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 Musicpage.com 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 www.musicpage.com/musicopsboard
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 Musicpage.com, 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