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.)

How to Use Rumblefish Effectively to License Your Music

  • When adding music to Rumblefish, it’s essential to assign appropriate and thorough metadata to make it really easy for people to find it via search. You can and should assign “sounds like” info, lyrics, and other descriptors.
  • They do a weekly podcast where they discuss some tracks from the Rumblefish catalog and how they might make good placements. If you suggest a good angle for marketing one of your songs, they just might include it.
  • Get in touch with their staff with brilliant angles for them to pitch your music to niche industries.

The Rumblefish Music Screening Requirements

  • Good recording quality
  • No unauthorized samples
  • No cover songs that aren’t pre-cleared
  • Is the music good, and can it be expected to reasonably meet the needs of a client?

Some Final Words of Wisdom from Rumblefish CEO Paul Anthony

Never do an exclusive licensing deal!”

“Licensing is one of the few things that will continue to pay the bills for independent musicians.”


Note: In the interest of fairness, we updated yesterday’s post with a few potential downsides to Rumblefish’s model, depending on what you’re looking for. You decide what works for you…

You may also want to check out our articles on other music licensing companies

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