I have had a few people ask me why I may or may not sign an exclusive deal. Some people have very strong opinions against signing an exclusive deal. Here are some reasons why you may want to consider an exclusive deal. If you don’t know what an exclusive deal is, read this first. http://michellelockey.com/musicsync/archives/03-2015
There are different types of exclusive agencies. For example, Licensing Agencies, Publishers/Publishing administrators and Music Libraries. Often times, these exclusive entities will work harder for you and your music. You have to do some vetting to figure this out. A lot of times they have access to better deals & better shows.
If you have only an album’s worth of songs and you want to retain ownership, you may want to stick with non-exclusive deals for a while. BUT, if your focus is touring and being an artist, perhaps a licensing agency is best for you. If you find the right agency, they will pitch your music to Film & TV opportunities and only collect part of the upfront master sync fee. Usually the deal is for a certain period of time and they will want to represent you & your catalog. The downside is that you can't pitch your songs anywhere else and if the agency turns out to be a dud, then you have to wait for the contract to be over to pull the songs.
Non-exclusive deals have advantages because you still own the rights to your music and can pitch directly to music supervisors and to other libraries. Be aware that if you put the same songs into too many libraries and they pitch to the same entities, then the music supes won’t be too happy about receiving multiple copies of the same music. Also if the song is used on a show, there could be some confusion about the origin of the song pitch. (Usually re-titling fixes that, but there are issues with that too.)
The terms of an exclusive deal may also affect your decision. There are deals that are in perpetuity in which they assume ownership of the copyright. The company gets the publisher’s share and you get the writer’s share. Usually the master sync is split 50/50. Some people freak at giving up publishing, but come on, those companies are doing the pitching. That is their job, so they should get the publishing half. Those deals can be scary, BUT, some of my best placements have come from these agencies. There are also deals that pay you upfront for the song, but you will not get paid for any future master sync that is obtained. However, you will get back end writer’s royalties AND upfront money is ALWAYS a good thing. Not every placement gets a master sync fee.
Other exclusive deals may be for a year, or three, or semi exclusive with respect to film & tv only, meaning you can still release the song, sell it, and perform it.
If you are writing a ton of songs or instrumentals for the sole purpose of achieving music placements, then you should not fear the exclusive deal at all. These folks are pitching your music and they want to get you placements. What good does your song do sitting in your catalog not getting placed? Yes, you could go non-exclusive too, but I am just saying that if an exclusive deal comes your way, do not fear signing the deal. Just check the deal points and make sure you understand how the company works before you sign.
This is how I go about it: I sign all kinds of deals. I sign exclusive deals, non-exclusive deals, royalty free deals (NOT performance royalty free) because I know that I will make more music. My exclusive libraries get me more deals. But I have also had good deals/placements from my non-exclusives. Some of my non-exclusive libraries are going to be or changed to exclusive because that is what the Music Supervisor and Production Companies/Ad Agency wants. They like to know that they will find that song from only one representative. There is some “exclusivity” to that (pun intended).
When I do sign a non-exclusive deal, then I may sign the same track with another library that pitches to different markets. For instance, if I sign a song to a really good reputable non-exclusive agency that pitches to mainstream shows on NBC, CBS, HBO, etc., then I may also sign that song to one that pitches strictly to reality shows. This way I can spread around my music and bring income from many different sources.
Personally, I like to sign deals PER SONG. Not SIGN MYSELF or MY CATALOG. I don’t want to be tied up that way. My plan is to build my catalog as large as I can and sign all kinds of deals until the industry changes. If you are in this for music placements and are creating a lot of music, or plan to, then DO NOT be afraid to sign an exclusive deal. Your tracks could end up sitting in your catalog earning nothing, and (exclusive or not). Wouldn’t you rather get 50% of something, than 100% of nothing?
Want to learn how to license your music? Go to LicensingSongs.com for more info!
