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Looking to get your music into commercials, TV shows, films, video games, and other media?
Who wouldn’t, right?
Broadly speaking, this is called music licensing. And there are different companies that can help connect your music to decision makers (often music supervisors). Some are self-serve, and some are more hands-on. Some actively promote your music, some do not.
In this hands-on guide, we look specifically at Songtradr, which is a multi-faceted company offering music licensing services. Are they any good? Let’s get into it.
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What Is Songtradr?
Songtradr allows you to license, distribute, and monetize your music.
Licensing is our primary focus in this guide, and Songtradr promises to get your music into films, TV, advertising, and other media.
They have worked with plenty of popular and established brands, including BMW, Taco Bell, Disney, Netflix, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and many other names you’re sure to recognize.
Yes, these companies are actively looking for music to use in their advertising and they do depend on services like Songtradr to help them find the right tracks.
Songtradr also offers music distribution. Some of the most known music distributors include CD Baby, TuneCore, DistroKid, Ditto Music, and so on. Distribution companies help you get your music on the most popular online stores and streaming platforms.
The third prong of Songtradr is monetization, but of course this is tied to their licensing and distribution services. So, it all depends on the opportunities you land, as well as how much your music is listened to. We take a closer look at this a little later.
Additionally, Songtradr allows music supervisors to browse their music library. We won’t be covering this side of things, but there is some benefit to being able to cruise through their library as an artist too.
How Much Does Songtradr Cost?
Songtradr has three cost-efficient plans, depending on how you plan to utilize their services.
- Starter: $0 USD per year. The Starter plan gives you access to unlimited distribution, 90% distribution royalties, the ability to manage and share your music, music licensing, monetization, 60% sync and licensing fees, basic statistics, and two Music Wanted submissions.
- Lite: $19 USD per year. The Lite plan gives you access to unlimited distribution for one artist, 100% distribution royalties, ISRC/UPC codes, the ability to manage and share your music, music licensing, monetization, 60% sync and licensing fees, analytics, trends and statistics, and two Music Wanted submissions.
- Pro: $49 USD per year (per artist). The Pro plan gives you access to everything you get with the Lite plan, as well as 80% sync and licensing fees, 80% monetization revenue, and five Music Wanted Submissions.
There are a couple of points worthy of clarification:
Music monetization, in this case, refers to music earnings from business radio, apps, and other platforms.
Music Wanted submissions allow you to submit your songs to be considered for sync placements in film, TV, advertising, and other media.
Generally, Songtradr’s pricing is remarkably affordable, and it even scales with the artist, depending on what they need in their career right now.
Songtradr also has different solutions for labels and publishers, though the pricing is not available on their website.
How Does Songtradr Work?
It’s relatively simple when you break it down.
First, you upload your music, set up your profile, and enter relevant metadata for your music.
Once that’s done, Songtradr will make your music publicly available for discovery and licensing by:
- Music supervisors
- TV networks
- Video game producers
- Advertising agencies
- And others
Songtradr has their own curation team, and if they like your work, they may shortlist it for the next blockbuster film or major advertising campaign.
You can also proactively submit your music for opportunities that are well matched to your music.
Of course, you can utilize Songtradr’s distribution service to get your music out to Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and elsewhere (if you aren’t already using another distributor).
The Songtradr Experience
So, what exactly does it feel like using Songtradr? How does it compare to other platforms? Does it really connect you to great opportunities? How much work is involved in setting up your profile and getting your music monetized?
We answer as many questions as we can based on our experience.
Signing up with Songtradr is free. Once you click on the “Sign Up Free” button, you’ll be brought to a page where you can sign up with email or Facebook. Nice and simple.
We went ahead and signed up with our email. Pretty basic stuff.
You obviously get the best dashboard with the Lite and Pro plans. That said, the Starter dashboard isn’t half bad.
You get to see activity on your profile, including songs, song plays, song likes, playlists, search impressions, profile views, followers, shortlisted, final selection, and licenses.
Naturally, you can also view your revenue from the dashboard, distribute your music, submit your music to Music Wanted, and check out the recently licensed and uploaded tracks.
It can be helpful to listen to the recently licensed tracks, since it might give you an idea of the kind of music that decision makers are vying for right now.
Setting Up Your Profile
No matter how excited you are to get started on a new platform, sometimes setting up a profile can be exhaustive and exhausting.
There are a few basics you should probably have prepared to make this process easier:
- Profile picture
- Header picture (background)
- Short bio
- Links to your socials
- Headline (something compelling about you/your music)
- Songs you want to upload, as well as which one you want to be featured.
What’s cool about your Songtradr profile is that you can actively share it and promote it as though it were your website.
Funny story – turns out I had signed up with Songtradr in the past and had completely forgotten about it. They’ve obviously revamped their website, which is why I didn’t immediately recognize it. Once I was inside the dashboard, I found my place again.
Either way, the Songtradr experience is solid. Getting started is fast, and their dashboard is better than you’d even expect it to be.
Getting set up with them is going to take a bit of work, but if you’re serious about music licensing and utilizing their service, it probably won’t feel like much of an investment at all.
If you’re wondering how to make the most of Songtradr and maximize your earning potential, they have support documents and blog articles that can be of immense help.
Songtradr may not do everything with flash, but they sure do it with class, and for that, we give them high marks.
