Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Promoting and growing your music catalog

Occasionally we get questions from our newer publishing clients how to best manage their music catalog growth, marketing and sales promotion.  If you are a publisher with an interest in promoting and growing your music catalog and licensing store, this article will give you an outline of tips and suggestions to help you get started, or keep going if you’ve already started.

Quality trumps quantity

The first rule of thumb is that quality of compositions and recordings, (including talent and production) are generally more important than shear quantity of tracks for starting a new catalog or library. A smaller boutique catalog with high-end tracks is likely to do better and could earn as much or more income than a larger one with lots of material which is dated, un-creatively composed, poorly recorded, difficult to find (badly organized) and/or over-priced.

But there’s exceptions…

An exception to this can often be the lower budget, basic cable network shows that use stock type of music. They don’t necessarily want the “new and different” but a whole bunch of generic stuff (banjo picker on the porch, belly dancer,  screamer guitar, sk8tr punk, etc.).

They want a lot of tracks, a lot of variety with nothing too “interesting”.  The music in these shows (mostly reality, competition and DYI stuff  – think American Pickers, No Reservations, Top Gear, etc.) is really just filler and/or punctuation, not integral to a story or plot. When it comes to the competition shows, they often have a dedicated composer who did a whole bunch of cues of varying intensity that they just recycle at the appropriate moments.

Having this kind of stuff on hand is a good thing, but not where the big license fees are to be had. That shouldn’t be top consideration when deciding how to promote your service, but it’s something to keep in mind, since the sheer volume can add up even though it’s not a lot for each license.

What buyers care most about

After all the dust settles, this is what most music buyers really care about: “Can I find what I need from you when I want it and within the budget I have available?”

Focus on your main strengths

When getting started stay focused on your main strengths (music genres, creativity, instruments, era styles) and let your existing material help you decide how to best organize and present it. For example, if your main thing is Rock, focus on the Rock genre and create a few appropriate subgenres to help buyers drill down to specific kinds of rock, for example: Oldies, Modern, Pop, 80’s, Hard Rock, etc.

If you’re doing more variety or working with other artists or composers, then branch out accordingly, but keeping a strong focus for each unique artist or composer brand to present their strongest material and keeping everything organized under a few well labeled genres. LicenseQuote makes this easy because we give you full control over your own brand, genre and subgenre definitions.

Quality and type of music

Judging music composition and recording quality is subjective and depends mostly on what music supervisors and licensing buyers need and are looking for, or sometimes just what strikes their “fancy”, so this is something you might ask previous clients and buyers to get their feedback and opinions, or just ask what they’re looking for. Some of our most active composers (publishing clients)  are making a viable portion of their income from custom compositions and productions, so this is a good way to get to know your customers and develop a closer relationship with them over time.

Quantity of music

The music publishing and licensing business is a “numbers game”, so generally the more tracks you have, the more likely you will attract and retain the potential buyer’s interest. Again, the important thing (as explained above) is to place quality ahead of quantity, but assuming you have great quality, creating or acquiring more tracks is nearly always better, with few exceptions.

For example, a number of our clients (publishers and library owners) have already upgraded their LQ plans one or more times. As they grow, they attract new clients who may also request other music services and tracks they’re looking for, so this creates a natural environment for expansion resulting in client growth and sales because of careful catalog and library business management.

Though it takes some time and patience (publishing is a long-term career), it is well worth the effort as long as you carefully balance the all-important Quality and Quantity equations.

Making contact with music users

One of the best ways to promote your new music licensing store is to contact any/all previous and new potential buyers with an invitation to visit your website and licensing store. This can be done a number of ways including email, phone calls, industry discussion group networking and asking current or previous clients for referrals, etc.

The key is to grow and manage your list of music supervisors, buyers and other music end-users. LicenseQuote helps you do this with the Store Users admin console (in your account) where you’ll have access to buyers which have registered to your store and started making inquiries, etc.

Getting a business coach

If you need some help with marketing, you might consider hiring a music business consultant who can customize a plan to fit your budget and needs. This might be a good option if you can’t do it yourself, or need some help to take you to the next level. An experienced coach can help boost your opportunities by helping you exploit your best assets.  Some of our LicenseQuote clients have hired website designers that have helped them improve their site’s “look and feel”, navigation and Search Engine Optimization to increase relevant traffic to their site and licensing store. This is just one specialty, so select a consultant who specializes in the area(s) you’d like the most help with.

Tips for promotion and growth

  • You’ll want to do some promotion and networking to attract more interested buyers. The important thing is to “drive” them to your website and let them know about your store. You can embed your music licensing store on your home page or offer a link to it from your main menu.
  • Be flexible by meeting your client’s licensing needs and budgets. Based on their input and feedback, improve your website, SEO and other services you are offering to meet your client’s needs.
  • Over time they’ll likely want some more selection, so growing your catalog to the next level (e.g. LQ 200 or LQ 500) will likely help put you and your team of composers/producers on the right track.
  • See what some of our other publishing clients are doing to present and promote their websites and store. A number of the more experienced and active ones are listed in our Gallery.
  • Be sure to add your Business Summary on your Publisher’s Profile page. You can enter and edit this on your Profile & Brands admin page in your account. By making your publisher listing as complete and detailed as possible, it will help with SEO and buyers searching on the Find Publishers search page.

Also check these articles for additional tips and advice:
Starting your own successful music licensing store
How experienced music creators can increase their sales revenues
Interview with a music supervisor
Music Publishing And Licensing group

If you are still new or already have some experience over the last year or two, please let us know how you’re doing. If you have a success story or would like to share an article of your own, please use our Contact form to get in touch, thanks!

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