Licensing and placements are a major source of income for musicians. Some musicians live exclusively off the royalties they earn through strategic placements.
Although it does get talked about a lot, it’s surprising that it doesn’t get talked about more. Even for independents, licensing represents a good opportunity.
You might think that major label artists have the upper hand but that’s not necessarily the case. If you’re tenacious and have the right connections, you can get your music placed in media too.
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Where Can I Go To Get My Music Placed?
That’s what we’re about to get into, and make no mistake about it, there are plenty of companies that can help you get your music into TV, films, games and beyond.
What should be said at the outset is that every company is a little different.
Some require you to sign over exclusive rights to the music you submit, while others do not.
Some will be proactive in finding placement opportunities for you, while others will just maintain a catalog that filmmakers and others can browse and license at their convenience.
Some are opportunity directories. Others have direct access to people who are looking for music they can use in their projects.
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way. But based on your goals, you should always be mindful of what you’re signing up for.
With that, here are 11 of the best and most well-known licensing companies around.
TAXI – A Popular Music Licensing Company
Some industry blogs seem to talk about TAXI as though they are small-time, irrelevant, or a tiny footnote on the industry’s epic history.
But just think about this for a second. They have the domain name, taxi.com. Yeah, that’s how long they’ve been around. They’ve connected plenty of musicians with great opportunities.
In many ways, TAXI is still at the top of the heap and for good reason.
Their service isn’t cheap by any means. But when you sign up for TAXI you also get access to the Road Rally convention, which many artists say more than makes up for membership dues.
TAXI will help you get your music into the hands of major and independent record labels, film and TV supervisors, music publishers, production music libraries, commercials, movie trailers and more.
Note that you can also check out up-to-date opportunities entirely for free on their website.
The UK-based Music Vine was established in 2015. It’s a great place for independent filmmakers and video creators to find music that’s suited to their project.
If you decide to work with Music Vine, they require that you submit your music exclusively to their platform. They will, however, accept up to 50% of your catalog as non-exclusive.
Payouts are made monthly and if you land an exclusive license, you get to keep 60% for the sale. It’s 35% if it’s a non-exclusive deal.
Music Vine maintains a small catalog of expertly crafted music. So, they’re not going to work with you unless they think your music is perfect for their clients.
Naturally, that makes it easier for filmmakers to find what they’re looking for, so it seems to me that Music Vine likes their system just fine.
It’s a cool company to work with, but it’s unlikely that every artist will have a chance to work with them.
If someone’s looking for high-quality tracks for their film, commercial or corporate content, Artlist is where they flock to.
From Google to Facebook, there are plenty of big companies with Artlist subscriptions. And, they don’t mind paying the yearly fee of $199 for unlimited access.
Their library is made up of independent artists from around the globe, producing a wide variety of musical styles and genres.
So, even if no one knows who you are and hasn’t heard your music, you might just have a chance with Artlist.
Your music should still be professionally mixed and mastered, mind you.
Since it’s such a highly trafficked site, I think it would be worth giving Artlist a try.
Musicbed Licenses Music For Film
Musicbed is another platform filmmakers turn to so they can find quality music for their project.
And, their content is high-quality. No wonder they’ve attracted so many well-known brands like Samsung, Netflix and Amazon.
As such, the barriers to entry are kind of high. Your music better be good.
Additionally, they only accept submissions on a bi-annual basis. You’d better be on top of it if the opportunity presents itself.
So, Musicbed is a great place to go to if you’re a professional songwriter or producer. It may not be the best place for small independent artists to try to find licensing deals.
It’s clear that Musicbed takes pride in everything they do. Their site reflects it and so does their catalog. Getting to work with them would be a significant accomplishment.
Portland-based Marmoset has plenty of high-profile clients including Adidas, ESPN, Microsoft, Adobe and others.
They maintain a roster of music from meticulously curated independent artists and bands as well as record labels.
Nevertheless, they’re not looking for just anyone to submit music to their platform. Their standards are high.
But that also means if your music is chosen, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to capitalize on your presence. So, if you can get on Marmoset, it's worth it.
Soundstripe Offer Unlimited Licenses Of Music
Soundstripe works a lot like Artlist in that they offer unlimited music subscriptions to their clients.
Subscribers can use the music however they choose, whether it’s in a YouTube video or a commercial.
So, anyone looking for loads of quality music they can use in their productions is sure to love what Soundstripe has to offer.
Although they aren’t currently accepting applications from artists, they will be in the future.
So, if you’re shopping around for a platform where you can submit your music, it’s worth keeping an eye on Soundstripe.
