The Path To Full Time Revenue From Music Licensing

Posted by Aaron Davison on Thursday, May 15, 2014 Under: May 2014

I recently recorded a new episode of my podcast, Music, Money and Life.  In this latest episode I interviewed The Irish songwriter/composer Emmett Cooke.  This was one of my best interviews yet, perhaps my best ever,  and I was really excited to share it with you.  Unfortunately when I listened back to the audio I recorded, it was completely corrupted.  Almost the entire interview is unintelligible.  Doh!

So I’ve decided that instead of re-recording the entire interview, I would give you some of the main points we covered here.  Here are some of the key take-aways from the interview:

1)    It takes time to generate substantial revenue -  Emmett has been licensing his music for eight years now and it took him time to generate substantial revenue.  His first few years were lean but over time he’s built his catalog up to where it generates substantial revenue.  Several years ago he was able to quit his day job and focus on music full time.  His story is very similar to others I’ve interviewed that are doing well with music licensing.  It almost always takes a couple years to get going.  As you move forward you’ll have a better sense of who will be able to market your music and what styles are most in demand.  This process simply takes time.

2)    Focus on more than just music libraries – When Emmett first started licensing his music he was working primarily with music libraries. One of the music libraries he worked with licensed his music to an ad agency for use in one of their campaigns.  He was contacted by the ad agency to make modifications to his track and discovered there’s also a demand for music from ad agencies.  Since then he’s branched out into more and more ad work and has ongoing relationships with multiple ad agencies.

3)    No opportunity is wasted – A lot of Emmett’s ad work is done on spec.  In other words, he knows what the project he is writing for is in advance.  Not everything he writes gets used.  Sometimes he writes for a project and they go with somebody else’s music in the end.  Rather than looking at this as a waste of time, Emmett takes those pieces and places them with various libraries for future licensing opportunities.

4)    A mix of exclusive and non exclusive deals – Emmett works with both exclusive and non exclusive libraries/publishers.  Over the years he’s been able to determine which tracks he writes are best with specific companies and he’s developed a strategy to maximize his income.  This took a little trial and error in the beginning, but like a lot of writers I work with, he’s been able to devise a strategy that is effective based on his experience working with different companies.

5)    Supplement income through side projects – Like myself, Emmett also supplements his income through educating other musicians about his experience.  Emmett runs the website where he interviews film and game composers about their experience.  Emmett looks at his income online as supplemental income, his focus is on music, but by generating extra income online he’s able to make up for the inconstancy of his licensing income.

For more information about Emmett visit

Related resources:

The Complete Musician’s Guide To Creating An Online Empire –
An in depth guide on how to make money online.  Geared specifically towards musicians who want to supplement their income on the internet.  More Info.

The A To Z Of Music Licensing
– Learn how to make money licensing your music in tv and films.  The original program from How To License Your founder Aaron Davison.  More info.

For a complete list of How To License Your's resources visit our online store.

In : May 2014 

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