Music Licensing Challenge: How Many Placements Will I Get In 90 Days?

Music Licensing Challenge: How Many Placements Will I Get In 90 Days?

This Music Licensing Case Study is full of tips and gems I ‘still’ use in 2021.

Music LicensingI participated in Aaron Davison’s 90 Day Music Licensing Challenge” Jan/2013

This is a case study in which I document my every move throughout the length of the course. You’ll see everything from the gear and music applications I use, down to my work ethics (everything!).

Just one guy, a simple music production setup, and a licensing course.

– No mastering engineers, no sessions players …None of that

My goal here is not only to educate but to inspire those who are either in or thinking of getting into music licensing and the only way to do this is by being transparent, not just with success, but with mistakes and failure as well.



Music Licensing Challenge Video Transcription

Hey guys, This is Greg from Diy Music Biz and I just wanted to tell you about the case study I’ll be doing on a music licensing course made by Aaron Davidson called ‘The 90 Day Music Licensing Challenge’. What Aaron does in the 90 Day Challenge is take somebody from ground zero, someone with no experience or very little experience with music licensing and helps them get their music licensed.

Sync Licensing Case Study

So, I think doing a case study on this will be good, because, people who are new often get frustrated and I think it would be good to show them how a real person goes about putting forth his methods into action. How they take frustration how,  success, what they’re doing on a day-to-day, how they’re actually abiding by the plan and the workflow and I also think it’d be really good inspiration.

Another good thing would be to give Aaron a really good testimonial for his product. I don’t think there are many people doing case studies on music training/music business products, so I’d like to be the 1st one.

I’m going to have to step outside of my comfort zone and set aside my biases, I know we have two different workflows, so it will be a learning experience for sure. Now I primarily stick to instrumentals and I know Aaron does a mix of instruments and vocals. He also runs his own pitch company and has a publisher.

So if you are into this and think it’s something you want to follow along and stay in-tuned with go to Diy Music Biz, subscribe to the newsletter. The updates won’t be shared on YouTube… Only the newsletter. If you want to join The 90 Day Challenge (for yourself) go to, which is Aaron’s site, hopefully, I got the address right.

Other than that, please do subscribe, pass this video along. Feel free to contact me via email or my YouTube channel. You can ask me any questions you may have and please let me know what topics you would like me to cover in the future.

Don’t forget to subscribe, this way you can get all the future updates to this case study.


More Posts In The 90 Day Music Licensing Challenge Series

001: I’m already behind/studio gear being used (1/06/2013)

002: Finally Caught Up/Licensing Contracts (1/16/13)

003: Music Licensing Success After 1 month? (2/05/2013)

004: Payments Finally Cleared! (02/21-2013)

005 : Tying Up Loose Ends/Cd Submissions (03/12/13)

006: My Music Demos Were Rejected!? (03/23/13)

007: Music Licensing Takes Patience (04/02/13)

008: Bounce Back From Rejection (04/17/13)

009: Music Libraries Are Biased (05/09/13)

010: Obtained 200 Paying Clients (05/25/13)

11: Music Demo Submission Split Test (06/17/13)

90 Music Licensing Day Challenge Full Review (07/04/2013)


Results After The 90 Day Mark (It Gets Better)

Rejected My Demo But Still, Put Money In My Pocket? (08/31/2013)

Demo Submission Results (Snippets vs Full Songs) (12/12/2013)

Music Licensing Success (Placements) 06/15/2014

Music Placement Update Jan 2015





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61 thoughts on “Music Licensing Challenge: How Many Placements Will I Get In 90 Days?

  1. Hey Greg, do you find that once a track has been chosen for a placement that they request stems for each track so it can be remixed and mastered or do they typically use the exact stereo track that they preview? Thanks so much.

  2. Hi Uprightest,
    Sometimes they do, it just depends on what it’s being used for. Most of the time they’re using the music as is, lowering it beneath the dialog, they’re expecting your music to sound good upon delivery.

    I’ve never been asked for stems as in a full track out but I have been asked send alternative versions (without synth, without bass etc).

    A lot of these clients don’t want to do any extra work they have too much on their hands as is,but again it does depend on the project.

  3. Nice one for the video’s Greg. Ill have to catch up with you in the new year and get some advice if you have the time. I’ve been accepted to submit to pump audio, and not sure what to send in! Happy New year BTW.

  4. This is a great thing you’re doing for the community. There aren’t many people out there doing this kind of stuff. Do you use a lot of live instruments or are you strictly software?

  5. I gotta say I haven’t researched you at all. I actually ran across one of your videos by chance. You are so down to earth I’m not sure I even have to research your credentials. I like you. Can’t wait to see and hear more!!

  6. Hey Greg,

    I just started getting into licensing after watching one of your youtube videos. I’m thinking about signing up for your course. I’m assuming the tutorials are video right?

