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A blog dedicated to teaching you how to license your music online.

LoopCloud vs. Splice (Best Site for Samples and Loops)

Today, I want to do a comparison of Splice vs LoopCloud by Loopmasters. These are two really good pieces of sample management software and also sample libraries that innovative designs to get you sample management easier in 2019, but we need to address which is the best of the best! So, I’ve done reviews of these previously, but today I want to focus a little bit more on how they stack up with each other.

If you’re just straight up looking for the best free sample libraries, check out this list.

The first thing I want to say is before we go any further if you have any questions or comments or if you’ve used some other library like sounds.com or something like that, leave a comment down below with your experiences with them. I’m always interested in learning more about how people are experiencing these.

Why You Need to Download LoopCloud

Also, I’m gonna cut to the chase already. The conclusion of this review is that you absolutely need to get LoopCloud because it’s free and it’s amazing. Download it (affiliate link)!

I’ll explain why in a sec.

The other thing is Splice (affiliate link) is really really good for certain people, but based on the fact that it is using a subscription model that you have to pay seven or eight dollars a month for, I wouldn’t recommend it for people who don’t produce a lot of music. All right, that’s the recap or the summary.

The Differences Between Splice and LoopCloud

Now let’s get into the differences. This section is going to cover the differences in: software, the quality of the samples, and pricing.

LoopCloud’s Software is Incredible and Every Musician Should Download it

So the first thing I want to talk about is the software. LoopCloud is hands down the winner. It is an amazing piece of software and I would say probably one of the best free pieces of software for music period. Everybody should go download it because what it does is it manages your entire sample library.

It categorizes your samples in this incredibly intuitive powerful database where you can search by type of instrument or key or tempo, and it can adjust key and tempo on the fly so that everything fits together with your song. And this works with every sample you own, whether you downloaded it for free from one of these sample libraries, bought it from Splice, or made it yourself!

It also has a powerful sample tweaker/chopper/resampler built into it so you can deconstruct your own loops before you drop them into your song and it’s just a powerhouse that lets you access your samples and new and interesting ways. Highly recommended!

The Splice app is good, but all it does is it manages the samples that you download from Splice. It lets you search through them, sort them by key, tempo, by different types of instruments, that sort of thing… and that’s helpful for managing your Splice samples, but only does the Splice samples.

Splice Has the Better Sample Library

Now, let’s talk about the quality of the sample libraries. The samples on Splice are the best in the business. And it’s got tons of exclusive, unique libraries.

So it used to be that Loopmaster’s loops and samples were available on Splice, but they’re no longer available on Splice. So, now we’re really comparing apples to oranges.

Splice I think has a better size library and it has a much vaster array of unique sounds. So, as a producer trying to do electronic music or something… if you’re looking for a bubble sound or 80 different wooshes or a shattering glass or a rifle shot or a crazy trumpet or a lot of normal things… a lot of normal good sounding things, vocal chops, I think Splice has a much wider variety of sounds.

The quality of the sounds on Splice is excellent.

The quality of the sounds on Loopmasters is excellent as well. But, in terms of variety, Splice totally wins. In terms of the quality, they’re both equally good. I think it’s just that there’s more on Splice.

Pricing Differences

Now, we’re going to turn to pricing. Splice subscriptions start I at $7.99 a month for 100 downloads (you can cancel any time). You can download one sample here, one sample there à la carte from all of the sample packs they have. So if you’re the type of producer that has an extensive sample library that you’re drawing from, and you just need to fill in the blanks here and there, that monthly pricing is a really good choice. Splice frequently adds new samples, so it’s also a great way to constantly stay inspired.

Another cool aspect about Splice is that it’s got a lot of incredible plugins that you can rent-to-own. For example, you could get Serum for $9.99 a month and own it free-and-clear after 19 months. Or you could stop after a couple of months if you don’t like it!

In contrast, LoopCloud is totally à la carte. There’s no subscription. It’s kind of like iTunes. You want that song? Ok, that’s going to be 30 cents. You want that? That’s going to be a dollar… that’s going to be 50 cents.

No subscriptions.

And so I think in that respect, it’s a no brainer to at least download LoopCloud and get what you need when it’s available.

The Best Bang For Your Buck

I think it’s a better value if you’re still in the stage where you’re building up your catalog to buy full on sample packs from LoopCloud or from Sample Magic or from anybody, not this à la carte stuff. It’s much cheaper when you’re building up your library to just buy full-on packs and buy five or six packs in areas that you’re interested in.

