Licensing your music pt.2 by Aaron Davison

 So, you've done your homework and you've researched numerous places to submit your music to.  Let's suppose that all your hardwork pays off and you land a deal with a publisher, for example, who wants to represent your music.  What happens next? 
 
Well the first thing that is going to happen is you will be presented with a contract that grants the rights to your new publisher to "shop" your song to various outlets on your behalf.  There are different types of deals.  The first deal I signed granted my publisher exclusive rights to pitch any songs I licensed to her within the TV and Film industry for perpetuity.  In other words my publisher is the only publisher that represents the songs I signed to her and any money that is made as a result of these songs being broadcast in either Television or Film my publisher gets a piece of - forever.  I still own the copyright, but my publisher gets a piece of any royalties generated within the context of TV and Film placements.  At the time I felt like this was a fair trade off, since I had NO contacts within the music business worth speaking of.  And I'm actually still fine with the arrangement.  My publisher simply has many more contacts than I do.
 
But I am careful about signing similiar agreements with some of my newer songs.  There are other companies that are fine with representing your music on a non exclusive basis so it's ultimately up to you to use your discretion and make deals that make sense to you.  Just be aware that both types of arrangements exist.
 
What happens after you've signed a deal with a publisher?  Well, then you sit back and wait and hope they place your material for you.  Not everything gets placed though, so keep that in mind. Some of my songs have been picked up right away, some have been picked up more than a year after I've signed them and some have never been used at all. 

 
Why most musicians aren't successful
Are you doing everything you can to make money with your music?  Are you ready to take your music and career to the next level? If you're not then I would suggest you stop reading this section right now and delete it, because you aren't going to be interested in what I have to say.  On the other hand if you are ready to move forward, then keep reading because I want to tell you how I can help you achieve your goals. 

Over the last few years of figuring out how to make money with my music through music licensing I've made some important realizations about why most musicians I know don't seem to make that much money with their music.  I think there are three primary reasons most musicians seem to struggle so much when it comes to making money with their music.  Hence the whole "struggling artist" stereotype.  The there reasons are:

1) They don't have access to the right people or right information.

2) They do have the right information but they fail to implement what they learn.

3) They implement what they learn in the short term but they fail to follow through in the long term and simply quit before they get their desired results.

Although the music business is not exactly the easiest business to break into with the right information and access to the right people it´s an attainable goal for any serious musician.  I've often said that getting into music licensing is a lot easier than getting a record deal.  And this is true.  But there still is an incredible amount of competition when it comes to getting licensing deals.  As record labels continue to flounder and fall by the wayside, more and more musicians and industry executives are turning to licensing and publishing as an alternative revenue stream.  They do this for the simple reason, that it's a GREAT source of revenue for music.  There is a lot of money to be made and those who understand how the business works are making a lot of money.  The music business is a 20 BILLION dollar a year business! That's right.  That's not a typo. It's a 20 Billion dollar a year business.  
 


Songwriting is an art and a craft.  It's a craft that I have a tremendous amount of love and appreciation for.  Licensing music is a business.  It's the business of taking your art and turning it into something that can potentially sustain you so that you can continue to make music and pursue your passion.  If you're only focusing on the Songwriting part of your career you're going to be missing out on some huge opportunities!

On my path to where I am now I've discovered a lot of things about the music business that a lot of musicians simply never learn from playing in bars and clubs.  It was during my time at Berklee College of Music that I first learned about music licensing from a couple of my teachers who were actively licensing their own songs.  It took me a few years before I really appreciated the information I learned there.  My goal is to impart what I've learned so that other musicians can take the information I've learned and apply it in their own lives.