I’ve been seriously trying to license music online for about a year now. In the process of learning how to license stock music online this year, I’ve come up with five helpful tips I’d like to share.
1. Don't Wait to Start Licensing Your Music - Start now!
I first heard about licensing stock music a couple of years ago. But like most things in life, I heard about it, I thought “huh, that’d be cool,” and promptly went on with my life.
Then, a year later I heard about it again. This time I actually signed up for a site (Audiojungle), and uploaded some songs. One of these royalty free songs was accepted, and even sold, netting me a cool $7.50.
I was ready for retirement.
Of course, Audiojungle also rejected a metric CRAP-TON of my songs. So I got frustrated and stopped trying to make royalty free music for a while.
About 6 months after that, April 2015, I finally got up and running with my favorite stock music site, Pond 5.
(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)
Through a lot of hard work I’ve started to create a portfolio of music that consistently sells.
2. Learn About Everything Music Licensing Related!
Learn all of it! Learn everything!
When I started, I thought I knew it all. Hahahaha. I was an idiot.
I needed to learn how to write better songs, how to record and mix, how to manage a portfolio of my stock music, how to do social media, and how to balance it all with my life.
There are tons of helpful free resources out there, many of which I’ll talk about down the line. These days there are websites, blogs, vlogs, podcasts and lord knows what else to help.
However, I will say that I’ve tended to get the best results from paid services, whether they’re books, communities, or courses.
So learn, but don’t be afraid to shell out for the right information. It is WAY more important than gear.
3. You need the right gear to make quality music.
Speaking of gear, you don’t need Abbey Road to create excellent stock music. But there’s certain non-negotiables when it comes to recording: decent monitors or headphones, a DAW you understand, a direct input box if you’re using a guitar or bass, and online backup software.
At the same time, so much gear, especially the vintage plugins, are just a total waste of time (and money).
Here are some of my favorites.
4. If You Work Hard to Sell Music Online, You Can Make Real Money
Let’s be clear – you are not going to retire by licensing your music any time soon.
But if you apply yourself to licensing music, you will definitely be able to pay for lots of new gear and beer and pizza.
And that, my friends, is a-maz-ing.
To give you some idea, after a year of doing this about 10 hours a week, I’ve made over $300 in a month selling my songs on websites. And I had fun doing most of it!
Pro-tip: There is basically NO money to be made from Spotify. Licensing is the easiest way to go.
5. Don’t Get Discouraged
People are stupid.
I often write songs that are obviously amazing, but people don’t buy them. Why people, why?
I occasionally write songs that are terrible. But…. people… buy them…? Why people, why?
All I can say is, the more songs I write, the less I care about the results of any given song. I put the best part of me into each one and set it loose on the world.
If you have faith in your craft, produce music at a consistent pace, and keeping getting better, then there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to sell music online too.
From a Frustrated Producer in a Ragtag Bedroom Studio to Major Placements on TV Earning $1,000s!
My name is Evan, and I've been making music since around 3rd grade. I'm from San Diego, California, but I've lived in Washington, DC for the last 20 years.
While I still have a full-time day job, I have created systems that have allowed me to produce dozens of songs a year in my spare time.
My songs have been on Netflix, TV shows like the 90 Day Fiance, an award-winning indie film, and NPR’s “All Thing Considered.” They've also been streamed millions of times.
In addition to being a music producer, I am passionate about teaching people how they can make professional-sounding music and earn money licensing it, all in their spare time.
Thousands of musicians, like yourself, have trusted me to guide their musical journey. My YouTube videos have been watched nearly a million times. And my story has been in Forbes, Side Hustle Nation, and the Side Hustle School.