Licensing Success in Seven Steps: Reverb Artist Shares her Secrets

NOTE: We’re proud to publish this guest column from long-term ReverbNation artist Cheryl B. Engelhardt. Not only is she sharing valuable information and excerpts from her e-course, “In The Key Of Success: The Five Week Jump-Start Strategy,” she’s also offering the whole course to fellow ReverbNation musicians at deep discount. Keep reading to find out more.

So you’ve made a record. Hopefully you’re starting to look at yourself like a business with a product to sell and money to make. Taking that product and using it as your source of income is key to achieving financial stability. Make your music work for you, and look for income opportunities that will create continuous streams of money, not just single payments.

As an artist, there are several ways to make money through your music, but these are the three you should be most concerned with:

1. Distributing and selling your music (CDs and digital sales)
2. Licensing your music and collecting sync fees and royalties (TV, film, commercial, online-videos, radio, in-store, and other placements)
3. Touring and collecting ticket sales (as well as merchandise and CD sales)

Personally, I add a fourth category that not all singer/songwriters are interested in pursuing:

4. Composing music (writing music for a specific project or media outlet).

“Passive income” is the term financial coaches and other moola-savvy folks use to describe the income that grows over time or continues to come in without you having to do any additional work. Sounds good, right? Royalties from a music placement in a TV show are one example. In fact, royalties are the best source of passive income a musician can hope for. Sure, you can sell CDs and tickets to shows and get some quick cash. But making the CD work long-term is the goal of licensing and publishing. Also, co-writing with others who will be selling their music, can be a fruitful source of passive income. One co-writing session and years of radio and sync fees could be headed your way. For now though, lets focus on licensing.

Understand what it’s all about

In a nutshell, the way music licensing works is you send your music to a publishing company, music library, or film / TV show itself for consideration. Make sure that your music is copyrighted and registered with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) like ASCAP, BMI or SESAC.

It’s important to understand how you get paid from your music being placed in any form of media. From there, you can figure out which avenue you’d like to pursue. Figuring out all the different ways to get paid has taken me years. The main points to understand are:

  • The difference between publisher’s share and writer’s share
  • What master, mechanical, and sync licenses are referring to
  • Who pays what, and how you get your cash

There’s good five pages explaining each of the above in my E-course, so you can head there (discount code at the bottom!) to dig in deeper. Once you’ve understood the ways you get paid, you can move on to taking action to start making money!

1) Shake what yo mama gave you!

The first thing you can do is to use the resources you already have. I suggest making a list of the people, things, opportunities and skills you know you have. Once you see what you’ve already got, turn those into opportunities. For example, I had ReverbNation on my list under “websites I’m on.” This one item on my list turned into several thousands of dollars almost a year later. Here’s how: I saw that ReverbNation was offering a licensing program in conjunction with APM Music*. I submitted a song for free, and it was approved and become part of APM’s music library. Within two months of submitting, I was seeing it all over the ABC Family channel. A few months later, the same song was on “So You Think You Can Dance” (video below). These are media outlets I would not have otherwise had access to and came out of making one little list with “websites I’m on.”

2) Know your audience, and create opportunities for them

Get familiar with all the media outlets that could use music like yours. Watch TV shows that place songs in your genre. Look up the music supervisor. Do a search for publishing companies in your city and try to set up a face-to-face meeting to learn more about their operations and how you can help them out. (If you found a company that needs your kind of music, you’re providing them with the content they need and you are making your music more valuable!) Make your music an opportunity for them. 

3) Branch out

Look beyond TV shows and films to place your music. Develop relationships with online content creators. These folks are accessing a new niche of media that needs music. They will be the future viral video directors, TV writers, and film producers. While much of online video content production has smaller budgets and less chance of continued income, the opportunities in this arena are really limitless and may be worth your while to check out. Look into web series, viral YouTube videos, and animation sites.

Another place to look is independent films. If you are looking to break into the world of indie films, a great place to start is Craigslist. My sneaky and fun way of getting a few music placement and film composing gigs is looking up film auditions on Craigslist, going to the audition (no, I have never been cast… yet!), bringing up that I am interested in being involved with the film in their post- production process, and letting them know I can be a music resource. I usually get a call- back… and not for the part. (Note: If I ever am offered any part, I will take it. Do not waste these people’s time by showing up to an audition with no intention of taking a part. That would be super jerky of you.)