So, like if you’re into lo-fi hip hop, buy five or six different packs that are sort of adjacent to that and that’s going to be a much better value. Drop those all into LoopCloud, have that manage your samples and then from there, maybe you can à la carte on Splice maybe you can à la carte on LoopCloud.

Should You Download LoopCloud or Splice?

So I think there’s slightly different value propositions. I think you have to get LoopCloud if you’re a musician making music in 2019 and I think a lot of producers get something out of Splice just because of its vast library and the ability to find exactly what you’re looking for every time you need it.

I mean how many times have you bought a full sample pack for $40 and only use 5 or 6 samples? So to pay eight bucks a month for that even if I just downloaded five or six samples – if it was the exact sample I needed – is actually a great value. That’s more for like production music If you’re producing at a high and fast clip.

How Long Did it Take Me to Earn $10k Licensing My Music?

I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what it took for me to earn my first ten thousand dollars licensing my music. So the first thing I need to clarify is what I mean by music licensing and what I have done to earn most of this ten thousand dollars is write stock music.

What is stock music?

What is stock music? Stock music is where you write a song without any potential buyers in mind. So you go ahead and you write a generic hip hop song or you write a cool, fast-paced rock song. Then you go to various websites and you put these songs on their shelves and potential buyers can go and license them in a really simple way. And then another licensee can come by and license the same song.

You keep licensing the same songs over and over again!

As I’ve mentioned, some of my best selling songs have earned hundreds and hundreds of dollars from repeat licensing so that’s sort of the overview of what I do.

If you want to learn how to actually do this yourself, I made a free five-day course. It’s totally free to check out. It talks you through all the major things you need to know to get started today.

And it’s laser focused.

It’s designed to weed out all the extraneous noise and it will give you a path to get started. And then you can educate yourself over time as you go down the path.

Focusing is the key to music licensing success

For me, the hardest thing was figuring out what the path even to walk down. I got distracted by all sorts of different routes. Should I focus on personal music? More exclusive music licensing? Should I go write for people and try and pitch songs?

And for me, ultimately what I found was that stock music licensing worked best most of the time.

My Music Licensing Journey

So getting back to how I made ten thousand dollars. Well, in my first year, I probably made about four hundred dollars. These numbers are gonna be pretty approximate since this was 2015.

I had actually tried starting way before then, but I kept on getting my songs rejected.

Sad face

I didn’t know what I was doing. So I was failing and flailing.

I spent about six or eight months not accomplishing anything. . . uploading a couple of songs and getting rejected and then getting dejected and not making songs and then sort of just kind of slowly started to figure it out on my own over time.

By the way, most  of  these  sales started to come through Pond 5.

I probably made my first real sale in April 2015 and then you know, it took another month and I didn’t get a sale.

And then in June, I got two or three sales and then maybe another month without a sale and then four or five sales and it sort of started building up to fifty dollars a month.

I probably didn’t make more than fifty dollars a month from licensing my music in 2015, but I was starting to see it consistently come in. Then in 2016, I probably made a couple of thousand dollars.

How Things Started to Snowball

This was largely just from doing the same thing, by growing my catalog, getting better at writing songs, getting better at tagging songs, getting more efficient at uploading songs, and just getting better as a producer.

Which is a huge thing. It’s just the knowledge/experience that is really important in this, but the practice is also huge. You just have to keep doing it, which is why you should start today. That’s why you should go check out that free course so you can start getting those hours in and improving.

Groweth

So I probably made about two thousand dollars in 2017 and something really exciting happened at the end of that year.

I got some songs into an exclusive library! Basically, instead of me writing songs and putting them up on the shelf and hoping a buyer comes by at a generic grocery store, some boutique grocery store comes along and says, “Hey, we’re gonna pay you a few hundred dollars a song and we want to get some custom unique exclusive products and we want to put them on our shelves and not sell them anywhere else.”

So I got a pretty nice payout from that, it was like eight hundred bucks or something up front. That was on top of the other couple thousand dollars… maybe three thousand dollars I made.

So, I probably made one thousand in 2015. I probably made about three thousand in 2016.

In 2017, I made about three thousand and plus I made another eight hundred dollars or so from the exclusive libraries upfront fees.

2018 – The Big  Break!

