Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

The Essential Guide To Effective Music Self-Publishing And Licensing

This article introduces an eBook guide about effective music self-publishing and licensing which is now available as a free download.

The eBook title is:  The Essential Guide To Effective Music Self-Publishing And Licensing
which is now available as a free download in PDF format to all interested and serious music artists, songwriters, composers and publishers that are visiting  LicenseQuote for the first time, or have already signed up for a LicenseQuote publisher free or paid subscription account.

Purpose and introduction

The content is geared for new, serious and experienced artists, composers, publishers and music catalog owners and license managers that want to ensure they have a good “handle” on everything it takes to be effective and successful with their music publishing and licensing business or related services.

We believe this guide will enable artists and self-published composer/songwriters to analyize and review their music publishing and licensing options, direction and goals to more effectively harness their related music catalog management, growth, target marketing, cleint relations, level of independence and licensing sales goals.

Regardless of your current status as an independent artist, songwriter or composer, this music industry eBook helps you evaluate your current areas of strengths and preparation for moving your career forward based on your interests, needs, background experience and commitment to creative planning and related business plan goals.

This eBook project was recently assembled by a team of experts (see credits below) who each contributed their various areas of music industry specialties with emphasis on: music business, music publishing, music licensing management, music supervision, music catalog organization, songs/tracks meta-data and tagging techniques, technology, music industry research, special reports, editing and production.

eBook guide credits:

Editor: Michael Nickolas – Owner/manager at Studio Nine Productions
Research and reports: Michael Borges – CEO at LicenseQuote
Music business consultant: Gael Macgregor – Music Supervisor and independent consulting
Tagging techniques: Marina Garza – Founder – Tag Team Analysis
Catalog organization: Andrew Aversa – Founder, composer at

Below is a table of contents with titles and brief summaries for each of the 18 chapters contained in the eBook. It starts with a general introduction in the first chapter and then builds on the content matter with chapter subjects increasingly more detailed and advanced which the more “seasoned” composers and publishers will also appreciate.

The length of the eBook is about 30 pages in a factual, to-the-point “white paper” style presentation which appropriately reflects the essential nature of the eBook title, content and purpose.

Table of contents with chapter titles and brief introductions

1. Music Licensing and Publishing 101
This chapter gives you an introduction to what makes a music publisher, why self-publish and how it pays to be proactive.

2. Music Publishing in Depth
Get an overview of music publishing activities and the various types of music publishers including: the self-published primary publisher, co-publisher, sub-publisher, mass aggregation sub-publisher and three main areas of music publishing specialty activities: publishing both the music compositions and sound recordings, publishing only the music compositions and publishing only the sound recordings.

3. Working With Existing Music Libraries
Learn about some popular music libraries and weighing your success, i.e. the pros and cons of working with one or more music libraries.

4. Starting Your Own Music Library
If you didn’t sign all your songs/tracks with an exclusive library deal, and/or you continue creating new music content (compositions & recordings), you have the option to set up and manage your own music licensing store (see There are many advantages and benefits in doing this which are covered in this chapter including: advantages and benefits, and a list of essentials for establishing a successful online music licensing store.

5. Who Are Your Customers?
After doing some research, we made a list of the most common kinds of music licensing buyers. This chapter explains how to identify the most common kinds of music licensing buyers and lists among the top 60 unique kinds of licensing buyers active in today’s market.

6. License Types
This chapter list the most common kinds of music usage licenses your customers may request. These are all included in the LicenseQuote (standard) Advanced rate card which includes over 20 unique license types including a custom license which buyers can request to negotiate special usages, terms and pricing. The list includes the license type title, brief description and summarizes the most common usage details.

7. License Prices
This chapter shows the results of research done to establish reference points of typical license pricing values. The first step was to find a number of active music licensing libraries competing in the same general marketplace. Points covered include: selecting a sampling of independent music libraries, number of libraries used, setting some common denominators for easier comparison, listing the most common license types, setting up a pricing table, discussing what the averages (average prices) mean and a general conclusion based on historic perspective.

8. Royalty Free Model
Some, but not all, music libraries use the term Royalty Free or Royalty-Free to describe the kind of licensing terms they offer with their stock music services. The term’s exact usage varies from one music library to the next. In this chapter we’ll explore the background of this term and how its definition and various usages (applications) came about and are most commonly being used. Important areas covered include: royalty free music intro and background, how some limitations and restrictions got added, notes on Cue Sheets, the performance royalties factor, other variations of royalty-free music, and summary of main principles behind the royalty free music.

