Music Licensing Opportunities & Companies

Clearly I haven’t been posting anything in several months. Hopefully I will get some new content up here during the next several weeks.

I get emails from time to time from people asking about music licensing opportunities, what the best companies and resources are, etc., and typically I only have my old posts to point them to, as my research is getting a little outdated at this point.

But today someone posted what seems to be a really good link in one of the comments, but unfortunately I lost the comment as I messed up my site’s migration to a new server. So the comment is gone, so whoever it was that posted it, I thank you.

This looks like a great long list of Music Licensing Opportunities and companies. Check it out! Let me know how it is, and if you know of any additional resources or companies, please post them in the comments for everyone to see.

That’s it for now! Happy music to all…

Pump Audio Music Licensing Controversy

I’ve obviously been quite occupied with things unrelated to this blog for the past several months, but I’ve been impressed by the passionate responses here to Pump Audio’s decision to change the terms of their licensing split from 50/50 to 65/35 in their favor. The post I wrote (holy sh*t!) exactly a year ago today Pump Audio’s Re-Titling of Songs for Publishing and Pump Audio Reduces Artist Licensing Payments from back in May are still getting pretty frequent comments from musicians pissed off by Pump Audio’s unilateral action to reduce artist payments.

I’m also delighted(!) to see that we have the third-ranking site in Google’s organic results for Pump Audio. I LOVE that someone new to music licensing that is searching for info on Pump is going to see this headline on their first Google search “Pump Audio Reduces Artist Licensing Payments”. Those of you inclined to lean against the powers that be can continue to help the indie musician cause by linking to these articles.

I too received their announcement about the licensing agreement change, and so I’ve decided to just let my agreement lapse at the end of the year, which I think is what happens if you don’t sign and submit the new contract. I can’t claim to have done much business with them. In fact, I’m not sure they’ve licensed any of it…

This is clearly an issue affecting a lot of musicians out there, and we depend on every little income source we can find these days. Best of luck to those of you that are going the music licensing route! And good luck to all of you fighting the good fight…

Pump Audio Reducing Licensing Payments to Artists by 30%

Yo yo yo. Any of you guys using Pump Audio to license your music may want to pay attention to a change they’re rolling out in their artist agreement. 

Beginning July 1st, 2009, Pump Audio will move to a 65/35 split with artists, instead of their existing 50/50 split. This means that licensed artists will see a drop in their take from each licensing fee by 30%. Awesome.

I was alerted to this Wednesday by an existing Pump Audio user. I followed up with their Artist Relations contact, and unfortunately the bad news is true. 

Here’s what they said:

“…this move is being made to support the growth of our business on a global stage…”

“We believe and will work tirelessly to insure that Pump Audio continues to be the top music licensing company for real artists.  As we grow and succeed, you will grow and succeed right along with us.  Pump Audio has always been, and will always be one of the biggest supporters of independent artists, and our intention is to see all Pump contributors make more money with us in the coming years.”

Continue reading “Pump Audio Reducing Licensing Payments to Artists by 30%”

Tips for Evaluating Music Licensing Opportunities

We’ve looked at a ton of different music licensing services here at themusicsnob, and today’s tips on music licensing are a guest blog by Kevin Breuner, musician, blogger, and CD Baby employee. 

Licensing Companies – What to look for and what to avoid

This past week, I had a number of artists ask me about potential music licensing deals that they had on the table. The common concern was whether or not the deal they were being offered was legit. This is something that could be discussed in great detail on a case by case basis, but I thought I would give a few brief bullet points on some things to considerbefore getting involved with a licensing company.

Are they a licensing company or a music library? – The lines can be a bit blurry here, but a general distinction between the two is that a licensing company will pitch individual tracks, where a music library might supply clients with a searchable hard drive of music with thousands of tracks. In general, a licensing company will get higher fees.

What rights are they asking for? – At a minimum, you have to grant a licensing company the right to represent your music, but there can be varying levels of artist involvement for each placement they negotiate. Some contracts are pre-cleared(Meaning they don’t have to get the artist to sign off on each individual placement), and others give the artist the right of refusal before the deal goes through. Most indie artist will encounter pre-cleared contracts. Another thing to look for is if it’s exclusive or non-exclusive.

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Music Licensing and Re-Title Publishing, Pump Audio…

Who is this man?! Why is he on this site?!

Read below to find out…

We’ve been having a very interesting and informative dialog in the comments section regarding re-title publishing.

Re-title publishing is when a company re-registers your songs under a different name with a performing rights organization (ASCAP, BMI, etc), so they can license your music and collect a percentage of the publishing royalties, and track these royalties separately from any other licenses you may have given out for these particular songs.

Check out the comments section of a previous post on Re-Title Publishing, where you can read the opinions of someone who claims to own a re-title music publishing company. He argues that re-titling is a decent option for bands that don’t have endless hours of time to spend promoting their songs to online music libraries and music supervisors. His particular company seems to promote their catalog actively, spending money to create promo CDs, edit tracks, etc., which you certainly aren’t going to get from a fully-automated web service.

