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License Your Music
License Your Music to Movies and Television Shows

By David Codr of


If you are like me, you're tired of hearing how bad the economy is. But there's a silver lining to the bad economy for musicians and songwriters. A way to get paid while getting a ton of free exposure for your band.

For years, motion pictures and television shows have paid big bucks to major label artists to license their music. These studios pay major label acts tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to license their songs to use in films and TV shows.

But when the economy hit the proverbial crapper, many of the studios started to look for ways to cut their costs. They quickly realized that they could save thousands of dollars by using independent music instead of the songs from major label acts.

Since independent artists don't have the CD sales, radio plays or name recognition of the majors, the studios found they could license great music that hadn't gone mainstream for $2,000 - $10,000 a track

Its a win-win for everyone. The studios save hundreds of thousands of dollars. The independent artists are happy to get a few grand to use their song, plus they get the exposure of having their song in a major motion picture or television show.

So who finds these songs to use in a film or TV show? They are called Music Supervisors and they are always looking for new music. Usually these supervisors go straight to an artist they are familiar with when they have a need for a specific type of song.

Successful supervisors work with multiple studios who have multiple projects - so the style, genre and type of music they need is constantly changing. That's why Music Supervisors are

always searching for new artists and music. Its not unusual for supervisors to research 100 or more artists every day looking for great material.

When they find it, supervisors contact they artist to determine that they own the rights to the music and lyrics and determine who gets what percentage of the licensing payout. Each person who contributed to the composition of the song is usually paid a percentage of the licensing money. But since each group and member contribution is different, the breakdown can be done in many different ways.

Supervisors also need to confirm that the song doesn't include any samples, copy written music or lyrics, or hasn't been licensed to someone else already. Because some artists have claimed ownership of songs that weren't theirs, Music Supervisors are very cautious when working with artists they don't know. If they pull the trigger on a song that turns out to be from someone other than the artist who submitted it, the studio can get sued. If that happens, that supervisor will never work with that studio again.

That's why Music Supervisors don't generally accept unsolicited demos and usually only take new music from people they know personally or through a trusted associate. The traditional path to reach them was to get your music positioned with a publishing company that has a lot of industry connections. Because the artist is working with a trusted industry company, the Supervisor knows the artist is legit. However for most independent artists, getting such a publishing deal is pretty difficult unless you have some good connections.

In the last 12 months over 1,000 Music Supervisors have joined to look for new artists. They have joined because they like our format as we put all of an artist's info on a single page, every profile includes a contact ph number and its also linked to a personal profile so they can verify who the artist is.

In January, we added a new feature to Musicpage allowing these Supervisors to place ads for our members when they are looking for a specific type of song for a film or television program. We call it the Music Ops Board and you can check it out at

If you have the connections, finding a Music Publisher is the best way to go if you want to license your music for TV and film. Nothing beats having an industry pro with connections pitching your music to the right people at the right time. But if you don't have those kind of connections or aren't very experienced when it comes to music licensing, the Music Ops Board is a great place to get started.


David is the founder of, the social network for the music industry. Musicpage features booking and contact information for nearly 100,000 music industry pros from 50 industry categories. To check out the community or set up your own free profile, go to


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