The Business of Music: Marketing to License Your Music for Film and TV

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Imagine your music as the theme song to the next blockbuster hit.

If you’re a musician, you might be able to earn some cash by getting plays on Spotify. But it most likely won’t be much: Music creators net $.0038 per play on the streaming platform, while Apple Music pays $.00783 per stream, according to Digital Music News.

To give your music career a boost, aim to have your tracks placed in media – whether it be a digital marketing campaign, commercial, or in a film or television show. But how can you stand out from the sea of talent and get that score or song placed in a media spot? We talked to Caze Taylor, creative manager at the Los Angeles–based music creation and licensing house Score a Score, for some pro tips.

A killer email goes a long way.

If you’re submitting your work to a music-licensing agency, the best tactic is to shoot an email, and include a link to the platform that showcases your work, suggests Taylor. Whether it’s on SoundCloud, Box, or DISCO, your music page should stream a carefully selected body of work that displays both your best tracks and your range. You’ll also want to make sure your titles look clean and professional. Give your tracks proper names, and remember: no demos. To give them an extra polish, work with a mixing and master engineer.

The following usually does the trick, says Taylor: clean presentation with a few hyperlinks, some background info about yourself and your work, and a personal touch. “We don’t want to feel like you’re blasting the same template out to 50 music houses at once,” he says. “Take the time to check out our website or read an article about us, and send an email that tells us you want to connect in a real way.”

Other don’ts? He recommends never attaching files to review in your email, and don’t send download-only options because it adds an extra step for creative managers and talent scouts who receive loads of inquiries a day. “Remember that you want to make it as simple as possible for us to review your work.” And if wordsmithing isn’t your strong suit, consider working with a copywriter who understands email marketing to help you craft a killer introductory email.

Your website is key.

“A nice website, even if you’re just starting out in your career, says that you’re committed and serious about being a professional musician,” says Taylor. Besides having a site that’s updated and a domain that’s on brand, be sure to always have an easy, one-link solution that includes sections to easily stream and view your work. According to Taylor, social media isn’t as important as you may think during the scouting process – at least when it comes to licensing your music. While Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook allow scouts to see the work you’ve posted, and SoundCloud lets them hear your music, a website can accomplish both of these things at once.

Don’t sacrifice quality for versatility.

So maybe you can create both upbeat dance music and ballads that tug at the heartstrings. While versatility can certainly give you a leg up with music-licensing houses, you should only send links to different types of music if your tracks are equally strong in both genres and styles.

“Musicians are better off sticking to their strongest styles, and not including weaker tracks of a different style purely for the sake of showing range,” he explains. “Versatility can be extremely useful, but I’ve seen those who have a clear lane be just as successful.”

Focus on connection.

When reaching out to music- and sound-licensing houses, work on building rapport and cultivating connection. “Focus on your strengths and seek true connections with people,” says Taylor. “Remember that everyone on the other end of your email is a person who loves music too. Give them a reason to love yours, and to want to build a mutually beneficial working relationship with you.”

What’s the next major step for you in prepping your music for licensing? Let us know in the comments!

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Chris Lane
Global Head of Brand Marketing & Digital at Fiverr. Chris is responsible for Fiverr's strategic brand direction, marketing campaigns, social media, content marketing and digital community efforts.

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