4) Get busy!

Figuring out where to send your music takes a bit of research and legwork. Get yourself organized in your research. Make a list of every TV show or film that you have seen (and ask some fans and friends to help you on this) where you have thought “Man! My song blahbitiboo would have been perfect in this.” Then look up that show on IMDB (The Internet Movie Database) or Google, and find the music producer or music supervisor. Look up their company. Their name and company and contact info goes on this list. I would contact them first to see if they accept unsolicited records. If they do, great! Head to the post office!

5) Create your mailing package

I strongly recommend sending a neat CD package of both the real CD (with all the vocal tracks) and a CD of the instrumental-only tracks. It’s been said that you increase your chance of placing your music by 50% if instrumental tracks are available. In fact, I would say that about half of my TV placements have been the music only, without the vocals. (Sometimes they may like the feel and energy of the track, but the lyrics don’t match the scene, or there may be a lot of dialogue so lyrics get in the way.)

6) Responsible follow-up

After you send the CDs, follow up within two weeks to make sure they got your package and have listened. If they think your entire record, or certain songs from your record could be a fit for their program, they will have you sign a “licensing deal.” This deal will allow them, the “Licensor” to use your music, sometimes exclusively, sometimes non-exclusively, for a period of time. This period can range from a year (with a big library like APM Music) to “in perpetuity,” a.k.a. forever (like with a publishing company such as Heavy Hitters Music). Some folks like to add a clause in the contract that if the track doesn’t make a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time, the track is yours to shop around again.

If that haven’t heard your package yet, ask them when they will be getting to it so you can follow up. Have the intention that they listen to your music. Don’t be desperate for them to want to sign you right now. Baby steps work, especially when you are committed every step of the way.

7) Submit to everything

I saw an opportunity on the ReverbNation site that called for a song for a Microsoft campaign. My first thought was “oh geez, everyone and their mother is going to submit to this, I’ll never get heard. Plus, I use a Mac.” But I submitted my tune anyway and ended up winning over $500 through the promotion. You never know what people will latch on to. (I mean, look up Boo The Dog on YouTube. Seriously?)

So that’s all for now. Take these steps and make them your own. Figure out your own systems and what works in your life. Once you’ve got your system in place, keep at it like your life depends on it. If you’re a full-time musician, it sort of does, right?

* ReverbNation and APM Music regularly invite new artists to participate in the Song Licensing Program. Invites are sent out to ReverbNation artists who are active users of the site, have complete profiles, and whose music fits what music supervisors are seeking. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.reverbnation.com/main/apm

Cheryl B. Engelhardt is a composer for films, ads and CollegeHumor.com, and a singer/songwriter who’s booked a bunch of tours around the USA and Europe and gotten her recorded music placed on TV shows. Her website is www.CBEmusic.com and she writes a music industry blog called Living On Gigging. You can follow her on Twitter @CBE.

 She just released “In The Key Of Success: The 5 Week Jump- Start Strategy,” an E-Course for independent musicians on how to jump-start their careers to radically change the results. If you liked this article, check out the rest of Cheryl’s E-course. She guarantees you will get results that you want, or your money back. And because you are a ReverbNation artist, you get a ridiculous 70% discount off the normal selling price by typing in REVERBN8TION when you go here: http://www.cbemusic.com/ecourse.

KevinLicensing Success in Seven Steps: Reverb Artist Shares her Secrets
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Electronica Producer Kastle Announces ReverbNation Winner for his Remix Contest

“It was great working with ReverbNation and reaching out to all of their artists. We had such a diverse selection of entries, thanks to all who entered and participated!” – Kastle

The backstory: ReverbNation, in partnership with label Seclusiasis, ran a dope remix challenge back in August.  Hundreds of contestants submitted their remix to Kastle’s track “I Know” for the chance to receive a single release on the label.
The man: San Francisco-based, DJ/producer Barrett Richards (aka Kastle) has cultivated his own style of bass-heavy beats with a soulful twist reminiscent of classic Chicago house. Although it’s too late to get in on this opportunity, it’s not too late to discover Kastle for yourself. Listen to his tracks here.
The track: Kastle’s “I Know” is stunning critics with its “pitched-up vocal stabs, floating electric pianos, wobbly bass, and jangly broken beats.”