  7. Hi Greg, I started reading your material about 6 months ago. I used to be a working/touring musician and realized that I wanted to be more independent. I write, sing and play guitar, so I learned to record. Music licensing has been the goal. I hit a wall with mixing, and needed input — and knowledge! — of other people to re-moivate myself. I’ve been teaching guitar and vocals to pay the bills, and keeping that going can easily suck up all my time if I let it. Reading your posts helps me to keep my eye on the prize. I’m re-evaluating my little goals and my little commitments for the next few months. And I just started gigging with a trio ( — lol, I’m the “person of color”), and the two guys in it ARE BOTH STUDIO ENGINEERS. Omg — some HELP! 🙂 Thanks for doing what you do. Seriously.

    1. Hi Kipp,
      nice to meet you. I’ve always wanted to learn the guitar. Picked up a bass a few months ago, and now it’s just sitting in the corner :(. I need to get on the ball. If you don’t mind me asking

      → “how long where you touring?”

      Nice vid, now “gigging” are you doing all over or just locally? I ask because depending on which there are different ways to capitalize on the gigging

      Ps – glad you enjoy the site

      1. Hi Greg,

        Nice to meet you too!

        As far as the “learning a new instrument” goes, it’s just time, isn’t it? I need to get my keyboard chops up, since after all, I AM programming parts! We’ve learned to be disciplined people, and sometimes we just have to have some faith in our own abilities to prioritize. I wish you the best with the bass. 🙂

        I toured and gigged locally for a living for about 15 years (in the States, Mexico, & Puerto Rico with reggae artists and bands), and then ended up teaching guitar for several more.

        The trio I’m working with now is all about casuals (corporate parties, anniversaries, coming-of-age parties, etc.), and we’ve been talking about ways to make our presentation scream “CLASS ACT!” so that we can book the high-end casuals. And STAY there. We do all soft rock “covers” of tunes from the 70’s – 90’s, so we’re looking at an older demographic.

        I’m impressed with your ability to respond to all of us leaving comments!

        1. Kipp,
          you’re right it is time and maybe some motivation. Yea, I touched that bass and my fingers were hurting after an hour..Love the sound though.

          I think you guys are targeting a good market. I’d also look into indie improve acts. One just closed down near me and they did a lot of improve comedy fused with music, lots of parodies.

          Sad they closed, but they were running strong for years before throwing in the towel.

  8. Good to see documented updates of the process. Do you find it equally hard for TV/film/video game placements or is one harder than the other?

    1. Hi McCoy,
      I wouldn’t say the one is necessarily harder than the other, it just depends on what you’re trying to do or what you’re going after.

      Here’s a good example:

      TV/Film: Theme songs and jingles will almost always be harder than placing underscores. When you talk about jingles and themes you’re now getting into branding. An underscore isn’t as crucial, it just needs to fit a mood.

      Also, scoring is a lot harder to do as well (in my opinion)

      Video Games: Can be difficult, but it depends on who you’re working with. Some companies will only want people who understand linear arrangements and how games actually work
      It’s not always as simple as snagging a song and tossing it in the mix.

      It also depends on how big the company is and their budget.

  9. Thanks Greg,
    I’ve known about Aaron’s 90 day challenge for a couple of years and it’s something I’m considering joining in 2014.

  10. Fascinating and really informative, Greg. I kinda came back into contact with you when I realized the person sending me occasional emails is one of the same (Top Poster) members whose posts I read on the linkedin group—Music PAL. Also interested in hearing how you were able to “reverse engineer” Aaron’s list! Good luck thi coming year. Hope it’s the best yet!

    1. Hi Hank,
      Ah… small world 🙂

      Actually the reverse engineering is supplied in this very post, well the link to the post is supplied here. I would start from my “music demo rejection” the reverse engineering initial spun from there and then lead into what I was doing with those who rejected my music

      Let me know if you have any other questions my friend.

      1. Kipp’s right, it’s impressive how you respond to our posts! I’ll read through and get the reverse-engineering topic. Hey, out of the blue: Chris Daniels and the Kings? Guitarist Bruce Jones is old (yes, old) friend…
        Happy New Year! Looking forward to a great one.

        1. Hi Hank,

          I try to dedicate time here and there to respond to comments. I figure people are nice enough to leave them, the least I could do is reply. I use the “speech to text” function on my phone :). Makes things a lot easier.

  11. Thanks for the email reminders about the courses. I’ll definitely be getting back to videos/audios. I wonder though, just how different it is to market and place someone else’s music apart from ones own? Can you explore this subject please? Thanks.

    1. Hi Jennyfer,
      This is a good question and it’s really a toss up because there are a few factors that come into play here

      1) How easy it is to work with the writer or composer
      2) is there ready for tv/film? Having good music is great, but is it ready for the platform?
      3) You have very little control over their sound as opposed to your own
      4) Are you ready to wear the manager or agent hat?