What Does Songtradr Offer?
Sontradr has positioned their services in an easy-to-understand, three-pronged format: Licensing, Distribution, and Monetization.
We looked at each of these earlier in this review, as well as what they mean, and how they work.
Inside the Songtradr ecosystem, you can manage a big portion of your music career – namely, the three pillars already named.
You can get your music in front of decision makers and submit to relevant opportunities, you can distribute your music to online stores and streaming sites, and you can even set up your own profile/website where you can direct leads and prospects to.
Getting started with them is free, so even if you just want to poke around on the inside and see for yourself what’s available, you can do as you please.
We took a closer look at the monetization opportunities inside the dashboard (who wouldn’t?), and these are the ones we found you can opt in for:
- YouTube monetization
- U.S. mechanical royalty collection
- Network TV
- Stock music and YouTube licensing resellers
- Business Overhead Radio
- Apps, games, and platforms
- Compilation albums
- Big Sync Music
If it were me, I’d give all these a try, but you’re welcome to choose based on your artistic direction and sensibilities.
Who Uses Songtradr?
On the one hand, we have artists, publishers, and labels utilizing Songtradr, and for obvious reasons – to get their music out to fans and decision makers.
But Songtradr also connects decision makers to the music. That includes music supervisors, filmmakers, TV networks, video game producers, advertising agencies, and basically anyone looking to license music for their projects.
So, artists and industry alike utilize Songtradr.
Some of their featured placements include:
- Marco Margna’s “Eternity” for Dove
- Owen Chaim’s “Valley of the Boom” for National Geographic’s Valley of the Boom
- D. Geier & K. Leach’s “Ugly Sweater” for Volkswagen
- Alex Serrano’s “Encima de Mi” on Hulu’s East Los High
- James Chen’s “Love At First Sight” for Airbnb
- Jessie Poland’s “Let’s Celebrate” for Paul Miller Ford
- And many, many others
You can also refer to their website for more major placements.
It would certainly be fair to say that Songtradr has a track record matched to their reputation.
Songtradr User Interface, Design & Usability
Songtradr’s website is refreshingly minimal. This isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of support documentation and blog articles because there are.
But the main links in the header are “music licensing,” “artist services,” “music search,” “featured placements,” and a “sign up free” button. Aside from that, all the clutter is out of the way.
What you soon discover though is there are sections of the site with huge amounts of content and documentation – especially the help section and blog.
Of course, there is also plenty of music on the website, which becomes obvious when you click on “music search.”
Some of the main pages also branch off into other pages, which might be more relevant for buyers and industry. But the site is still friendly to both sides.
Overall, the site’s design is relatively clean and minimal, and we don’t mind one bit. Rarely do you encounter large blocks of text either.
From a usability standpoint, we would certainly like to see some of their fonts a little bigger than they are. They’re using fonts of varying sizes, but the smaller ones are a little harder to read, and overall, they could probably get away with bumping up all the font sizes.
We also see a lot of dark gray on light gray, which is trendy, but if you’re not careful, it can make some of the text harder to read as well.
The same goes for the artist dashboard. Overall, we feel it’s well-designed, nicely laid out, and easy to use. Not to mention, you can access an amazing number of services and tools without ever leaving the site.
If we were nitpicky, we would say that the dashboard design is a little outdated, and that the menu’s readability could be improved as well. It’s a small thing, but sometimes the small touches do affect user experience.
Songtradr Review, The Verdict
There’s one thing we can say about music licensing companies without much reservation – regardless of which service you choose, as an artist your mileage will vary.
Music is a commodity, and while you don’t need the best quality music to get your music placed (Lo-Fi music can be perfect for the right opportunities), you’re still competing with every musician, hobbyist to professional, who has ever thought to make their music available for licensing.
And believe it or not, decision makers are listening to everything from basement demos to professionally produced masterpieces.
But the music they’re looking for largely depends on the trends of the day. Sometimes it’s hip hop. Sometimes it’s singer-songwriter. And these trends seem to shift every few months.
As an artist, you can make whatever music you want, and hope for the best. Or you can make music that’s tailored to the tastes, trends, and issues of the day. And that is sure to have an impact on your results too.
We like what Songtradr has to offer. From the outset, their services and plans are quite attractive. Setting up is relatively easy.
Of course, your success is still going to come down to how much effort you put into it. Setting up a profile and hoping and praying isn’t much of a strategy, and we can’t imagine this is going to get you anywhere fast.
Songtradr makes a valiant effort to be your one-stop career dashboard, and honestly, they’ve done it right. Services, opportunities, and even analytics can be accessed right from their dashboard, which allows you to remain and utilize their ecosystem for most career activities (booking shows would certainly be separate).
Now, it might seem like we’re ending on a high note, but the reality is Songtradr doesn’t have the best online reputation. All big companies have negative reviews, so you still need to take it all with a grain of salt.
But some people have called Songtradr a scam, and some have even said they walk a fine line between legal and illegal. And many of these posts were generated in 2020.
That said, while some of these concerns are legit, some are from bitter artists who simply didn’t get any results after uploading their songs to Songtradr. It’s important to realize that this could happen on any platform, even if you think your music is the best thing since sliced bread.
I think we’re still more than comfortable saying Songtradr is worth a go. If things ever go south, you can always cancel your account, and you don’t have much to lose getting started for free.