Newbie Questions


One of our readers, Ev, came up with the suggestion to have a section devoted to newbie questions regarding music libraries, music licensing, copyright, music publishing etc. There a lot of experienced people on this site and many are happy to share their wisdom. So, if you are a newbie (or not), and have a question, try leaving it here.

Of course many questions have already been answered here. First try searching in the search bar in the upper right hand corner. Also Google is your friend! I have found one of the best ways to search a site is use site specific criteria at Google’s web site. In other words, to search for a specific keyword, say “contracts”, type it in at Google like this “contracts”. Do not use the quotes.

If you still can’t find your answer then leave a comment here and someone will most likely come to your rescue!

1,260 Replies to “Newbie Questions”

  1. How many months after a cue’s first air date would you wait before contacting your PRO about a missing cue sheet?

    I thought I saw something like that on the site here, but can’t find it on the site.

    1. Hi Greg,

      Cue sheets aren’t due until the last day of the quarter, following the quarter in which the program aired. For example, if you had a cue air on September 20, 2011, the cue sheet would not be due until December 31, 2011.

      So, in theory, you should wait until after the end of the quarter following the performance. Even then, it sometimes takes the PRO a little time to get it into the system, unless it was filed electronically.

      Check your PRO’s rules / procedure. As I recall, ASCAP gives you a fairly precise (limited) window of opportunity to file your claim.

      And…once you do file a claim, you will most likely wait another quarter to get paid.

      I filed a claim with ASCAP in March for programs that aired in the 3rd Q 2011, and won’t get paid until July.



      1. Thanks for the reply Michael. Guess the best way to get cues sheets submitted is to post a question about it here.

        I logged into my ascap account and the missing sheet was there ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi Johnnyboy,

    The answer to your question is …it depends. It depends on the circumstances regarding why and how you want to remove the work.

    I just switched my writer membership from ASCAP to BMI. I plan to move some of my tracks from my ASCAP publishing company to my BMI publishing company. From what I’ve been told, I am able to do this because I also publish other writers’ works. My understanding is that if I did not publish other writers’ works I would have to resign my publisher membership as well. All of my older works, published by other ASCAP publishers will remain with ASCAP.

    What is your goal in removing this particular track?



    1. This was just a track I registered myself (no publisher). Since it was just signed with an exclusive publisher, it is no longer necessary. Just trying to get rid of any unnecessary clutter in my catalog. Not a big deal.

      Thanks for replying Michael.

      1. Hi Johnnyboy,

        In that case you can just transfer the publishing from you to the new publisher, and that will eliminate the redundancy. Of course, if the new publisher retitled, you’re probably stuck with the clutter.



        1. I have transferred publishing before and you just need a letter signed by both parties involved and ASCAP will do it.

  3. Wondering if anyone else has ever tried to delete a track from your ASCAP catalog? I tried this week. I was told by ASCAP’s title registration personnel that they won’t delete any tracks.

  4. axiomdreams, yes, you will get more money, but late and without details.

    You can talk with your accountant and figure out a way for you to pay lass tax in your country because of the US tax deduction.

    1. Ok, man I wish there was a way to win from both ends or even find an in between solution, but I guess I’ve gotta choose 1.. Hmmm..
      I’ve gotta decide yeah.. & too bad TuneSat ain’t cheap, especially not with lots of production music..
      Thanks so much for these awesome infos mUSIC! U’ve opened my eyes some more..


      1. Yes, I see what you means…I am also not from the US and I had to find this info alone so its my pleasure ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. U are a very kind & generous soul =D
          Don’t mind me asking, did U decide to go with Ur PRO or BMI?

          1. Thank you axiomdreams ๐Ÿ™‚

            I am with BMI, and very happy.

            BYW, what kind of music you do?

            1. Cool.. I wanna go BMI too =)
              I write various genres: Orchestral, Rock, Pop, World, Corporate.. but my main specialty is Dark Energetic Electronica..
              I’l pm U a link now, of some of these DEE works of mine..


                1. Let me know how I can PM U?
                  Also, one more thing.. Does BMI pay Us through paypal?

                2. BMI pays in checks or in direct deposit, but this is for US only.
                  Leave your email address and I will contact you.

  5. Hi, I’m not exactly a newbie but I need some info help please, I’ve got a question for BMI members.. When U get placements & royalty statements, does it reflect on Ur profile the details: TV station/channel, number of plays, length of usage etc..? APRA has none of that so I’m switching over to either ASCAP or BMI but it seems that for ASCAP I have to have a US address & job security number so I might have to go BMI instead..

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Yes, BMI got this info.
      If you are getting most of your placements in the US, then BMI or ASCAP is a good choice.
      I love BMI, so

      1. Thank U so much mUSIC! I’m definitely switching!
        It’s been crazy frustrating receiving royalties with just the track names & accept it as it is, without knowing how many times it’s been used, when & where.. & when I inquire they tell me that they know nothing abt overseas placements..
        Time for change indeed..
        I went to the BMI joining page & it looks easy to do, only thing is I think I need to get out of APRA first before joining BMI..
        Deeply appreciate Ur feedback!


        1. No problem!

          In BMI, when you get royalties from another country, you don’t see that info either.

          Just, keep in mind that you will have to get ITIN, its a tax ID number, in order for the IRS not to take 30% of all royalties. In a case you will have an ITIN, they will maybe take only 10%, depends on your country tax relations with the US.

          1. Great info Thanks.. good to know that & I’ve been procrastinating getting my ITIN done, seems so complicated but now’s a good reason to do it. Wondering also, if I stay with APRA, does that mean I won’t be tax deducted or they actually deduct 30% before passing the $ over to APRA to pay me, which brings me back to the same 30% deduction situation? So, no diff. $wise that is..

            1. Ok, I just checked my royalties statement.. They only taxed 5% when I’m with APRA.. So, it’s probably what they might tax with an ITIN.. Thanks..


              1. The 5% is not tax. Its their % for getting you the royalties from the rest of the world, like a commission.
                The 30% tax is a different thing.

                1. Oh, that means if I stay with APRA, I get paid full but the setback is not getting the placement details.. but it does say Tax on my statement.. Hmmm

            2. Lets organize things…
              If you are with BMI, you cant be with APRA at the same time, only one preforming right organization at a time.

              If you stay with APRA and your music is getting used in the US, then you will get the full amount from APRA.

              If you with BMI or ASCAP, then they will pay you for your music geting broadcasted in the US and the rest of the world, not APRA.

              1. Yes, I understand that.. Looks like it’s best I get my ITIN done & move over to BMI yeah..


    2. When you switch to a US based PRO like ASCAP or BMI it’s going to take a lot longer for you to get your NZ and Australian based royalties. International royalties take at least a year, if not two to come through. Just something to think about if your music mostly plays over there.
      The opposite is true if your music is mostly playing in the US – in that case you’d definitely want to switch ASAP.

  6. Hello, and another newbie question. Thanks in advance, this site has been incredibly helpful!

    I have both a writers and publishers account with ASCAP. When registering your own titles is it better to register them under your publisher or writer account? I know that ASCAP doesnt want you to do both. Does it make a difference? These are for titles that will most likely be going into non-exclusive, re-title libraries.

  7. I have a two part newbie question:

    should I register all of my tracks with ASCAP before submitting them to non-exclusive libraries? and is there any reason to give my tracks different titles for different libraries?


    1. You want to make sure everything is registered properly that way when it comes to actually collecting on the back end, there is no additional delay. Typically ASCAP takes about couple weeks for the titles to show up on the search end. For example, I’ve recently read on the Crucial thread here, they are checking to see if the titles can be publicly found before they place anything for clearance.

      Typical reason is so that the library can collect on your portion of publishing end. Here are some threads on retitling that found to be helpful.

    2. Depends. Some libraries will use their own title and some will prepend or append their own code to your existing title which they will register with a PRO. It’s in their best interest to register as that’s how they get paid.

      I’m not saying you shouldn’t register. I must admit I’m way to lax on my BMI registrations but the uses do get picked up off of the cue sheets and I do get paid even if I have not registered them.

      1. Thanks, Art

        So, the libraries will register themselves with their own titles as they accept your tracks.
        Although a good idea to register your tracks yourself, any license that a library gets with one of your tracks will be registered ( and re-titled) by them.

        Do I have this right? I do plan on registering but initially I have alot of tracks to do and it would be pretty time consuming.

        Thanks for the help and the great site!

        1. One more thing to add that might be useful when registering multiple tracks. There is a COPY function that can carry your info to the next track then, you only need to change the title.

  8. Hello all, firstly, thanks to Art for this awesome site.
    My question, or rather dilemma:

    A library just accepted 11 tracks for which the original payment was 2750 dollars (250 per) plus writers share, but no cut of the license sales. The owner has just asked me if he could register them under his production company, rather than under my name with SOCAN. His rationale was that these days alot of clients want “completely royalty free” product and he’s trying to build up a stable of tracks that would be in that format. WHen I asked about writer’s share that was originally part of the agreement, he said he will pay an extra 50 dollars per track. so in total, 550 dollars more. He said that these days the writer’s share is so meager for most artists, that it would be a safer bet to take the money. What are your thoughts on this? Any experience with this sort of thing?

    Much appreciated

    1. $50 in exchange for all the potential earnings from the writer’s share, which will continue to go to your great great grandchildren for 70 years after you’ve kicked the bucket, doesn’t sound like a particularly good deal to me!

    2. There is a famous quote attributed to Hunter S. Thompson that goes something like this:

      “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

      IMHO Any deal that asks or suggests you sell or relinquish your writers share should be avoided.

    3. I would take the money.

      I know that many will argue that you are being exploited and that you will no longer have the rights to your songs. But realistically, earning money through music licensing is rough.

      Your songs have the potential to be licensed and make thousands and thousands of dollars in royalties. They also have the potential to make nothing. I would sign the deal, collect my money and move on. You can always make more music.

    4. There are times in this business when giving up a PORTION of your writer’s share MIGHT be ok, depending on the situation. Notice that I said a “portion.” NEVER give up 100% of your writers share.

    5. Tell him, 150$ more for each track for 30%-50% of the writers share if you really need the money right now.

      1. ^This option might be good too.

        DrumDigger, I think you should negotiate with him. If you cannot keep a portion of the writer’s share, then offer him only 3 songs with him keeping all of the rights. Even if the deal falls through, negotiating will be a good learning experience.

        I personally would sign over the songs and count my cash. But it may be a bit much for you at this point. Whatever you do, make sure you feel comfortable wirh it. No regrets.

    6. If the writer’s share of royalties is so meager why is he prepared to buy it out at all?

      And how does having the tracks in his company’s name have any impact whatsoever on clients wanting “completely royalty free”?

      And if they want “completely royalty free” why bother registering with a PRO at all who is responsible for collecting and distributing royalties?

      Doesn’t add up.

    7. Sounds like a con to me. I would never give up all my writer’s share. A portion, maybe for a Katy Perry record or some other hit artist. And yes, that is done all the time!

      1. +1 Don’t give up your writer’s share. I don’t know of any legitimate publisher/library that would ask that of their writers. They may ask to share in your writer’s share but no way to give up 100%.

  9. Well, I think the question I’m gonna ask is for newbies; probably lots of you know the answer.

    One of the libraries I belong to, library A, was designated publisher of my songs by me. I designated them after I let them know I had become part of my country’s PRO. The PRO of my country allows only one contract with a foreign publisher. Library B has licensed a couple of my songs and it’s asking me if I want them to be my publisher. I wouldn’t like to change who collects publishing rights for now, but my questions are:

    Is it possible that library A collects publishing rights for the licensing sales that library B made?

    In the case this becomes impossible, can I fill cue sheets or do something to collect (or that library A) collects those publishing rights?

  10. Hello,

    I am not a newbie in terms of writing for libraries but am new to trying to get my own material into existing libraries. For the last number of years I have done alot of work for hire for some of the larger libraries in the United States.
    I have a catalog of about 5 CDs that i would like to place with a library and am trying to find one that would be the right fit. I have spent time on this site which has been incredibly helpful but do have a question. Does anyone know how you can find out the size of a given library? It is hard to tell from some of the websites whether a certain library is a real, good sized company with a sales staff, etc or basically just a guy who put up a website. ( not that there is anything wrong with that)
    Just curious to know if anyone has had experience with finding out about these different libraries.