Then, in 2018, I made around five thousand dollars and about three thousand of this was from stock music licensing and another two thousand was from “back end” royalties from the songs that I licensed that I’d sold the year before. So there are sort of rolling levels of payments. So you know the more songs you sell, the more opportunities you have to back in royalties, but those lag a long way.

And so now here we are in 2019,you know, I’ve made a couple of thousand dollars or so… so far this year and things are just chugging along. I’ve got some really exciting irons in the fire. I’m kind of trying to mix things up a bit to keep things fresh.

However,  I know that the journey into ten thousand dollars could have been WAY faster if somebody just pointed me in the direction of what to do.

I also think that I would have been there way faster if I didn’t have a good day job. That’s a big part of it: I kind of have the golden handcuffs where I have an enjoyable, rewarding, interesting job that I like and so I’m not desperately running away from it.

And so, even when I’m making music, I’m not doing it most of the time purely for profit. I’m doing it because it’s my time off and I enjoy making music. So, if I were like laser-focused on writing the most licensable types of songs, I think I would be making a lot more money at it because my songs would just be better suited for the industry. Instead, I kind of write the songs that I want to write and then tweak them so that they fit more in the mold of stock music licensing.

Please leave any comments down below with any questions you have.

Tips to Launch Your Music Career Interview w/ Bree Noble

A music career is about so much more than just talent and songwriting. It requires save, hustle, and a business mindset. That’s why I wanted to interview one of the top music career coaches out there, Bree Noble.

Bree Noble is more than just a successful musician, she’s helped thousands of musicians learn how to take control of their music careers. Her website is is chock full of great tips for becoming a profitable musician.

She is especially focused on the struggles that female musicians face building, and launching their musical careers.

Her career advice for musicians boils down to this: musicians need to think of themselves as entrepreneurs and act accordingly. Our 20 minute interview offers lots of actionable tips on how every musician can take control of their music business to live a fulfilling, creative life. She also has a fantastic book, The Musician’s Profit Path (affiliate link), that offers even more tips on profiting from your music.

Analyzing a Top-Selling Song

I want to show you my best selling songs and teach you why I think they were successful. So this will be the first in a series of my five best-selling songs for music licensing on Pond Five. I’ll probably do this over the course of a month or so. 

So stay tuned every week or two I’ll be putting out another one of these videos where I break down why I think this song is one of the best sellers and hopefully you can learn something from this and apply it to your own attempts to license your music. 

If you’re interested, here’s my five day free course on how to license your music

Some Thoughts On Why This Track Has Been Licensed So Much

This article is going to be a little more in-depth in that it looks at just one song and why I think it’s the best seller. Another thing I want to add to that is that all of these songs that are my best sellers also happen to be my oldest songs. The songs that I uploaded three or four years ago. So the fact that they’re best sellers doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best songs. It just means they’ve been around the longest. But these are the ones that have made me the most money – hundreds of dollars each. 

And another thing I want to mention before we actually start listening to the song and break it down is that when I say “song,” I’m often writing a full length song but then making a version of it that’s shorter. And so these are actually the five best selling edits that I have. Some are complete songs. Some are more. Some are loops. Some are short edits.

Genre & Structure are Important for Music Licensing Success

Now we’re going to play this first one what we’re gonna do is we’ll listen to it then I’ll talk you through the points on what I think is good about it and what I think is bad about it now, having another three years of experience. 

I think that this song does a really good job of conveying that hard rock. A Black Keys type of vibe, right? Classic Rock! If you’re interested, you can license this great riff rock song here (affiliate link).

Listen to my best-selling song here

From the first note to the very last note, you know exactly what type of song it is. It’s energetic and it’s hard charging and doesn’t try to do anything other than stay within its zone. 

So for somebody who is looking for a song in that classic rock zone, this song is a fit, which is really important. Now they just have to determine if they like it and if the format is right. 

The second thing is it’s constantly moving and never really repeats itself. It builds up. It goes and it ends and then it has a second ending. Which sort of helpful as well. 

The third thing I think is that it’s reasonably well produced. It’s not terrible and it’s not great. It sounds within the genre, at least. 

There’s Always Room For Improvement When Selling Stock Music!

But there’s also a couple of things I don’t think it does well. I could mix and master it and record it better, but it was good enough for the time. It’s good enough for licensing. 