Metadata. Google defines metadata as: a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. So how does this apply to music? Well, imagine you have burned this wonderful CD of music that you are going to hand to music professionals at a music conference. The music is your latest and greatest. You meet some professionals, publishers & Music Supes and give them your CD. They go back to their office, put the CD into their computer and then they see:
DOH!!! They may love the song, but now it is lost in a myriad of song files they have with no way of contacting you. Sure, they may have the CD cover, somewhere, but usually the songs are uploaded into their vast database and can get lost forever.
So tagging your files with the appropriate metadata will save YOU from this problem and help THEM find your music and contact you. But it does more than that. Understanding how to tag the files appropriately, keep a music catalog with these tags, and use the tags when submitting to music libraries and Music Supervisors, can make your music more visible and findable in this vast music universe.
Here is a list of the tags that you should fill out for each song. Start with a song catalog spreadsheet. One column for each title. Then you can add them to your mp3 files as well. Use iTunes itself to tag files or Mp3tag. You can even have your Mastering engineer embed some of the data into the file itself.
Here is a photo of a line of my song catalog filled out, followed by an mp3.
In the mp3, I would have your email next to the artist or song name and even phone number so the music supe doesn’t have to go digging for your information. Remember that wav files do not retain this info. So, if your music is NOT released, burn an mp3 CD or enter the information into the Gracenotes database. See how to do this here: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/musician-tips/how-to-submit-your-track-information-to-gracenote-using-itunes-11/
If your music has been released then you won’t have the issue of Track 1, Track 2 etc. Because iTunes will automatically find it from the Gracenotes database. At least your name, and general info will be on the track.
As far as Keywords and Moods. Be as inventive as you can. Use a thesaurus to come up with various ways to describe the moods, style, what the song can be used for. For a song that is “Happy” Just don’t say “Happy and Fun” Also say, bouncy, joyful, playful, bright, lovely, snuggly, warm, crunchy, car commercial, kids party etc… Make sure you have a list of all the instruments used in the song as well. The more descriptive you can be the better. Keeping these words in a spreadsheet or database will help you save time when submitting music. Each library/publisher has their own forms they want you to fill out, so it is easier to have these all in one place to copy from or easily fill out a checklist.
As far as “ala’s” or sound alike artists, use a google search and go to the Last.fm link that comes up. Try for at least 5 soundalikes. Here is a link from a search I did for “Sounds like Sarah McLachlan” https://www.last.fm/music/Sarah+McLachlan/+similar
I listened through some of the artist’s music that were displayed on that page and took five to put on my list. That will help when describing your music and most publishers want that when filling out their forms.
Start a catalog spreadsheet today, or use a database like Composer Catalog (Composercatalog.com) . If you don’t have the time, resources or knowledge to tag your files yourself you can use a service like Tagteamanalysis.com They will tag your files for about $4 a song.
Making sure that you have the proper metadata information will make your songs and YOU more visible and easy to contact. And we all want that!
Happy Metadata Tagging!
#metadata #music #musicians #musiclicensing #synclicensing #blog #entreprenuer #iTunes #mp3 #tagging
Michelle is owner and operator of Licensing Songs Academy. She is building a community of songwriters that helps to support each other through the music licensing journey. Her students have a BLAST learning about licensing and creating new music! In addition to the basics of licensing music, students also learn about goal setting, how to be a professional, and learn how to fight fears through actionable steps. Michelle also motivates her students. helps them focus and grow in their musical journey! www.licensingsongs.com
When it comes to writing music for Film & TV that is...
I recently had a blast interviewing my buddy Steve Guiles for my Licensing Songs Academy. We had a great conversation about the writing process. So many things go into the process of writing, especially when your goal is to write songs for Film & Tv. But after you write a song and record it, how do you know if it is suitable for film and tv? How do you know if you are writing what the Music Supervisors want to hear?