  11. Hello everyone, I have a newbie question! Some of the retitle libraries will sell a blanket license to their catalog. The artists will get only 50% of royalties but in some instances no royalties are generated (cable network promos?). Do any of these libraries ever share their blanket license fee proportionally with the composers that are getting the placements? Thanks!

    1. As far as I know none do, with one exception. Scorekeepers started paying a small royalty to any songs that show up on Scripps Network. Scripps show are usually direct license.

  12. Hi Everyone,

    I would love to hear from anyone with experience with Roba Production Music. Please send me a pm – I have a few questions.

    Looking foward to the best sales time of the year … when is that again?


  13. Hi

    Im associated with STIM, swedish version of BMI. They have a collaboration. I see a lot of people getting reports/sheets etc from BMI. I get nothing of this. I havent registered any of my cues to Stim because the most librarys do it to Bmi. My Pro have no statements, no payouts etc. I feel as im in the dark. Im a doing it right? What do you other foreign people do?

    1. I am with IMRO (Ireland) and can only comment on how it works here, I assume that STIM does the same, either way you should check with STIM. The US collection agencies BMI/ASCAP collect money for other PROs in different countries in reciprocal arrangements .It so happens that there are 2 major ones in the USA and most PROs in Europe, if not all, use one of them.

      They will pick one US rep (ASCAP by default in Ireland). They of course will do the same for other countries aswell. IMRO in Ireland will collect for STIM members in Ireland and forward that money to Sweden and vice versa

      I would always register my cues with my home PRO. An American Publishing interest will register them with their collection agency in the States. If you check you should see your CAE/IPI no and PRO STIM if you search the BMI/ASCAP websites for your name. You will not see the cue sheets that US based composers see as we are not primary members of those PROs, we are just using them to collect for us.

      Also it can take a while for US earnings to find their way across the Atlantic, do check with STIM if you have any questions.

      1. Thank you. Just checked BMI & Ascap and i have 0 work titles although i am in some librarys. So i register my cues under the original names although the retitles librarys also do it under another name? Okay i guess i just have to wait. Too bad we dont get to see the cue sheets.

        1. I haft to ask another question. Some librarys are specific with which other librarys they dont want you in. So far i read Audiosparx – pump audio/istock are not compatible. Which others should i know of?

          1. Quite a few libraries hve problems with Rumblefish and any of the Godigital , YouTube content id ones.. AFAIK Musicloops or Shockwave will not deal with you if you have tracks with them. Do however check as this can change as things develop. Read the YouTube content I’d thread to get a grasp on the ins and outs of it.

            Edit Art beat me to it. Check the thread he linked.

  14. Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone can shed some light for me. I’ve had a couple of placements from Music Dealers and noticed they register my work because it was placed. I also have been with Jingle Punks for 2 years and I’ve never seen this before. I was looking at my registered works, I see 5 songs with the “JP” at the end. I’ve checked the details and it was registered back in 2011. Why am I seeing them now? And why only the 5 songs? I have around 30 songs with JP. Thanks for anyone that can help me out. I’ve really learned a lot from you guys.

    1. Jingle Punks, like most libraries, can take quite a while to register cues. The others will show up eventually. Also, there can be a delay on the PROs side of things too.


  15. Does anyone know how, or indeed if, I can find out in what shows my music was used overseas? Do I contact my PRO or do I contact the library. Specifically, it’s the JP suffix (for Jingle Punks) which is showing up in my IMRO (Irish PRO) statement and the shows were broadcast in the US. It would be nice to put the names of the networks and shows on my website but I don’t want to be annoying anyone unnecessarily when they’re busy earning me money ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks

    1. Hi Arco. ASCAP collect for IMRO by default. Go to ASCAP site and use their search for your name. Jingle Punks blanket licenses come up as ********* cues. Doesn!t give exact titles for which music was used . Might give you general info. I assume they only register when they are used.

  16. Thanks for the help, guys. Another question – should I be registering each work I submit to music libraries with BMI? What’s the benefit to doing that / downside to not doing it?

    1. And should I include the length with each work? If it was licensed it would probably just be shortened anyway, so…

    2. Benefit would be if the library neglects to register it in a timely fashion, you’ll still be covered. I’ve had a library take as much as two years to register with my PRO. Lost some royalties in the process..

    3. My experience is that I’ve yet to see a benefit to registering a track myself when it’s been signed to a library but I deal mostly with exclusives, many of which don’t re-title. I ask when I sign what their policy is and I don’t think I’ve encountered anyone who expected me to register. The downside would be that if these tracks were already registered then I would have to change the registration or re-title my own track to allow the library to register it so that they can collect the publishing share and if it’s exclusive I’d better not re-title it or I’ll likely be in breach of the contract. I *have* registered tracks ahead of time that have ended up in non-exclusives when I’ve found placements on my own. This doesn’t cause a conflict because the non-exclusive will register them again under a re-title. Whenever I’ve written directly for a show through a production company I’ve ended up registering all of the tracks myself. This makes sense because the production company doesn’t have any stake in the publishing (that goes to the network) so the chore falls on me. As far as losing royalties, I’ve had the situation of a track making it to a cue sheet before the library registers it and it still ends up getting reported and I get paid if I’m listed as the writer. I’m sure there are exceptions to this and everything else that I’ve seen but my experience is that there’s been a lot less to worry about than I thought when I got into this game. My rule of thumb is: when in doubt, ask somebody… Hope this is helpful!

      1. @ Kiwi

        Registering the re-titled name is a good policy?

        Is this what is being said?

        Or is the re-tile registered as a version of the original song?

        Any help appreciated.

        1. Registering any title that gets broadcast is good policy, it’s a matter of who does the registration. I’m saying that in my experience the library has always registered the tracks, not me. I’ve only registered tracks when there’s no library involved. Rather than assuming anything though, when in doubt, I always ask the library what their policies are.

          And by the way, I’m just sharing MY experience here, not trying to give advice. If you need legal advice you should speak to an attorney…

  17. Here’s a question for you: I recently registered with BMI using my full name (Joshua J Freund), as that’s what they said to do. However, I generally just go by Josh Freund. Is it going to potentially be a problem royalty-wise if I submit songs to libraries as “Josh Freund” but am registered with BMI as “Joshua J Freund”? I’d like to just stick with “Josh Freund” if possible.

    1. I’ve used both Art Munson and Arthur H Munson over many, many years and they always seem to find me. Not sure it’s a correct answer to your question, just my experience.

    2. I assume you can register your other name as an alias, it’s the way most PRO,s do it. Your cae/ipi no is the important one. Bono,Dylan,Elton John,David Bowiie,Madonna are not their original names on their birth certs for example..

    3. BMI has my name in the form: last name, first name, middle name (with no commas). It’s been a long time since I registered, so I don’t remember how it happened that way. However, when Echoes played tracks from my CD I did receive royalties, even though my name is not given that way anywhere else and I never registered an alias.

      As woodsdenis mentioned, what matters most is the the CAE/IPI number.

    4. Years ago I somehow ended up with two BMI accounts and consecutive CAE/IPI numbers under both Greg and Gregory (there was a manager and a label involved so I’m not sure how it happened) and when I started doing production music I was concerned. I talked to my BMI rep and he assured me that there was likely to never be a problem but that he would merge the accounts just to be sure. I don’t believe that I’ve ever had a problem because of it and I have music that gets registered under both names on a regular basis despite my attempts to steer folks toward my full name. Whenever there’s a question I would suggest speaking with your rep. Don’t know about anyone else but my guy has always been very accessible and helpful. Good luck to you!

      1. I asked my PRO the same question about couple week ago as well and got the same response as the guys above are saying. What matters is the CAE/IPI number. So use the number that matches to the name and register the songs through that as well.

  18. Hi Art, what I’ve been doing is “reconciling” so to speak my RF purchases with my ASCAP registrations, just in case. So after a few purchase emails come in I check my ASCAP account to see if I’ve registered the purchased tracks or not. This way I’m only registering RF tracks that have the possibility of showing up on a cue sheet.


  19. I’ve had some decent success with Crucial and JinglePunks and now I think I’m ready to dive into the world of Royalty Free music licensing. Thanks to MLR I think I have a pretty good understanding of what it is finally! I’m going to create Royalty Free names for each track so I can keep them separate.

    My question to you experienced folks is which Royalty Free libraries do you recommend (or which ones should I avoid)? Shock Wave Sound, AudioSparx, and MusicLoops seem to be a good place to start…. What do you think?

      1. Thanks Art! I read something about MusicLoops not allowing cues that are on AudioSparx (because of YouTube or something) and I just wanted to be sure I wasn’t burning any bridges with any of these great companies!

        1. Any tunes you have at Audiosparx must be exclusive to Audiosparx to qualify for their internet royalty program (YouTube). If not keep everything non-exclusive you are good.

          1. Thanks for clearing that up Art. That makes a lot more sense. I think I’m going to try and make a spreadsheet with all my cues as the rows and a column for each RF site that will include the unique name for each cue in each separate RF library. Hopefully that will keep me organized enough to be successful with the libraries using the Royalty Free business model.

  20. Newbie ASCAP question here. I currently have 15 “works received” songs registered with ASCAP. While I labeled myself as the writer, sole performer for all my songs, all my received songs are labeled as having “no publisher” since I wasn’t sure if I could put my own name in that space.

    Is it okay for one to put his/her own name in the Publisher portion of an ASCAP song registration (as long as he/she holds all the rights to it, which I do in this case), or should the publisher section be left blank if there is no official publishing company that holds the song?

    1. kingseamus,

      The best thing to do is form your own publishing entity, like “kingseamus music” for example and have a publisher account with ASCAP.

      From what I have heard/read if you don’t do that then you are leaving the publishing money in limbo and you won’t receive it.

      If you don’t have a publishing entity of your own and your work is not published by someone else I think you are not supposed to check the “this work has a publisher” box.


      1. So say I sign up for ASCAP/BMI as a songwriter/composer (not a publisher) and am fortunate enough to get a placement through a music library. The library would be publishing the song, correct? Thus I would not worry about registering as a publisher as well?

        1. In general, you should set up your own publishing company with your PRO.

          In the instance of a music library getting a placement they will typically register the song with them as publisher.

          1. Thanks, Art. So wouldn’t you only need to set up your own publishing company if you were going to try to directly license your songs to companies? Just asking ’cause I was looking into signing up with BMI, but hesitated when I saw it’s $250 to sign up as a publisher. If I can just sign up as a composer for free and not worry about the publisher part of it, that would be nice.

              1. I wonder if this is unique to the States, in Ireland (IMRO) and I assume the UK (PRS) you do not have to have any publisher assigned to collect 100% of the total. Any non US assigned writers want to chime in.

  21. ASCAP general question: I have the great iPhone App to check my ASCAP info, but can’t seem to update the “Year to Date” which says 2010. Is this right? Since I have no cue sheets and only 107 songs listed, I’m not sure what is up … probably should wait until I have cue sheets, yes? It’s part of my daily check list … just like my Awaiting Review tracks (2 since Dec 4) at Crucial. I’m a glutton for punishment … oh well!

    Hope everyone has a great week!


  22. I’m pretty much a newbie myself and I’m sure these guys have the smartest answer but in my opinion, you may have the same song in 10 libraries. Maybe of the 10 libraries one gets picked and the rest don’t….ever. Based on that possibility, which I don’t think is far-fetched, I don’t see how saturation is really an issue. The odds that your song is showing up on everybody’s desk and they’re all sick of it are not very good. Might even be a problem I’d like to have. If non-exclusive music was an issue, they wouldn’t bother with it.
    Again, let me emphasize, that’s my knee jerk thought without alot of experience.
    I just thought I’d escape all this funky metadata I have to do today by answering your question even if only for a minute. Fortunately, I have to go to the bathroom now so I can buy a few more minutes. lol

    1. LOL! I love it! No, exactly Pat I hear you, that is why I ask. On one hand it seems like a problem I would be lucky to have, but is there a risk of looking like a stock music library slut if we placed the same music in 75 libraries for example? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Don’t get me wrong after certain age, being associated as a “slut … anything” is not so bad probably. I am not of that age yet however and even though I will put out pretty easy for my present age, I think you get my drift…. image isn’t everything, but apparently it can be a help or a hindrance in our business.