It’s an option.

Continue reading “Music Licensing and Re-Title Publishing, Pump Audio…”

Pump Audio’s Re-Titling of Songs for Publishing

A reader sent me an email recently asking: 

When you/I sign a contract with e.g. Pump Audio, does this “re-title publishing” come automatically with this deal or do they send some other deal to sign?

Does this “re-title publishing” end at the same time after the year or so as the normal contract ends, and what happens with the publishing deal info they’ve made with e.g. ASCAP?

My response was:

“I am not a lawyer, but the way I interpret the Pump Audio deal is that the re-title publishing is included automatically in their contract. They do not explicitly elaborate on it, which is no doubt intentional.
The publishing registration with the performing rights organization (ASCAP) is indefinite, because publishing royalties are generated not from the sale of a license but from the use of the music in a public context. By registering your songs under different titles, they are staking a claim to a percentage of future earnings that may occur if your music is used down the road by those who purchased the licenses. Most other organizations only take a piece of the initial license, in which case you receive all the publishing royalties.”
Here’s a screenshot of Pump Audio’s licensing agreement:
As it states, you are giving them permission to register your songs with performing rights organizations (PROs). Since most musicians will already have done this themselves, this means Pump changes the titles of your songs as registers them as new songs, with Pump as the publisher. They don’t mention the word “re-title”, though. 
Also, the agreement states that they will “pay over to you your share of any resultant performance monies…”
“Your share” is quite a nice phrase, as that could mean just about anything. Including ZERO, I suppose. 
Oh well. Enough about Pump. I’ve brought this up several times now, but I’m not sure how much it really matters. To most of us, a small percentage of something is better than a large percentage of nothing. 
If anyone from Pump Audio wants to response, please do!

Review of Online Music Licensing Services

To date we’ve reviewed several web-based services that help artists make a few bucks licensing music. To review the articles and interviews we’ve done, go ahead and browse the Licensing Category.

Below is a table that compares several basic features of each service examined so far…

  Rumblefish Pump Audio Music Gorilla Song Catalog
Annual Fee
Licensing Split
flat fee

Back-End Publishing

50% of publisher share
Re-Title Publishing

To help you understand it, here are a few definitions:

Licensing Split: When someone buys a license to your music, they pay an upfront fee to the middleman service. The split determines how this money is divided between you and the middleman.

Back-End Publishing: Another source of income from licensing are the royalties generated when your music is used in certain situations, such as on TV or in a movie. These are generated every time your music is “performed”. In most cases, you the artist will receive 100% of the back-end publishing, because you probably don’t have a separate publisher. But in the case of Pump Audio, they re-register your songs with ASCAP, BMI, etc. under new names so that they can “administer” the royalties “more effectively”, and gain access to 50% of your publishing royalties. Sketchy.

See here for an explanation of this practice, known as Re-Title Publishing.

If you are interested in having us review your service, let me know:

In related news, Rumblefish put a post on their blog about our two part Rumblefish article

Music Licensing Success with Rumblefish

Welcome to Day Two of our look at Rumblefish, the music licensing and sonic branding company.

Yesterday we reviewed the essential details of their licensing procedures, contracts, and some great things about their model. Today we look at some ways that the Rumblefish CEO, Paul Anthony, suggests artists approach music licensing.

What Licensing Pros Are Looking For

Rumblefish sells emotions, not music. Clients are looking for themes and moods to mirror or inspire what they want people to experience.

Pros look for three things:

  1. Does the song convey an emotion? (happy, sad, tired, bored…)
  2. Does the song convey a situation? (Breakup, arrest, party…)
  3. Does the song portray a specific character? (girl in love, rejected lover…)

Up-tempo and happy songs are harder to find. There are many more sad songs written than happy songs. So, if you write great happy songs, push those. You have an advantage. (In my experience, this is true; it’s taken me years to learn to write a good happy song. I think they are much harder to write.)

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Music Licensing and Brand Marketing: Rumblefish

Rumblefish is a web-based company that connects artists and labels to companies looking to license music. Last week I had a great conversation with Paul Anthony, CEO of Rumblefish. Today and tomorrow we are covering the company and sharing Paul’s tips for licensing success.

Rumblefish Licensing Contract Details

  • All licenses are non-exclusive
  • By submitting music you are agreeing to a 1-year term
  • There are no submission or membership fees
  • You retain 100% ownership of your rights
  • You retain 100% of back-end performance royalties
  • You receive 50% of net licensing fees
  • They pay out quarterly

How Artists License Music with Rumblefish

  1. You submit music to Rumblefish with a completed application and tax forms
  2. Your music is approved (hopefully)
  3. Your music is added to the Rumblefish catalog
  4. People and companies that need music find your tracks on Rumblefish and pay a licensing fee based on what they’re going to use it for
  5. Rumblefish splits the licensing fee with you
  6. You move out of your cardboard box and onto a friend’s couch
  7. Repeat these steps, until you own your own couch

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