Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Music licensing marketing and promotion discussions

Over the years our Music PAL (Publishing And Licensing) industry group has had many discussions about songwriters, composers, publishers and libraries marketing and promoting their music licensing sales.

These discussions started in April 2008 when the group first launched. Since then we’ve grown to 10,940 members (to date) which includes music copyright owners and publishers from many countries who are all interested in improving and optimizing their marketing practices.

This article shares some key points and insights learned from these discussions among our group of professionals, including some input from music supervisors who often have dealt on both sides of the licensing “table” as publishers and buyers.

Quotes from a sampling of our Music PAL discussions:

Music supervisors breaking the mold, dealing directly with artists/labels.

“I deal with all of the music sups directly because they are actually breaking the mold of dealing with the libraries and dealing with the artists/labels directly. Building a personal relationship allows the buyers and creators to get to know each other and the buyer then knows as soon as they need something specific; they know exactly who to run to and also give the opp to. It also gives the openness for negotiating the terms, pricing, etc.”

Personal contacts lead to fruitful relationships

“My company has a unique approach to marketing and promoting the catalogs we have acquired. We see it as an individual song problem. We have some music sub-published with international companies, some music placed with USA companies that pitch to ad agencies, film companies, music supervisors, etc. I still need to have personal contact with producers, managers and artists. I have traveled to conventions (tradeshows) for numerous years and have had the pleasure of meeting many owners of international publishing houses and performing rights organizations, these relationships have been fruitful.”

Build relationships, develop continuity

“Our success has been driven behind building relationships through creating a scenario that allows the program director, musical supervisor, licensee supervisor to see the cost effect aspect from the relationship. Once the relationship has been developed and evolved, than you build continuity.”

Internet and personal contacts are crucial

“Me and my two partners own a catalogue that comprises over 5,000 titles including different genres. In a few cases the internet has proved to be an interersting vehicle to market our music, but usually personal relationships to labels, online shops and other music publishers have given more [direct] results. We also attend music fairs/events like ADE in Amsterdam or WMC in Miami to promote our music. There is no recipe to promote your music, but personal contacts are crucial.”

Market with online store on your website

“We have been marketing by way of an online “store” placed on our website’s music publishing page, 1-on-1 relationships with actual Music Supervisors and others who’ve placed more than 600 commercials to get us leads, and several industry organizations which provide us with leads in regards to movie soundtrack, television themes and artists [independent and major] inquiries.”

Customize productions tailored to different audiences

“I apply some basic musical concepts to my customized productions. I love making a variety of versions of pieces to serve various markets. For example, a simple ballad with a beautiful melody and chord progression can be done with multiple arrangements, various rhythmic and instrumental treatments and serve completely different audiences/markets. We always have to pay attention to the culture , the age group, the language they speak, and what makes them happy. I currently market mostly through contacts. This year we are looking into Google and Facebook adds.”

Compile own list of music supervisors, ad agencies, etc.

“I have been compiling my own list of music supervisors, ad agencies and the like, who I’ve spoken with personally and are very welcoming to submissions. I would suggest that we all just need to do a bit of our own legwork, not relying on the online “services” who submit en mass and want a slice of the pie. I think we will fare that much better.”

Understand your catalog, what attractions it provides

“The first thing to do is to understand your catalogue — what attractions it provides, are there songs where you own both masters and publishing so you can offer a “one stop” deal, would any of your songs make good substitutes for more expensive hits, etc. It can be easy with a small catalogue.

With a larger one, you need to consider how you want to organize it for searching, what songs you want to feature, how you want to provide the audio – ie: streaming or download or both, what segments of the audio do you want to highlight, what additional information you can provide to make your songs more attractive. You also need to consider how often new material is coming in and have a process for easily moving that material online.”

Approach a publisher or supervisor the right way

“If you approach a publisher [or supervisor] the right way, you will be surprised at the positive results you receive. They are always interested in songs that may be the next big hit, but keep in mind that they also have a stable of their own writers to feed. Make sure your songs are top notch and you have your songs recorded professionally, or at least really high quality (vocals included) if they are simple demos. Send just one or two songs; don’t inundate them with a full CD.”

Have strong relationships with directors and film editors

“It is enormously important to have strong relationships with directors and film editors. They are enormously influential in the decisions as to what music is making it into a scene. I’d go as far as saying that they have ALL of the power in 50% to 75% of the productions that take place. No editor likes to edit without music, because music generates a vibe, mood, pace and cut points.”

That’s it for now! In the future some new comments may be added here. If you are a songwriter, composer, producer or newer music publisher, these insights will give you some practical ideas to consider and work with!

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