I recently responded to a friend’s email and I realized it has some fantastic tips that every independent musician can use if they’re looking to take control of their music career, get their music licensed, or simply improve their music marketing. Here it is (edited for anonymity’s sake):
It is my personal view that musicians need to know that they are entrepreneurs, and not by choice!, with the industry the way it is currently.
The reality is you can do pretty much everything you need to except for have a lawyer review contracts – and even that you can learn a lot on your own (but seriously, always have a lawyer review). You may have already realized this.
So to get started, you should focus on areas where you think your music will excel – I’d recommend honing in on a specific media (ie: advertising, film, tv, video games). Each of them have their own plusses and minuses, however if you have a particular contact or know someone who works at the following (I just wrote a piece on this to my email newsletter (you can sign up here). It’s free but I try to provide real actionable advice for independent musicians just like you):
– Ad agency: Loads of folks work at these, you need to talk to individual ones. See the newsletter for specific titles, but friends are your BEST inroads.
– Brand: You want someone in the marketing department ultimately. Often times brands let the agency choose the music, however if it’s a music centric brand like Coke or Pepsi, they get more involved.
– For TV you’re looking for production companies that are working on particular TV shows – you can find these by watching the credits on any show that you think your music could fit with.
– Films are no trickier, check out Variety – you want the general status of the film to be in post production (where they typically are licensing the music).
– Most major video game companies have music departments that deal with licensing the music they want and hiring composers. For composing custom, you need to be in touch with the “audio” folks. For music, they’ll have separate people of varying titles. Some googling goes a long way
Also, if you have a bunch of scratch tracks that never turned into songs, or songs that were never released, I highly recommend digging them up. It’s nice to have more to offer. You can also mess around with cutting them down into 30 and 60-second versions.
If I were you, I’d start talking to your really good friends and see how many of them know someone at an agency, production company, or work in TV & film. You might be surprised. Then try to arrange a meeting with that person (or if you know someone directly, even better).
More questions? Let me know – and seriously, the newsletter will be useful to you in a lot of ways.
Also, I go into A LOT more detail about building genuine relationships and how to put your best foot forward when pitching yourself. I’ve also covered some great info on what to say when you find a great connection.
Again, you can sign up here.