When I first started out I had an album of 5 songs. I would take those songs, my babies and submit them to everything regardless of whether they were a true fit. If the listing (an ad of sorts that describes what the Music Supervisor wants) said the word “love” then I submitted any song I had that was about love. I didn’t know how to interpret what the listing said or how to analyze the ala artists and songs. I didn’t know much about genre, or how to break down a song's elements. I had NO idea what a Universal lyric was or how to write to a Theme. What I found out was that, writing to common themes will make sure that the song is falling under a category that is suitable for Film & TV.
So, what is a theme? A Theme is an overall idea or subject. For Example, Love, Coming of Age, Family, End of Days. Home etc. I am sure you can think of a ton more! Just watch TV and start writing down the Theme of each show. The key is to write about an emotion that may fall under that theme. For instance: Let’s Pick, Love. Now what about Love are you going to write: New Love, breaking up, death of a loved one? If you pick New Love, then you need to brainstorm on all the emotions associated with New Love. One you think of the emotions associated with it, next, pick some unique ways of describing those emotions. You don’t want to be plain. Boring or cliche. Find new ways to describe say: “You give me goosebumps” What other ways can you say something like that? A way that makes the listener really FEEL this new love feeling. In a song that Steve and I wrote Called Together, We Belong, we have a line that says “Unsteady I fall for you” which is a way to describe that new love feeling.
Steve and I were also talking a lot about writing process and having a Five Year Plan. It is possible to make a living or at least a nice sum of money each year on licensing. But you have got to have a plan, and a process for doing the work & analyzing the music that is being used in Film & TV (you can catch an excerpt of the interview here Steve Guiles Interview Excerpt )
A process that works well is to pick a theme each week and write a song based on that theme. The song doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to get done. You can also join songwriting groups that have weekly theme challenges. This will exercise your writing muscle. Experiment, play around! Some of the songs I have written for weekly theme challenges have gone on to be signed by Publishers and placed in Film & TV. About 20 seconds of the instrumental from a quirky song I did for a theme challenge ended up in the show Becoming Us on ABC Family channel. I never intended it for Film & TV, it was an experiment in recording and writing. But it ended up being usable because it was quirky, comedic and worked for the scene they wanted.
Studying ala songs is very important. This gives you insight into what is working for Film & TV. Pick some shows that you think your style of music would work in, and listen to the music used on those shows. Analyze the instruments, the mix, the lyrics and the theme/emotion. This is a great way to see what is being used and how those songs are written, lyrically, emotionally and stylistically.
Writing to listings is also a great way to exercise that muscle as well. A listing is basically a description of what a production company/music supervisor is looking for and it describes the style of the song, theme, and usually the type of scene it will be used for. Listings can be found on places like TAXI or Hit License, through Music library/Music Supe newsletters & websites.
You can definitely get your songs more on target for Film & Tv by doing the above and learning how to write for Film & TV. It is great fun to experiment and get the writing muscle going! In doing so you will rapidly build your catalog!
Oh and if you haven't signed up for it yet, I have a Free checklist : 10 Steps to Sync Success. Sign up Here: 10 Steps Checklist
Hope your week is going great!- Michelle
P.S. I have a current awesome deal for my Self Paced Music Licensing Course Bundle! Only $247! It's a GREAT deal! Click here for more info and to sign up!
We’ve all been to them. seen them, the motivational conferences, speeches, videos etc. We have all been left with a feeling that we can do anything. We can achieve our dreams! We can fly! We feel so pumped and energized! WE CAN DO THIS! We buy the books, the videos, the courses without really thinking if this product is what we need, but it is what we WANT at the moment. We feel so good!! it is EUPHORIC..
And then… we go home, we get back to normal life, we tell people about our experience and some may negate it by saying negative things, others don’t get it cause they weren’t there. And that book we bought, course or video we purchased.. they just sit there. Or maybe we start them, then life gets too busy, we return to reality, our old way of thinking comes back, and then… we stop.. we return to our normal way of doing things. We can also get stuck in “learning” mode and never apply what we learn. I have been a victim of this and I am sure that you have been too.
