You Must Do These 5 Things Before Licensing Your Music

[Editors Note: This was written by Suzanne Paulinski and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

 

You often read blogs about music licensing that touch upon the importance of what to include in your email pitch, how to find who to contact about a project, and even how to position your music for greater success in the world of licensing.

What often goes unsaid, however, are the small, yet important, details (known as micro-tasks) that make the difference between a migraine-inducing process and a money-generating one.

When submitting music for licensing, be prepared and treat each submission as if it’s already been chosen. Below are five things you can do to organize your files and data to not only lock down potential deals but also make the process of submitting your songs a breeze rather than a tornado.

1. Embed all tracks with complete metadata

Upon mastering your tracks, make sure each file is complete with the correct metadata, which includes the track’s credits, as anyone licensing your song(s) will need this for his or her records. It’s also helpful to have this metadata available in a text file should you need to include it in an email or on a required form.

Metadata is important for licensing so that licensees can get in touch with you, ensure they have everyone’s permission to use the song, and draw up the proper agreements. It includes:

  • the album title
  • the title of the track
  • the genre
  • the authors/composers
  • the year it was recorded
  • the sample rate
  • the duration of the track
  • relevant contact info (including your full name and email)

2. Copyright your music before you submit

Avoid submitting anything with an uncleared sample to ensure you don’t screw up a potential deal. It’s also important to realize no one will agree to license your original music if it is not properly copyrighted. Deals can often happen very quickly, and you don’t want to hold things up by waiting for the copyright office to review and file your application.

3. Create a master spreadsheet for all song metadata

With deals moving as quickly as they sometimes can, it’s important to have your entire catalog’s metadata available at your fingertips. It’s best to keep a spreadsheet with every song’s title, genre, copyright info including all author(s) contact information, and the copyright registration number(s) in one place should you need to reference any piece of information during the licensing process.

4. Visualize where you could hear your music

It’s helpful, especially if you have a significant number of songs in your arsenal, to have certain information available at a glance when preparing to submit to certain opportunities. Using that same master spreadsheet, include a column for “sounds like” to elaborate on the genre and notable instrumentation, as that will usually be what people will include in their requests (i.e., “sounds like Bruno Mars with significant horns”).

Additionally, having a column for “perfect for” with notes on the type of media for which you would consider the song an ideal match (i.e., horror film, car commercial, etc.) will allow you to quickly scan which songs might be right for a project.

5. Keep a master contact list of people to whom you’ve submitted

Much like the master list of song metadata, having a growing list of music supervisors or licensing agents you’ve reached out to is just as useful.

Creating columns for their contact info, the date you first reached out, the status on your follow ups, what songs you’ve sent, any feedback they’ve provided, as well as a fact or two about them and what they’re currently working on will help you track your progress, set reminders for future follow ups, and strengthen your relationships by being able to reference where you left off when you next reach out to them.

Always remember at the end of the day this is a business. Having this information organized and readily available will not only make the process of pitching your songs easier but also show anybody who chooses to work with you that you’re a true professional and ready to deliver whatever it is they may need, which is the best way to ensure future work and a sustainable career in the industry.

TuneCore Heads to SXSW 2017!

Another year, another journey to one of the largest music conferences in the world.

In the past couple of years, TuneCore has had the honor of getting involved with SXSW in a multitude of ways; from sponsoring day parties with cool brands and blogs, to boasting four days of showcases packed with both well-known and emerging TuneCore talent.

As a digital distributor that has helped so many artists that show up in Austin to play and network each year, we’re always excited to hang out, catch awesome live sets, and connect with and make ourselves available to artists who use TuneCore!

SXSW-Announces-Select-Speakers-and-Expanded-Access-for-All-Badge-Types-for-2017

This year, TuneCore will be camped out in the SXSW Artist Lounge from Wednesday, March 15th through Saturday, March 18th – each day from 11am-6pm. There, we’ll be mixing it up with artists who’ll be showcasing all week, giving away awesome stuff, and meeting with artists interested in open consultation on topics like music distribution, publishing administration, and social media management.

