Music Licensing Update: Placement Round Up (Success)

Music Licensing Update: Placement Round Up (Success)


90 Day Music Licensing Challenge ReviewAs promised here are all the placements I’ve received utilizing the 90 Day Music Licensing Challenge for 2013. 10 months ago I made a post sharing my first placement (actually 2 placements) utilizing the material offered in the music licensing challenge. Since then I’ve been updating you all with my progress and goals, and through those, I’ve hinted about other success stories.

The goal was to update you with those in real-time, but that didn’t work out as planned, had to toss it on the back burner. Balancing projects, life, and my site… Something had to give 🙁 (Sorry about that).

So, let me give you a clear rundown of what has been going on “placement wise” utilizing the 90 Day Challenge


Placements From Music Libraries

March/April 2013: Absolutely nothing! Nor was I expecting anything. I know libraries are a hit or miss, and it takes time to get things rolling. Uploading, tagging, approval times… It all takes time, even more reason to get on the ball with this stuff. The sooner the better.

May 2013: Still no placements from music libraries, but I did have a successful moment when I reverse-engineered the norm. I was able to get a little over 200 paying clients from music licensing companies who rejected my music.

Sounds wild right? → I explain in detail (down below) how I was able to turn the tables in my favor. From those contacts, I landed 9 gigs and 3-4 of them paid me up front.

What About The Other 5

Right now I’m set to start 2 of them next month (Jan 2014) and was able to negotiate 20% upfront, and the rest on the back-end. Those payments should post to my account 1st week of Jan 2014.

The remaining 3 are still up in the air, 2 companies are trying to figure out a few things, and 1 is negotiating with their HR to give me access to their software 🙂

More on this later though. I don’t want to jump back and forth between dates too much.

June/July 2013: 5 library placements, all sync (no back-end) for a whopping → $117.00. Yea, those fees were a little low, especially after the library took their cut. But, seriously, it’s $117 I didn’t have to begin with, and I still own the rights to the music, so nothing to really complain about here.

August/September: Near the end of August I collected $2,700 in upfront payments from 4 clients (mentioned above). Aside from that NADA! It would have been cool to match or beat the previous placements, but I wasn’t going to get my hopes up.

It can be a roller coaster with music libraries. 1 month you might have 17, the next → nothing. Or, your gains may climb for a few months, and then drop  → Just like a roller coaster.

October/November: 11 more sync licenses (still no back-end) totaling $340 (I’m rounding here). That’s not a lot, but I mean, it is a car payment, some bills, or extra $ I can toss in an interest-bearing account. In my case, I used it for XMAS gifts! 🙂

December: Only 1 so far, but the month isn’t over! I’ll update this on New Years Day :). Oh, and my cut was around $10.00. That’s barely 2 gallons of gas where I live.

Update (12/31/13) – So it looks like $10.00 was it


Placements From Music Supervisors

Where to begin…. Well, 1st off, I had a little success with small placements at the beginning of this challenge, both coming from music supervisors.

February/March: You already know about my 1st couple of placements →  here is that link once again. I made nothing throughout the rest of the year, but an interesting update in April and May.

April/May 2013: Judi (one of the supervisors) contacts me out of the blue to update me on our last project. Turns out she cut ties with the company, and the project they were working on. The music was never used, and she wanted to know if she could use it for something else and if she’d have to pay another sync fee.

Why did she bother asking? Because in our agreement the music was meant for the corp vid and nothing else. I found this to be very professional of her → sign of good business etiquette.

Did I charge her a 2nd Sync Fee?

No, I didn’t. I didn’t charge her anything we just added an addendum to the previous contract. Was this a smart move? I think so. I was more interested in securing the business relationship than making a few more extra bucks.

I’m sure I could have done both, but I felt my choice was the right thing to do.

What Would You Have Done?

Let me know what you would have done in this situation. I’m interested in reading everyone’s response.


