Thinking beyond the musical composition and lyric writing stages of creating music can sometimes be overlooked but it important to think about what will happen to your music once it is out in the musical world for people to listen to, copy, and possible use for their projects. That is why music licensing is important and can lead to many opportunities in the entertainment realm.
Licensing means granting permission for the use of your music to which you own the copyright. The most common type of licensing occurs for Television shows, movies, and commercials. Licensing music for these purposes is a common goal of a lot of songwriters as it is a good way to make money; the more people you get to want your music, the more money you make. Licensing your music ensures you get paid for any placement in TV, film, and commercials.
A few common terms that come up in the licensing conversation are:
License – this is the right given by the performer or songwriter for their work to be broadcast.
Licensor – this is the owner of the licensed work
Licensee – this is the person to whom the work is licensed. For example, if NBC wants to use one of your songs for an episode of drama series, they would be the licensee.
Music supervisors are the behind the scenes people searching for and selecting music for TV shows and movies. They are always looking for new music and work in very fast-paced environments where they might need to find several songs at a time for numerous shows. They often have to place numerous songs in just 1 episode of a television show and are always on the lookout for new talent. Getting songs licensed for TV is great for multiple reasons: it gives you a source of income and it gives you exposure to a large audience.
Understanding this process and being ready to act is key to maximizing your revenue. When you first set out on this journey, it is a good idea to have a professional manager or attorney help you with the licensing process. They will have experience with the ins and outs of the business, be familiar with contracts, and ensure you do not lose out on any potential income.