9. Catalog Organization
When presenting your music to clients for licensing opportunities, you’ll want to sort your catalog by placing songs and tracks under headings that will help prospective buyers find what they are looking for. For example, if you are offering a catalog of general or generic production music, you could organize your tracks into a collection of different musical genres, as in “Rock”, World” or “Ambient”. Or maybe you would want to present your tracks grouped by “Album” as in “World Volume One”, “World Volume Two” and etc. This chapter provides some helpful suggestions for grouping your music in various ways which you can “mix and match” as needed, or focus only on one or two that makes most sense for your type and size of catalog. Groupings include: genre, album, artist, band, featured, group, new release, performer and vocalist. This chapter provides a summary description of each one and encourages you to use one or more group headings as needed. They’ll appear as music search filters in your licensing store and can also be searched by the group title keywords.

10. Tagging
After organizing by the desired headings, put some thought into tagging and describing each track, so your music can be searched out from the sea of tracks presented for licensing, or even from your own licensing store. This chapter provides suggestions for effective tags, keywords, sentence description editorials, and describes a sentence discription formula.  This helps you use consistent tags and short descriptive sentences, to increase your possibilities of having your music available for the right spot.

11. Alternate Mixes
You can boost sales of your music by offering alternate mixes of all or certain tracks. This chapter provides examples of mixes, including titles and descriptions, and gives an example of a typical set of mixes. With a bit of planning, you can set up a nicely streamlined catalog that’s optimized to keep all mix tracks grouped together with the main (primary) song / track titles they belong to.

12. Piracy and Watermarking
Unauthorized music file sharing is rampant, but the “watermarking” solution is a simple, affordable way for you as an artist, songwriter, band or record label to protect your existing audio. The use of short audio watermarking messages mixed with music preview files in MP3, protects your audio from unlicensed uses. This chapter provides an essential overview with tips and suggestions on how to watermarking to protect your copyrighted audio files.

13. Promoting and Growing Your Music Catalog
This chapter gives you an outline of tips and suggestions to help you get started promoting and growing your music licensing catalog! Learn why quality trumps quantity, what buyers care most about, how to focus on your main strengths, quality, type and quantity of music, making contact with music users and getting a business coach along with some helpful tips for promotion and growth.

14. Success Criteria for Music Publisher Licensing Sales
This chapter highlights 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. We include a list of top ten key points for music licensing sales success. Though not meant to be comprehensive, (because the factors and criteria are many, inter-related and complex), this is a 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. Applying even only a few of the top key points will help you move forward with more confidence in the direction that best suits your needs.

15. What is My Catalog’s Value?
Topics covered in this chapter include: what influences music catalog sales valuations, comparing sales value estimates and projections, typical range of average catalog valuation, scope of research statistics, sales average details from various licensing stores, catalog growth factors, and tips for inreasing catalog valuation efficiencies.

16. Future of the Music Industry
We share our belief that the future of the music industry won’t be created or inspired by a committee meeting or some corporate conglomerate, it has to be real music from real creators/performers who can inspire us. We believe that real music from the best creators/performers are always individuals that, sooner or later, get discovered and appreciated for their raw, authentic talent.

17. Resources and Tips
Over the years our LinkedIn group Music PAL (publishing and licensing), group has had many discussions about songwriters, composers, publishers and libraries marketing and promoting their music licensing sales. This chapter shares some key points and insights learned from these discussions among our group of professionals, including input from several music supervisors who often have dealt on both sides of the licensing “table” as publishers and buyers. This chapter discusses trends like: music supervisors breaking the mold to deal directly with artists and labels, how personal contacts lead to fruitful relationships, marketing online, using the internet and your website, customizing productions to different audiences, understanding your catalog and what attractions it provides, approaching a publisher or supervisor the right way, and having strong relationships with directors and film editors, songwriter split sheets, copyright registration and performance rights organizations such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, custom music quote request form and where to find a template of a standard music licensing agreement form.

18. Glossary of Music Publishing and Licensing Terms
We list and define the most common music industry terms ranging from A&R (Artist & Repertoire) and Assignment of Copyright to Work for Hire and Writer’s Share. Key terms include: blanket license, clearance, Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP), cover songs, film music, licensor, licensee, master use license, mechanical rights, performance rights licensing, pre-cleared music, publisher’s share, sampling, score, sound recording, self-publishing, sync rights (aka synchronization licensing) and many more key music publishing and licensing business terms.

Note: This is a “soft” release of this new eBook resource. In the near future you can expect and updated version with a more final “look and feel”. Meanwhile you can get a head start with this first release to explore all the available content. Thanks and please feel free to send us your first imporessions along with any suggestions or feedback, as it will be much appreciated!

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