        1. You want to do metadata for 75 libraries be my guest. I’m in only a few by comparison and I’m trying to get out of it by talking to you. What’s that tell you?
          I actually started targeting every library that would take my music. I was up to like 25 libraries. I’ve since decided over time that there are libraries that do nothing but act as a parking garage for tracks and there are libraries that do something if they stand to gain so I started shedding.
          I was spending so much time uploading and doing metadata, I didn’t have time to write music.
          Now I have a handful of libraries to submit to and try to only target libraries with some kind of track record or the new ones to give them a chance to see what happens there.
          I spend only the weekend doing metadata and have so far been able to stick to my two cues every 5 day week (no matter how many hours it takes).
          When I get enough tracks out there, I will also submit to some exclusives.
          Again, just my view which could change as soon as these more knowledgeable guys show up with their views.

          1. I agree Pat. I started submitting to many different libraries and finally settled on only a few to work with. Like you say many seem to be just a place to park tracks and not much more.

            1. Yes! Thank you both! We are getting into the juicy stuff here. Even though I did not type it what you (Pat & Art) are saying is also rattling around up in here. ๐Ÿ™‚ At first when we get into the business it is all just trying to break in etc. But then after a while writing a track that is likely to get picked up is not so hard and becomes even something we bank on.

              This ties into another post I read here today. (sorry don’t have the link handy..) about “wanting a few more like Jingle Punks.” Yes Please!!! Me too and also. Even though there is a very structured system, how many tracks you can upload, time frames, sincerely I think they gett’er done faster than most. The log jam of track review and integration into the system can be large for a one or two person team. Especially if you would like to place a few hundred pieces with a library. (not to leave out the many other potential composers and recordings entering the system)

              I appreciate hearing what you had to say, because you can see I have been thinking about this. It all ties together for me, because a system of submissions can clearly get us into many places. But is that what we want? And then and also balancing, how much work it can take to get tracks into a company and creating new content…. not looking like a stock music slut, all at the same time. Seems then to just get down to finding the right balance. Thank you both! looking forward to reading from others more on it too.

              1. Worry less about what you look like and focus on what you sound like yogi. You’re selling a product not a personality (although personality has it’s place because you’re also establishing relationships in a sense with each submission). I’m just saying get the priorities in good order. If your music isn’t good, it really doesn’t matter how you appear to people except maybe as a nice person with not so hot music.
                Don’t analyze, utilize. Now get writing.

  23. How Much Is Too Much Exposure?

    I have not found other posts touching specifically on this. When you have a body of tracks you are licensing non-exclusively and you want to get them into as many libraries as you can, how many is too many before the content is going to start looking over saturated?

    For example some non-exclusive libraries, we could pick Jingle Punks for ease, re-title by simply placing a JP at the end of the track title. Which is meant to help with accounting and proper payment. Others (less and less it seems) may change the name of the track to read something different entirely. Same recording & master with radically different title. (I sorta prefer the latter)

    How many libraries can a track be in, with the ‘mostly’ exact name, and not be reaching the point where editors or music supervisors are internally saying…”Geez! I see this track everywhere. That’s the 5th library this week. (just making this up as I go folks!)

    Is this something to give thought to? Has anyone direct experience with getting a track title into toooo many libraries by the same name? Certainly it is the music that counts and most would probably recognize the same music after hearing it again…. or maybe not right? Many will have the experience of sending the same track to the same person a few months later only to hear “where have you been hiding this!?!?”

    I would love to hear from people who track re-title for their own marketing purposes. If you do, how do you keep track? At what point should we consider it? (how much is too much exposure for a track?) Yes, no exactly! Subjective question coming in… would love to hear from others on it still. Thanks!

    1. I re-title mine for different RF libraries and some libraries want their own titles. I built a relational database to keep track of everything. Each tune in my catalog table has the capability to add aliases to the main title. I also have a field in the alias table for the library that title is assigned to.

      I also have separate tables for libraries and writers. All told I might have 7 or 8 tables that all relate together. This way I can view the data in a myriad of ways.

      It’s very easy to keep track of who has what and when it was sent.

      1. Art, when you register those alternate titles with your PRO, do you list them as alternate titles of the original work, or do you register them as new titles? Or do you just let the library register them?

        1. If they are RF libraries I usually don’t register them. If it’s a library that creates their own titles then they register them as new.

          But my “titling” approach leaves a lot to be desired from a PRO point of view. As an example I have one particular cue that has been purchased many times from an RF library. It has it’s own title that was unregistered my PRO. It recently started showing up on a number of CBS and NBC shows and was picked up off of the cue sheets with the wrong publisher info. Even though the RF library had the PRO info for that cue. BMI will straighten it out and I did register that title finally but lesson learned. I have to get a better handle that aspect of my titling efforts.

    1. Sounds good, Pat. I dig “The Warrior”, cool arrangement. Out of curiosity, is the classical-style acoustic guitar recorded live, or are they loops?

      1. Thanks Dude. I used my trusty 3 fingers to play the Omnisphere guitar patch live (Live so to speak since I can only play a few notes at a time then chain them up together).
        I guess if you can’t tell if it’s live or loops, that’s a good thing.

        1. Just a shout out Pat…

          Your writing and producing skills have come light years since you started doing this in 2010.

          Keep up the good work and best of luck to you!


          1. Hey Michael,
            Coming from you and Art, I consider that two hells of a compliment. You guys just made my day! Much appreciated.

            1. Another +1

              And I really like “The Warrior”. It’s a good piece and I hope it does well for you.

  24. Do you guys agree that it isn’t necessary to register tracks with BMI, that they only look at cue sheets filed? I register every track as I complete them. Is this necessary and are there any decided disadvantages to doing so. So far I only sub,it to libraries.

  25. From those with many placements over years time, what has your experience taught you? is it “good business” or “risky business” to list shows that have gotten your music through a music library as a “credit?”

    i.e. your PRO statement says “TVSHOW-X” used 10-15 seconds in several episodes. (background use, not title or theme) then you list that shows name on your web sight in your list of credits for example. “Credits: Tv Show-x, etc.”

    Or even more to the point in today’s world maybe… making the entries on the show’s page at IMDB. Do you do this for your “library track” placements? I have seen a few credits at IMDB listed as “Stock Music” or something like ‘extra music” How do editors and production companies feel about this? Thanks in advance.

    1. @Yogi:
      You get traction where you can,so listing placements
      shows someone is picking your music for that cue,a good thing.
      In this business though you are only as good as the last job you got
      if you get the work on your own. The way to make a whole lot more money is
      placing cues directly with production companies who then put those shows on tv. It could take years to develop those relationships .
      A mix of library/custom work if you can get it will spread the income over more sources, and great for your BMI statement,good luck.

        1. anyone with specific suggestions or cautionary tails about entering library placements into imdb?

            1. Hey Art, thanks! Yes, no exactly I am of the same mindset now. I am going to use the ‘additional music’ category and submit a few.

              1. One has to have a PR person’s mindset when dealing with credits. I usually just list the credits like:

                TV Credits: History Detective, ABC Promos, etc.

                You wouldn’t want to say..

                TV Credits: History Detectives (10 second spot buried, almost unrecognizable), ABC Promos (5 second spot – mainly an effect)., etc.

                If you treated your resume for a job like that, you’d never get the job. Gotta remember that your competition is going to use and abuse every credit they have.

                Think PR!!! And good luck!

                Best, John ๐Ÿ™‚

                1. Thanks John (the other John)! this gets down to it. Thanks for the examples. Thinking like a PR person has not come as natural to me as writing the music. I like what you said here about not laying things out like “History Detectives (10 second spot buried, almost unrecognizable),” lol!

                  adding “History Detectives (Still getting paid for what I did for them)”… is probably a little over the top I’m guessing? ๐Ÿ˜‰ (but actually very true if I changed the name of the show) snicker! Hey it’s 10 cents every time it airs, how many others can say this?… a few hundred, a few thousand (maybe) over 37 episodes right ๐Ÿ™‚ seems like inflated numbers actually

                  your plainly stated approach makes most sense to me also. “TV Credits: History Detective, ABC Promos,” Thanks John (the other John)!

  26. Hi MulletKid,

    To answer a few of your questions:

    You will only see royalties IF you had any of your music placed on a show with a network that pays PRO royalties.

    Selling 300 licenses does not mean they were used for a royalty paying placement.

    Some libraries only register cues if they get placed on a show.

    Royalties usually show up 6 to 9 months after being used, though the delay can be much longer.

    Placements can get picked up off of cue sheets and paid, even if not registered.

    And finally, I’m speaking for U.S. situations and even at that I’m not an expert! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. “Placements can get picked up off of cue sheets and paid, even if not registered.”
      I found that statement very interesting Art. Are you saying that even though I may not see a cue sheet filed when logging on to my BMI account there still could have been a placement?

      1. no he is talking about individual CUES not being registered, not the cue SHEETS. If a work is NOT registered you can still be paid IF the cue sheet is filed. So with BMI you would see the cue sheet show up in your works catalog. If you don’t see a cue sheet pop up with an unregistered work then there will not be any payment. In the article the author was implying that if a cue isn’t registered, you won’t get paid. But that isn’t true (at least it isn’t with BMI). As long as the cue sheet is filed you will see payment even if the cue isn’t registered. But if the cue sheet is NOT filed, then registered or not you will not be seeing payment on any placements.

        If the cue IS registered, then unlike with ASCAP you will NOT see a “cue sheet” show up in your works catalog. But you will still get paid assuming the cue sheets were filed properly.

      2. Basically it means that the track will be registered from the cue sheet, so it won’t show up until BMI is doing the accounting for that quarter, nor is it necessary for you or the publisher to register the tracks as long as the cue sheets are correct (in fact BMI or Ascap woun’t even look at that, they go soley by cuesheets). It’s only necessary to (pre) register the tracks with the PRO for certain uses like radio play and certain song usages in order to recive royalties.
        In the case of BMI they pay 3 quarters behind, so 1st q of 2011 was paid around sep/oct.
        All this info is also available on their website.
        Happy new year!

  27. Hey guys. Firstly, thanks to Art for this great site – wouldn’t have had half the (limited) success without it. Alright – so basically, at this point, a year into doing this, I have my music with 6 exclusives and about the same amount of non-exclusives. Each has about 10-15 of my tracks. Again, its been around a year. The question is, when did you see your first royalties come in through your PRO? I still havent seen any in my quarterly statements, although I know that I sold around 300 licenses altogether. I also have not been registering most of my tracks, because the libraries insist on registering them themselves. However, am I right to assume that I would see the tracks being registered under my “registered works” section of my PRO? Literally, only one library has registered any works on my behalf (and its a non-exclusive). Im a bit confused about this whole PRO process, and regrettably didn’t read up on any of this information before shopping my music left and right. Anyways, thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Mulletkid

      When you see royalties depends on where you are based. A US resident with a royalty derived in the US may see a payment within 6-9 months as Art says BUT a UK resident (PRS) it may take 18 months +for a US payment. Non US PROs will delegate a US PRO to collect on their behalf. In Ireland (IMRO) they use ASCAP by default. This arrangement goes both ways of course.

      I would assume an Exclusive would register your tracks ASAP, but they may only do so when they get a license. If you are concerned I would get in touch with the Library and ask what their procedure is.

  28. Does anyone have advice for how many libraries a person should be on with and how many songs minimum per library in order to get the ball rolling? I notice that some libraries are getting more picky about accepting songs because they’re getting glutted. Are there any recommendations for increasing the odds of getting stuff sold if you have 50 songs ready to go? (I’ve got lots of rough drafts yet to be produced from 6 copyrights, but I let the music go and got into other interests, after seeing so few results)

    1. @MG:
      I call it a turtles race.Slow and steady she goes
      unless you have unlimited time to devote to one thing.
      Harder now with the market the way it is but it can be done.

