Hey there songwriters and producers. I want to talk to you about four tips to prepare your music for licensing.  These tips are a starting point to be able to approach a music library, music supervisor, or agency.  This is a great place to start as your entry into the world of licensing.

1. Make It Sound Expensive

You’re going to want to have your music professionally mixed to be able to compete with all the other songs being licensed.  If you want to get 10k for a commercial, it needs to sound and feel like 10k. A great way to check your mixes is to play them against reference tracks. Also, pay attention to the music you hear on ads on YouTube and TV. You’ll start to train your ear that way and see how instruments are placed in the mix. 

Mixing is a service that I offer starting at $299 per song with unlimited revisions!

2. Split Sheets

Anyone licensing your music is going to want to know who owns or shares the rights to the A. Sound Recording and B. The Composition.

www.songsplits.com is a good resource to do your splits with collaborators.

Make sure you get this taken care of by the end of the songwriting session and that all your bandmates or producer agree on the writing splits for the song.

3. PRO Information

PRO stands for Performing Rights Organization. They are responsible for collecting your performance royalties worldwide.  ASCAP, BMI, SESAC are the big 3. I belong to BMI as a writer/publisher and ASCAP as a publisher.  You can be a writer for only one major PRO and a publisher with multiple.  When royalty is generated for a piece of music there is a writer’s share and a publisher’s share collected.  Think of it as two sides to the same coin.  A publishing company is a business you start on your behalf (unless you have a publishing deal already) that will collect your share of the publisher’s royalties.  ASCAP and BMI allow you to give yourself up to 200 percent of a song’s share as a writer if you don’t have a publishing company setup, which can save you some money in application fees. 

I haven’t found an advantage of one over the other, besides customer service.  BMI is very slow to respond to requests.  Keep in mind that PRO’s do not collect mechanical royalties such as streams from Spotify.  Digital distributors like Tunecore and Distrokid offer those services.

4. Stems and Instrumental

It’s good practice to have your stems and instrumental versions of your songs handy so that music supervisors can fit them in around dialogue.  Vowel sounds like chants and hums usually work well to leave in the mix, but otherwise, those instruments are going to be holding it down for you.  Have your producer or engineer print these for you after the song has been mixed to save for your records.  You don’t want to miss a sync opportunity because your producer went on vacation and can’t send you the stems right away.

If you have any questions about this feel free to reach out and book a free consulting session at info [at] kyledevine.com