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How to License Your Music

1,000,000 streams on Spotify will get you approximately $3,000 in royalties.

1 MILLION!

Can you even hit that target in a whole year?

I’m not even sure I could make it in TEN years!

Here are 6 different ways you could make $3,000 with music licensing. It might take you a whole year when you’re first starting out but it certainly won’t take you 10 years to get there!

How to license your music income potential

Now doesn’t that seem much more achievable than 1 MILLION streams on Spotify?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to licensing music.

They are many other projects that could use your music PLUS the sales prices above are fairly conservative (you’ll see that with Songtradr’s own pricing tool featured later in this post).

This is WHY you need to look into music licensing.

Now let me show you HOW to license your music.

The first thing I want to tell you is that you don’t need to know every single technical aspect of music licensing to start looking for music licensing opportunities.

In the rest of this post, I will explain the essentials (exclusive versus non-exclusive deals, synch fees versus performance royalties, the role of music libraries, etc.) BUT I want to focus my attention on getting you to actually start DOING something!

Trust me, you’ll learn much more by “doing” music licensing than you will ever learn just reading about it. Even if you feel you’re not “ready” yet, the key is to start!


If you want more guidance on how to license your music, check out this online training program called Get Your Music Licensed.



Want more licensing tips like this? Click here and get this free ebook.


So here it goes… 

How to License Your Music: Get Your Music Ready for Licensing

1. Pick 3 to 5 Tracks From Your Catalogue & Export MP3 and WAV Files

If you’re not sure they’re good enough, try anyway. You’ll soon find out. There’s nothing that kills the musician’s ambitions quite like perfectionism.

Still, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind for successfully licensing music.

  • Songs and/or instrumentals are fine. Explicit lyrics very rarely are.
  • No samples! Apple loops and such are fine. Samples from other artists’ work or copyrighted speeches are not.
  • You should own the rights to the tracks you’re submitting. In case of co-authors, make sure you’re all on the same page and ok to seek out licensing opportunities.
  • Check with your publisher and/or label (if you have one) before you doing anything with your music, including look for licensing opportunities.

Export high quality MP3s (preferably 320kbps) and WAV files (preferably 24bit, 48kHz).

Note that I wrote “preferably.” Again, if for whatever reason you can’t export your songs in those formats, just pick the next best option available!

For example, an MP3 256kbps or a WAV 16bit, 44kHz).

Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to audio quality:

  • 24 bit > 16 bit
  • 320 kbps > 256 kbps > 128 kbps
  • WAV = AIFF > MP3
  • 48kHz > 44kHz for any music that will be used on video (not in quality but simply because that’s the standard for TV/film)

2. Input Metadata

Make sure your audio files (MP3s and WAV) have the proper metadata attached to them.

This means that if you double click on the audio file and it starts playing in iTunes or whatever app you use to listen to your music, the following information will appear clearly and accurately:

  • Track name
  • Artist name
  • Album name
  • Genre
  • Recording or release date

If possible, add your email address in the “comments” or “additional information” section.

If you don’t know how to do this, I suggest researching “how to add metadata in iTunes” (or whatever system you’re using) in Youtube.

Audacity is a free tool you might also want to explore.

3. Create a Catalogue Spreadsheet

Take the time to create a spreadsheet or Word doc to track your catalogue.

Here is what it could look like:

How to license your music Licensing Spreadsheet

Include the name of the song, the description and a bunch of keywords that will come in handy when you upload them onto music libraries. Assign each licensing opportunity it’s own column to keep track of where songs are placed.

For now, all you need is the column with the track titles really but you might want to anticipate and start thinking about descriptions and keywords.

4. Register Your Songs with a PRO

Always register songs you plan on licensing with a Performance Rights Organisation (PRO).

If you already know what a PRO is and have already registered your songs with yours, move on to step 3!

PROs are the organisations that ensure that you get paid royalties when one of your tunes is performed on radio, TV, etc.

In the US, that could be ASCAP or BMI. In the UK it’s PRS. SACEM is the one in France.

You only need to register with one. PROs around the world collaborate with each other to collect royalties in their territory and coordinate with other PROs to get the composers paid.

There’s no need to be fancy about it. Just register with the PRO of your choice.

Check out this list of PROs to find out the options in your part of the world and how to license your music there.

Conclusion – How to License Your Music

Now you have a super simple roadmap that will get you started in no time. The next step is to start researching music libraries and submit your music!

If you want more to learn how to license your music with more comprehensive licensing guidance, check out our online training program called Get Your Music Licensed.

The class is part of the online music business training offered at New Artist Model.

If you are interested in promoting your music, check out the Music Business Accelerator program (MBA).

Joyce Kettering is a songwriter, composer, music licensing expert, and teacher of the Get Your Music Licensed! program. The music licensing methods she teaches has allowed her to quit her day job at a Fortune 500 company and be successful on licensing alone.