How Using a Music Licensing Company Can Benefit Your Brand & Business

Think of all the ways we encounter music in the course of a day. The most obvious are the radio, our own CDs and MP3s. But you are also hearing a steady stream of music in commercials, in the background of radio ads, while on hold during a call to the bank, from piped in music while relaxing in restaurants and when a local band plays cover songs Friday night at your favorite club.In each of those cases, the songwriter is earning licensing fees. In addition to the revenue such deals bring in, they also extend and strengthen your musical brand by exposing more people to your music and by creating a connection between your music and the product or service being promoted.While it’s possible to promote your own music for licensing, it’s more efficient to hire a company that specializes in music licensing. BMI, SESAC and ASCAP are the three largest and represent the majority of established, well-known acts. But for an unknown songwriter or one just beginning to enjoy success, a smaller boutique company can offer more one-on-one time to develop a personalized business plan targeting the best way to license your music.Remember: there is a difference between a music licensing company and a music library. The latter merely adds your music to a giant catalogue database for prospective users to peruse. A license company proactively goes out and pitches your songs specifically. As such, they take a larger fee but it is a case of getting what you pay for.The most lucrative licenses are those used within the entertainment industry, including TV commercials, movie trailers, in TV episodes and on film soundtracks. Video games also offer a great opportunity for placement. But it’s important to match your music with the product. If you compose fusion jazz, odds are WOW won’t be the best match. But it may work perfectly for dinner club radio commercial.As with any potential business partner, do your homework. Check to see if they have pending lawsuits for non-payment. Try to talk to others signed with the company. Google them. And make sure you know exactly what you are signing whenever entering into a contract.Lastly, never, ever pay any “fees” up front. Reputable music licensing companies work on commission – they don’t make money until you do. If any company tells you otherwise, walk away.

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