Licensing Songs In Films

Posted by Aaron Davison on Friday, March 1, 2013 Under: February 2013

Licensing Songs In Films

Songs used in films, especially major motion pictures, typically generate much more substantial licensing fees than songs used in television. There are a lot of variables involved in determining how much a publisher or writer charges for the use of a song in a film, these variables include:

-How the song is used, ie background use, instrumental, vocal, etc..

-The status of the song being licensed (well known songs command higher license fees)

-The nature of the film; major motion picture, indie film, etc...  The bigger the budget, the greater the license fee will be

-The duration of the placement

-The terms of the license

-Whether or not the song is included on the film's soundtrack

Synch fees for songs used in major motion pictures are typically in the range of $15,000 to $60.000. This figure can be lower if the film is a low budget film, or it can be higher if the song is used multiple times in the film or if it's considered a theme song.  There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to arriving at a figure for a synch fee and in fact the same song can be licensed for varying amounts for different film projects. Basically, the bigger the budget of the film and the more prominently the song is used, the larger the synch fee will be.

Another factor is whether or not the song is used in the trailer made to promote the film.  These placements generate even greater fees since the trailer is played repeatedly leading up to the release of the film.

How to pitch your music to film projects

Just like when pitching your music to television projects, there are basically two paths. Either you submit your music directly to the supervisor of the film project or you submit through someone who has an existing working relationship with the supervisor of the project; a publisher, library or licensing agent.

I suggest the latter approach if you're new to licensing and don't already have a lot of connections in the business. It's much easier to get your music heard this way. Look for publishers or agents with a track record of placing music in Films. There are a wide variety of publishers and some are much more established and credible than others. The more success they've had in the past, the greater the likelihood they'll be able to successfully place your tracks.

If you're serious about licensing your music and learning how to stay ahead of the competition, be sure to check out my program "The A-Z Of Music Licensing".  It's the most comprehensive program I offer and explains very clearly EVERYTHING you need to know to start licensing your music. I also offer the program with one on one coaching where I work with you directly to help you get started. I'll work with you personally both via the phone and email to help you develop a game plan based on your own unique situation that you can implement immediately.

Get The A To Z Of Music Licensing with coaching here:

Get "The A To Z Of Music Licensing" by itself here for just $29.97 (normally $39.97) this week only:

If you're already pretty business savvy and understand how the music licensing business works, I also offer the 2013 Industry Directory that comes with my program separately.  The directory is a list of over 1,000 supervisors, publishers, music libraries, etc all working in the music licensing business.  

For a complete list of all my courses, products, directories and services visit

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Happy Songwriting!
Aaron Davison
How To License Your 

In : February 2013 

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