 

And the winner is… inflect, a Nebraska producer who has shared the stage with such acts as The Glitch Mob, STS9, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, EPROM, Nosaj Thing, Machinedrum, EOTO, Dubbel Dutch, Mux Mool, and many more.

Be the first to listen to inflect’s remix, which single release on Seclusiasis will be out next month:


ComScore

Here’s what the label had to say about inflect:
The one remix that stood out on top above the rest is by a young producer/DJ from Lincoln, Nebraska – inflect. In his thumping club ready remix, he takes the essence of the original song and twists it up with some techy sensibilities, giving it a new life while still maintaining a nod back to the Kastle original.
“So much dope stuff came through, but inflect’s joint stuck out as the one that bumped the most!” – Dev79, Seclusiasis co-owner
JUST IN! Seclusiasis has decided to add a twist to the competition.
In recognition of all the excellent remixes submitted, they’ve decided to make the release an EP and include three runners-up as well. On the “I Know” Remix EP set to drop in March on Seclusiasis, in addition to inflect’s remix they’ll also be including some heated reworks by Reverb artists, Krueger, +Verb and Direct Feed.”
 “We’re hype to have done this competition with ReverbNation and see so many people excited to submit their remixes.” – Starkey, Seclusiasis co-owner
Want to be part of next remix contest? Follow us on Twitter for updates on new opportunities!
KevinElectronica Producer Kastle Announces ReverbNation Winner for his Remix Contest
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Whoa! 136 more Reverb Bands Slated to Play SXSW… Are you one of them?

Wow, ReverbNation artists never cease to amaze us. Another 135 Reverb musicians and bands (bringing it to a total of almost 200!) were selected to play at SXSW 2012!

The SXSW crowd

If you haven’t seen the other 62 bands, you can check them out here.

Are you or someone you know on this list? Let us know (so we can meet and share a few beers at SXSW)!

1. Peter Bradley Adams
2. A.Dd+
3. ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra)
4. Alpha Rev
5. Amoral
6. Ancestors
7. Ancient Astronauts
8. The Apache Relay
9. Arborea
10. Atash
11. Automelodi
12. Maya Azucena
13. Michael Beach
14. Bez
15. Bliss N Eso
16. Blitz the Ambassador
17. BoDeans
18. The Bombettes
19. Bonfire Nights
20. Cory Branan
21. Brother & Bones
22. Cairo Knife Fight
23. Candy
24. Canteca De Macao
25. Chapter 24
26. Clock Opera
27. Jordan Cook
28. The Copper Gamins
29. Cosmo Jarvis
30. Craft Spells
31. The Curious Mystery
32. Dash Rip Rock
33. Dead Letter Circus
34. The Defiled
35. Diplomats of Solid Sound
36. Dirty Karma
37. Dive
38. Lila Downs
39. Dry The River
40. Dying Fetus
41. Early Graves
42. Electric Guest
43. Elephant Stone
44. The Evaporators
45. The Foreign Resort
46. The Fray
47. Gamebouy
48. Gappy Ranks
49. Garland Jefferys
50. Gliss
51. Gold Fields
52. The Good Natured
53. Great Lake Swimmers
54. Peter Gregson
55. Hatcham Social
56. hellogoodbye
57. The Higher State
58. Audrey Horne
59. Horse Feathers
60. Hull
61. Anna Ihilis
62. Imaginary Cities
63. The Interbeing
64. Sarah Jaffe
65. Joe Volume
66. Kenny Ken
67. Kimbra
68. La-33
69. League of Extraordinary G’z
70. Li’l Cap’n Travis
71. LIRA
72. Little Hurricane
73. M.A.K.U. SoundSystem
74. Danny Malone
75. David Mayfield Parade
76. Andy McKee
77. MC lars
78. Mother Falcon
79. Krista Muir
80. My Jerusalem
81. Naeto C
82. Napoleon IIIrd
83. Natives
84. Natty
85. New Cassettes
86. Night Beats
87. Oh My Me
88. Lisa O’Neill
89. Paula and Karol
90. Protoje
91. Quiet Company
92. The Rasites
93. Nathaniel Rateliff
94. Res
95. The Riff Raff
96. Finn Riggins
97. The Ripe
98. Roach Gigz
99. Rachael Sage
100. Scale the Summit
101. Scars on 45
102. Schiller
103. Screaming Females
104. The Seedy Seeds
105. Shandy Mandies
106. Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds
107. Skindred
108. Frank Smith
109. Charlene Soraia
110. Sore
111. Soul Khan
112. Sparkadia
113. The Spinto Band
114. Spirits of the Dead
115. Spoek Mathambo
116. Stereo is a Lie
117. Patrick Sweany
118. Tall Ships
119. Tea Leaf Green
120. Telephunken
121. Torreblanca
122. Lissy Trullie
123. Tumi and the Volume
124. Turbina
125. 22
126. Two Cow Garage
127. Ume
128. The Violet May
129. Vockah Redu
130. Wheeler Brothers
131. The White Eyes
132. Witchburn
133. Carolyn Wonderland
134. Paul Woolford
135. Zorch

