Some Popular Questions from Indie Artists around the world:
- What happens when someone contacts you with interest in licensing one of your songs?
- How much should I charge for a song?
- What type of contract do I need to provide?
In my opinion there are a few ways to go about answering these questions.
If you are an indie artist, and you don't have time or experience in doing administration work, you may not want to take on the task of negotiation and licensing agreement. So the option that's most popular here is to get your music to a licensing agency or on a licensing platform like songtradr.com, artlist.io, or musicbed.com.
A Licensing Agency is a company that grants other companies or individuals the right to use your music.
A Music Licensing Platform is a music marketplace for trading and licensing music rights.
PROS & CONS
- The pros of working with a licensing agency is that they handle the licensing agreements for you and they also have a bit of an advantage to getting your music selected because of their established relationship with music supervisors.
- The con is that the licensing agency will take a portion of your proceeds for the licensing fee because they are the ones who helped to get your music licensed.
- The pros of adding your music to licensing platforms is that they have standard price structures. This makes it insanely easy for anyone to purchase a license directly from the platform, download the track and quickly be on to their next mission. Another pro is that you can use this as a personal streaming website and all you have to do is direct the clients to your website.
- The con again is that the licensing platforms take a cut from your earnings.
For those of you who are more interested in doing all of the leg work like negotiating and handling the licensing agreements you would need to act as the publishing company.
Ask questions about the project, to help you better understand the client's needs and help you determine what to charge for your music.
PROS & CONS OF LICENSING YOUR OWN MUSIC
The pros of licensing your own music is that you keep 100% of the revenue and you get the opportunity to build relationships with the clients you work with.
The con is that you will have to do a lot of work and you may need to contact a lawyer for expertise on contracts unless you have the expertise yourself.
HOW TO NAME YOUR PRICE
You need to know some much needed information before you decide to name your price.
- Is this an exclusive deal or non-exclusive?
- How long will the deal last?
- What will the song be used for?
- Will the song be on national TV or a small local channel?
- Will it be used worldwide or just in U.S.?
- How many times will the song be played? How often?
Questions like these along with a bit of research will help you figure out how much to quote.
- Asking other friends who are successful in the licensing industry is good
- Using Songtradr's pricing tools
- Research other licensing platforms standard pricing
- Research the market
- Weighing the opportunity cost is great as well.
Keep in mind that you do not have to sign anything that you aren't comfortable with so be sure to name or agree to the price that makes the most sense with the time you're putting in and the quality of your music.
Here is a sample Sync and Master Use Licensing Agreement: (Most music supervisors will provide their own contract but in the event you are working with an indie film that doesn't provide a contract you may need to draft your own. Note: This sample license is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a valid legal document. Please consult a qualified music attorney if you are in need of a sync license. Click here.