So today A&R Factory had the chance to ask Scott Dudley his Top 5 Tips for Music Licensing.
Scott is the Creative Director at PUSH.audio. PUSH.audio is an emerging agency/web interface that focuses on landing placements for mainstream & burgeoning artists; placing multiple genres of music for TV / Film / Advertisements / Games etc. at the fingertips of those looking for precisely that.
His credits include BRITAwards, MTV, VH1, FOX Sports, NBA on TNT, SBNation, ESPN, FOX, NBC and many more!
A&R Factory had the chance to ask Scott his Top 5 Tips for Music Licensing.
- Presentation / Metadata
Music Supervisors want the story to the song… the mood. For example, if a pitch is searching for something similar to “A Tribe Called Quest,” submit your song with a personal email. Something like “Hope all is well, I’ve attached a similar song with the ‘Golden Era’ feel,” etc. Build the relationship. Don’t just send a song and exit.
Your metadata should be very descriptive. Include lyrics, similar artists, moods. When a pitch comes in and someone looks for something specific and/or lyrics mentioning “Sunshine”, it’ll boost your chances having done this ahead.
If you are adding your songs to 3rd party libraries or allowing agents to place your music they will greatly appreciate this! It saves them time and money and allows them to hit the ground running with your current and new music.
- Mastering Quality
Songs being crystal clear and 0db mastered are ESSENTIAL for any major TV/Film license. If the song is not properly mastered, most won’t listen past 10 seconds. Even an online mastering service like LANDR noticeably improves quality and levels the composition to 0dbs.
- Sessions Files Available
Most agencies or supervisors will need or request changes. Sometimes it’s as simple as turning the piano down. Sometimes they need a 4 minute song crammed into a 3 minute song. To do all of this, you will need your session files available. Immediately, when you master your song you should have the Instrumental and Clean Version made as well. Some may request to have it remastered via their in-house engineer so also save the unmastered version. This is vital, keep them both saved and on hand!
The fact of the matter is, this is legwork. The most powerful relationships we have at PUSH are long-term built over multiple projects. When you work together on something great, companies tend to stick with you and keep coming back. Where to find them, some major networks will give TV Slates to the public if requested. This lists upcoming works on the network and the Music Supervisor involved.
The public pitch sheets or music pitching services I wouldn’t necessarily recommend. They are impersonal. When you release something like that to the public you are going to get a lot of junk. That’s why most connections we have come from a 1-1 relationship and a history of the music we provided to them, which leads me to my #1 tip…
THIS, in my opinion, is the MOST important. Your music is a commodity. Whether or not you gain monetary value from it is completely up to your business ethic. Have your BMI Song Splits ready with your IPI #, The Work #, ISRC # on-hand! Return contracts in a timely manner. These major companies may have 48 hours to place a song. If you happen to get a bite and they ask for Song Splits / Performing Rights Organization, etc. and you respond with “What’s that?” odds are they won’t respond, they’ll look for the next song selection.
Read your contracts. Never sign an exclusive contract without an advance. You are eating 100% of the risk. An agency can make all the promises in the world, but in the end do not let them bury you in the risk. Ask questions, be careful of giving up your publishing. If anyone is requesting to own the publishing they need to compensate you. Your music has value, if someone is requesting to lock down your music for 2+ years add a clause to terminate if no placements are made within a certain timeframe.
Email is good, but speak to your clients on the phone. Go out to them, fly out and network. Bottom line, get in that legwork!
Get in touch: Scott teaches a class over at Pyramind (http://pyramind.com). If you are a musician that may be interested in getting your music licensed in TV/Film send a demo to email@example.com or contact Scott directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.