  29. Hey guys,

    What do you think about getting some of your non-exclusive tracks into the “lease” (non-exclusive) beat market for young and aspiring artists? Things like SoundClick. I am talking about Hip Hop.

    You think it will create a conflict with libraries that have the same tracks, what do you think?

    It can be very rewarding, think about this for a minute:
    If you sell 50 tracks a month, for 30$ a track, its 1500$ extra per month.


    1. I tried that a while back: it isn’t worth it to me. The problem was that most people wanted free beats to rap over. They said things like “I’m giving you promotion by rapping over your beats”. I have been more successful from licensing through music libraries.

  30. I had a song on Last Call with Carson Daily on NBC last night! It was a background track and it played (very quietly) for about 45 seconds.

    I’ve heard that network placements can pay a lot more than cable placements. I know I shouldn’t dwell on this placement and instead I should just keep writing more cues but I was wondering if anybody personally had a similar placement and could give me some insight as to whether or not it could be a decent payout as far as back-end royalties go?

    1. It really depends on a lot of factors, so its almost impossible to know what it will pay unless you’ve had something on that exact show before. Even then its hard to estimate payment. I’ve had a lot of network placements on the same shows over and over again and pay rates have been all over the map for me.

      As a total guess, I would say it will pay between $2-10 per second. Maybe more, but I wouldn’t expect more than that since last call comes on pretty late. Something that I have noticed is that it seems like I usually get a higher per second rate on the longer cues. With BMI anyways… ASCAP and SESAC I have no clue about. So at 45 seconds you will probably be in the higher pay range.

    2. Nhyne, you will definitely make more money from the NBC placement than you will from a similar cable TV placement. I also have a placement on the Last Call show and that payment dwarfs most other placements that I have. By the way, congratulations!

  31. Good questions.

    As far as I know (and not at all an expert here):

    You CAN get paid for licensing a cover because you own the MASTER even though you don’t own the composition. See longer para. below.

    Yes, all back-end goes to the original songwriter(s) and publisher(s).

    On the permission side, I’m not sure how it works. If you were going to release the song on physical media such as CD, you would need to get a compulsory mechanical license and pay the statuatory rate (9.1 cents, I think) per CD. But for film/TV broadcast, I don’t know. Libraries that pitch covers should know so if you get contacted by one after a forward, you can ask. Also, you could call The Harry Fox Agency and see what they say. It’s their area of expertise. It might be simply that any master/sync agreement presented to the end user by the library has to be signed by both you as the master owner (or the library who has your POA there) and the original publisher as composition copyright holder and license fees split accordingly 50/50 (or other negotiated).

    Don’t take anything here as Gospel as I have never done a cover.


    1. In Ireland and I assume the UK as well, you are
      entitled to a sync fee as the master owner for a cover. Of course
      permission has to be granted by the copyright holder and additional
      fees would be due. This would normally come up on a once off basis for
      Film/Tv/Advertising. How a library would handle this is I assume
      that they have pre cleared or in fact control the copyright side.

  32. Covers!

    I just submitted two cover songs for a Taxi listing asking for covers.
    But I have no idea of how it works legally.

    Can I get paid for licensing a cover-song?
    Do I have to get permission to use the song?
    All the backend goes to the writer, right?

  33. I’ve had about 25 different placements this years according to my TuneSat but my ASCAP account only shows 5 cue sheets. I noticed that the January 9th distribution date will be paying writers for April, May, and June. I had 10 different placements in these three months. Should I expect these cue sheets to pop up in my ASCAP just before January 9th? Also, one of the placements (two episodes) is a primetime reality show on VH1 that had many reruns so I’m optimistic about the back-end royalties (although this is one of the cue sheets that has not popped up in my ASCAP yet). Would love your thoughts on this.


    1. I’ve gotten paid by ASCAP for placements without cue sheets (unless ASCAP doesn’t list every cue sheet that comes in).

    2. Filing cue sheets is the responsibility of the production company. Sometimes production companies do not file the cue sheets in a timely manner, and sometimes not at all. That’s why tunesat says that 80% percent music goes undetected or unreported.

      Unless the production company has some skin in the game, like a publishing interest, cue sheets aren’t always a priority.

      Check with the library, if you don’t get paid in January. They have an interest in getting paid too. Let them handle it. Production companies don’t always like it when composers call them to hound them about cue sheets.

  34. ” Iโ€™ve signed a LOT of music to exclusive libraries who have made me little to no money, and since I do this for a living now I am a little bit skittish towards any exclusive library that isnโ€™t willing to pay me up front for exclusive rights.”

    I hear that a lot, and I’ve experienced it, as well. I’ve never written for an exclusive that didn’t pay upfront.

    Congrats on making the move to full-time writer.

    All the best,


    1. You are totally right Michael.
      I myself don’t want to sign exclusive deals without up-front money.
      But what about an exclusive library that own a post production studio that work with major network shows? Maybe here is OK to make an exception and sign without up-front money. What you guys think?


      1. There’s an inference that your music would make it into the major network shows, because the library owns a post production studio that works with major network shows. But, is there a guarantee that your music will get into any of these shows? Do you get any sync fees?
        What about publishing?

        I don’t know the library that you are referring to, but that kind of deal is fraught with the potential for abuse. Get an attorney to check it out, and to advise you regarding what you’re giving up, and what you may or may not be getting in return.

        1. Yes, sync fees.
          No publishing, only writers.
          I retain the copyright.

          But I don’t have any guarantee, that’s why I am asking, if you think this kind of library have a potential for more placements, because the library own a post production house.

            1. No, I don’t transfer my copyright to them, but I cant use it elsewhere, only with them, the track is exclusive to them for a period of time.

                1. Ya…why not?

                  Thanks for the advice.

                  What about you Synth, with which model you had more success? and I am not talking about Megan fox ๐Ÿ™‚

                2. hey mUSIC, I have had success with non-exclusive libraries so far. But I have recently signed some tracks exclusively. I hope to get a good 50 tracks each into two exclusive libraries I just signed to.

                  I guess my way of doing things is different from many composers. Most try to sign their music exclusively first. They then take any rejected tracks and sign them to non-exclusive libraries. I do the complete opposite. I get my music placed with the non-exclusive companies first and then pitch any rejected tracks to exclusive libraries.

                  The important thing is that you keep making music, keep sending it out, nad keep making deals. You will not be successful by being scared to sign deals. Be vigilant, stay hungry, and look out for your own best interests!

                3. Thanks Synth!

                  I am like you, more with the non-exclusive model.

                  Iv’e made a little list with what I think is the pros and cons with each model:


                  1-International royalties, sub-publishers.
                  2-Up front money or Sync fees, less gratis blanket deals.
                  3-Networks placements, more royalties.
                  4-Copyright management.

                  1-Limit your opportunities per track, “eggs in one basket”.
                  2-Transfer of copyright, most of the time.
                  3-Network placements: Little to no replays of programs.


                  1-Can target different sectors of the market with several libraries per track, more opportunities. (royalty free, TV placements, ads)
                  2-Keeping your copyright.
                  3-A lot of replays in cable placements.

                  1-A supervisor can get the same track twice or more.
                  2-Less international royalties, less sub-publishers.
                  3-Cable royalties are much less then networks.
                  4-Hard to track the use, and managing copyright.

                  Tell me what you think, and if you like to add more.


  35. Watermarking.

    Barbie raised this issue in an earlier post, and it got my head spinning with questions.

    1. What is the holdup on this technology? It seems like Publishers and Exclusive’s, as well as the PRO’s, would be pushing very hard for this.

    2. Who will be assigned the responsibility to use this technology in the end? Will it be the PRO’s, libraries, broadcasters, or the writers themselves?

    3. Will every library become exclusive due to the technology? And if so, will it make it harder or easier to get into these libraries as a writer?

    4. What will happen to all of the “non-watermarked” tracks that are already out there?

    Just a few questions off of the top of my head.
    I am trying to prepare for this scenario because it seems inevitable that the technology is coming, but when?

    1. Hi JD,

      1) The technology is already in use. One of the exclusives that I write for is already fingerprinting all of their new content AND the already existing content.

      It would be very difficult to watermark exiting content, but it’s very easy to take a fingerprint (digital analysis) of existing content. Companies like tunesat do this.

      SESAC currently accepts third party data (like tunesat) in lieu of cue sheets. ASCAP and BMI have their own versions, but right now they primarily use it for radio. I am switching from ASCAP to BMI. I have been told by BMI that if there is a discrepancy between my statement and third party data, they will look at the third party data to try to resolve the situation.

      2) Everybody. Libraries will use it to identify their content. PROs will use it instead of cue sheets. Writers will use it to make sure that all of their performances are getting credited. (Art already uses tunesat).

      3) No…but. I don’t see issues with royalty free libraries, if you retain the publishing to your music. In that scenario, although you have many distributors, there is only one BUT…this will potentially end the practice of retitling, unless some new technology arises to differentiate between the same track in library A and library B.

      4) Fingerprinting. You cannot go back and watermark existing content without major expense compared to fingerprinting. Consequently, IMO watermarking may not become the dominant technology. As far as backend money goes, old tracks that are not fingerprinted, would theoretically just fall through the cracks, unless someone files a cue sheets. But..when it’s no longer necessary to file cue sheets, few people will do it because it’s a PITA. As I said above, one of the exclusives that I write for is already fingerprinting everything –old and new.

      Big picture: the business model most likely to be affected will be the retitling model. Whether that will end retitling, or be a temporary glitch until new technology arrives, who knows? How long a temporary glitch might last –who knows?

      All libraries are not created equally. You need to thoroughly understand the different business models….exclusives, retitling (licensing agents) and royalty free.

      Exclusives, like Megatrax for the most part have a vastly different clientele than royalty free libraries like AudioSparx and Music Loops. The networks generally have the entire catalogs of exclusives at their fingertips,and searchable using Soundminer software. They call up what they want instantly and it’s linked to cue sheet software. Done. It is a very rare occurrence for a network to search a royalty free library. That’s not how their “system” operates. That, however, does not mean that an independent production company, producing broadcast shows, won’t. But, buy and large, royalty free clients are non-broadcast users, where there is no backend PRO money.

      I compare your catalog to an investment portfolio. Where you put your tracks, depends on your toleration for risk, AND your opportunities. It has always been harder to get into exclusive libraries. I don’t think that fingerprinting/watermarking will make it any harder.

      If the retitle model ends that could be a double-edge sword, good and bad. Some of those libraries will survive and continue as exclusives. What will happen to your content already in those libraries? In theory, it’s tainted. Who gets to keep it, Jingle Punks or Crucial or AudioSocket? But what if you’ve already put the same tracks in half a dozen royalty free libraries? AND, what if those tracks are already being used in different broadcast shows, who gets the royalties in the future..the retitling library the used to have the track, or the new exclusive library the now OWNS the track. As you can gather from the last bit of confusion, it will be a mess that no-one, including the PROs wants to deal with. However, the good side of the sword is that there will potentially be a few more exclusive libraries, which could result in more opportunities for composers.

      BTW…”getting into a library” is only 1% of the battle. Getting someone to actually use, or buy,
      your music is the other 99%. There are no guarantees with any of the models.

      I hope I answered a few of your questions. I’m sure there are other opinions.

      All the best,


      Edit: Ron Mendelsohn of Megatrax sees another scenario (I apologize Ron, if I get this wrong) where the some of the retiling libraries enter the lower end of the market, and compete in the royalty free libraries. I see that as a possibility, especially for tracks that are already in several RF libraries. On another note: one small exclusive that I’m in has started selling older content royalty free.

      1. As always MichaelL, a very thorough and thought out post! Thank you.
        I’m posting this prematurely. I need to absorb this and then certainly pick your brain more on some parts of this. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. “BTWโ€ฆโ€getting into a libraryโ€ is only 1% of the battle. Getting someone to actually use, or buy,
          your music is the other 99%. There are no guarantees with any of the models.”