      Those are some things to think about, I will dive a little further into this in either a post or a video for you

  12. Greg, I’ve been bogged down trying to upgrade my production skills, get the music business end covered (creating a logo, incorporating, etc.) and sort of left off submitting to licensing opportunities. I guess it’s time to get back to that now. Your email is a kick in the a** to restart that phase again. Thanks

    1. Hi Durwood,

      Never stop submitting, even if you don’t feel it’s your best material. Even if you don’t think it’s good enough. Never stop submitting.

  13. Honestly, I hate blogs (especially music information blogs) but I ran into yours earlier this year and it is very informative & has seemed to keep my interest. I love the way you do not hide the fact that this (like every other job) is hard work. Although people are around mass amounts of information, people still fail sometimes because of the lack of work ethic or it’s not their niche. I appreciate the real information you give Greg (and not a get rich quick scam). Honestly, I’m just waiting to see what you have to offer in the future and how far you’re going in the next year because you deserve it!


    1. Gina,
      I know exactly what you mean. I really dislike the sites where as soon as you land on the page there is a pop up trying to sell me something. It’s like

      “wow! I don’t even know where I am yet! Hold on!”

      Or they are pitching something they don’t even do themselves, they are affiliates of something they know nothing about just trying to make a quick buck.

      mmm that might be a future post for me

      Anyway, I appreciate your honesty and support (especially on twitter) over the last year, means a lot.
      You’re right, being in the wrong market or not understanding the market is wheel spinning

  14. 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.

  15. Good day,
    How effective is cd baby and tune ores ability to license,place and collect royalties for you.Both companies have similar programs that claim to also collect royalties overseas as well.Looking forward to your reply and thank you for the emails.


    Garth Morgan

  16. Hey Greg,

    Some questions for you and/or the readers…

    We’d all love to make more money from our music.

    I can produce stuff pretty quickly & I’ve got a lot of tracks in number of different shows with different networks. My main issue is finding a good conduit to market my music at a higher price. I’ve had a few upfront payments but my main income is royalty-based. Don’t get me wrong, I love royalties but it would be great to have more of a mix of upfront payments.

    I’m basically looking for a channel who says “this is what we want – compose it and if we like it we’ll pay you some money”. Not sure if I’m dreaming here but everything else in my working life seems to work this way – from the mechanic fixing my car to booking a holiday. I’m just not sure if it’s a case of finding the right channel/person/company?

    I have Aaron’s 2014 “Music Licensing Business Directory” and have been following your blogs about your successes – congrats on them. Given “business goals” is topical I was wondering how you chose where you sent your tracks? I compose in multiple genres and and enjoy a lot of them (I’m sure I’m stronger in some than others) but, being a “generalist” where do you focus your attention Publishers, Libraries, Music Supervisors, Video Game Companies, Advertising Agencies?

    I’d be really keen to find out where you had the most success. I guess this is in the eyes of the beholder but I’m not talking “success” from the “Library” who takes everything but more from the best cash-return, business point of view.

    1. Hi Jon,

      For bigger sync fees, it boils down to the following

      1. connect with producers (film)/directors personally. They are the ones calling the shots and okaying the music in the end.

      2. Freelance for ad agencies and or production houses

      3. Connect with the owners of plugging services

      How I chose where I sent my tracks?

      As explained in the case study, I went for libraries that had terms I was ok with and I looked for those with online submission options, skipped those that didn’t

      What Do I focus on?
      I focus my efforts on music supervisors, libraries and filmmakers/people who can say yes or no.

      As far as best cash return, directly connecting. Library wise, it’s pumpaudio

      1. Thanks Greg. As always I really appreciate your time and feedback.

        I’ve meant to shoot some audition tracks through to PumpAudio/Getty Images for a while and your last comment reminded me to do it right now.

        I put you down as the reason I heard of them. Not sure if that help you at all?

      2. Greg, how do you recommend connecting with film producers and directors, by email or phone? I have to imagine they’re inundated with unsolicited email from composers and that they see it as spam, so how does a composer cut through the noise?

        With respect to freelancing for ad agencies and production houses, do you recommend starting locally?

        Can you name one or two plugging services? My question about connecting with owners of those services is the same as above – if by email, how do you get their attention? I have found that “I’m a composer, I’d like to write for you, here’s a link to my demo” isn’t very effective.

        1. Hi Steve,

          For connecting with professionals (anyone) → Phone and email both work. I mostly use social media as shown in the twitter module in the free members area.

          When connecting by email, I use the same template I outlined in the licensing challenge.

          As far as freelancing and starting locally or not. I don’t know. If being able to visit and shake someone’s hand is important, sure local is the way to go. If not, then I wouldn’t make it a priority.

          I think working with clients locally is easier because you’ll be cheaper when compared to agencies

          There’s a lot of pitching/plug services: perfect pitch, crucial music. Some libraries pitch as as well if they have a division for it.

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