We all want to achieve our dreams, goals and plans, and when we get motivated, we get all geared up to do something, buy the product, but alas, often never finish what were “Motivated” to start.
So what do we do once we get motivated? The solution lies with taking ACTION. Should seem like a no brainer, but like I said above, we may be motivated to take action right away, but that can fade to dust.
After the motivational event is over, and while you are still feeling motivated, take stock of what you learned.
-Reflect and write down the important things that you learned during the event.
-From that create some long term goals, short term goals and actionable items
-Try to avoid impulse purchases if possible until you have taken stock of the event and decided what you want to do.
What is the company, course, book all about? Does the person/Company giving the motivational speech have credibility?
Ask for/look for reviews, references. Did it help the people who took the course/read the book etc achieve their goals?
Once you have your list of goals/actionable items
-Follow through- Read the book, take the course
-DO THE WORK! (the hardest part)
-Plan your steps to achieve the goal
-Make a list of tasks to accomplish each goal and assign them a completion date
-If you are having problems completing tasks, then reflect on why
-Do you need help organizing a calendar? Are there bigger reasons like Fear keeping you from achieving your goals? What can you do to "fix" these problem areas?
No dream is achieved with motivation alone. Motivational speeches and videos make us feel pumped, which is a good thing, but can leave you with some hurt in the wallet if you buy on impulse and never follow through. You need to learn, plan, goal set, task orient yourself, and Do the work. Motivation can fade. Take action to succeed!
If you would like a copy of my Goal Setting worksheet to help you achieve your goals: Email Me today!
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well. "Pierre de Coubertin - founder Olympic Committee
I just finished watching Eddie the Eagle. It was very inspiring. Here is a man that against all odds competed in the Olympics, never gave up despite incredible odds, and the lack of support from some of those around him. Yet he knew in his heart that he wanted this more than anything. So he went for it.
This is how we need to approach our goals and dreams. There are some practical things to think about, of course, but this kind of zeal and attitude is needed to approach what we most want to accomplish in life. Without it, we get stuck, bitter, and basically die before we are dead.
Maybe I am being a bit melodramatic, but I don't care. Since being laid off in 2013, I have gone for this dream of mine with everything I have. The dream may have altered slightly, but I know what i was put on this earth to do: Make music and Help People. I am the last person to toot my own horn, but I keep getting emails from my students about how my courses have been helping them, not only to learn, but to be hopeful and motivated and they appreciate the honesty, how upfront I am, and they know that I genuinely care.
It is a hard thing for me to process, knowing that something that I am doing is helping others. I have a hard time accepting compliments, still. My goals used to be all for me, all for my feeling good, all for my validation. But I have realized I don't need that validation anymore to achieve what I am here to do. But it does humble me to know that lives are transforming.
So what does this have to do with Eddie? He went for what he wanted. He wanted to do his best. He wanted to prove all the naysayers wrong. He wanted to do what he believed in his heart was what he was meant to do, against all odds. . And it inspired others.
So go for your dreams and goals with all the gusto that you can. You will change yourself, but you may also change others in the process.
Thursday/Friday- midnight blog... Have a great Friday! - Michelle
Ok It has been a long while since I have written and I apologize. I had surgery then some health issues, then a possible move to LA and I developed a 9 course on Music Licensing. Amidst all that I was still making music for Film & TV. BUSY to say the least. Anyway during the course of my um, course, I interviewed some experts in the field of licensing. Bob Mair owner of Black Toast Music is a wonderful guy, has a great publishing company and I can call him my friend. Also I interviewed Cathy Heller, (caththemoonmusic.com) who has licensed songs for McDonalds ads (you've seen them) Wal-Mart, Payless, and much more, she talks to us about ads. So below is a sneak preview from their interviews along with some info about my Music Licensing course! So get the popcorn ready and watch!