At night, you can find the TuneCore crew up and down 6th Street checking out showcases and sets all over Austin in an effort to support as many of our talented TuneCore Artists as possible! Make sure to say hello if you see us out there!

Additionally, several members of the TuneCore family will be making us proud at some exclusive panels and discussions aimed at helping artists further their careers in the music industry:

  • Chris Mooney, TuneCore’s Sr. Director of Artist Relations, will be sitting on the “Transforming Online Popularity to Offline Success” panel; featuring artist manager Adina Friedman, Back 40 Entertainment’s Geniveive Thompson, and TuneCore Artist Ron Pope. March 16th 12:30pm-1:30pm 
  • Amy Lombardi, TuneCore’s Director of Entertainment Relations, is heading up the “Creating For a Cause: Making Music for Action and Awareness” discussion; featuring Broadway Records’ Van Dean, SIMMS Foundation Heather Alden, and TuneCore Artist Chaka Mpeanaji (Riders Against the Storm). March 15th 3:30pm-4:30pm

Speaking of awesome educational panels that are sure to help shape indie artists’ career strategies, we also asked our talented Music Publishing Administration team to pick out a couple of suggested discussions to sit-in on:

March 15th

New Nashville: The Evolution of Music Publishing

Invested Development: We Do What Labels Don’t

Music Publishing Meet Up

March 16th

Compulsory License Today, Direct License Tomorrow?

Creative and Financial Aspects of Sampling

March 17th

The Song and Sound Recording Performance Right

March 18th

Developments in Music Publishing: Lemons Or Lemonade?


Heading down to SXSW 2017? Give us a shout in the comments! See you down there, artists.

January Industry Wrap-Up

The first month of 2017 is in the books, and even with a post-holiday haze in the air, the music industry didn’t slow down. Catch up with some of the headlines from January and head into the next month informed!

Music Streaming Subscriptions Surpass Netflix


Is ‘binge-listening’ going to be a thing now? Not quite, but as Music Business Worldwide reports, at the end of 2016, a little over 100 million people were paying subscription fees for music platforms like Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music. That’s an uptick from 68 million people who were reported subscribers at the end of 2015. The television/movie streaming giant Netflix, on the other hand, reportedly rounded last year off with 87.8 million subscribed.

MIDiA reported that according to its data, around 43 million of these subscribers preferred Spotify, 20.9 million chose Apple Music, 6.9 million subscribe to Deezer, with Napster and TIDAL faring at 4.5 million and 1 million, respectively.

NetflixShould we be surprised at the numbers? There’s no doubt that we’ve seen music fans – both active and passive – warm up to streaming in general, and more artists have felt comfortable making their releases available across platforms. While it’s taken years to get here, there’s no denying the important evolution of streaming and what it has meant for artists’ (independent otherwise) ability to earn more revenue from their music. As MIDiA’s Mark Mulligan put it, “100 million subscribers might not mean the world changes in an instant, but it does reflect a changing world.” It’s safe to say that artists have the opportunity to reach more fans – new and old – than ever before by taking advantage of the many streaming platforms out there.   

Pandora, YouTube and Spotify Beat Radio For First Time


First Netflix, now radio? According to a new MusicWatch survey, it wasn’t just the household-name movie and TV service that music streaming platforms stole the shine from in 2016. Bringing to the table free and ad-supported providers like YouTube and Pandora, AM/FM Radio came in second to streaming music services for music listening. 28% of survey-takers said they prefered to stream while 24% opted for the more traditional route of terrestrial radio. Pandora (who TuneCore recently announced a partnership with) topped the chart of participants’ preferred streaming services with 28%, followed by YouTube shortly behind at 27%, and Spotify ranking third with 17% of the share.

weekly share
Courtesy of MusicWatch Inc.

While it could be that as radio stations become more and more conglomerated, music listeners feel that they have less and less say in what they’re hearing on AM/FM radio, it likely also boils down to the sheer amount of access that streaming music services provide. Curation and overall availability of music is key in streaming’s appeal to feverish music fans, the advent of smart mobile devices simply makes it easier even for those casual fans who don’t mind an ad or two between their daily or weekly intake of Top 40 hits.