The next thing I want to say is actually that the standard length for these types of things should be 30 seconds. This song is like twenty four seconds, so I probably shot myself in the foot and missed out on opportunities to license this song because it’s just a little too short. So this song doesn’t fit in there. I didn’t know that at the time. I was just trying to make something shorter.

How to Save Money on Musical Instruments

Music equipment gets expensive really quick – but with these 3 steps, you can save 10-25% (or more) on gear – before apply coupons! These steps will help you save money on musical instruments at Guitar Center, Ebay, Amazon, and more!

The first thing you need to do is turn off your web browser’s Ad blocking software. Simply Google how to do this for your specific browser (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.)

This may sound complicated, but after you do it once or twice, it is really easy. To help you learn how to save money on music instruments, I’ve added a video summary (at the end) and a flow chart.

Ok, now onto the method.

Raise (affiliate link – you’ll receive $5 off your first order when you sign up through my link!) is a marketplace that allows people to sell their unwanted gift cards. It allows buyers to purchase those gift cards at a discount.

So if you were going to spend $200 at Guitar Center, you’re likely find a gift card to Guitar Center for 6% off. Or $188.

Raise also frequently has promotions that can get you an additional discount. At the time of this writing (around Mother’s Day), they were running a 6% off sale. So 6% off of $188 = $176.72. Then subtract the $5 off you get on your first order for signing up for Raise through my link. Boom!

You just got a $200 piece of music gear for $171.72!!!

Or a ~15% discount!

But wait. There’s more. WAY MORE. You can seriously get some mega discounts on music equipment by combining gift cards with referral sites.

You have probably heard of “affiliate links” – where a retailer (like Guitar Center) pays a website (like this) 5% of the sale price for every referral it makes.

Well some sites – like Ebates (affiliate link that will give you a $10 signup bonus) – will share a portion of their affiliate revenue with you in order to entice you to purchase through their affiliate links.

This chart shows you how to save money on music equipment

It’s a total win-win.

They get affiliate revenue they wouldn’t otherwise get, and you get cash back you wouldn’t normally get. This cash back for music gear can add up to you saving some serious money.

Let’s continue our example, but let’s pretend you went to Ebates first (before Raise). You sign up through my link and already get $10 cash back.

Then you search for Raise on Ebates. Right now, Ebates offers 1% cash back on Raise, so when you spent $171.72 on the Guitar Center gift card, you’d get 1% back (I know, it’s not a lot, but these numbers frequently change – and Ebates also frequently has promotions).

So now you’d only spend $170 on the gear.

But then you go back to Ebates, and search for Guitar Center. Currently Ebates is offering 3% off purchases at Guitar Center.

So you go to Guitar Center via Ebate’s link and you purchase the $200 piece of music equipment using the gift card code you got from Raise. Ebates will then give you 3% cash back on your full purchase price! Or $12 back.

link and you purchase the $200 piece of music equipment using the gift card code you got from Raise. Ebates will then give you 3% cash back on your full purchase price! Or $12 back.

So now it’s $170 (for the gift card) – $12 (Ebates) = $158.

And don’t forget the $10 bonus that Ebates gives you for signing up through my link.

gives you for signing up through my link.

At the end of the day, you will have paid just $148 for a $200 piece of gear – a 26% savings on musical instruments!

And that’s how to save money on musical instruments. Plus it doesn’t even account for the fact that Guitar Center coupons often exist too!

For those audio learners, here’s a video explaining how to save money on musical instruments.

I’ve used these money saving techniques to literally save hundreds (maybe thousands) on studio gear. These money saving tips have allowed me to build out my studio faster, with better quality equipment than I’d normally be able to.

Please note that all of these numbers are subject to change, but were accurate as of May 2019.

  • a few months ago
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Why Music Licensing Is Hard

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.

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.Asses your skills – honestly.

What Can Help

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 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.

My Music Licensing Side Hustle

Over the past three years, I’ve gone from knowing nothing about the music business to building a music licensing side hustle that’s earned me over $10,000! I did all this part time, from the “comfort” of my studio (read: living room). And I have no connections, no incredible talents, and pretty simple gear. 

So how did I do it?How do you make money licensing music? 

The Start of My Side Hustle

Well, first I made a ton of mistakes. It was a learning process, and I was hurt a lot along the way after having my songs rejected from sites. But I knew I loved making music, and I was going to make it whether I got paid or not.

