When it comes to selling stock music (what is stock music?), there are 2 easy song licensing business models that have been successful for countless musicians. The first involves directly pitching your songs to music supervisors. The second, and even easier, way to license your songs involves uploading them directly to websites that serve as the middleman between you and the buyers.
The first method is great for established musicians. But if you're like me (and still learning the ropes), you should start at the second method as you cut your teeth in the music industry.
1st Easy Song Licensing Business Model - Using a Publishing Company
In the first method of song licensing, you develop a network of contacts (or purchase a directory) of music supervisors and publishing companies that are looking for music.
Music supervisors are the end users on projects (let's someone working on a TV show looking for a specific type of song for a scene).
Publishing Companies act as intermediaries between music supervisors and musicians. They develop a catalog of songs. So then, when a music supervisor comes to them and says "Hey, I need to license a song that sounds like Buddy Holly over a dubstep beat, but with a didgeridoo," the Publishing Company already has an idea where to start.
The Publishing Company will then submit a shortlist of songs to the music supervisor, who will make the final call.
In exchange for performing this service, the Publishing Company will take a share of the synch license revenue. They will also take a share (often 50%) of the broadcast license revenue, each time the song is played on TV.
This method of music licensing will be the easiest song licensing business model for certain musicians, if:
- You've got high quality (professionally recorded, mixed, and performed) songs
- You have established relationships in the industry
- You write fewer songs, but spend a lot of time on them
I'll be honest, I don't use this business model. In large part because I still don't think I make music that is of a high enough quality. Also, because I don't make vocal music often. And also, because I don't have any contacts.
2nd Easy Song Licensing Business Model - Sell Through Websites
For me, this second business model is really an easy song licensing system.
I simply write and record the songs I want to make, upload them to a few websites, and sit back and way for buyers to purchase a license. And I make hundreds of dollars a month doing this.
Now the big advantage of this for me is that I don't have to be a "professional" musician. I just have to be a good musician with decent recordings. This has allowed me to really grow my skills over the years while still getting paid to make music I love.
And it's much more passive, since many of these websites like Pond 5 make it really easy to upload your music (much easier than pitching someone).
(Note that this is a referral link, meaning I get a commission if you purchase anything from the Pond 5 - but I don’t not get a referral for recommending that you sign up as an artist. It's just my honest belief it's the best site for folks new to licensing)
Now of course there's a big downside - these sites pay significantly less than you would get from going with a Publishing Company. Maybe 20-30% of what you'd earn.
But if you're not ready for a Publishing Company yet, this is an amazing way to get started in music licensing.
Not only will you start making some money, but when you are good enough to move up the value chain, you can point to your successes when pitching publishing companies ("I sold hundreds of songs and was featured on...")
Want to learn how to license your first song in under a week? Check out my free five day music licensing mini course!
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