Make Money In The Music Industry
An inside look at selling music to TV and Film
So, it is interesting being an artist these days. Not only is there more ways for anyone to upload their music, but almost anyone can make their songs available via e-mail or on the web. A lot of people I know in the industry are no longer pressing their creations to CD's and just uploading them to various sites like CD Baby, Reverbnation, myspace, Broadjam and iTunes. Ofcourse there are way more to mention here, but you get the idea.
Since I have been in the music industry my whole entire life, I thought I would give you a glimpse into the "other part" of the industry that a lot of artists can not break into. This is the television, commercial and film industry. Now let's start with the fact that a lot of major companies will go to a wellknown band with a hit song to license it for their campaign. This ofcourse costs them a lot of money. This lucrative deal can bring the record label or band anything from $5,000 to a whole lot more since most companies license for "worldwide" usage. A big brand like a car company will pay a lot more.
Do not fret my little one's because there is a way to get into this closed world of famous songwriters. I have sold and produced songs for major television shows and this is because I made contact with the producers when there was an opportunity. At one point I even offered the producers of a show on ABC, 50% of my publishing so that they would use more of my tracks on their series. This gave them incentive and a way to make royalties in the future. None of them were ever in the music industry and this was an opportunity for them to make more money. Since they were only instrumentals, this was not a big deal for me and I made a lot of money while the show was running. My father who had written many hits in his life told me to "never give up my publishing" and to this day I'm will do anything to keep it including taking less cash upfront. I know famous artists who made publishing deals with record labels and eventually the royalties run out a lot sooner. They will still get their writers royalties, but eventually that runs thin too and they get to be less and less as the years go by.
The other wall that many hit in this part of the industry is companies that license lots of instrumentals for little money because they have such an extensive collection of songs. These companies will sometimes license a song worldwide for major companies for under $500.00 and that is peanuts compared to a song from a famous singer or band. Infact now these companies are offering licenses for anything you want to use "for life" after you pay them the initial fee. I feel the only way to beat this is to create your own music library or compilation album with tracks for this particular industry and mass mail them to production companies that need music. Make sure you know "who" you are sending it to and "what" they actually "produce." There are also lots of production companies that produce promos and campaigns for the networks. An example of a "promo" is "Next week, on Friends...." They use music on all of these ads which advertise upcoming episodes on their network. Ofcourse some companies will try to buy you out and pay a lump sum, but something is better then nothing and besides you can add it to your credits. I still believe there is a market out there for "not so known" music writers and producers. If someone loves the song and it fits for what they are doing, they will want it. One of my songs ran on a DVD release for a famous show because it just "worked."
A way to find out where to send music is to check out the trades and see what is in production. Certain trades like the Hollywood Reporter lists these. Then you need to phone the production office and ask who or what company is handling the music. Then you will call and find out "who" to address your submission to. You do not want to send any sort of package "blind." There is also the chance that they may take e-mail submissions also. Do not forget the production companies that produce promos and movie trailers. If they get an account from a network to promote a popular show, they will need lots of music!
I have licensed songs for independent films at $500.00 per song to wide released movies at $5,000 or more. I just licensed a song to a movie with Jennifer Aniston in it. This is a big deal, but the producers wanted to pay less. So, they paid $5,000 for the song to use worldwide. Now this is not a lot for a film with a huge star in it, but it is EXPOSURE and that brings more people to the table.
There was once a time where a documentary wanted to use a title of a song for their title of their documentary and they paid $3,000 for that. So you see, there are many opportunities to make money besides being an artist. With the economy in the toilet and bad ticket sales for smaller venues, it is not the best time for up and coming artists to do concerts or perform live if they are in it to make money. It is even harder for the publicists and promoters to make money if there is not enough to "promote." There are also a lot of places that want bands to "pay to play" which does not leave much of a way to make cash for performing. It seems the only way to make money performing is in Vegas or on a cruise ship. Even a famous rock star from the 80's told me about what a pain it is to book concerts now a days because the venue promoters have so many things they need in order to promote the act like "guarantees." I don't think there are any "guarantees" these days.
There are also plenty of opportunities to submit your songs to a show that does not pay. If you want the exposure and use it on your credits, then go for it. Some artists have gotten hits by doing this, but it is very rare. There are a lot of pessimists out there that say one day "music will be free." Yes, they are probably right because some music "will be free," but if someone wants something to represent a "brand" or a "network," they will have to pay. I believe that this is a market that anyone can pursue, but you need to have the right music for the media that you submit too.
A few sites that I recommend for artists to submit to all sorts of music opportunities is Reverbnation and Broadjam. They do ask for submission fees, but sometimes it may be worth it. It would also be good to to join music industry sites where you can learn about these sort of opportunities.
- GROWING UP WITH A JAZZ MAN
Who could imagine that I would write about my father ten years after he passed away. Some times when you write about someone who is famous in their own right, it is hard to actually talk about how it was...
- VANILLA ICE in the 90's
It was a beautiful drive on the coast and as I pulled up the mountain all the way around a winding road, I ended up at a beautiful place up on a grassy hill. It was a sort of ranch house overlooking the ocean...