How To Get Your Music On TV Shows, Movies And Commercials (Best Tips)
With the current trends that lie within the music industry, it is evident to see that people are getting increasingly creative with their marketing strategies and self promotion of their music. Whether it’s getting onto promotional Instagram pages, self-administering a TikTok campaign, or getting on the radio, there are countless methods artists take to get their music the recognition it truly deserves.
One way most wouldn’t usually think to do is getting their work onto TV shows, movies, or commercials. This is a fantastic way to promote your music as it allows you to gain a lot of exposure and broaden your reach in terms of the demographic of your fans, and also to make a living from your music. This blog will act as a comprehensive guide to how submitting your music to the aforementioned can be achieved and the best way you can achieve success in doing so.
What Does “Licensing Your Music” Mean?
The correct terminology to use here is Music Sync Licensing. What is this?
A music sync license is essentially the inclusion of your song in a movie, TV show, video game, or commercial. If your music is used, you will earn some money upfront and you can also get royalties from future plays.
There’s all kinds of music licensing options and rates but we will get to that in a minute.
Another option is to license your music to another performer. It works in a similar way to a publisher that buys music from famous artists.
The good thing about music licensing, besides the money and possible benefits it can bring to your career, is that you can do it at your own pace. You can work from home and write and send songs as you want. So it shouldn't clash with your daily work and home life.
As you may have noticed, TV shows and movies tend to use specific styles of music depending on the plot and mood of the production. Understanding the type of music everyone chooses can help you find shows and upcoming movies that fit your writing style. All that's left is to find someone who supervises the music for the production and send it to them when they're looking for it. Sounds difficult? This is actually pretty easy with some great online tools at your disposal.
The first place you want to look is websites like Tunefind. Here you can find out what kind of music was used in each episode of a particular show or movie. You can also enter the name of any of your favorite artists and find out if their music may have been synced before. Chances are if they've been successful in some kind of show or movie, so have you.
Another place to investigate is YouTube, where almost every show, movie or commercial has a list of all the songs that have been included in their soundtrack.
It's hard to figure out what kind of music for movies yet to be released are looking for and when they need it, but it's easier with TV shows. If it's still airing, chances are they’ll be looking for the same type of music that they have put in the previous viewings.
If nothing works for you and you haven’t touched base with any production company, you can try doing it the basic way and look at the credits at the end of each episode or movie. Once you’ve got a name of the production company, you can carry on with the research online.
Search For Sync Agencies.
When looking for a company to contact, it's a good idea to listen to the company's music. They want to make sure your music fits their style. Another important thing is to look for previous placements, so you would understand the record and the quality that the company expects, otherwise you are wasting your time and your time.
A quick Google search for "synchronized music agency" should give you a good starting point. Open some tabs of the retrieved search results and start exploring the results.
There are a few things to consider before you start pitching your music.
Make sure you have, on your website, portfolio professional previous placements. If you don’t have any previous projects, try creating music for an existing project and give it an alternative mix version.
Make sure your website looks professional, that’s the first thing that pops.
If all is well and your current ranking is stable, check out your music. Will your product fit in their catalog?
If not, move on. If so, it's time to find out their contact details.
Here are some examples of a synch agencies we’ve found online:
What’s A Production Music Catalog?
95% of the licensing done today is done by small to medium corporations for online purposes. These small corporations don’t use sync agencies, They use production music online catalogs. A Production Music library holds countless tracks from a range of genres and offers diverse licensing agreements, depending on the terms of the project. Artists (or composers) can earn a from each licensing (needle licensing), or can work in a blanket agreement.
When it comes to needle licensing, prices are ranging between a few dollars to a few hundreds of dollars per licensing.
Blanket agreements work in a different way. The end client pays a monthly subscription fee, this fee is divided with the website owner which usually takes 50%-70% of the total amount and the rest is divided by the artists according to the amount of downloads.
Usually it’s a very small figure for each download, but if it’s a website with a huge subscribers, this could add to a big amount of money.
Most of the production music catalogs today are royalty free and you are not eligible to collect performance royalties only mechanical licensing fees from the website itself.
Now that you know what production music is, explore your options for an online production music library. There are many different websites you can use to find the type of music on production music catalogs. Below are a list of a few which we, at One Submit, think are good starting places.
Preparation For Pitching
It may sound tedious, but at the most basic level you have to understand the corporate side of things. Know that a song has two sides (master rights and performing rights royalties), what is included in the license, that samples of other songs always need a license, etc.
I recommend reading Donald Passman: Everything You Need to Know About the Music Business; This book is a summary of the entire industry curated for artists and does a great job of explaining some fairly complex concepts in an easily comprehensible way.
It goes without saying, to ensure that all of your tracks have been thoroughly quality checked. Checking the sound quality, getting all the files ready, being ready to answer questions about the production process, etc.
Artist That Went Viral Starting From Licensing Agreements
There have been a load of artists that have reaped the rewards from licensing agreements. There are two that stick out thanks to help from Apple.
Yael Naim is best known for her insanely catchy song featured in the recent MacBook Air laptop commercial. The song is called "New Soul."After amassing 4.6 million views on her official music video and over 140 million plays on Spotify, she was the first Israeli artist to make it into the global top 10 charts.
Another artist that boosted their career with help from Apple is ‘Tessellated’. His song “I Learnt Some Jazz Today” was also featured on a separate Apple ad. After, the song went viral, amounting more than 6 million plays on Spotify, which equates to over 2500% more than any song he had released prior to his license agreement with Apple. The link to this airport ad is here.
In summary, it’s virtually impossible to find the licensing agreement you’re looking for on the first try. It takes time to conduct the thorough and appropriate research, get all your music ready, scroll through various catalogs, and research sync agencies. These long steps however, are just a way for you to boost your career and achieve success in a monetary and publicity sense. Our advice would be to keep persisting, don’t lose motivation, and the more you release, the higher your chances of striking your dream licensing deal.
To promote your music, start your campaign with us today!
Good luck with your music!