're Not Trying Hard Enough - If you're doing all of the above, writing great music that is well produced and stylistically relevant and you're still not having success in the music licensing business, then there is a good chance you're simply not trying hard enough. I occasionally hear about artists that have success very quickly licensing their music, but this definitely isn't the norm. Usually it takes a fair amount of persistence and effort to get started. You need to connect with the right people, find out about projects that need music and submit your music regularly in order to move forward in the licensing business.
Something I've written a lot about in the past is how success breeds more success. Once you start getting positive feedback in the form of getting accepted into publishing catalogs, music libraries, etc this will generate motivate the energy you need to keep going forward. Positive feedback is addictive, in a healthy way, and the more you get positive feedback from people in the industry, the more you'll want to keep forging ahead. I suggest that you make new contacts and submit your music to new places on a regular basis, every day if you can. Whatever feedback you get will give you information on how to move forward.
5) You Need More Time - Finally, if you're doing all of the above and you haven't been able to license your music, then you probably just need more time. It can take time for the right project to come along that is a good fit for your music. If you know you're writing great music and you know you're doing everything you can to promote your music and connect with the right people, then relax, have patience and keep moving forward. I personally only get frustrated when I know there's something that I'm not doing that is preventing me from having success. There's no sense in worrying about things outside of your control, so if you're doing everything outlined in this email, relax and know that you're on the right path.