          Ahhh yes, but you have to get in to get placed. I’m on the “baby steps plan”. ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Hey Michael, Why the switch to BMI? Is it because of them looking into differences between statements and third party? or do you feel they are better overall?

        1. Hi euca,

          I do not think that BMI is better “overall” than ASCAP. They are both good at what they do, but there are differences. After a lot of research, I determined the BMI would pay more for my tracks, which consist of theme music and BG cues that air mostly during non-primetime day parts, like Saturday and Sunday mornings. As far as I can tell, BMI pays about $1.00 per minute for theme music in those slots, while ASCAP only pays $.60. There’s also a similar difference in the payout for BG cues. They may be more alike during primetime or on cable, I don’t know. I’ll know next June if I made the right choice.

          There is nothing wrong with ASCAP. I still have an ASCAP publishing company, in addition to two BMI publishing companies (in the works). It should be noted, however, that I am ONLY talking about instrumental music. Songs with vocals/lyrics are a different ball of wax, in which I’m not involved.



          PS. Now I’m trying to finish some Xmas music before the 4th of July.

      3. BTW, if you want to look for evidence of my analysis (in my reply to JD), think of the non-exclusives that are now going exclusive, AND think of Crucial (non-exclusive) partnering with Rumblefish (royalty free).
        If I had a crystal ball, I think you might see hybrids where a library has an exclusive catalog AND a royalty free catalog.

        1. @Michael:
          You are correct,its already happening,@audiosparx, and scorekeepers
          now is only accepting material that is deemed exclusive moving forward
          if you are in their DB as a writer.

          1. Sorry, but that is incorrect. I just uploaded a cue to Scorekeepers yesterday as a writer in their DB and I still had to designate my choice of uploading to their exclusive folder or “non”-exclusive folder.

          2. Yeah, Pat is right. Scorekeepers is still signing non-exclusive tracks. I just signed a track with them non-exclusively about a week or two ago.

            I also don’t think we should look at a few non-exclusive libraries adding an exclusive “option” as a sign that non-exclusive libraries are on the verge of disappearing or as a harbinger of any sorts. If a library is adding an exclusive option, then IMO that is just a way for them to cover their butts just in case. If a non-exclusive library fully converts to exclusive status then that is just a business decision based on where they THINK things are going.

            In all honesty, nobody really knows what is going to happen. I know that there is a lot of talk going on but when I look at the actual ACTIONS taking place “behind the scenes” it seems to be a different story. For everything thing I have *heard* that supports a doomsday scenario for the non-exclusive libraries, I can give evidence of things I have actually *seen* that totally refutes it.

            So what the heck is going on? And what is ACTUALLY going to happen? Who knows. One thing I can say for certain: When I look at my BMI statements, all of the growth in actual $$$ is coming from my non-exclusive cues in non-exclusive libraries.


            1. “In all honesty, nobody really knows what is going to happen.”

              Exactly. But, the fact that libraries are repositioning themselves and making strategic alignments suggests that it is a matter of concern to them. It could be years before the PROs fully embrace fingerprint/watermark detection in lieu of cue sheets. Old habits die hard.

              But… from a legal perspective, IF and when things change, figuring out who owns what, and or who controls what, is going to be, as lawyers lie to say, a quagmire.

              If I was running a library right now, I would be looking to make everything as clean and clear as possible: A) because I would want to own the catalog, so that it is an asset, and B) to avoid conflict IF, and when, technology makes retitling unworkable.

              I appreciate the fact that your BMI income is increasing in the non-exclusive sector. But, IF and/or when things change, your catalog could be severely compromised. That’s not because
              retitling is a bad evil thing that people don’t like. It is because technology may do to retitling what cars did for buggy whips. On the other hand technology might save the day for retitling.

              I’m curious –Steve– are you lumping all non-exclusives together, i.e., the licensing agent model and the royalty free model? They really are different in that you can retain publishing with RF libraries.

              I think that safest approach is to treat non-exclusives (I don’t mean RF) as if they are exclusive. I know that Matt does that. So does John Mazzei. One of the writers that works with me does also.

              @Pat, I don’t know about Scorekeepers, but I’d check with Barbie to find out if AS is going exclusive only. I know they like writers to choose that option, but it seems counterintuitive that they would require it.


              Edit: Pat I see that you clarified.

              PS. Steve — I never subscribe to doomsday scenarios. I always see change as opportunity.

              1. Hi Michael,
                Not really concerned about it to tell you the truth. I’ll just concentrate on writing for now and if they decide to go that way I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

              2. Sorry MichaelL I gotta do this-” is going to be, as lawyers lie to say, a quagmire.” Simple typo or possibly a freudian slip? LOL!

              3. “Iโ€™m curious โ€“Steveโ€“ are you lumping all non-exclusives together, i.e., the licensing agent model and the royalty free model? They really are different in that you can retain publishing with RF libraries.”

                No. I’m talking about non-exclusive libraries that focus on broadcast placements, not RF.

                “I appreciate the fact that your BMI income is increasing in the non-exclusive sector. But, IF and/or when things change, your catalog could be severely compromised. Thatโ€™s not because
                retitling is a bad evil thing that people donโ€™t like. It is because technology may do to retitling what cars did for buggy whips. On the other hand technology might save the day for retitling.”

                Well, I don’t shotgun every piece of music I write to every non-exclusive library under the sun. So even if something were to happen that could compromise peoples catalogs, mine wouldn’t be too severely affected unless all of the sudden everybody stopped using non-exclusive libraries all together.

                But I really don’t see peoples catalogs being compromised at all to be honest. There are a lot of successful libraries and composers who DO shotgun their music out everywhere and I have a hard time believing that the PROs are going to accept a new form of tracking that is going to substantially decrease their income. I would think that they would work those kinds of kinks out before implementing anything. Especially since there are libraries out there who re-title a re-title so a production company can share in the publishing… so even if a composer doesn’t personally participate in re-titling, the libraries that they sign with could be re-titling without the composers knowledge. You don’t find out about it until one day a mystery cue with some stupid title like “Circle” shows up in your catalog. So in the worst case scenario where composers would lose money from re-titled tracks you would have composers being punished for doing something they didn’t even do!

                I honestly think that the ultimate solution (and only solution IMO) is going to involve some kind of combination of fingerprinting and watermarking where both the composition AND where it came from will be identified. There is just way too much money involved with too many big players to NOT come up with something a little more comprehensive.

                “I think that safest approach is to treat non-exclusives (I donโ€™t mean RF) as if they are exclusive. I know that Matt does that. So does John Mazzei. One of the writers that works with me does also.”

                Like I said, this practice isn’t really safe either since libraries will re-title a re-title so the production company can collect half (or even all) of the publishing. I’ve seen this done for a major network show that pays big $$$ too btw, so apparently this isn’t just isolated to dinky little cable networks (although I have seen it happen on dinky little cable networks as well). I know Mazz, and I know he writes for one of these libraries. So there is a good chance he will have re-titled tracks even though he doesn’t personally participate in the practice.

                I have no problem with exclusive deals or exclusive libraries. I still sign exclusive deals if they pay me up front or come highly recommend from a colleague. However, I mostly sign with non-exclusive libraries these days because (1) all of my non-exclusive libraries are making me more and more money every quarter whereas only ONE exclusive library out of FIVE are making me money (really there are 7 but I just signed with 6 and 7 this year so they don’t count) and (2) its easier to withdraw or do something else with a cue in a non-exclusive contract if its not making me money than it is with an exclusive contract. I’ve signed a LOT of music to exclusive libraries who have made me little to no money, and since I do this for a living now I am a little bit skittish towards any exclusive library that isn’t willing to pay me up front for exclusive rights.


                1. Great observations, slideboardouts! Exclusive libraries often retitle songs to split the publishing revenue with themselves and production companies. I have even seen “exclusive” libraries sell their music non-exclusively on multiple websites. Since the music is exclusive, these libraries can sell it to other companies or even give away parts of the publishing.

                  Some exclusive libraries aren’t even sharing upfront fees. They do blanket licenses, so the opportunity for license/sync fees isn’t even there. This is the worst of both worlds because the composer only gets backend money but does not have ownership of those songs any longer.

                  I say stick with what works until it doesn’t work anymore. Libraries are too busy spreading fear and panic and composers are eating it up. That group of libraries and composers are making very little money despite their great insight into the future of library music.

                  Composers need to do what is best for them (this means you). I myself never waste time trying to jump through too many hoops. If a library can’t prove itself to me after a certain amount of time or certain number of songs, I move on!

                2. >>>>> “Libraries are too busy spreading fear and panic and composers are eating it up”


                  Though for myself personally, I prefer the non-exclusive route for my tracks, I don’t think libraries are telling untruths that there is a real problem. (I know, you didn’t say exactly that, Synth)… We DO know that some networks will no longer deal with non-exclusive libraries. ABC/Disney is one. Libraries like Scorekeepers, Indigi, Audiosparx, and others are creating exclusive branches for good reason– they don’t want to be shut out of these markets.

                  I’m not convinced that the non-exclusive re-title model will be dead anytime soon. As others have suggested, I think it’s more likely that there will be a split market with lower end placements (e.g. blanket deals for cable BG cues) still getting plenty of non-exclusive action while the higher-end network placements will come much more from exclusive libraries.

                  I respect the advice to treat every non-exclusive deal as exclusive but to do that you need a decent size catalog or know you are building one (That’s IMHO). If your catalog is smaller, committing to one non-exclusive library per track can be a lot to tougher. I know that if I HAD done that, I wouldn’t have the placements I’ve had to date. And different non-exclusive libraries have different target markets, clients, and marketing methods.

                  However, if we do put our tracks in multiple re-title libraries, we must be aware of the risk (e.g. if re-title is one day really gone, conflicts, etc) and the possibility that we are “part of the problem” as far as market saturation, prices dropping, and end-user frustration with the library world.


          3. I might also add that Audiosparx is not requiring exclusive only either. I just upload tracks to them as well though they do point out the advantages in going exclusive should you consider it.

    2. Some very interesting thoughts and discussion on this post. In my opinion the royalty free/Non royalty free, Exclusive/Non exclusive issues are now so cloudy that the only way to deal with things is to deal with each company on a seperate basis in regard to these issues.

  36. MichaelLโ€™s postings always inspire and offer good advice. I would like to add that inspiration is all around us, when it comes to creating music for contemporary productions. If you can hone your observation skills your music may possess a greater lasting power, i.e. a longer shelf life, due to a sensitive or clever interpretation of an event around you.

    When you are wondering, โ€œWhat can I write about today?โ€ please take a look at nature, the ant rolling a morsel uphill; study a neighborโ€™s repetitive movements or teens tossing a football, a bird fluttering its wings in the garden; or imagine the life after work of the foreign clerk in the 7-11 or at the super market, or write about the chaos a kid experiences in their first game of tag or a pillow fight.

    Working with composers is a rewarding experience here at AudioSparx, and occasionally we are lucky enough to know what inspired a particular track. I offer two links for your review from our great UK composer Paint Chips. The first track was written after several recent readings of โ€œThe Helpโ€ (which also was made into a successful movie about racial tensions in the South); the second track was inspired by a several-hour plane trip seated next to a Monk.

    Inspiration is everywhere, and the rewards can be great for composers, libraries, and our clients’ productions:


    1. You never know what is going to inspire you, that’s for sure. I am very disciplined about my writing and try to write every day. Even if it is just starting a track. You have to strike while the iron is hot.

      There is a famous quote by Jimmy Page. He was once asked why he would just sit in the studio not playing anything. He replied ” I’m waiting for the song to come to me”

      Sometimes I’ll just be noodling at the keyboard or guitar, and there it is! I also make an attempt to write in a different genre each time. For instance if I have just written a ballad, I’ll try to write something up tempo next…and so on.

      You know we are all trying to do something different with the same 12 notes.

