How To Instantly Increase The Value of Your Music Catalog

business film and tv music licensing

So you are just starting down the road of licensing music, but only have 10 songs.  This begs the question, “do I even have enough music to start?”  Or, “how many placement opportunities will I have with only 10 songs?”  With that in mind, I want to share with you the Sawdust Concept.


The Sawdust Concept

I assume you’ve cut a piece of lumber at least once in your life.  If you have, you know that once you’re finished there’s always some sawdust that piles up.  What’s interesting is all that sawdust came from one piece of wood, but now it’s in thousands of minuscule pieces.  However, it's still wood. 

That is the Sawdust Concept: from one main piece, we are able to create many other pieces.

This Sawdust Concept is what I refer to as 'Creating Valuable Content,' which is the 2nd Step in the 4 Step Plan to Licensing Success.


It’s A Numbers Game

The reality of the sync-licensing business is that it’s purely a numbers game.  10 songs is a great place to start.  I started there too.  But you can take those 10 songs, and instantly build your catalog into 50, 60, 70, or more licensable tracks!

This specific step has been a key ingredient to my own licensing success. 

Let's start here:  Every song has a featured instrument that carries the melody.  In a vocal song it’s the voice, and in an instrumental song it’s the featured melodic instrument.  Since, our goal is to create as many licensable versions of our songs as possible, the first thing to do after bouncing the full mix, is mute the melodic instrument and bounce a mix without melody.

You now have  2 versions of every song on your album:

  • Full Mix 
  • Instrumental / No Melody Mix


Alternate Versions

From here you can create a variety of alternate versions.  For instance, you could create a “No Orchestra Mix” by simply muting the strings.  Start actively listening to TV, and you'll hear a lot of “Drum & Bass” mixes (I've had a LOT of success with these).  You my be able to create an “Acoustic Mix” or a "Stripped Down Mix."  

Here are some additional mix options to consider for every song:

  • No Orchestra Mix
  • Orchestra Only
  • Acoustic Mix
  • Stripped Down Mix
  • Bass and Drums Mix


Cut Down Mixes

If you want to pitch your songs for commercials, it's wise to create cutdown versions of each song or track.  Why?  Because commercials are 15, 30 and 60 seconds:

  • 60 Second Mix
  • 30 Second Mix
  • 15 Second Mix


Exponentially Grow Your Catalog... Quickly!

With some simple mix tweaks and creative editing, you can easily generate multiple licensable versions from 1 song.  You've already done 95% of the work... But hopefully you can see how applying this step, and putting in that extra 5% effort, can immediately grow your 10 song catalog into 50, 60, 70, or more, licensable tracks!

Always remember The Sawdust Concept when you’re mixing your music as it is an incredibly useful tool that can be used to multiply the size of your catalog, and increase your opportunities for placement exponentially!


What are some other mixes you've been able to create for your songs?  Share your experience with us in the comments section below.


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