By the way, if you want to start applying this as your music side hustle, I’ve got a free five-day music licensing crash course.So the first thing I did is look for the best site to license my music on. I wasn’t good enough to be on a really professional site, but I didn’t want to be selling my songs for $4 on a site with no traffic.Eventually I settled on Pond 5. It was the best site for beginners when I started, and I still think it is. Here’s why. Then I started to hone the craft of writing songs for music licensing and on getting better at producing. I took lots of courses (especially on mixing – I’m learned a lot from Graham Cochrane) (affiliate link), watched a ton of Youtube, and practiced my butt off. I work full time, but I still tried to find time to finish one song a week to grow my music licensing side hustle. Because you need a least a few songs to consistently see sales. Then to make the most of my limited time working my musical side hustle, I’d upload my songs in batches, maybe once a month.

Here Comes The Moolah!

At first a got a trickle of sales, one here, one there. Then it started to become a more steady thing, $50 a month. $100 a month. It’s been hovering between $200-$300 a month for over a year. You can see some of my earnings reports here.And then the backend royalties started rolling in for public performances on TV. I got a check for nearly $1,900 one quarter! And this was all passive income from music licensing. From one of my worst songs!I’ve been exploring other business models this past year, and hope to have some interesting things to report in the future, but in my opinion, the course of action I teach in my free five-day music licensing course is still the best side hustle for song writers. Just look at this example – I barely uploaded any new songs to Pond 5 this for the first 3/4 of the year (in fact, I’d taken songs off!), but I still earned over $3,000. All off of old songs!

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Audio Jungle vs Pond 5 (best site to sell music for beginners)

Today I'm going to be doing a tell you about the two best sites to sell music for beginners.  When it comes to licensing music online, there's only two sites that beginners should consider:  Pond 5 and/or AudioJungle.

So I've done posts in the past reviewing both Pond 5 and AudioJungle from the perspective of a songwriter looking to sell stock music online

But this post is a little different.

Here, I'm trying to help you figure out sort of what are the actual differences between the two of them. This way you can better allocate your time to making music and spend less time uploading!

The Best Site to Sell Music for Beginners ain't gonna be the same for everyone

The first thing I'm going to say as a preface is there are a lot of other sites out there for selling stock music that could be good for you but this is really tailored to people that are beginning to look into selling stock.

These other sites could be good for established musicians that have a deep catalog of high quality songs, but if you're starting out, please just stick to Pond 5 or AudioJungle.  

And since you're just starting out, you'll want to know what stock music is and how to get started selling it, so check out this free five day course that will get you started right away on Pond 5.  

So What's the Best Site to License Music Online?

I think Pond 5 is the better place to start to license stock music, but I think that AudioJungle could also be a good choice for the right person, depending on where you are with your journey and the type of music you enjoy making.

One last thing before we get into which is the best site to sell music for beginners: I don't recommend doing both sites simultaneously (at first). 

That's because succeeding on a stock music site requires you to play a different "game" for each marketplace. At first, just focus on learning one marketplace and improving your songs. Once you've mastered those steps, then you can consider branching out.

Differences Between Pond 5 and AudioJungle

So let's start getting into the reviews of the differences between Pond 5 and AudioJungle.

So first things first. Both are free to join. As a poor musician, that's a big plus.

The second thing - and this is super important - is that that both have a large network of buyers and sellers. That means that you're actually going to have a good chance of having your songs sold if they're any good.

I can't tell you how many sites I've joined, wasted hours and hours and hours and hours uploading my songs and then just heard crickets.

The more sales you get, the more information you get about what types of songs you should be making and how they are being received. If you were to get one $500 sale a year from one site, it doesn't tell you nearly as much as getting you know fifty $20 dollar sales on various songs.

Knowing what people like will really can help you grow your business and grow your skills, because you're getting more data points. Both Pond 5 and AudioJungle are pretty equal in terms of activity, but AudioJungle might be slightly more active.

How Much Can You Earn Licensing a Song?

The next thing is how much can you make on each site.

So on Pond 5 it's a very simple system. It's non-exclusive and you get 50% of what they sell your song for. And you can set the price of your tracks anywhere from $20 up to... I don't know if there's a limit. Definitely hundreds of dollars.  I've sold plenty of songs for the $60-$80 range.

And then I would've received half of that. Pond 5 also has a few different tiers of licensing in terms of liability protection which those licenses sell for more.