      I very happy to have discovered this outlet for my music, albeit I started this later in life. Ever time a track of mine is purchased it feels great to realize that out of all the thousands of composers and hundreds of thousands of tracks, they picked mine.

    2. Sometimes it’s inspiration and at other times it’s perspiration.

      On one of my CDs one track was inspired by the end of apartheid, one that was inspired by the village that we lived in at the time, and one that was inspired by the Olympic runner who fell, whose father ran onto the track and helped him finish the race. On another CD one track was inspired by a trip to the Viet Nam war memorial.

      My last library assignment, from an exclusive, was to write a collection of nostalgic tracks…newsreel music of the 1940’s, kitschy sitcom music from the 1950’s and 1960’s,
      1950’s horror trailer music etc.
      For my TV shows, I’m writing hip-hop, funk, rock, retro sports orchestral music, sentimental acoustic music, gospel…..

      I think what Barbie said is very relevant. Library music is not just about writing your favorite music. It helps to think visually. The music is going to be used to accompany something.
      So, the more situations that you can visualize, like the ant, or the store clerk, or the game of tag, the more “usable” music you will write.

      AND this is key..note that I said “usable” not necessarily listenable. The music needs to function, serve a purpose, set the mood. That’s different from a pop or song that stands alone as an independent work of art. Sometimes they overlap. Clearly many TV shows are now using pop songs as part of the score. That’s cool, but it’s not the traditional definition of
      “library music” ..that’s licensed pop songs that were not necessarily written to accompany visuals.

      1. Michael:

        “I think what Barbie said is very relevant. Library music is not just about writing your favorite music. It helps to think visually. The music is going to be used to accompany something.
        So, the more situations that you can visualize, like the ant, or the store clerk, or the game of tag, the more “usable” music you will write.”

        How very true, and I am learning this more and more. For me now,when I get an idea for a track, I first think about how it can be placed, mood, setting etc. It’s a bit of a different mind set for sure.

    3. Not to side track the subject, buT I was wondering Barbie if you listen to new songs as they come in that maybe you think is usable based on what you know is going on at the time (hard to imagine sine you’re dealing with hundreds of uploads all the time) or just periodically check on what composers are uploading as kind of a quality assurance check.
      One reason I ask is something I seem to remember seeing where you said clients often look for “new material.” Is there a section for “new” uploads they go to?

      1. Pat, almost everyone here listens to music all day long and yes, we can see new tracks as they come online each day.

        Also, if you look at your individual music page, a client can sort your music several different ways, including โ€œRecently Added.โ€ That way if a client likes your music each time he returns to the site he will see what new tracks you have uploaded; thatโ€™s why we like working with composers who are actively creating new tracks all the time, growing their catalogues into a potential for big success.

        You will note a client can sort the music in other ways also, like Best Selling, Exclusive First, Alphabetical, Artist Choice, etc.

        Each day we try to find and feature the most original music, discover what might be added to various Playlists, go onto the Music Editorโ€™s Picks page โ€“ deciding which tracks are the most original and would most likely impress our clients for various types of commercials or productions.

        GaryWโ€™s advice is also spot-on when you are creating new tracks. If you can think up a mood you can write music for it, whether itโ€™s an emotional piece, a joyful romantic boy-meets-girl track, or a chaotic bank heist. Try to play that movie in your head, and think of how the characters will act in a movie or TV show. A kid with a new puppy โ€“ what will he feel? A man who has been disinherited or kicked to the curb โ€“ bittersweet? Yes! Angry? Hell, yes! Write the music that shows those raw emotionsโ€ฆ

        And donโ€™t forget that SFX can take a track to an entirely new level, adding an original touch to your music. Here is a great track from another brilliant UK composer, Sam Clunie, who is just 21 and on a meteoric rise here at AudioSparx. Sam joined our site exclusively in late March of this year and now ranks at 133 in sales โ€“ which is quite an accomplishment with over 3,000 composers at our site.

        Just keep working and trying to bring originality to your scores and it can pay off in this business. If you find an artist you like here, sort by Best Selling and try to write music that is BETTER THAN that and you will be on your way.


        1. Thanks Barbie for the really detailed and helpful response.
          this forum and all the commposers are inspiration enough fopr me.
          I’m finishing up a track now I plan on uploading in the next hour or so. Hopefully, you get a chance to check it out.

  37. Kiwi said:

    “I backed into production music by being at the right place at the right time and becoming acquainted with someone at a production house through my role as a recording engineer.”

    “One thing led to another and the next thing I know Iโ€™ve got a couple of tracks in a show. Then shortly after that Iโ€™m actually contributing on a regular basis.”

    “By the same token I also know that โ€œluckโ€ is basically maintaining a good attitude and persevering regardless of what happens and being there, present and accounted for, when opportunity arrives.”

    That’s how a lot of things happen in this business…being in the right place at the right time and then having the skill set to get the job done. Once people know that they can rely on you more things come your way.

    Congratulations Kiwi, and best of luck for your continued success.


  38. I am looking for reliable data regarding the production music sector revenues, as well as revenues for some of the bigger players. Market data would be fine… Any ideas?

      1. Yes, I need figures for annual income for the library music sector as a whole. Is it a Billion dollar sector? 100’s of millions? Also, annual revenues for some of the bigger players would help. I need it for a presentation.

  39. At AudioSparx we are seeking to work with composers who are actually โ€œcomposingโ€ new music rather than spending 50%-70% of their time uploading, tagging, and tracking sales at competing sites, which tends to dilute the value of your catalogue. With digital fingerprinting moving to the forefront, your 100s or 1000s of identical tracks may ultimately become problematic โ€“ especially as libraries discover which composers are doing this on a regular basis.

    Since both quality and quantity count if you want to be successful in the licensing business, our โ€œTop Sellersโ€ tend to be composers who are selective in where they place their music. If you are re-titling your tracks to be in 20 to 40 libraries, keeping track of titles that will number into the 100s or 1000s will sap your energy and waste your considerable talents, keeping you from concentrating on the creation of BETTER MUSIC which, in the long run, could make you considerably MORE MONEY for your talents than your chasing after those quick $19.95-$39.95 salesโ€ฆ

    We know everyone has to make a living but please consider the long term possibilities of strengthening your brand, rather than the short term quick buck you can make on the AudioSparx list of prohibited lowball sites โ€“ which we feel is a race to the bottom for composers who participate.

    Many composers are seeing the benefits of taking tracks exclusively to a site rather than spreading their tracks around โ€“ it can pay off by freeing up your time to study trends and step up your compositional gameโ€ฆ Remember, many larger studios are licensing only “Exclusive” tracks, and many of these opportunities create back end PRO for our composers.

    Cheers and have a GREAT weekend,

    PS We just got one of our artistโ€™s romantic ballet tracks (which is an โ€œExclusiveโ€ track to AudioSparxโ€) into the first minute of the exciting, over-the-top 43-minute Victoriaโ€™s Secret Fashion Show 2011, which just aired Tuesday, with an audience of 10.4 million viewers. Check out the very first song, which is our composerโ€™s track — then things get wild with Kanye, Jay-Z, Maroon 5, and Nicki Minajโ€ฆ

    1. >We just got one of our artistโ€™s…into the first minute of the exciting, over-the-top 43-minute Victoriaโ€™s Secret Fashion Show 2011, which just aired Tuesday, with an audience of 10.4 million viewers.<

      Is it rude to ask what the sync/master fee was? Just ignore the question if it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I can definitely agree with that. Chasing libraries becomes a burden after a while. I did that for a long time. I finally realized that many of the companies I tried to work with were not doing much business.

      1. I generally agree but I do think you have to explore other libraries to find those few libraries that will do well for you. I’ve lost count on the ones I have tried. I start with maybe 10-30 tracks and see how they do over the course of a year. Most of them fail to do much but out of this process I have four or five that sell consistently and/or place the music on TV shows consistently for back end PRO money. This has evolved over the last five years or so and the income is gradually increasing. Just my process and it may not be right for everyone.

    3. Okay Barbie, you know I love you but this one statement “concentrating on the creation of BETTER MUSIC which, in the long run, could make you considerably MORE MONEY” is something that always drives me a little nuts. These kinds of statements have come up before and I always respond. ๐Ÿ™‚ Who gets to define “better music”? The music business is replete with stories of songwriters and composers who are stunned when a piece of music they consider to be some of their worst work goes on to be one of their biggest money makers. In my small way I have seen it happen to some of my own. Music that I would not consider to be my finest effort have generated, and continue to generate, a nice income stream. It’s all in the ear of the beholder!

      I do agree that selling on the low ball sites is a detriment, especially those $5 sites. As for the exclusive, non-exclusive issue: For me, I just have not that much success with the exclusive model. I wish I did as it would make my life easier!

      1. I agree Art. You certainly never know what is or isn’t going to sell. I have been very surprised at what has and has not sold over the short period of time I have been doing this. i have one track called “Surf & Turf” that I wrote early on almost as a novelty, but I have gotten more sales out of that track than any others thus far. You never know.

        1. Art, frankly, we never know what will sell each day — but, in general, a review of a number of our top sellers indicates they upload an average of three to seven new tracks a month (some with dozens of variations), and our long term clients often sort by “Recently Added” in their goal to find the hottest new music for their projects.

          A composer enhances their potential earnings by creating on a regular basis new music in various genres. While almost every period of music will sell, our best selling tracks are most often those that have a hot title, or new sound or new twist on music that has a contemporary, almost timeless sense of style — whether it’s a sound-alike, a parody, a rom-com track, chilling horror music or a pounding action thriller…

          Each composer must try whatever works — certainly it remains a numbers game, but positive results are happening here every day.


          PS to Gary โ€“ Your best-selling track โ€œSurf & Turfโ€ has a fun, attention-grabbing, smile-inducing title. The title alone entices the clients to take a listen (Step One in getting a Sale!). We continue raving about keeping your titles hyper appropriate to show a client exactly what the music will sound like. It saves them so much time, and the pay-off can be immense for the composers.

          1. Barbie,

            I am a “newbie”to the library world, but I just want to chime in and say that I have immense respect for you for being here, answering questions and posting your knowledge. I only have a few tracks with AudioSparx so far (yet no sales), but I am looking forward to a long and prosperous career with you.

            (I know it sounds like sucking up, but the “Song Title Tip” helped me. Give me some slack.) ๐Ÿ™‚

          2. Hi Barbie,

            I have no issues with what you are saying. The statement I was referring to was “concentrating on the creation of BETTER MUSIC..”. No composer is setting out to write bad music. I believe we all write the best music we can and will improve over time. The definition of “better music” is only determined by the person laying down the $$$. The are the final arbiter.

    4. I feel compelled to chime in here. I’m one of those that is barred from submitting music to AudioSparx because I have 7 tracks with Rumblefish. Rumblefish was the first library that I pursued and their business model looked different when I signed with them. I since gained experience and some savvy and will no longer submit music to them or anyone else that is in the “race to the bottom” category. Over the last couple of years I’ve actually been fortunate enough to get quite a few cues broadcast and most of my placements have been directly through production companies and exclusives. I went to the AudioSparx website recently with hopes of giving it a try but was disappointed and honestly a little shocked to find out that I am forbidden. It feels to me like AudioSparx is taking out its frustrations with the marketplace and other libraries on the composer and I think that this is unfortunate. I can understand not wanting the same music as *those* libraries but banning someone’s entire catalog ahead of time simply because they may have made a poor choice seems heavy handed and misdirected to me. If I’m missing something hopefully someone can set me straight…

        1. Nope. That’s not what I said. I’ve never interacted with AudioSparx. According to their website, at least as I’m understanding it, I am forbidden from submitting music to them because I have music with one of their “blacklisted” competitors. That’s what my previous post is about.

          1. Hi Kiwi,

            So, if you have a lot of tracks that you think would do well at AudioSparx, remove your tracks from Rumblefish. Don’t they have a way to do that?

            Unfortunately, Crucial has partnered with Rumblefish (gotta do something with all those tracks) and people who didn’t place track in Rumblefish now have them there.

            I gets really complicated when you deal with a lot of libraries and have no control over your tracks.