YouTube content creators love Epidemic Sound. So, if you’d like to hear more of your music in YouTube videos, this would be a good place to submit your music to.
Oddly, they work with artists who aren’t registered with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO). I’m not entirely sure if that’s a pro or a con, but certainly something to be aware of.
If you’re a new artist who doesn’t have all their memberships set up yet, it’s an option worth considering.
Epidemic Sound pays artists upfront for exclusive rights to their tracks, to the tune of $100 to $1,000 per song.
They also push the music on popular streaming playlists and split streaming revenues with artists 50-50.
If I wasn’t already registered with a PRO, I would consider working with Epidemic Sound because I like what they’re up to.
Jingle Punks works with over 4,000 independent composers, artists and bands. They serve some of the world’s biggest clients in TV, film, radio and more.
Jingle Punks offers artists an exclusive agreement. Artists get to keep 50% of sync licensing fees.
They require that all tracks be fully produced (mixed and mastered). They don’t accept cover songs, demos or works in progress.
Additionally, you can only send links to your tracks from your website, SoundCloud or Bandcamp.
As with many other companies on this list, Jingle Punks serves a massive client base, so if you get a chance to work with them, it’s worth a shot.
Audio Network Is Another music Licensing Company You Can Get Your Music Placed On
Audio Network has a catalog of over 100,000 carefully curated tracks, representing over 750 artists, producers and composers.
Artists don’t always like that word, “curated”, because it typically means a company only works with a small group of artists. And, Audio Network certainly is no exception.
Still, they say they’re looking for music from artists in all genres.
So, if you’re interested in working with them, visit their website and send over your tracks via SoundCloud or YouTube.
As with TAXI, Broadjam is kind of the “old guard” of placement companies.
Artists can gain access to more than 100 music licensing opportunities per day via their industry job board.
Since companies always post guidelines for the type of music they’re looking for, you can get a good sense of the kind of music supervisors are looking for right now (hint – it’s often just one or two genres at a given time).
Now, Broadjam won’t do anything on your behalf to help you get licensing deals. That’s the case with many sites that anyone can easily sign up for and access.
So, in this case, you get what you put into it. At the same time, there’s basically no barriers to entry.
If you’re thinking about joining a bunch of sites that have a running list of licensing opportunities, it’s worth adding Broadjam to your list.
Yet another old guard music licensing company, but no less important, Music Xray, like Broadjam, features a job board for independent artists.
Although you can join for free, there is a fee attached to submissions.
If you do a bit of Googling, you’ll likely see plenty of discussions and blog posts covering the legitimacy of Music Xray.
Is it legit? Of course, it is. You may not make the big bucks scanning opportunities on Music Xray. At least they’re available.
And, while it is well-known, Music Xray does not represent the best opportunity out there. More likely, it’s a place you’d go to test out your material if you’re just getting started.
Are There Other Companies That Can Help Me Get My Music Placed?
There is a huge list of sites not mentioned here. When it comes right down to it, you can even find opportunities on sites like Fugue, Audiio (you can see our Audiio review here), ReverbNation and Sonicbids.
I think what company you work with is at least partially going to depend on what stage you are in your career.
If you’re an established songwriter or composer and have access to quality production, you might set your sights on the companies that have carefully curated catalogs.
Meanwhile, if you aren’t established and have limited access to quality production, you might rely more on sites like YouLicense and others already mentioned.
As you’ve already guessed, whether to enter an exclusive contract is another point worth considering before you jump into a deal.
Working with companies that actively help you find opportunities is ideal.
Of course, you might be required to build yourself up to the point where you can work with a company who cares that much about your music.
So, if you’re just getting started, you’ll need to do all the legwork, which will be a mix of developing industry relationships and hunting for opportunities you’re well suited for.
That’s another important point to consider, since you may not play every genre of music. You need to go after opportunities where your music fits, always.
So, do your research, make great music, submit to relevant opportunities and keep upgrading your skills.
If you stick with the process, you should be able to land better and better placement opportunities.
Best Music Licensing Companies That Can Get Your Music Placed, Final Thoughts
Signing up with a licensing company does not guarantee success by any means.
Success is dependent on hard work and your ability and willingness to give music supervisors what they’re looking for.
So, if you’re serious about placements, think of it as a full-time job making and submitting your music.
If you’d just like a bit of mailbox money, then maybe you could upload your music to a music library and leave it at that. You might get a placement. You might not.
Regardless, it’s an opportunity worth exploring, even if the competition is significant.