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50 thoughts on “Music Licensing Update: Placement Round Up (Success)

  1. I think I would have done both – the addendum and a fee – but I definitely see the value in not charging a second sync fee to maintain the business relationship. I think it’s a good idea for composers to give away a small portion of their work to develop relationships and generate interest. I think it helps to think of it as an advertising expense. It’s also important to really understand what a client is looking for. Sometimes they’re not even sure what they’re looking for, and that’s an opportunity for the composer to help the client figure it out. Good clients will remember that about you, and that will help you move to the top of their call list.

    1. Hi Steve,

      I agree with that →

      give away a small portion of their work to develop relationships and generate interest

      Yes, and that’s what it’s all about, building good relationships with people who know they can rely on you

  2. I think it was a smart move. It’s all about connections in this business (or any one really). Hopefully it ends up being something for you.

    Thanks for being so candid.

  3. Securing a good business relationship over a quick buck is definitely the better option. It allows for the opportunity of more opening doors.

  4. I’m glad you sent this out, because it’s made me realize that I missed a bunch of your posts on the 90-day challenge. I’m excited to have more information!

    1. Kipp,

      funny I wasn’t going to send an email I figured everyone was already following it. Glad the email brought you back up to speed. I try to update the case study at least once a month (on average). It’ll actually be an ongoing update! 🙂

  5. Not charging the second sync fee was a pretty good move and I can understand why you did that. Sometimes the relationship is more important than the money itself, and can provide so much more on the back end (including more opportunities for money). Personally, I feel I would have done the same in that situation, especially taking into consideration that she was professional enough to communicate with you about the situation and still wanting to do business with you.

    1. Hi McCoy,
      I was glad that she informed me. She’s the type of person I wouldn’t mind giving a batch of tracks to and saying “let me know what happens”

  6. One thing I love about Greg is he doesn’t pull any punches or beat around the bush. Thanks for just being you bro. Looking forward to 2014 and the wide array opportunities that will undoubtedly present themselves to those the continue to work hard at your craft, whatever that might be. Mr. Savage, keep up the good work sir! Your efforts are noted and greatly appreciated.

    1. Franz,
      good to see you and and thanks for the compliments. I try to be as direct as possible. Some people don’t like it, but hey it is who I am 🙂

      thanks again

  7. I don’t believe I would have charged her a second sync fee (although I would have been tempted). You did the right thing. As far as libraries, it doesn’t sound like I’d be wise to spend much time on such a roller coaster. Thanks for sharing your insight!

    1. Hi Kristopher,

      I wouldn’t throw music libraries out the door. They certainly do have their place, but I wouldn’t rely on them being the sole source of income.
      They are good to be apart of especially if you can find quality ones. Even if you found 10 libraries that brought in an extra $100 dollars a month (collectively), that’s an extra $100.00 you didn’t have

      Also, if they are non exclusive libraries you have the freedom to resale that track (or tracks) as many times as you like.
      But as I said, don’t let it be your “only” method of placements

      thanks for stopping by, what are you plans for 2014?

  8. I would have done the same thing you did Greg. A long term relationship is definitely more valuable than a quick buck.

  9. I agree with your approach and would not have charged her 2 sync fees. Got to play the long game and be fair with the people you need. You asked on your Google+ post for ideas of what we want to hear from you. I’m very interested in advice on what genres are most likely to generate the best returns on our investment of time and costs (session singers etc.).

  10. Would def have treated her the same as you did, Greg. Fingers crossed for you (and all of us) that this coming year opens lots of doors to musical sustainability!

  11. I agree that the addendum without the 2nd sync fee was a good move. I’ve enjoyed following along with your challenge. I came across it not too long ago and actually signed up for the course myself because I was so intrigued. My husband is a musician and I am fascinated with music and film and I’m working to try to get placements for him.

    I like your honest representation on your blog and in your web videos, which I also subscribe to. It’s nice to see someone who admits they only made $10 so far on licensing this month. I’d like to see more details on other ways you network and get your music out there, outside of the 90 Day Challenge. Are there any groups or organizations that you find useful?

    Thanks for keeping us informed and entertained and I wish you much continued success in 2014!