YouTube Launches Super Chat Tool To Help Channel Owners Earn More


As Facebook wraps up its $50 million effort to spread the word about its Facebook Live feature via celebrities and other publishers, the live streaming war continues to heat up. This month, YouTube announced the launch of a product known as “Super Chat” that will give channel owners the opportunity to further monetize their live streams. Discontinuing the “Fan Funding Feature”, Super Chat will act as a sort of tip jar for YouTubers to better connect with the live streamer. For musicians, using a live stream to show off a new single, update a tour diary, make a special announcement, or host a Q&A session with fans can also mean earning extra revenue.


As fans pay, their comments (or ‘Super Chats’) will remain pinned to the top of the chat for up to five hours – this ensures that the channel owner sees their messages in a more pronounced manner, and allows the commenter to get their question/comment across with greater exposure. This opens up an opportunity for indie musicians to not only explore new ways of promoting themselves and making a little extra dough, but also discover what kinds of engagement their fans respond to. According to
HypeBot, Super Chat is expected to be available for creators in 20 countries and viewers in 40 by January 31st.

Whether it’s music, gaming, or other entertainment, creators and artists/musicians of all sorts flock to the platform to connect with new and established fan bases. TuneCore has already helped countless independent artists collect their sound recording revenue from ads placed on videos using their music since 2014, and the new Super Chat feature adds an interesting method for connecting with fans in a more direct manner. It certainly helps that fans will be able to feel good about contributing money and being heard.

Rights Society SESAC Purchased by Blackstone Group, LP


SESAC, a performance rights organization (PRO) based in the United States alongside ASCAP and BMI, was offered a rumored $1 billion acquisition deal from the private equity firm Blackstone Group, LP.

Unlike ASCAP and BMI, which only collect and pay out public performance royalties for songwriters, SESAC covers public performance, mechanical, and sync in-house. These offerings were amplified by the purchase of mechanical rights powerhouse the Harry Fox Agency in 2015.

The first step into the music industry for Blackstone Group, the collection society is expected to retain their existing management team while receiving support from the equity firm, with SESAC’s CEO John Josephson remarking, “We anticipate a seamless transition in ownership with no disruption to our business activities as a result of this transaction.”

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 11.10.02 AMWhat this means for the near future of public performance collection societies is tough to comment on, but it certainly shows that SESAC, the youngest of all three, is poised for further growth. What it means for U.S.-based independent artists is that they should try to remain as informed as possible about the continued growth and new offerings from PRO’s that may help them advance their career.  Head over to Billboard to see the breakdown of SESAC’s financials as we wait to hear confirmation on a deal.

TuneCore Closes Out Strong Year of International Growth With Launch of TuneCore Italy

Streaming Is On The Rise Across All International Markets

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – December 13, 2016 – TuneCore, the leading digital music distribution and publishing administration service provider, caps off a strong year of sustained and international growth with the announcement today of TuneCore Italy – the service provider’s fourth launch in the European market and sixth international expansion. Since the company’s inception in 2006, TuneCore artists worldwide have earned more than $783 million collectively from over 43.8 billion downloads and streams. As the only major global distribution service with a dedicated Italian offering, Tunecore.it features local content in the native language that caters to the Italian independent artist community.

As part of its continued commitment to support independent artists around the world, in 2016 TuneCore launched three international sites including TuneCore Germany (April 2016), TuneCore France (October 2016) and now, TuneCore Italy (December 2016).

TuneCore’s global expansion efforts have led to an overall increase in its year-to-date international customer base. Further, TuneCore’s local offerings in international markets have seen significant increases in customer growth, specifically in the France and Germany markets. TuneCore also identified Hip Hop and R&B/Soul as two of the fastest growing genres in each of its key international markets (U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, Germany and France). Additionally, TuneCore has seen the growing popularity of streaming reflected across its international markets, with a 340 percent year-over-year increase in streaming in Canada, as well as year-over-year increases in Australia (92 percent), Germany (71 percent) and the UK (67 percent). Streaming also continues to grow in the U.S., with a 65 percent year-over-year increase.

