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

License Music with

One of today’s many web-based licensing options is Song Catalog. Started about eight years ago in Nashville, the company now has offices in the US, Canada and, most recently, Japan. Users upload their tracks into an online database, which is then accessed by clients looking for music and Song Catalog staff that actively facilitate music searches for clients. Song Catalog also sends out additional projects each week, which are exclusive opportunities for Song Catalog members to submit tracks specifically for the latest Film, TV and Commercial placement opportunities

Membership Costs
$199 for ten tracks in their database for one year ($99 annual renewal)
$349 for twenty-five tracks ($99 annual renewal)
$500 for unlimited tracks ($199 annual renewal)
*Note that there are no additional fees for pitching your music for the weekly projects

The Music That’s Selling
Genres that are currently popular for licensing through Song Catalog are electronica, jazz, world, urban, pop, alternative, folk and 60’s and 70’s retro etc..

They only work with music that is broadcast ready. That means no rough demos only completed tracks.

Their Selling Points
Song Catalog prides itself on the personalization of service that they provide artists. A conversation with Brian Richy, VP of Membership Services makes clear that Song Catalog believes in quality of relationships, not quantity:

  • They interact directly with each artist on each deal, and give them the right to approve any licensing opportunity
  • Staff regularly make presentations / pitches to clients on behalf of artists
  • Staff will give feedback to artists and are always reachable by phone to deal with any questions that arise.

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