    1. Hi Melody,

      so are you taking the role of your husband’s agent or manager? If so, I think that’s great. It’s hard working toward something without having family support.

      I think nothing is stronger for a man or woman than knowing their other half believes in them and their goals.

      I like you post idea, I just have to break it all down into easy to understand posts.

      Thanks again for your support Melody

      1. Yes, I am his “manager” so I tell him he has to do as I say. ha! Seriously though, I fully believe in him and support what he does and you’re right… the support of a loved one can go a long way. I also understand that it can be hard for a musician or artist to “self-promote”. For one, your time can be better spent making good music. Secondly, it’s not always easy to sell yourself, and lastly, rejection sucks. So I figure I can be that “third-party” that can be the salesperson / business person / rejection-taker and make things much easier on him, allowing him to fully focus on his music.

        I love learning the whole process and thanks to you, and Aaron (90 day) and others, it’s challenging and interesting and fun. Keep it up!

    1. Hi Laman,

      how have you been? You’re right you one can never know what the future holds, but we can try to nudge and align ourselves in position to accept all that it has to offer

  12. “Green” as I may be to this side of the industry, I too would have placed making a stronger business connection ahead of any additional monies. I’m curious to know though, what would’ve happened if the band didn’t agree with this new placement? How would you avoid burning this bridge?

    1. Hi Jennyfer,
      I don’t work with a band or collaborative partners so I’m in control of the music. But, lets say I did work with a band and the other members were not ok with the idea and wanted another fee.

      Well, she’d have to pay another fee. I would try to lessen the sour taste by sending her something of mine sort of like a 2 for 1 deal. Something that I own and my partner/band doesn’t.

      This wouldn’t be an issue of the members are all on the same page and it’s important to work with people who all share the same goals.

  13. Thanks for this, it’s really useful. I like to see some detailed results like that, it’s always good to have “real life” examples. It gives you an idea of what you can expect overall, although every person gets different results.

    And it definately would have been tempting to charge a 2nd sync fee, but sometimes you have to think about long term business relationships, and not charging her a 2nd sync fee was a good move in my opinion.

  14. I think you did the right thing with Judy, the woman you spoke of. Definitely show her/them that you’re flexible, you’re a team player and you’re not greedy and ust about the money.

    Re: your Google+ post, I’d love to read more about your experience with Music Supervisors. How you approached them, in person vs. online, etc.

    Also I’m interested to hear about your particular workflow in Logic Pro X specifically when you’re writing quickly and adding to your database of music.

    Finally: one of my New Year’s resolutions is a big one: mastering the process of getting everything in my head into my DAW and out to clients as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    Have a safe new year.


    1. Hi Russell,

      That’s a good resolution, and one that will take some time to work out. Great post ideas, I have those on “will do” list. As far as my logic x workflow, it’s the exact same as my Reason workflow, which is why it was vital for me to get my templates ported over.

      Don’t worry I’ll go into detail about this as well

  15. A lot of great information here…. I’m trying to follow them all but as you know juggling sites, work, & family can make you put certain things on the back burner. I keep getting music opportunities in my inbox but many are from Music Clout, Music Xray, & many other companies looking for a monthly fee before they help. I haven’t heard many getting paid from these sites so I have resorted in doing ALL the leg work myself. I did however talk to a Producer in the UK who sold some music to Porche & went the back way around & didn’t use any of these so called sites. It seems lately my music has even taken a back burner because I’m trying to be more business orientated & learn all I can. I have TONS of music to sell, drukits, beast & offer my Audio Engineering service to those who have a budget. I wish you all much success in the years to come.

    -Moshae Music

    1. Hi Moshae,
      People do get placements from services such as: Music X-Ray, BroadJam, and other services that require fee’s, but they can be pain to use because you’re constantly “spending”, and majority of the time without any ROI.

      I know it can be hard with life, music, and trying to maintain everything. The way I get by is utilizing organization tools which help me allocate time to specific things.

      If you don’t outline your work week/day everything can get out of control. I know you have a family, but you have to let them know that between 1pm and 3pm (or whatever time) you can’t be bothered.