“As we head into 2017, global expansion is pivotal in furthering our mission to bring more music to more people worldwide, while continuing to establish TuneCore as a leader in the international digital music distribution market,” says Scott Ackerman, CEO at TuneCore. “Our global expansion into Italy – a market that previously lacked a dedicated local offering from a global distributor – is a natural fit as we continue to support our artists by giving them the local resources and tools they need to be successful.”

In addition to keeping 100 percent of their revenues, and retaining complete creative control and ownership of their music, Italian customers will have access to TuneCore’s robust portfolio of artist services, as well as local Italian partners such as Music Raiser and MusicOFF, and world-class customer service. TuneCore Italy artists can also opt to include their music in storefronts controlled by TuneCore’s extensive network of more than 150 digital partners across the globe, including iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Music. In addition, TuneCore Italy customers will be able to take advantage of the company’s strategic partnership with Believe Digital. With an already existing office in Italy with more than 30 employees, Believe Digital will offer TuneCore Italy customers access to a variety of advanced artist services, such as international campaign management, trade and online digital marketing, video management and distribution, physical distribution and more.

With its expansion into Italy, TuneCore now offers local musicians in seven countries outside of the U.S. – UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, and Italy – the opportunity to collect revenue from streaming services, digital download stores, songwriter royalties, and sync licensing opportunities, all in their local currency.

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About TuneCore

TuneCore brings more music to more people, while helping musicians and songwriters increase money-earning opportunities and take charge of their own careers. The company has one of the highest artist revenue-generating music catalogs in the world, earning TuneCore Artists $783 million from over 43.8 billion downloads and streams since inception. TuneCore Music Distribution services help artists, labels and managers sell their music through iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play and other major download and streaming sites while retaining 100 percent of their sales revenue and rights for a low annual flat fee.

TuneCore Music Publishing Administration assists songwriters by administering their compositions through licensing, registration, world-wide royalty collections, and placement opportunities in film, TV, commercials, video games and more. The TuneCore Artist Services portal offers a suite of tools and services that enable artists to promote their craft, connect with fans, and get their music heard. TuneCore, part of Believe Digital Services, operates as an independent company and is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY with offices in Burbank, CA, Nashville, TN and Austin, TX, and global expansions in the UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany and France. For additional information about TuneCore, please visit www.tunecore.com or https://youtu.be/TSjGACrJyiY.

TuneCore Presents: Austin, TX — Nov. 1, 2016

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, you’re invited to join us for TuneCore Presents – a two-part event going down at Emo’s in Austin, TX.

TuneCore is partnering with Austin Music Foundation to offer educational presentations and discussions, covering digital distribution, music publishing administration, and making money from your music on YouTube. Additionally, attendees will be treated to musical performances from TuneCore Artists Keeper and Migrant Kids.

This event is FREE and begins at 6:45pm at Emo’s.

RSVP HERE!

The event is open to everyone who’s interested in learning more about how they can better monetize their music and take their careers to the next level.

Want to learn more about selling your music online, collecting songwriter royalties from all over the world, and earning dough every time your song gets played across YouTube? TuneCore Presents is the perfect opportunity to do so!

Make sure to swing by to get to know members of the TuneCore team, including the following speakers:

Scott Ackerman – CEO of TuneCore

Gillian Morris – VP, Music Publishing Administration at TuneCore

Camille Moussard – Director, Video at TuneCore

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TuneCore Launches in France

Independent French artists now have access to best-in-class global digital distribution and music publishing opportunities

Paris, France – 13 October, 2016 – TuneCore, the leading digital music distribution and publishing administration service provider, today announced the launch of TuneCore France today at the MaMA Event in Paris. Tunecore.fr is the third European market in TuneCore’s continued international expansion, joining TuneCore Germany and UK.

Tunecore.fr allows France-based artists to collect and keep 100 percent of their revenue from streaming services & digital download stores, and covers the songwriter royalties & sync licensing opportunities, all in their local currency. In addition, Tunecore.fr will be available in French and feature local content that caters to the French independent artist community.