On the other hand AudioJungle is a much more complicated system. All songs are sold for nineteen dollars. (although they also have a tiered licensing system for liability).

If you're non-exclusive you'd get 45% of that $19 dollars. So it's slightly less than Pond 5. 

Updated October 2018: Audio Jungle now lets you set your own prices, as well.

However,  if you are exclusive with AudioJungle, your commission increases based on the total value of your sales with AudioJungle. So if you've sold like, $50,000 worth of songs then they're only going to be taking a 20% commission. If you're an exclusive author and have have not sold $50,000, then they're going to be taking a 37% commission starting out, but scaling towards 20% based on your sales... or something like that. 

How Much Money Can I Earn (AudioJungle vs Pond 5)

Why I think Exclusivity is Bad for New Musicians

So let's just to get into exclusivity for a second. Basically, it means that you grant AudioJungle the exclusive right to license your song for ever. That means they will be the only outlet where you could distribute your song. And if they went out of business then theoretically would never be able to sell your song again. 

Or if you get another incredible opportunity, you can't take it. So let's say McDonald's just finds your beat to be incredible, and says I'll give you a hundred million dollars to be able to use it. You can't do it. So you lose all control of your song but you get a higher commission.

And so that's something you need to think about. I have definitely put songs up exclusively. I also have most of my songs nonexclusive. I think if you're starting out, you definitely should err on the side of going nonexclusive, because you can always convert a track to exclusive but you can never go back the other way.

Plus, you don't know what your songs are really worth what they're capable of until you've been doing this for a while. So I think it's kind of good that AudioJungle gives you that option if you know what you're doing. But I also don't urge beginners to take that.

Which Site is Best For Looking to Start Music Licensing?

To be honest, I prefer Pond 5. Especially for a beginner. Over time, as you improve, AudioJungle could become a nice part of your portfolio, too. On the earnings side, I think for beginners especially in the first year or two Pond 5 is definitely the better call because you get slightly more per song in terms of what they charge for the song and then also slightly more in terms of commission. 

But over I think over time, if you're really committed to AudioJungle and make that your main platform exclusive, it could be more lucrative because of the sliding scale. But I've been at this three-and-a-half years, working pretty diligently, and I'm just I'm still a little shy of seven thousand dollars of sales (including plenty of sales priced ABOVE $20).

So to really get to where you're going to be making an advantage from that exclusive amount, it would take a long time and a lot of work. So don't just think oh yeah I can get fifty thousand dollars. It's going to take a long time and a lot of work. ​

What Types of Songs Sell?

What types of songs sell on each site? 

Here Pond 5 has a massive advantage. With Pond 5 the ability to get a song approved and upload it quickly is drastically drastically better than AudioJungle. ​

On the AudioJungle site, the reviewers are ridiculously strict and narrow-minded. AudioJungle it's really like they're looking for a specific kind of pretty-well-produced corporate music. I think is the right word kind of ... Muzak in any genre. They don't want edges. they want it to have very a very specific vibe. And what I would just recommend is to go on to Pond 5 and AudioJungle and looking at like the five best sellers and you'll get what I'm talking about. I would say that the almost all of my songs get rejected from AudioJungle if I'm not trying to write specifically for them. I've even written like a little note to the reviewer being like: "Hey! I've sold 15 copies of this song on Pond 5. You should let it in because it sells!" And then they don't let it. 

On Pond 5, their main criteria for disproving a song would be either it's just really bad quality (like really really bad) or that it's just a saturated genre that they already have or that it's infringing on copyright or something like that. But basically as long as your song sounds ok, in terms of quality, and it doesn't really matter too much about style or if it's an objectively or subjectively good song. Pond 5 will approve it. Their philosophy is to let the marketplace decide what a good song is. That's how I've managed to make more than $2,000 from one of my worst songs.

Update October 2018: Some of my colleagues have said that Pond 5 is starting to be more restrictive, but I haven't experienced it personally.

So I think that's a big feature and a big plus to Pond 5, because you get you get more songs out there and they let the marketplace decide. And it's definitely a big reason why I'd say that Pond 5 is the best site to sell music for beginners, because working on AudioJungle can be really demoralizing. 

Usability and Speed

Uploading music onto AudioJungle is the biggest nightmare and headache you could imagine. It's like 1990s internet.

It takes soooooo much time.