      If you have to leave home in order to be more productive do that. Sometimes I “have” to go to starbucks or anywhere away from home otherwise nothing will get done

  16. Greg,
    It seems the more I pursue music licensing the harder it seems to be to know where to start, or more than that, what to keep working at.

    I’m afraid I’ve never got enough tracks, or the tracks I have need to be reworked, etc. I’m relieved to see that other people seem to get stuck in the same boat.

    I’m trying to be more organized, while being more creative at the same time, and getting more of each facet completed.

    1. Durwood,

      Maybe I should make a easy to follow outline? Would that be of help to you? I can’t say I show the best way or path, but I can show what works for me and maybe from there others will chime in with tweaks and alternative methods.

      Let me know what you think

  17. I would have probably done the same with that particular client just because of her professionalism. That indeed is hard to find! When you find your business match then you know down the line your opportunities together should reflect great business!

  18. In 2014 I intend to keep working on finding a balance between working hard on my craft (composition, production and performance) and not beating myself up when the success doesn’t come as quickly as I hoped. Music is a tough path but it’s very rewarding work. 30 years from now when I look back at my career it’s how I hope to leave my mark.

    I like +Will Avery’s suggestion “What was an unlikely/surprising source/lead to some project?” Hearing these stories from others really resonates with me and I think it has helped me create some opportunities for myself in certain situations.

    +Ryan Davies makes a good point about how easy it is to fall into the “latest and greatest” software trap. Some folks spend too much time learning the next new big thing without taking a step back to evaluate if that time spent really pays off. We all know time is money so we must plan wisely.

    At the end of the day the enjoyment that comes from creating music is what drives me and many others here. As long as we “keep on keepin on” our musical opportunities are limitless.

  19. Greg, I would have done the same thing. A good relationship with a Music Supervisor can go a long way. In most cases they become a advocate for getting you paid when the budget permits. So, I’m sure when that big sync opportunity comes up, she’ll remember how flexible your were and give you the call.

  20. I love the updates on how this course is working for you. I’ve had some placements; mostly from my connections from over the years. Since I’ve been able to keep my live productions going strong, I’ve let the recorded productions slide off. I still keep writing. But I haven’t been submitting.

    What I’ve been doing since the beginning of this year is streamlining my studio. I use Sonar. I have a batch of vsti synths. I often get distracted by all the possibilities. So I like your comments about keeping it simple.

    I would have done the same thing with Judy as well. It’s all about relationships in business. Trust is the corner stone. You will both remember this and I’m interested to keep following where this leads for you in the months and years ahead.

  21. Thanks for exposing your life an earnings licensing music. You have provided a clear reality of how the how licensing system is working through your experiences. Thanks Greg learning a lot from you. What music libraries would you recommend?

    1. Hey Cnote, no problem. While my small success through the licensing challenge isn’t a home-run, it’s definitely a good addition to portfolio and I’m sure it’ll grow over time. The libraries I recommend are listed in the licensing section of this site as well as in the free membership area.

  22. hey Greg. So much good information. I agree with some of the other comments about knowing where to start. When you are just trying to begin this whole journey of music licensing journey I feel like a simple, to do outline would be great. Just to get someone who is starting out on the right path. Thanks again for all your information.

  23. Yo greg I would agree man in this line of business it more about who you know then what you know. You cannot replace a good relationship with someone that can really help you out in the long run. I would have done the same.

  24. Hi Greg.
    This case study has been fantastic. I’ve read every post a couple of times! Thanks for including some pricing comparisons in there. It’s hard to know what to charge when starting out.

    I’m really keen to take the 90 day challenge. I’m based in Australia. Do you think that it is unrealistic to think I could successfully negotiate and set up work from here? The Australian market is a little smaller so I’d love to be able to work internationally.


  25. Greg,

    I honestly, think that was a wise move of not charging her extra, but screening her moves and making a good judgment call for future business/relationship.

    You’ve got some awesome knowledge on here. Thanks for that.


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