Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Success criteria for music publisher licensing sales

This music industry business report, from a recent Music Publishing And Licensing group discussion, provides helpful tips and advice from a variety of  experienced music publishers and library owners. We’ll highlight some important keys to success for any kind of music publisher or library, regardless of the physical size of their catalog, mix of tracks and genres, etc.

Key points for music licensing sales success:
1. There is no direct correlation between a publisher’s catalog size, total number of buyers and licensing sales success. Besides quality of music, it’s mostly about the business model, marketing, pricing, terms (see below) and customer service, which each publisher and library needs to direct and manage for themselves.

2. As far as exclusives vs. non-exclusives, there are many buyers that simply won’t use non-exclusives use of music from publishers or libraries. There are also many media networks that won’t use non-exclusives. The network policy can extend to all their properties which can include multiple cable and internet affiliates, etc. Many of these policies can also affect independent 3rd party production companies that produce shows for these networks.

3. Don’t under estimate the opportunities that an exclusive library has to leverage their catalog with content aggregators in secondary markets. So the market share that can be closed to non-exclusives can be farther reaching than might be anticipated.

4. One publisher shares: “I can honestly tell you that the only works of mine that are extremely under-performing are the ones that were unfortunate enough to land in a non-exclusive library.”

5. Basically the quality of content, market, and sales/marketing determine how many licensing buyers are attracted to any given publisher, catalog or licensing store.

6. Having the right piece of music for the right (corresponding) scene.

7. Having strong relationships with the clients. (Music supervisor, editor, licensing buyers, etc.)

8. Having a qualified sales staff that knows the catalog inside out. This means the sales person has heard all tracks in the catalog and knows everything about them. For example, if there are 3,000 tracks, he/she needs to have heard them and be familiar with each one. For smaller publishers, usually this is the owner or primary composer.

9. What is the company’s international footprint? Sub-publishers come into play in a big way when attracting buyers in foreign territories. Also, how many foreign territories is the catalog represented in and by who? Do the sub-publishers only collect or do they actively exploit?

10. A strong international presence with sub-publishers that are firmly entrenched in their market and exploit catalog greatly increases your customer base.

Conclusion:
As you can see, the factors and criteria are many, inter-related and complex. Though not meant to be comprehensive, this is a good and realistic list for any serious publisher to consider when first shaping their business model, pricing rate card, terms and customer service plans based on their catalog type, size, resources and unique situation.

Bottom line, each publisher with a unique catalog/library must create their own path to success for the marketing and licensing of their content.

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