Licensing Music with Music Gorilla

Today’s installment of our ongoing look at avenues for licensing music brings us to Music Gorilla. This Austin-based company’s model is to charge an annual fee of $299 and let the artist keep all earnings from any licensing, publishing or other deals that arise.

How it Works

When you sign up and upload your tracks, your music is kept in their database and accessible by music industry reps that have signed up with the company. New relevant song additions are displayed to reps automatically. Music Gorilla also sends out a few opportunities via email each month, where users can respond by submitting specific songs if the project seems appropriate.

Music Gorilla markets its services more as a way to get heard by record labels than a way to have your music licensed. But they do send out regular licensing opportunities, mostly for indie projects.


Music Gorilla also puts on about three showcases a year, where bands can perform for major label reps in Austin and NYC.

Click here for a full list of Music Gorilla services.


  • The site’s co-founders are very accessible and always willing to talk with artists.
  • The graphical design and user interface are not the best, but hopefully this will change soon…

Interview with Co-Founder Alexia Erlichman

We posed some questions for Alexia, one of Music Gorilla’s co-founders, on how to use Music Gorilla to maximize your chances of music licensing success:

Continue reading “Licensing Music with Music Gorilla”

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.

Continue reading “License Music with” – An Interview with CEO Barry Coffing

In our ongoing attempt to figure out music licensing and evaluate what services have some real potential, we asked Barry Coffing, CEO of, about his company and the licensing biz.

What is
Based in Los Angeles, CA, runs an online system where those involved in the selection of music for film and TV can quickly access a wide selection of music. Their online platform is clean and simple. Barry emphasizes that it’s for professionals only. Artists interested in submitting their music must have their recordings pass a sound-quality screening first, and they also make sure you understand the business of licensing, too. Quick Stats:

  • 1,700 Labels and Composers have their music in the system with an average of 4 new ones added a day.
  • 3000+ tracks are listened to every month on the site by music supervisors looking for music
  • A full tracking system tells each artist every time a track is listened to, downloaded, licensed and how much money is due, in real time.
  • Over 20% of every project listed licenses at least one track

Here’s what Barry had to say…
Continue reading “ – An Interview with CEO Barry Coffing”

Licensing Music – Grey’s Anatomy’s Music Supervisor

While we’re on the subject of licensing music with the help of web tools, here’s an interview from April that I just came across with Alexandra Patsavas, the music supervisor from The OC and Grey’s Anatomy, among other hits, who has come to play quite an important role in helping unknowns get heard internationally.

The good news is, as she mentions, that being an unknown band doesn’t hinder your chances of being used on a show like theirs. She says that probably 30% of all songs are from unknown artists.

She will be speaking at the Bandwidth Conference 2008 in San Francisco in August…

Using Online Services to License Your Music

As CD sales continue to dry up, music licensing has taken on an ever-increasing role in the independent artist’s career. In the old days, the barriers to license music were very high, and the opportunities much fewer for the musician without connections. Today’s web-based world has changed all that; more opportunities than ever exist, but the competition has increased dramatically.

There are several ways to go about finding licensing deals for your music:

1) Contact ad agencies directly
2) Seek out music supervisors (the people that select the music for film/TV)
3) Have your record label do it for you (we all have record labels, right?)
4) Use an online service that connects music buyers with music sellers

We are mostly in interested in #4: the services like Taxi, Pump Audio, Music Gorilla, Song Catalog, Sonic Bids, The Orchard, etc. that aggregate content from various artists and make it accessible in a centralized location for the ad agencies, music supervisors, and whoever else that wants to license music.

There are many permutations among the online licensing opportunities. Here are some basic questions / differences to keep in mind:

1) Do I retain control over when and where my music is licensed?
Some companies require that you agree beforehand to accept whatever deals they generate, while others will give you a choice based on the particular opportunity.

2) Is there an annual fee for participation?
Fees can range from $0-$400+ annually. Are they worth it? Sometimes…

3) Do I have to pay (additional) fees to submit to individual opportunities?
Some companies charge no fees but take a higher percentage of the licensing income. Others may charge to screen candidates and earn a little extra for themselves.

4) What rights am I ceding by using a particular service?

Most of these types of companies use non-exclusive agreements, meaning you are free to list your music with any and all of these companies at the same time. If a deal comes through and the buyer wants to have the exclusive rights to your song, then you can negotiate on a case-by-case basis.

Maximize Your Exposure and Get Better Results
While each of these companies has a slightly different model, most of them are legitimate and represent new ways for your music to get heard. Don’t just use one and expect to make millions. Your best bet is to try using as many channels as you can and thereby improve your odds. If your budget is tight, you can still submit your music to the services that don’t charge anything up front.

Further Reading

Go here for an overview article on licensing from Larry Mills, VP at Pump Audio.

Re-Title Publishing – Update

Last week I wrote a post about “re-title publishing”, and how I couldn’t really find much information on it. Which was part of the problem. Today I talked to the CEO of a popular music licensing service and he explained in detail why this practice isn’t great for artists and that it’s not industry standard.

What Re-Title Publishing is…

A company actually changes the titles to your songs and registers them with different names under THEIR publishing company. For example, if you have a song called “My favorite day is Tuesday.” They might rename it “Tuesday is my favorite day,” and register it under Douchebag Publishing with ASCAP or BMI, etc. You split the upfront licensing fees, and since they’ve published it under their own company, that entitles then to some or all of the backend revenue, which is what is generated whenever that movie, TV show or commercial is re-aired in the future.

Why It’s Lame

1) You get less money – whereas most licensing companies split the upfront fee with you and you keep ALL your future publishing earnings, this means you lose a percentage of those backend dollars.

2) It’s harder for listeners to find your music – If your song’s name was changed so some company could license it to a movie, people watching that movie are going to search for it by its new title. And because the only place in the universe it appears under that title is in the movie, they will have a harder time finding, and buying, the song.

Who Does It?

Granted, earning some money is usually better than earning no money. But there are plenty of companies that don’t require re-title publishing, if it ruffles your feathers or raises your eyebrows as it does mine.

Pump Audio is one of the big names in licensing that does re-title publishing. So, consider yourselves warned!

Re-Title Publishing – Is it Legitimate?

I recently submitted music to a licensing opportunity via Sonicbids, and was psyched to see that it was “selected” by the licensing company. But I was thrown by this statement: “Please send a disc of tracks that are clear for licensing and re-title publishing.” I have no idea what “re-title publishing” means, and could not find much mention of it anywhere. I flipped open my copy of All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman, and there was no mention of it there either. So I emailed Don, and he claims no knowledge of “re-title publishing.” Which has me worried. If the expert who wrote the industry standard book hasn’t heard of it, can it possibly be legit?

Am I Just Paranoid?

If any of you are familiar with this concept, please post something in the comments. I’m going to call the company and get some details. My google searches did return some info on “sharking” songs, where publishers in the old days used to change the names of songs and register them again, so that they could claim the share of licensing that originally went to the artist. Not that this is the case in this instance, but I don’t want to get screwed.

Help, anyone?