What Every Musician Ought To Know About Music Libraries

Since releasing The 4 Step Plan to Licensing Success, the most common question I get asked is:

"Could you recommend some music libraries / music supervisors to me?"  

I get at least 10 e-mails a day (no joke!) asking for me to recommend a music library, or even a music supervisor. This is a perfect example of asking for what you think you want, verses asking for what you actually need.  
 
To start with, when you're licensing your music, you are NO LONGER working in the music industry. You are now working in the Television Industry, Film Industry, Commercial Industry, Video Game Industry, etc... 
 
As musicians, we are familiar with a 2 step process:
  1. Write/Record Your Music
  2. Get That Music to End Users (Fans, Labels, Publishers, Radio, etc)
However, when it comes to licensing, there are more steps to the process. (Read: The 4 Step Plan to Licensing Success). But let's start with the fact that your music is licensed because it helps tell someone else's story. There are many many individuals and production teams involved in this process, and by the time your music is chosen, the story has gone through dozens of revisions, the cast and locations have been chosen and secured, the project has been filmed, and is now in the final post-production phase.  Music is generally the very last part of this entire process.
 
So, while you think all you need is a list of people to send your music to, what you truly NEED is to implement a strategy that allows you to profit from the VALUE your music "could" provide. "Could" is the key word here, because if you take the same approach to the licensing industry as you do the music industry (the 2 step approach outlined above), then you simply will not have the success you are hoping for.

Working With Music Supervisors

While the subject matter of this blog is primarily music libraries, I want to touch on music supervisors for a moment.  If you want to work directly with music supervisors, then start by finding the shows, and the supervisors that are using music in the same style and genre that you write.  Click Here to Learn More About Finding the Right Supervisor.

Since I don’t know the style of music in your catalog, and I don’t watch every tv show… (btw, there’s over 500 TV shows in production, and I watch 2 of them) there's no way I can recommend someone to you. However, I’ll show you how to do the research, and how to secure the licenses.  I’ll show you how to run your business so that it’s profitable, and how to find your ideal customers.  Because that's what building a long-term business is all about.

So, are you starting to see why the question above is the wrong question to ask?

Working With Libraries

When it comes to working with music libraries, there are many factors that come into play. Three of those would be:
  1. The style of music in your catalog.
  2. How you choose to run your music business.
  3. Your level of involvement in promoting/administering your catalog.
So no, I cannot recommend a library to you either because what works for one person will not work for another. 
 
Case in Point:  I've been working with a very reputable company who represents my film trailers. However, they DO NOT represent my regular pop/rock tracks. Those are successfully represented by another company. The reason is that this company has outlets that allow them to secure more placements of these tracks than the company who represents my trailers, and vice versa. Each company was methodically researched and chosen to represent these separate genres within my catalog based on both the VALUE I could provide them, and the VALUE they could, in turn, provide back to me.
 
It would be counterproductive for me to blindly recommend libraries for you (there are over 500 of them, and I currently work with 3). BUT I can show you HOW find the right music library to partner with, because it is, after all, a partnership

Howdy Partner... 

Not just any music library will do either. Some libraries only work with specific styles and genres of music. For example, there are some libraries that only deal with female singer/songwriters. I know a few artists who work with them, and they’ve had great success, but unless you're a female singer/songwriter, you're not going to make a great partnership (and they wouldn't represent your music anyway).
 
So HOW you do find the right music library to partner with?

Music Library Report 

A great resource is Music Library Report. This was my Bible when I was starting out, and it allowed me to connect with a number of companies who still very successfully represent portions of my catalog today. I can’t say enough about this service. 
 
What makes Music Library Report a great resource is that you get access to over 475 music libraries. Even better is the fact that songwriters and composers are the ones rating their experiences with those companies. A 1 month subscription is roughly $25, and it is worth every penny.

The Source Audio Platform

Which brings me to one last, very important point. You'll want to pay attention to the delivery platform each music library uses. Personally, I've had great success with companies that use the Source Audio platform. That doesn't mean that others who don't use Source Audio aren't good, it just means that I've had great success with this platform. This is a perfect example of the type of feedback first hand feedback you'll see when you research Libraries using Music Library Report.
 
IF this last bit about Source Audio is confusing to you, here is the Source Audio page for SonicTremor, my Trailer Music Company.

Master Music Licensing

In order to profit from your music, you must partner with a company who will successfully represent your music. There are no short cuts, and only you can research who would be a good fit for YOU and YOUR music.
 
Keep in mind, however, that there are numerous other factors that go into successfully licensing your music. Finding the right company to partner with is key, but it's not the be-all-end-all. Remember, there are multiple steps that go into generating consistent placements, and each of them Adds Value to your End Users!  
 
The Master Music Licensing Course is a complete, comprehensive system that will immerse you into a complete framework that will allow you to generate those consistent placements.
 
What libraries have you had success with?  Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

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