            1. We regret there are composers out there who are currently not eligible to participate here at AudioSparx by virtue of an existing relationship with one or more blacklisted sites. However, we thought long and hard before setting up the policy relating to the list of impermissible sites.

              For Kiwi, please note that you may contact Rumblefish and request they take down your music, and they will do that for you. Once all your tracks are removed from that site (or any other impermissible sites), please visit AudioSparx again, and apply to our site so we can listen to your music and consider representing you.

              We greatly respect music composers and artists, and our policy guards against the race-to-the-bottom pricing mentality that deflates the music industry in general. We consistently develop new ways to feature your tracks to enhance your sales, and have been rewarded with a lot of loyal composers and tens of thousands of great, innovative music tracks. Our clients, in turn, recognize your talents and are willing to pay a fair price when they license a track from AudioSparx for their commercials, movies, documentaries, etc.

              We just want to see composers paid properly for their hard work and talent โ€“ and that goal guides our decisions here.


            2. Actually, I was unable to get a response from Rumblefish the last time I tried which was over a year ago so I don’t know that I’ll have an easy time of getting them to pull the tracks. I’ll try again, probably starting with a phone call instead of email. The funny thing for me at this point is that I wrote off those tracks, and the situation, as a mistake and a learning experience and it’s weird to me that AudioSparx can’t do the same thing. I suppose I find AudioSparx policy of blacklisting composers as offensive in a different way as the low-ball tactics of the other libraries in question. That’s my problem though, not theirs. Of course they’re welcome to run their business as they see fit and with half a million tracks at their disposal I’m sure they’ll do fine without mine.

              1. ” with half a million tracks at their disposal….”

                That is an important issue (the needle in a haystack situation), but not one that would have me putting tracks in 20 different libraries. In reality no matter where you go, in the big picture (of all library tracks in the market) you’re just a snowflake in a blizzard. That said, I’d rather take Barbie’s advice and market effectively in a few.

                If you stick around here long enough, you’ll get an idea which royalty free sites are worth the effort.

                Good luck,


                1. Michael, Yeah, I hear you… I’m definitely not advocating spreading the same music all over the place. Right now I’m in 4 non-exclusives (2 of which I only have a few tracks with) and around 10 exclusives and I’ve placed a bunch of stuff directly. The latter is by far the most fun and lucrative. As far as Royalty-Free, I haven’t done it, only considered it. My preference is to get paid up front. There are pitfalls to exclusives that don’t pay up front (sitting on tracks, etc) but it’s still my second favorite mode because I feel that it keeps the value of the music higher in the long run. The key for me is to be as prolific as possible so that I don’t get too attached to the compositions and to keep looking for opportunities that fall in line with my skills and output… Thanks to all for an interesting discussion!

                2. “The key for me is to be as prolific as possible so that I donโ€™t get too attached to the compositions and to keep looking for opportunities that fall in line with my skills and outputโ€ฆ”

                  That should really be the key for everyone. Good outlook.



                3. I’d like to submit for some up front money but I hate the idea of maybe never hearing from them when I could be shopping it elsewhere. I don’t have enough tracks to tie up with one library yet but I like MichaelL’s idea of being as prolific as possible.
                  The only exclusives I have are two cues with Supatunes where they sit. I’m not sorry since they may get picked up, but I can’t help but think I could have multiplied my chances with some non-exclusives.

                4. I don’t mean to sound rude, but I do not see why Audiosparx should even matter to you. You sound as if you are already successful getting your music into other libraries.

                  Audiosparx is a good library. Some say that they are great. But they may not be good for YOU. Be thankful for what you have and stop worrying about one company’s arbitrary policy. You are already a success in my eyes!

                  You even have placed songs on your own. That alone doubles your royalty income if you are also registered as the publisher for those songs. You said that placing tracks yourself is more fun and lucrative, so why gripe about not being able to get tracks into a library that already has a “half a million tracks at their disposal”?

                  P.S. Feel free to tell us how you got the opportunities to place your songs directly!

                5. “I donโ€™t mean to sound rude, but I do not see why Audiosparx should even matter to you. You sound as if you are already successful getting your music into other libraries.”

                  Synth. at the risk of being accused of setting myself up as an “oracle.” The music business is a very fickle business. For the most part, you have to do a lot of things to make a living. I write for television AND I write library music. I know session players that have toured the world behind huge artists, and film composers, who teach to get a regular pay check. For many, if not most, top library music writers, the library part of their work is a supplement to other work.

                  What I have said here before is that you need to look at your catalog as an investment portfolio, which means that you need to balance your “investment.” I don’t look at royalty free libraries as a source of backend money. In reality, the vast majority of their “placements” will be with non-broadcast customers for which there is no backend.

                  BUT…libraries, like AudioSparx provide another, different, revenue stream, mostly from upfront licenses. For an example of a successful composer, who thinks that libraries like AudioSparx matter, check out Jason Livesey. He writes for film & TV. He and his brother also have a live act. AND he’s in AudioSparx and Music Loops.

                  There are many levels of library music users. They run the gamut from the trailer company that’s going to lay out $20,000 for a license, to a corporation that wants to spend $200 for a sound-alike for a sales meeting, to a kid that wants to spend $2.00 to get a track for his youtube video. Yes, libraries like AudioSparx and Music Loops are not in the 20K license category, but they are not at the rock bottom either. They service a viable clientele,

                  So…libraries, like AudioSparx and Music Loops, matter because they fill a niche in the market. Balance the portfolio Synth..short term income while you’re waiting for backend money

                  All the best,


                6. Well said Michael. Pretty much sums up why I’ve looked at royalty free libraries and why I’ll continue to look for diverse opportunities. My “day job” is producing and engineering recordings for other people. I’ve also done many other things in music. Sometimes for the money, sometimes for the “glory” and fun, and sometimes, when I’m real real lucky, for all of the above at once. A very few years ago I backed into production music by being at the right place at the right time and becoming acquainted with someone at a production house through my role as a recording engineer. One thing led to another and the next thing I know I’ve got a couple of tracks in a show. Then shortly after that I’m actually contributing on a regular basis. Somewhere along the line I became aware of these things called “music libraries” and realized that I ought to get some music into a few of them as well. It’s been a lot of fun and hard work too. Turns out I actually *love* doing it. I feel very fortunate and I am indeed very very grateful for any and all opportunities. By the same token I also know that “luck” is basically maintaining a good attitude and persevering regardless of what happens and being there, present and accounted for, when opportunity arrives. I have admiration and respect for anyone who hangs with music for the long haul whether it’s a full time gig or something on the side. For me the rewards are unparalleled but there are certainly challenges along the way, especially these days in a world that changes so rapidly…

                7. Hey MichaelL, thanks for the advice. You have been in the game for a long time and I could learn a few things from someone with your skill set, experience, and intellect.

                  How about you finally give us a link to some of your music. That would do wonders for some of us younger and inexperienced people here. Can’t wait to hear your catalog!

                8. Hey Synth,

                  There may come a time when I post a link. I tried to post a sample (albeit 12 years old) to show a variety of library writing styles, but someone missed the fact that it WAS 12 years old, so I took it down.

                  You need to look at the big picture. First, there are a lot of writers who are far more talented and successful than I am…tons of them. Remember, that I got out of the business 11 years ago to become a lawyer. I’ve only been back in the business for a few years. I came back with the intent of following the same path that all of you are on, BUT, by “being in the right place at the right time” and by a shear twist of fate I ended up writing for five television shows. Doing that, along with handling the publishing administration takes up 90% of my time. I’m still a relative newbie when it comes to “today’s” library business. So, I’m trying to assimilate my past experience, with my legal experience and all of the new business models, which takes up the rest of my time.

                  I think what Kiwi, Michael Nicholas and I have been saying is that there is no road map. We all come from different backgrounds. Kiwi was / is a recording engineer. Michael Nicholas went to Berklee and owns a studio. Denis Woods was in the record business. Erwin (50 Styles) has a commercial music business. Art has an amazing resume as a session player. I was literally born into the film business. I grew up on sound stages and in recording studios. By the time I was 12, I had a mentor who was a really good film composer.

                  You can’t recreate the different experiences that each of us has had. If you want to listen to successful writers, start with guys you know from here, like Erwin Steijlen and Denis Woods on AudioSparx, Check out Art’s website and Michael Nicholas’ website.
                  Here’s another writer that has a good handle on things
                  I’m somewhat old school, so one of my favorite writers is Donn Wilkerson.

                  I suggest that you look for writers who you like, who write the kind of music that you write, and see if you can find out what path they followed.

                  Go with your strengths Synth. You’ve got passion and ambition.

                  Best of luck.


  40. I’ve heard of people retitling their tracks for different types of catalogs because some catalogs have much lower prices than others. Would anybody be kind enough to share with us your list (if you have one) of which Catalogs you use the “retitled” name for and which Catalogs you use the “original title” for? ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. A list like that wouldn’t really make much sense as composers would most likely treat each library, differently, than another composer. I would say that I use re-titles for royalty free sites.

      1. Awesome, thanks so much Art! Would you recommend signing up for many royalty free sites with the retitled versions or should I limit it to just a couple? I’ve heard there are certain libraries that will not accept your music if it is represented in certain other libraries. From your experience, is there any truth to that?

        1. Hard to answer that as I’m not sure myself. I tend to spread things around a bit but others (more successful than I would probably disagree).

          Yes it’s true that some libraries don’t want music associated with libraries selling music for next to nothing.

        2. Audiosparx has a black list of libraries so to speak having to do with that issue that they prefer not to deal with you if the same cues you submit to them are at those certain libraries.

          1. Where do you find the list of Audio Sparx’s โ€œblacklistedโ€ competitors Pat?

  41. Hey!

    Now I wouldn’t say that I’m a total newbie but I’ve only had two placements so far.
    I have tracks on, MusicSupervisor, Music Dealers, Pump Audio, Action Media Music and one exclusive.

    Now I’d like to know.

    There seem to be many libraries out there but as far as I can tell many of them are very small and not very active.

    So who are the most active libraries?

    I write songs as an artist mostly in singer/songwriter, folk, rock, alternative rock. I figure my music would probably have the best chance in film/tv-series.

    What libraries are best for those of us that doesn’t write “library” or “production”-music.


    1. Unfortunately there is no “one size fits all”. One person’s success with a particular library will not necessarily translate to another person having the same success. It’s a long slog and takes patience and persistence!

  42. This is gonna sound really stupid but, Iv been asked by a library not to change key during a song. I dont want to ask them what they mean for fear of sounding very uninformed. What does changing key mean? Does that mean that I cant change my notes too much? If my song’s baseline note changes from say A to D every 4 bars does that mean the songs key is changing?

    1. Hyteria:
      Not a stupid question at all. The simplest way to explain changing keys in a song is taking the same chord progression, and melody you have used in the song and putting it in another key. In other words if the chord changes in your song are C-F-Dm-G, and you put them up a step, they would then be D-G-Em-A. That would be a key change.

      This is also called modulation. Everything stays the same, but in a different key.
      Does that make sense?? Hope that helped.

      1. Thanks Gary.yeah it sense. So if im simply just changing the baseline notes underneath my melody that doesn’t mean a keychange. For example if my (rather poor) melody was just A A A A A A A and my baseline underneath was say A D A D A F G A. The baseline is not creating any key change. only if I changed the melody As to Cs and the baseline notes to correspond with the new C melody that would be a keychange? Or am I misunderstanding?

      2. Sounds to me like they don’t want any modulations so they can make any edit they feel like. It wouldn’t really work if they took 10 seconds from the beginning in C, then pasted in the final hit of the song after a modulation!

        1. Interestingly I’ve been doing some material with exactly that brief : don’t change the key. It does make it easier to chop up for editors.

              1. How dare u cast nasturtiums on the great Quo. I am sure when I saw them live many years ago that they played 4 or even 5 chords in one song!

        2. Yes, that’s the reason you don’t modulate in film/TV music- at least not the “heightening” kind where the last chorus goes up a key such as from C to D. They cut and paste edit and might want to use something early in the track followed with a piece from the end (such as the button ending).

