5 Things to do Before Licensing Your Music
You’ve got your email pitch written, you’ve got contact information for all the music supervisors to whom you want to submit your music, and you’re ready to send your songs to them. But there are some things you didn’t do or didn’t pay attention to that can make the difference between a migraine-inducing process or an income-generating one. Read on to learn 5 things to do before licensing your music.
1. Embed All Tracks with Complete Metadata
After you’ve mastered your tracks, make sure each file is complete with the correct metadata, which includes the track’s credits (anyone licensing your song(s) will need this for their records). You should also have this metadata available in a text file in the event that a music supervisor may instruct you to include it in an email or on a required form that you will have to complete prior to or at the same time you submit your music.
Metadata is important because it easily enables licensees to contact you, ensures that they have everyone’s permission to use the song, and expedites licensing agreements.
the album title
the title of the track
the year the song or musical composition was recorded
the sample rate
the duration of the track
relevant contact info (including your full name and email)
2. Copyright Your Music Before You Submit It to Music Supervisors
First, copyright your music (song and recording) via the electronic registration system of the U.S. Copyright Office (https://www.copyright.gov). Next, clear any samples you may have used in your recording. If you need assistance with clearing the rights, we recommend that you contact EMG Music Clearance (https://www.clearance.com/).
Avoid submitting anything with an uncleared sample that would only serve to squash a potential deal. It’s also important to realize that most music supervisors will be reluctant to license your music if it is not properly copyrighted. Deals can often happen very quickly, so copyright your music as soon as you compose and/or record it. You don’t want to hold up a potential deal by having to wait for the copyright office to review and file your copyright application.
3. Create a Master Spreadsheet for All Song Metadata
Because deals often move very quickly, it will be important for you to have your entire catalog’s metadata available at your fingertips. Maintain a spreadsheet with every song’s title, genre, copyright info (including all author(s)/claimant(s)’ contact information), and the copyright registration number(s) so you can easily reference any or all of the information if it’s requested of you during the licensing process.
4. Notate What Your Music Sounds Like and Where it Would be a Perfect Fit
On that same master spreadsheet, include a column for “sounds like” to elaborate on the genre and notable instrumentation, as that will usually be what people will include in their requests (e.g. - “sounds like Duo Lipa”).
In addition, include a column for “perfect for” with notes on the type of media for which you would consider the song an ideal match (i.e., horror film, car commercial, video game, etc.) so you can easily scan which songs might be right for a project.
5. Keep a Master Contact List of Music Supervisors to Whom You’ve Submitted Your Music
Much like the master list of song metadata, having a growing list of music supervisors, music editors and licensing agents you’ve reached out to is just as important. On your spreadsheet, create columns for their contact info, the date of your initial contact, the dates and status of your follow-up messages or phone calls, what songs you’ve sent, any feedback they’ve provided, set reminders for future follow-ups, and strengthen your relationships by being able to reference where you left off when you next reach out to them.
In addition, a fact or two about them and what they’re currently working on will help you track your progress. Having this information organized and readily available will not only make the process of pitching your songs easier but will also evidence your professionalism and attention to detail.
ChromeOrange Music is a New York-based record label and music publishing company with a catalog of original music for film, television, video games, internet and broadcast advertising, print and other music licensing applications. Our music has been licensed in over two dozen countries and on television networks like National Geographic, CNN and Telemundo. Please visit our Music Catalog page to access clips of music that span a wide range of genres and moods.
For more information about music licensing, call us at (631) 648-7446 or use the form on our Contact page to send us a message.