Honorary mention:

136. Mr. Bleat

KevinWhoa! 136 more Reverb Bands Slated to Play SXSW… Are you one of them?
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ReverbNation Gigs & Things

Every Monday we will post some information regarding the ReverbNation Opportunities we have brokered for our Artists.  These opportunities consist mostly of performance slots at Festivals, Conferences, Awards Shows, Tours, and Clubs but also include Songwriting Competitions, Licensing Opportunities, Music & Video Reviews, and more.

Since ReverbNation does not take a % of the Submission Fee that may be charged by some Promoters, we are often times able to offer Opportunities that have no Submission Fees or very discounted Submission Fees. Our goal is to keep providing value to the Artists, at the lowest cost possible!

Instead of spamming you with summary emails each week, just add the RSS feed in the upper right corner and you’ll be up to speed on all our opportunities. Feel free to share this blog post with your fellow artists!  And without further ado,

New Opportunity Listings:

Last Chance to Submit Opportunities:

And Always Available from ReverbNation:

The ReverbNation website now attracts 25 million visitors per month.  Get Featured on the Home Page at ReverbNation Featured Artist of the Week

Just a few of the Artists selected this week by our Promoters – BUT Congrats to All of You:

  • The ASPS were selected to have their record produced by Ron Nevison (producer/engineer whose credits include The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Bad Company, Barbra Streisand, Jefferson Starship, Chicago, Styx, Heart, Damn Yankees, Thin Lizzy and more.)
  • Dee-1 and BIGREC are two ReverbNation Artists that have been selected already to perform at this year’s A3C Hip Hop Festival.  Submissions are still open and at least 4 more ReverbNation slots are still available at A3C Hip Hop Festival.

Things to Know:

Submissions require a free ReverbNation account and active subscription to ReverbNation Press Kits.  If you do not have a ReverbNation Press Kit, activate your 30 day free trial now!

If you have an Opportunity(s) that is valuable to some or all of ReverbNation’s 1.4million artists, please go to http://www.reverbnation.com/controller/main/signup and choose Festival/Event. That will take you to the application, and after you fill it out, a rep will be in touch shortly!

If you are a Venue, please check out the only comprehensive Venue Application on Facebook, Venue Profile App on Facebook.  Any questions, give us a shout!

Thanks,

Lou Plaia & the RN Staff (no, its not a band name)

Lou PlaiaReverbNation Gigs & Things
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Vote for Your Favorite Band Names: A Look Back on 1,000,000 Artists

50 Popular Words That Bands Use In Their Names

ReverbNation.com reached a new milestone yesterday when it signed up its one millionth artist. “We’re humbled, but this is really a story about how vibrant the global Artist community is right now,” says COO and Co-Founder Jed Carlson. “For our part, we’ll continue doing what we do best – creating powerful tools and great opportunities for Artists and those the orbit them. ”

The 1,000,000th Artist to join the site is .. “PANA!“.  In celebration of this, we will be providing this Artist with a nice prize package, including a ‘1,000,000th Artist Reverb T-shirt’.

Launched in October of 2006, ReverbNation has quickly become one of the most explosive and talked about music sites on the Internet today. Artists all over the world are enjoying the site’s ever-expanding number of features and services, such as Digital Distribution to major online retailers, festival and showcase submission opportunities, and direct-to-fan merchandising. ReverbNation is growing faster by the day and Mike Doernberg, CEO and Co-Founder of the site, does not believe the momentum will be slowing any time soon. “We recognize that the music business is way more than just selling discs or downloads,” he says. “The scope of what we do for the Artist will continue to grow, and if we keep delivering real value to them, we expect that they will keep joining the Nation.”