So the opportunity cost of having spent 20 minutes to get a song ready to upload to AudioJungle and then have it rejected is just gigantic. And you add that up over five songs six songs. That's time you could have used to make a whole other song and put it up on Pond 5. So that's a big negative.

And here's how AudioJungle makes it hard to upload. Well first of all you have to create both a regular version of your song and a version with an audio mark (like a watermark). Literally every other site that I've ever used automatically does.

Then you also have to create an .mp3 and .wav version of your track. Oh, and wrap it all up in a zip file of your track. So that was another two or three minutes of your time and they allow a custom graphic for each song and you can just use the same war hero as he is. But that takes a second to put up. 

If you've got multiple edits of the same song (which you should always do), this is just a ridiculous amount of backend work to set up.

 Now on the plus side, AudioJungle really supports you in brand building. It let's you customize your shop, being sticky to customers. I think that's the best way of describing it and letting you sort of customize yourself and present yourself as more than just a commodity selling music.

Pond 5 on the other hand is much more like eBay. They don't really care what the seller is. It's just like: "Is this the widget that I need? Cool."  On Pond 5, there's not really much of a profile there's not any like community to it.

And I think again this goes back to the long term versus short term orientation of the sites. If you want to do something long term, then I see AudioJungle being kind of the better potentially a better path because we have a chance to build a brand and get repeat customers and interact with them. And that could be really valuable down the line. ​

Conclusion: What's the Best Site to Sell Music for Beginners?

So now let's wrap it all up. Which one is better for beginning musicians? Well I think what this has shown is that Pond 5 inevitably is going to be better for you for your first year or two.  

Audio jungle might be better down the line, but here's where I'm going to sort of change the paradigm from what I've just been discussing.

The fact is, after you've been doing this for two or three years, you probably should not be focusing your efforts on either site. Hopefully you've gotten good enough in that time to have started moving into exclusive libraries and aiming your sights higher and higher to get better more expensive placements and more opportunities to have backend royalties.

So you if you're trying to build your career by aiming to be the best  at AudioJungle is like trying to be a big fish in a small pond. ​

What do you think? Any sites you'd recommend?

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Recommended Recording Equipment

Since some of you have asked, here is the gear I use, I’ve found everything on here to work well for me and would recommend all of it. After a lot of trial and error and money wasted on gear that I didn’t use, I’ve settled on the following selection of music equipment.

Note that some of these may contain affiliate links. But that doesn’t influence my decision to use these.

How to Produce One Song a Week

At the end of the day, music licensing is a numbers game.  You need to produce one song a week. The more songs you have out there, the more likely you are to have the right song for the right client. Having more songs means your songs are more likely to be found by prospective clients, and it also means that there are more songs that might fit a specific need.

Plus, the more frequently you write songs, the faster you'll start to improve! 

But having more songs means writing and recording more songs!

And that takes time. I don't know about you, but I never seem to have enough of it.

Over the past few years I've been thinking hard about how I can finish more songs. And that's lead me to a bit of an assembly line process.

This video is from my stock music licensing course.

You can get a free Five-Day stock music licensing crash course by clicking on the button

​​​​​​​​​​​​How I FINISH One Song a Week

The first thing to remember is that the goal isn't to just have recordings on your hard drive. You actually need to FINISH your songs. It's not good enough to just say this is a demo. Even if the song isn't perfect, you have to finish it and move on.

In other words, this isn't about creating the demo of one song a week. You still need to do that. But you also need to finish another song in the meantime. 

So with the goal being to actually finish a song, this is how I keep things moving at a nice clip.

You can watch me describe the process in more detail here.

The 5 Phases to Producing One Song a Week

Basically, I break up my process into 5 steps, and try to do a different one each week.

The 5 steps are:
1. Songwriting
2. Demoing
3. Recording
4. Mixing
5. Mastering

I try to have 5 songs going at a time, each at a different stage of the process. This way I don't get bogged down working on a specific song, and I can maintain a sense of perspective. Plus it prevents burnout.

I only focus on the step that I'm working on at the moment. And I never say that if "there's a problem with the recording I can fix it during mixing." Well, I say it, but I don't let myself get away with it.

Doing the Administrative Work

Then, of course, there's a 6th and 7th step: uploading my song to Pond 5 (and adding the keywords) and registering the song with BMI. I try to do these administrative steps in a batch process, i.e., once I have 3 or 4 songs mastered, I'll take some time to do the administrative end.

What do you do to speed up your process?