"How much can I expect to earn from a placement," is one of the most frequently asked questions musicians have regarding licensing… and with good reason. If you’re going to invest the time and energy into pursuing licensing, then it makes sense that you'd want to know how much one license can generate.
But it's the wrong question... here's why: It’s not taking into account the long-game of this business.
Like many investments, you have to always be looking at the long term. What’s the long-game with your music business? Don't forget, when you're monetizing your music, and your songs, it is a business… and it's YOUR business!
So let me tell you exactly how I approach my own music business...
IT’S ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY
My focus is never on just the upfront licensing fees. As much as I prefer not to forego a low license fee, if I know the show is going to generate good performance royalties, I will.
If it's a popular show, it will replay (potentially) multiple times a year, and even go into syndication in other countries, and you have to always consider the international aspect when it comes to this business. International Royalties will be a significant portion of your income.
So my entire approach to licensing is simple: Secure Consistent Placements. This is why Following Steps 2 and 3 in my 4 Step Plan to Licensing Success is Essential.
It’s the consistent placements that allow you to build a long-term career in the music licensing industry.
BUSINESS is the EXCHANGE of VALUE FOR MONEY
The next thing is that you must run your business wisely. Let's face it, many musicians got into music in the first place because they wanted to avoid 'business stuff.' However, if you truly want your music to generate an income for you, then it's time to start approaching it as a business... and keep in mind that a successful business simply exchanges value for money.
This is a very simple concept, but sometimes it requires a slight mindset shift... Your music provides the value that is exchanged for money in the form of upfront sync license fees & long-term performance royalties.
This is much easier than you may believe it is, especially when you focus on serving, and bringing VALUE to your end users. They have budgets and time-frames to work within, so when you're willing to help them achieve their objectives, and work within the constraints they're under, they will remember you.
Most businesses are build on return customers, so work with your end users so they become return customers. Respond to their requests quickly, and do everything possible to make their job of licensing your music easy.
Finally, as with most other businesses, this is a relationship business. When you get a license, make it a point to send the person who licensed your song a thank you note. This goes a very long way (because very few people do it!), and it only takes a few minutes.
You can send a quick Thank You e-mail, or my personal favorite, a physical thank you note along with a gift card.
When you put your energy into creating great music, and focus on serving your end users, the placements (and money) will naturally follow as a result.
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