With the new expansion, TuneCore France artists can opt-in to include their music in storefronts within TuneCore’s extensive network of digital partners across the globe, including French market leader, Deezer, iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Napster and Amazon Music while retaining 100 percent of their sales revenue and rights for a low annual flat fee. With over 150 partners worldwide, TuneCore provides independent artists with the opportunity to sell and share their music in important and growing global markets, such as Australia, India, Latin America, Africa, and Russia, as well as the United States and Europe. Since the company’s inception in 2006, TuneCore artists have earned more than 650,000,000 € collectively.

As in other countries, TuneCore France customers will be able to take advantage of local artist services. In an effort to cater its offerings in France to the needs of local independent artists, TuneCore has expanded its artist services through exclusive partnerships in the French market including, ConfliktArts, which allows artists to manufacture CDs, Vinyls and Merchandising, and KissKissBankBank, the leading French crowdfunding company. Other local partnerships include Audiofanzine, Woodbrass, and imusic-school, Vinyl It. TuneCore’s robust portfolio of artist services like YouTube Sound Recording Revenues, LANDR, TuneCore Fan Reviews, and Radio Airplay, as well as TuneCore’s world-class customer service will also be available to all customers. Additionally, French artists will have access to on-the-ground support and industry knowledge of music industry veteran Mathieu Rousselot, who will serve as the TuneCore Brand Manager for France.

“With our expanding international customer base coupled with the constantly evolving music industry, our goal is to continue to support our artists at the local level by giving them the resources and tools they need to be successful,” said Scott Ackerman, CEO at TuneCore. “France has a vibrant independent music community and our expansion into the French market is a natural fit in furthering our mission to bring more music to more people worldwide while continuing to establish TuneCore as a leader in the international digital music distribution market.”

New TuneCore French customers signing up for an account will pay 9,99 € to upload a single for distribution. Artists distributing an album will pay 29,99 € in the first year and 49,99 € each year thereafter. Artists may also pay a onetime fee of 9,00 € for YouTube Sound Recording Revenue collection service (YTSR) and 69,99 € for access to TuneCore Publishing Administration, which provides worldwide registration and royalty collection and placement opportunities in film, TV commercials, video games, and more. TuneCore artists always retain complete creative control and ownership of their music.

Through TuneCore’s strategic partnership with Believe Digital, TuneCore Artists have added visibility to Believe Recordings, Naïve or Musicast. The French Believe Digital office has 200 employees on the ground in Paris, covering label and international campaign management, trade and online digital marketing services, video management and distribution, synchronization and neighboring rights, physical distribution and more.

With the launch of TuneCore France, existing Zimbalam customers will have the opportunity to distribute new music through the TuneCore platform, as well as take advantage of TuneCore’s wide array of artist services.

TuneCore France is the sixth international expansion for the Brooklyn, N.Y-based service provider. The company expanded into the Germany market earlier this year, as well as both the UK and Australia markets in 2015, while TuneCore Japan and TuneCore Canada have been providing similar services for local customers since 2012 and 2011, respectively.

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For any media enquiries, please contact:

Mathieu Rousselot, TuneCore

+33 (0)1 53 09 34 00

mathieu@tunecore.com

 

Alisa Finkelstein, MWW PR

212-827-3753

afinkelstein@mww.com

 

About TuneCore

TuneCore is a music distribution and publishing administration service that provides thousands of independent artists with the tools to increase exposure and get their music heard by more people, all while maintaining ownership of their music and 100% of revenues. TuneCore brings more music to more people, while helping musicians and songwriters increase money-earning opportunities and take charge of their own careers. The company has one of the highest artist revenue-generating music catalogues in the world, earning TuneCore Artists 650 million € from over 36.5 billion downloads and streams since inception. TuneCore Music Distribution services help artists, labels and managers sell their music through iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play and other major download and streaming sites while retaining 100 percent of their sales revenue and rights for a low annual flat fee. TuneCore Music Publishing Administration assists songwriters by administering their compositions through licensing, registration, world-wide royalty collections, and placement opportunities in film, TV, commercials, video games and more. The TuneCore Artist Services portal offers a suite of tools and services that enable artists to promote their craft, connect with fans, and get their music heard. TuneCore, part of Believe Digital Services, operates as an independent company and is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY with offices in Burbank, CA, Nashville, TN and Austin, TX, and global expansions in the UK, Australia, Japan, Canada and Germany. For additional information about TuneCore, please visit www.tunecore.com or https://youtu.be/TSjGACrJyiY.