Your class is the best money I have ever spent during my entire career. You can quote me on that!
Loving it." -April Kelly www.aprilkellymusic.com
Ok, so you have seen the video and my little pitch about my course. My course is now 25% off! Enter Code 25off at checkout!
You can't beat my price for the amount of practical information that will help you make your music licensable and that puts you on the path to get it licensed! You can read more and register through the button below. I hope you sign up and I will see you in the course!!
Michelle Lockey's class was invaluable, very well organized and presented. Dense with information that saved me me years to understanding the songwriting and business path to writing for film/TV and music licensing. The guest's also were professionals working in the industry and provided excellent insight into the business. 5/5 stars"
Tom Kwake (www.musicbytk.com)
I have had a rough week.. After feeling exhausted, rehabbing from knee surgery and traveling, my back (or rather hip flexor) decided it had enough and started to spasm, so bad that I could not move or be left alone. Ever had that happen? It is THE WORST! Luckily I have a network, a community of friends and family that took me to the doctors and took care of me.
What does this have to do with Pay to Pitch you ask? Well the key words are "Network" & "Community” There are many opinions on the pay to pitch model, some are really against it, even some music supervisors. It is not truly how the business works, but it CAN work if you understand it and do it right. Most of my connections to publishers and supes have been formed through the pay to pitch model. In this blog I am going to give you what has worked for me, and my opinion on the topic. I am not going to name any company names. If you would like to ask me about my experience with certain companies please feel free to contact me. When I was first starting out, I had no connections. ZERO. I had no idea where to start. I was learning about song writing in Nashville, taking workshops, writing for myself and didn't know much about the Licensing world. So for me, I started out with the Pay to Pitch model. These guys had the contacts right?? I would get on the fast track, right?? Well, it depends. Some places did me know good because I didn't have the knowledge to pitch strategically & some of the listings were bogus. So here are some things you should look for in a Pay to Pitch model:
What you DO want:
Cheap Submission Fees
Communication with successful members
Yearly conferences where you can meet with publishers/supervisors posting the listings
Feedback for why the songs were not chosen or forwarded
Timely response to listing submissions
Training/blogs/ ability to meet collaborators
Well crafted listing describing in detail what is needed, including song examples
What you DO NOT want:
Sites that promote contests as their attractor
Extra fees tagged onto submissions (submission fee, + site fee + song review fee)
Bells & Whistles like crowd & peer reviews, song popularity tracking etc.
Forums are great ways to communicate with members, see if the site is legit, ask if songwriters are getting placements & deals etc. Once you determine that songwriters have had success, you can they try submitting to a few listings. Be sure that your songs are targeted for the listing. The closer you are to the listing description, the better the chances you have for it getting sent on to the listing party. Make sure your songs are broadcast quality, have universal lyrics and are structured for Film&TV. (See my previous blogs for more info) This is key to your success with the pay to pitch model.
Sending songs in Willy Nilly in to any listing that sounds just a bit close to your song, will waste your money and your time.
Ideally, the pay to pitch company hosts yearly conferences either for free with membership or at a fee. This is where the magic happens. Let's say you get a song sent on from one of the pay to pitch listings. This person contacts you wanting your song, you say "HELL YEAH" (after checking the deal) . Next you exchange some emails and send a few more songs, then you arrange to meet at the conference. BOOM! This person now knows you and will be contacting you directly when they want new songs. Also on forums and at these conferences you meet other like-minded songwriters, you collaborate, you submit, you get introduced to their contacts, you get more songs signed and more songs placed!
