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Why Music Licensing is Hard

music licensing

Why It’s Hard

Being successful at licensing your music it tough, in part because you have to master multiple, distinct skill sets. You’ve got to be able to write good songs, perform them well, be good at recording and mixing, and you’ve got to understand the business back end.

And you’ve got to be able to do all of this quickly and repeatedly to license your music.

Now back in “golden age” of the music industry, all of these functions were completely split up. You’d have song writers in the Brill Building. Celebrity singers paired with professional backing bands. An army of audio engineers to make a recording. Then a team of marketers to sell the product and a manager to crack the whip and keep the whole thing running smoothly.

Not anymore.While the digital revolution is incredibly liberating, it also throws all of these difficult tasks AT YOU.

The economics of the stock music game don’t allow you to hire people to do these tasks when you’re starting out (and probably not ever).By the way – if you want to learn how to start licensing your music, I’ve got a free five day crash course for you right here.

Note: this post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase, I will receive a commission at no cost to you.

Assess Your Skills

To grow your music licensing career, you need to be honest about which of these skills you’re good at, and which need more work. And then you need to invest your time and money in getting better at those skills that you’re weakest at. Don’t try to get really good at one or two until you’re proficient in all of them. That’s a recipe for disaster. Just imagine the most beautifully written song terribly performed with wrong notes and flubs. Or the most high definition recording of a fart.

Assess your skills – honestly.

What Can Help You Improve at Music Licensing?

If you want to improve at songwriting you could check out the book “Hit Happens.”  It uses country music as its examples, but trust me when I say that Nashville is a finely oiled songwriting machine and EVERYONE should be learning how they do it.  

When it comes to being better as a performer, you may want to take lessons with a local teacher. Or just practice your scales. Having the fundamentals down will save you literally weeks of time by capturing your recordings in fewer takes. 

And if you’re a guitar player, you’ve got to use the exercises in “Fretboard Logic.” Not only will the drills make you way better of a player, but the approach to chords and scales in brilliant and will save you so much time in figuring out how to arrange your songs.

If you need to learn how to record/mix and you’re a relative novice or intermediate producer, you’ve got to check out Graham Cochrane’s Recording Revolution courses. They taught me how to systemize my mixing and saved me years in figuring it out on my own.

If you’re looking to master the business end of things, where to upload your songs, how to make sure they get found, how to get paid for your royalties, etc., then I’ll humbly recommend my free mini-course.

It will teach you everything you need to know to set yourself up for a successful side hustle in music licensing. Regardless, don’t be frustrated. I’m still way stronger as a writer and business person than I am as a performer and producer. But I am working hard at improving, taking courses, and practicing. And I can absolutely hear the difference! So be patient and believe in yourself – if this is what you want, you can make it happen.

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.

After 3 grueling years of grad school, though I had put aside serious attempts at making music. I found myself spending my days doing work that was dreadfully uncreative, with a ton of student student loan debt.
Which made me feel like my favorite parts of myself were withering.
But I didn't know what to do about it.
Being in my early 30s with tons of student loan debt, in a world where there is "no money in music," I felt like my youthful dreams of trying to "make it big" were dead. Like my music would remain unheard in my head and hard drive. 
Frustrated by my inability to get my music heard, I started researching solutions.
Instead, I wanted to find a way where I could focus on making the music and let someone else deal with promoting it. 
I realized the music licensing was the perfect opportunity for a solo artist like me to get my music heard, without having to do any promotion. I just need to focus on improving what I could control - my songwriting and my production skills.

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‚Äôs ‚ÄúAll Thing Considered.‚ÄĚ 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.

You Can Achieve Your Musical Dreams Too - Attend the Free Music Licensing Workshop!