Music licensing is supposed to be all about making money. So if you've lost money, you're doing something
wrong! Thankfully, I'm here with three tips to steer you into the clear.
So how did I lose the money? Well, I hired a group of studio musicians to record and mix a song that I had written. I thought the song would be perfect for commercials and background music.
Spoiler alert: it wasn't.
If you want to get started licensing your music, but don't know where to start, check out this free five-day music licensing crash course! It will teach you everything you need to know to make money licensing your music and getting your music on TV, films, and in video games.
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So I was out of pocket $1,600 and the song has never secured a big placement. Sure it's made me a few hundred dollars of the years, but not nearly enough to pay for itself.
If you want to hear the song and learn more, check out this video.
Three Music Licensing Mistakes to Avoid
The first, and most important lesson, is that music licensing is a numbers game, and you never know which songs are going to earn you money. Therefore, you should not go out of pocket and spend money on producing song upfront, because you can't guarantee that they'll ever sell.
The implication of that is that you need how to learn how to do everything yourself, from songwriting to mixing to mastering. And it probably means you'll need to invest in some good equipment.
Now, that doesn't mean you should never hire people to work on songs.
Which brings us to our second lesson. If you're working with an exclusive library, many of them will provide an upfront fee to secure the exclusivity of your song for their library. Let's say it's $300 (click here to learn how to license your music). Well, now that you know that you've receive a guaranteed fee for music, you can reasonably afford to hire someone to perform on the song, especially if you believe it will make the song significantly more marketable. I'd just be sure that you don't spend all your money on session musicians.
Which brings us to the third lesson. Be sure to have anyone that you hire to work on your song sign a work for hire agreement. A work for hire agreement basically says that in exchange for the payment, they relinquish any rights they might have to that song. That way, they can't sue you if your song is successful. More importantly, many libraries will not accept songs without a work for hire agreement in place, because they do not want to undertake the risk.
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.