TuneCore Artist Testimonials

“Thanks to TuneCore, I have been able to get my music heard and reach thousands of new fans in France & worldwide, from the US to Japan!”

Cécile Corbel

Folk

“I’ve been working with TuneCore since 2009 – they take care of the distribution of my music on all digital stores. They’re really efficient and in a few minutes, my four albums were online everywhere. Thanks TuneCore!”

Dan Luiten

Rock

“I’ve been using TuneCore since 2005 to distribute my albums. I always recommend TuneCore to my friends.”

Uniform Motion

Alternative

“After discovering and using the TuneCore US version for many years, I’m glad to see that TuneCore is launching a French website. TuneCore helped me to distribute my music and I strongly recommend this service to all Indie artists!”

Kwoon

Alternative

“TuneCore is the most convenient and efficient service to collect revenues, and I was reimbursed the price of my subscription for the first month!”

The Algorithm

Electro

“As an independent artist since 2008, TuneCore gave me the opportunity to sell my music worldwide and has contributed significantly to my career development. TuneCore also collects my YouTube revenues. The simple, user-friendly interface to release a new album, as well as to follow sales and collect revenues, makes it the best partner for an independent artist. The TuneCore distribution network is constantly growing. I have used TuneCore for eight years and I highly recommend it to everyone.”

Daniel Masson

Electronica

“TuneCore enabled us to cover all the digital stores and to aggregate four million streams of three tracks, even before the release of our album. This is why we remain faithful to TuneCore and will continue to work with them for our first album.”

Paerish Band

Indie Rock

“TuneCore is a great digital service for an independent artist who wants to get their music heard worldwide. It also enables an easy and quick monetization of videos. I have been working with TuneCore for many years and I have always been entirely satisfied with their services.”

VII

Hip Hop

“TuneCore enabled me to easily distribute my music on a lot of digital stores. Thanks to TuneCore, I have been ranked #1 in the category ‘French Folk’ Amazon with my album “APartCaToutVaBien” and number #8 of the most downloaded Folk albums.”

Aude Henneville

Folk

“TuneCore has been the easiest and efficient way to see my music on all digital stores.”

Matt Marvane

French Pop


 

About ConfliktArts

Created in 2006, Conflikt Arts is a one stop shop manufacturing company where bands and labels can order everything they need online in minutes from vinyls, to cds pressing and replication, t-shirts, tote bags, posters, flyers… Easy as pie and really affordable: more than 30 000 bands, festivals, concert halls, managers already trust Conflikt Arts!

About KissKissBankBank

KissKissBankBank is the crowdfunding platform dedicated to innovative and creative projects worldwide. It allows creators and innovators to generate funds via public participation in order to finance the projects they believe in. The mission is to promote independent projects by providing the creators of the world with a financial tool.

About LANDR

With drag-and-drop simplicity, LANDR instantly masters demos, tracks and live recordings and lets artists share them privately and securely with band members, A&R or clients. Artists and partners that use LANDR include Warner, Atlantic Records, SoundCloud, Native Instruments, Nas, Lady Gaga, Richie Hawtin, Bob Weir and many more.

About Woodbrass

“Music for everyone!“ is the Woodbrass motto. Making music accessible to the greatest number of people by offering the best possible price-performance-ratio. On Woodbrass.com, choose your musical instrument or equipment among 400 000 items at the best price!

About imusic-school

imusic-school is the leading platform for online music lessons in France. Considered an international reference since 2007, it develops and provides a wide range of streamed music lessons by well-known artists and specialists. www.imusic-school.com

About Vinyl It

Vinylit.co is an online platform dedicated to personalized vinyl. Send your tracks or pick among thousands of tracks, choose your sleeve and personalize your vinyl sticker. Vinyl It will manufacture your disc and sent it to you under 15 days.