Reaching one million artists could not have happened without the support of all of the amazing artists, venues, labels, and fans that have made ReverbNation what it is today. We would like to thank each and every one of you for all of your support through the years. Since the site’s birth, we have heard a lot of great music. We have also seen some of the most hilarious, interesting, (and sometimes just plain vulgar) band names ever created. In honor of reaching one million artists, we would like you to vote on your favorite band name in each of the following categories:

FUNNIEST – You WILL laugh.

MOST BIZARRE – Band names that MUST have an interesting backstory.

MOST CLEVER – Band names that we wish we would have thought of.

Be sure to vote for your favorites! The winning band in each category will receive a full year of our Reverb Press Kits service for FREE!

reverb_administratorVote for Your Favorite Band Names: A Look Back on 1,000,000 Artists
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Bands Helping Bands — Your Best Touring Advice

After much anticipation and competition, we’ve finally gotten our Bands Helping Bands finalists. There were a lot of great submissions, with a lot of great advice! We’ve placed some of our favorites below. Watch the videos and let us know your favorite one in the comments. The best one will get a Featured Artist spot on the ReverbNation homepage!

Zenith Da Goddess’ Tip — Keep Your Voice Healthy


Visit Zenith Da Goddess’ ReverbNation page

1000 Generations’ Tip — Offer Comment Cards At Gigs For Feedback

Visit 1000 Generations’ ReverbNation page

Jillian Riscoe’s Tip — Explore Unconventional Venues

Visit Jillian Riscoe’s ReverbNation page

Mike Borgia’s Tip — Show A Venue What Your Worth Is

Visit Mike Borgia’s ReverbNation page

Some Tips From A Venue Owner

Visit The Local 506’s ReverbNation page

reverb_administratorBands Helping Bands — Your Best Touring Advice
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Give Us Your Best Advice — Bands Helping Bands

The best ideas for ReverbNation.com come from the Artists, Labels, Managers, Venues/Promoters, and Fans that use our site.  So does the best advice about how to be a successful Artist today.

As a result, we’re starting a new feature, which we’re going to call “Bands Helping Bands”.  We’ll ask our members (that’s you) to submit short video clips of advice on a particular topics, and we’ll filter out the best of the best and publish it for all to see on this blog (no guarantee this will make you famous, but its free publicity at least).

This month’s topic: Touring tips.

Do you have a trick to booking a great tour? Have great ideas about how to tour on the cheap? How do you stay on the venue owner’s good side when you play a show? Have any tour horror stories that others could learn from?  Are you a venue owner with some advice for Artists?  A booking agent with some advice?

Tell us all about it with a 1 to 3-minute video.  Simply upload to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link to blog@reverbnation.com with “Bands Helping Bands” in the subject line.  Or Tweet @ReverbNation (using the hashtag #BHB) with links to your videos on YouTube or Vimeo.

At the end of the month, we’ll choose the best videos and post them up right here on the blog. Each entry will be tagged, so all you have to do is find the category you want more information about and see how other Artists have done it!

The very best video on each topic (as determined by a non-scientific poll of the RN staff) will get a Featured Artist spot on the ReverbNation homepage for a week.  So what are you waiting for?  Fire up that webcam or FlipHD and help your fellow Artist.

-Rachael

We prefer videos with:

  • No nudity, gore, violence, sexual references, or drug or alcohol references. Keep it PG, people.
  • No gratuitous cursing (if we hear the F-word, it’s out)
  • It has to actually contain a tip or some sort of nugget of advice that is vaguely relevant to the topic at hand (we will not accept videos of your band messing around in the tour van with a Flip cam — unless it’s really, really funny)
  • No flagrant-to-the-point-that-it’s-annoying self-promotion (this is about bestowing your knowledge upon other artists, not promoting your new album). If you mention your upcoming album or single, or your MySpace page, it’s out. Don’t worry! If you’re chosen, we’ll provide a link to your ReverbNation page.
  • Make sure the title of the video includes “Bands Helping Bands” so we can organize the videos.

reverb_administratorGive Us Your Best Advice — Bands Helping Bands
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