Of course you can make these connections via conferences alone as well as other methods that I will talk about in my next blog. But you want to try and choose smaller conferences where you can establish relationships directly with the people who can place your music. Be sure that the conferences have pitching sessions. Most conferences are not free, can take time out of your schedule, and you may only be able to afford one a year. Paying to Pitch a song , to the right listing, can jumpstart these connections for you. Once you have the connections then you can wean yourself off of Pay to Pitch model or be more selective
Sites that promote bells & whistles like contests, crowd reviews etc., are just a waste of your money and a time sink IMO. If I want a review of a song for a listing, I can post it on a forum, post the listing as well, and ask for feedback, all for free. I don't care about a popularity contest, I care if it is right for the listing. Contests are fun, and you can win some stuff, but if it is associated with a pay to pitch site, I feel like that method is just trying to persuade you to submit and to keep submitting to listings that may not be legit and your song goes into the abyss never to be heard from again.
My early placements have initially come from getting songs forwarded from pay to pitch listings. After signing the songs and establishing relationships with the publishers, I was able to start sending them songs directly.
So don't poo poo pay to pitch. It was a vehicle for me to get this ball rolling and it can be for you if you do it right!
Until Next Time!- Michelle
Register for my Licensing workshop on Dec 5th in Maryland!: Licensing Workshop
- Michelle is a multi award winning songwriter with placements in Reign, The Fosters, Benched, Longmire, American Chopper, The Hustlers, GearHeads (Theme song) and more
I'm a dog owner, and with that comes the disgusting task of picking up poop. Poop is messy, smelly, dirty, I just wanna ignore it. But I am a responsible dog owner and I do my "duty". So why am I talking about poop? Well, what else is messy, smelly, dirty that you want to ignore? Um, how about Life? The problems in life, the lost dreams, the painful situations, guilt, shame, death, break ups, the "u done me wrongs", the fears ... These are all things we want to ignore and want to brush under the rug. But if we do that, if we don't face our problems, we end up stuck & unhappy, and things just fester until they are a stinky, stank mess. What situations are going on in your life that need cleaned up? How are you dealing with them, or not? Drinking? Drugs? Binge Eating? Social Media obsessions? Doing Busy work? Ignoring those in your life that hurt you? Taking on too much so that you can't even breathe? Staying in your comfort zone because it is "easier", Watching endless Keeping up with the Kardashians fare??
This is no way to live. No way at all. If you look in the mirror are you really happy? And maybe happiness is not the word, are you content? Do you like who you are? Are you pursuing life with a passion? Are you doing the things that make you really happy? Are you fixing the problems? Are you seeking out those who hurt you or those YOU hurt to find some resolution and path to forgiveness? Is there a hidden fear or self hatred you have? Ignoring these things will just make us hurt more and feel hopeless. Most of us fear facing these things in our lives. It is easier to sit on the sidelines. I have been through it, I still go through it at times and it is hard. Facing these things gives you the feeling that you are falling off a cliff with no bottom. Incredibly scary. But you can come out on the other side feeling sooooo much better! But you can do it! You have to do it if you don't want to live in a life of shallowness and hopelessness.
Start by writing down the things in your life that you have always wanted to do. Follow that with all the things that you think may be holding you back. Seek counsel through a church group, or counseling group, or find individual counsel. Read books like The War of Art, 212 the Extra Degree, Own your Dreams, Chasing Daylight, Action Trumps Everything, and The Search for Significance. I have read and re-read all of these. I have attended counseling groups, I have lead counseling groups. I still talk to friends and counselors when I feel like I am backsliding. It is an ongoing process but I can tell you that I feel so much better about who I am as a person and why I am on this earth. I want you to feel the same. So I have written blogs, created vlogs and courses to help other people. I urge you to watch my previous Vlogs that talk about the book The War of Art and how to attack life like a professional, and I created a free lesson on finding your passions and purpose. I urge you to sign up for it: FREE Lesson . In the near future I will have a full course on finding your self worth and facing your fears so you can live a better life with passion and purpose. Sign up Here to learn more: SIGN UP You CAN pick up the poop in your life. Do it now !! There is no better time! - with Peace & Love- Michelle
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Michelle Lockey is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter sharing the knowledge she has learned over the years writing for Film & TV.
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