6 Music Licensing Resources You Should Know About

Music licensing has become a means for income for many musicians now that concerts, gigs, and most live entertainment of any kind has been halted. Musicians have been working hard to find ways to pivot their careers, to continue to make music, and to perform in virtual settings where it is safe for everyone.

Many have turned to music licensing and publishing, especially in a world where the music industry is digital. Music licensing is where musicians can digitally distribute their music for commercial use, first making sure that the original music is copyrighted. Though musicians can publish on their own, it takes a lot of work to do so.

This is great for independent artists because the online world has opened up to multiple opportunities and ways for creatives to utilize music in various projects. There has been an influx of more video-based recordings and performances across the board, from non-profit theater companies to video production studios producing advertisements and commercials.

Publishing companies have many resources that can help music artists to get paid for their songs and tracks, as well as provide those producers and other creatives with necessary music for their projects.

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As a musician, the company will take over all the aspects of documentation like contracts for royalties and the public use of the music that the artist allows, typically a nonexclusive agreement so that the same song or track can be licensed by more than one company or producer that wants it. The company then will extract a fee for creating the licensing agreements.

Musicians who truly want to focus on their music will turn to license resources for help with getting their music out to the world. Here are some great music licensing resources that all musicians (and creatives) should be aware of:

SOUNDSTRIPE

If you’re in the market for more of a membership-based music licensing agreement, look no further than Soundstripe. Signing up for their membership gets you unlimited access to all of the songs within the library for commercial use. They not only have access to music but stock videos as well.

For those who want to search for and license music, you can easily subscribe to their newsletter to obtain various helpful resources for inspiration every two weeks to your email. For any musician who is looking to submit their music for licensing through them, their requirement is that you have at least 10 songs in order to submit an application.

MARMOSET

This company is a top choice in terms of where to begin when looking into either doing licensing or finding licensed music. Marmoset’s video music licensing provides those needing music for projects an extensive roster of both established and emerging independent artists. Their platform is easy to use and very detail-oriented, allowing you to search by various methods like mood, vocals, arc, and so on. They even brag that their own in-home studio can help you create the perfect music for your next project, which is a huge advantage over many other licensing companies that just have music for use instead of the offer to create your own.

They also provide artists with decent royalties, having paid over $20k to musicians. Their mission is to provide opportunities for musicians and extend the artist community to “leave the world a bit better, brighter, and more interesting than it was before.”

MUSIC VINE

This is a UK-based licensing platform. Their requirements for musicians are that you submit your music only to them, exclusively, so if you’re looking to spread your music around for licensing, Music Vine is not the place a musician might want to work with unless they plan on keeping their distribution very simple. They will accept up to half of your music and tracks as non-exclusive, however.

They are also very picky with whom they decide to work with in terms of their team certifying that your music is “expertly crafted” for their small catalog. Payouts through the Vine are made on a monthly basis and offer generous rates.

ARTLIST

Music licensing company Artlist has a large variety of music styles and genres since they are made up of independent artists from all around the globe. This is great for beginner licensors who are looking to get their music heard. There are many big companies with Artlist subscriptions like Google and Facebook so it is a well-known, highly-trafficked site.

They give creatives and producers a lot of freedom because you can utilize any music/video you download for any project. And their subscription rate stays flat no matter how many songs you decide to download for use, so it’s a good resource to have.

SOUNDCLOUD

This is one of the largest music websites used throughout the world, with a library of over 200 million songs. Yes, you read that right – 200 MILLION. Spotify (just to compare) has only around 35 million. So if anyone is looking for the perfect song or track for their next film or video, this will have the greatest selection.

As a musician you have total control over the work that you upload to SoundCloud – and you actually have the option to choose what type of license you want to apply to each track, such as giving you (the artist) credit, or just giving whoever wants to purchase the license unlimited freedom with the song or track.

POND5

Initially, this company began just supplying royalty-free videos but now has expanded to include music as well. Pond5 offers music by single purchase though, but this might be good if you’re not looking to open up any sort of membership and keep your options open with where you license music.

One great advantage for Pond5 musicians is the ability to set their own prices since many licensers don’t allow this. And with over 900,000 songs/tracks to choose from, independent filmmakers should be able to find what they need easily.

IN SUMMARY

Licensing music can potentially become a great income strategy for musicians. One thing that musicians should know, though – even if you make and start an agreement for licensing your music to various projects, you still have to be the one that promotes and markets it. In other words – many of these companies can “feature” you or have you create an artist profile for their website – which in turn will help get you exposed to the market of potential buyers – but in order to drive traffic or develop your own fan base or following, you need to do some marketing of your own to get noticed.

“DIY: Shure Sound Isolating Earphone + iPhone 4 Earphone” byYutaka Tsutano is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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