  43. I have a small collection of good electronic and instrumental material that I want to get into an exclusive library that will pay upfront for the masters. So far I’v have submitted it to KPM, De Wolfe, Megatrax, Universal, Audio Network, West One Music and im going to submit to Extra Chilli Music. Can anyone suggest what other libraries I should try? Iv had a couple of offers from exclusive libraries that dont pay upfront. Im in a dilemma for what to do with my music, Am I expecting too much by waiting for a good buyout deal? Im in a tight spot with money so maybe im being over cautios? Any help/advice would be much appciated!

    1. Hi Hysteria,

      Many exclusives do not pay upfront. However, you should get a split of the sync fees in that case. Has that been offered?

      If you’ve been offered a sync fee split and you keep 100% of your writer’s share, it may be worth considering.



      1. Thanks Michael. It’s 50/50 sync and 50/50 royalties share and no upfront fee. But they do seem to get regular tv syncs in the UK.

        1. Meaning you get 50% of sync fees + 100% of writers, and they get 50% of sync fees + 100% of publishers?

          Edit: somewhere there’s a missing comment in this thread from Buzz Fizz (?).
          maybe they deleted it.

          1. Yeah I think thats it. Im not good with contracts. they’re very confusing. They will own copyright of masters so the composers share is 50% and the publishers share 50% of the gross fees distributable by PRS.

        2. On that basis alone, go for it. You’ll find in the current economy that very very few exclusives pay money up front per track. If you’re lucky you may get a recoupable production advance though.

          1. Thanks Darkstar and Kiwi. Points noted. @ Kiwi , yeah im finding it very difficult trying to figure out wheather id be better off EX or non EX. Non ex is money in the bank slowly but surely, EX seems to be more of a gamble. @ Darkstar What is a recoupable production advance? I was thinking of asking for some kind of advance cos I wouldn’t want to hand 30 tracks over for possibly nowt.

            1. Porudction advance, is an advance on your royalties. They give you XYZ pounds upfront, you pay it back from the mechancical royalties, or rather your publisher deducts what they adnaced before you get paid. Its generally to cover whatever expenses you incur in making an album, session players, equipment hire etc etc. Not easy to justify for a purely electronic album though.
              Exclusive is less of a gamnle than you might think. If you’re talking to one of the big UK exclusives with worldwide license partners, then thats the way I’d be going.

              1. Okay thanks for the info Darkstar. Yeah my music is entirely electronically produced but maybe I can ask for it to cover the hours put into producing it. A good 12+ months!

              2. How much could you expect in a recoupable production advance for say 15 masters? Whats a good or bad deal deal?

    2. I always try to get a reversion clause and also a clause stating that the music will actually be released in some way. I’ve had exclusives sign tracks and then sit on them. If they haven’t paid for the track there’s no impetus for them to follow through if they don’t need to. Also, there are companies out there that will try to amass as much music as possible so that they can sell their entire catalogs some day, never intending to circulate all of the music that they sign. I think this cynical approach is rare but I know from experience that it happens.

      I’ve favored working with exclusives, even when they don’t pay upfront, as I feel that it keeps the value of the music higher but recent experiences and observations have got me swinging more and more toward working with non-exclusives. My $.02.

  44. One last question…

    When I’m registering work with ASCAP it says…

    “This work is music intended for use in a Commercial, Promo, Movie Trailer, Station ID, Short-Form Infomercial
    or Public Service Announcement.”

    Should I click this or leave it blank? Most of my stuff could be in commercials ‘or’ TV/Film/Video Games.

    Also it says “Date Registered with Copyright Office or click here if Pending”. How many of you register each and ever work? Do you just leave it pending until it is licensed or how do you go about that?

    and one last thing…it says “This work has a publisher.” should I leave that blank?

    Thank you.

  45. Is this excerpt from an anonymous(XXXXXXX) ML contract fair or completely BS??

    Also is it saying I need to create a publishing company with a PRO?

    2. Administration Fee: Splits a Collection. With respect to the Retitled Works. XXXXXXXX shall be entitled to collect 100% of the license fees paid by clients of the Library, and 100% of the publisher’s share of performance royalites piad by the applicable performing rights organizations (each, a “PRO). Licensor shall be responsible for contracting with a PRO to receive the writers share of performance royalities collecting the writer’s share, and creating a publishing company with that PRO.
    B. Splits. With respect to the Retitled Works:

    (i) Direct Fees. XXXXX shall remit to Licensor 35% of direct fees received;
    (ii)Performance Royalties publishers’ share. XXXXXX shall remit to Licensor 25% of publishers share of performance royalties collected; and
    (iii) Performance Royalites (Writers Share). As between XXXXXX and Licensor, Licensor shall be entitles to retain 100% of the writer’s share of performance royalites.

    Blanket Licencese. XXXXXXX willl collect 100% of Blanket License fees and 100% of the publishers share of performance royalities paid by PRO and will distribute performance royalties as set forth in 2(b)(ii) above, and Licensors will collect and retain 100% of the writers share of performance royalties. However notwith standing anything to the contrary, XXXXXX will distribute Blanket License fees within 30 days following the expiration of each such license, as follows i 100% of the share payable to Licensors will be divided in the
    the number of titles in the Library as the date one wekk be fore check are issued.

    1. Its is saying you will get out of a total PRO pot of 100%

      50% writers share
      12.5% from the publisher (25% of 50%) is 12.5%

      It is a very long and convoluted way of saying you have a 62.5/37.5 split on all Performance royalties.

      In UK/Ireland you do not have to be a publisher member. In this scenario you would just sign a 62.5/37.5 deal with the publisher. Why you go through this convoluted and confusing way of calculating stateside contracts I dont know.

      1. In the US however, you do need to be a publishing member to receive publishing royalties. It’s fairly easy (just go to the PRO websites to download the forms), and opens you up to double the royalties income.

        FYI the publisher PRO has to match the writer PRO, i.e. if you’re an ASCAP composer you need an ASCAP publisher.

  46. I hate to post in the noob section but this might be a noob question. If fact I know it is.

    For music libraries should you sign up for Writer ‘and’ Publisher at ASCAP?

    When you upload your music at some of these libraries it says…

    Writers……..Percent Ownership………..PRO

    Publishers…..Percent Ownership………..PRO

    I thought the PRO was the publisher? Should I sign up as a publisher?

    1. This IS a noob question- nothing wrong with that and you posted it in the right place, IMO.

      A PRO is not a publisher. PROs (ASCAP, BMI, etc) are performance royalty organizations who COLLECT performance royalties (e.g. TV/Radio airplay, concerts, etc) and distribute them to writers and publishers.

      With music libraries, you should definitely join a PRO as a WRITER. Rarely do you need to also join as a publisher because most of the time, the library acts as the publisher and collects the publisher’s share of PRO income. (PRO income is split between the writer’s and publisher’s share- generally 50/50).

      *IF* you are marketing directly to music supervisors or working with libraries who do not share in PRO income and place music in vehicles where this matters (mainly TV), you might need your own publishing entity set up.

      I recommend you do some reading on the industry– Donald Passman’s book is a good one –


    2. If you sell music through some royalty free sites, like AudioSparx, you can retain the publisher’s share. So, you might want publishing company.

      Of course, if you publish other writers’ works, you will need a publishing company. I have one with ASCAP, and will also have at least one with BMI.

      1. Wait Audiosparx is Royalty Free? Where does it say that? Then why do you need to put your PRO info in?

        1. There’s always confusion about the meaning of “royalty-free”. More often than not, royalty-free in music libraries mean the client only has to pay the licensing fee one time and can use it multiple times. Doesn’t usually mean PRO royalty-free.

        2. “Royalty free” just means the end user pays a one time fee for unlimited use. It does not preclude the possibility of the writer collecting PRO royalties if the use warrants it.

          So if an idependent film-maker, for example, buys your track on Audiosparx and then that film gets played on TV, in theory you would be entitled to PRO royalties. This would depend on the production folks filing the proper cue sheets with the PROs. One of the roles of a publisher is to keep an eye out to make sure cue sheets are properly filed. If you self-publish, you are the one who has to do that. I let AS be my publisher– they offer the option of using them as publisher or doing it yourself.

          I would guess that the large majority of placements off RF sites do not result in PRO earnings.


  47. Hi all
    I have a question –
    I have a cat of 1000 tracks –
    And want to have a website to sell them on – like a site like Musicloops or similar
    I see Michael L you suggested to someone recently this site,

    it has the page premade and you have to pay $150 per month to have the use of this premade hosting site

    I cant afford that – I was wondering if anyone has knowledge of a ‘much’ cheaper way to do it ?

    Is it so expensive because of the uploaded material – I guess a thousand tracks is about 8gig or something. I wish there was a much cheaper service available to poorfolk ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. To add – to be clear – I want a site which will host only my tracks – and for me to be the sole seller within.

        1. thanks Michael – thats helpfull – but its not quite good enough – it doesnt have categories on the left – just a long list – are there any other suggestions ? anyone whos done it themselfs ?

          1. You should just submit all of your songs to a royalty-free site. That is the only “cheap” way to add 1,000 songs to a site without having to pay.

            Sure, your songs will be featured amongst hundreds of other artists. But I do not think that this is a negative. A site with good exposure will help you to sell more tracks than your own site with all of your own tracks.

            Think about it like this: your site will have to work much harder to draw attention from more established sites. If your site is hard to navigate or is not visually pleasing, you will not get any traffic. Going cheap is not always the best thing to do.

            It takes time and money to get things off of the ground. Just upload your best 200 tracks to a royalty-free site. Once you start making money, you can use that to build your own site. You will still have 800 tracks plus any additional music you have created for your own site. Think about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

            1. hi, thanks synth player, I have done that, got around 800 tracks – I wanted to also host them in all (cheaply) on a ‘make your own site’ kind of thing and have them there and see if I can make some additional lolly through that, yeah may flop, but wanted to see if its any good – I would love it to be really cheap though, esp as its an experiment. the site vs as you suggest is goin ok for me – just wanted an additional avenue. Still cant find anything viable – the sites mentioned are exp, monthly cost way to high – I may change my mind and think its reasonable, but i imagine at the mo theyve got the idea cornered, maybe some cheaper vs is available and i just cant see it yet. if anyone knows of one, that would be great to let me know.

              1. Adam
                I may have missed something in previous posts. Why do you want to host these tracks on your own site as opposed on an established royalty free site such as Audiosparx (or similar). There is no cost to you to do this- only splitting of revenue.

                Keep in mind the need for your tracks to be found in searches by clients, etc. What good would your own site be if no one knew it was there? The established sites have the infrastructure to support what you want to do as well as an established client base.

                IMO it’s well worth sharing the revenue in exchange for everything else. Am I missing something? ๐Ÿ™‚


                1. Thanks for the input – and totally get you on having the traffic, but it just wouldnt hurt for me to have my own collection – my stuffs good – better than lots peoples ( and worse ;-)) and i want to see whats gonna happen selling it that way – and yes its better for me to get 100 per cent of the money – I wouldnt be discontinuing that side just want this side also at a cheap price, so far cant see an option to do so – I mean a cheap option – also – thanks art – I will check out wordpress. I guess another way is to have a server at home to host my stuff – but I dont even know technically what a server is – some kind of hard drive !? I have seen peoples sites selling their own stuff – so I guess I need to figure out how they do it – its tricky because their sites dont say ” heres how i did it ” – not being a computer techy it may take time .thanks for input both.

                2. Adam,
                  Take a look at Bandcamp. I have some of my music up on there. You are able to sell your music directly from there at any price you set up. You can control pretty much every aspect of your sales there. Read the payment faq on the site and they explain about how they work. If you sell directly from band camp they will take a small fee for the sell. The sell goes directly to your paypal account.

              2. @adam: It can be done with WordPress if you are willing to put the time in. I started on one for myself but just did not have enough time to finish it. Cost was about $10 per month for hosting and $30 for the shopping cart software.

                1. I maintain a site for my own collection (see my link). I don’t expect people to find it blindly through a search engine though. I use it to refer people to directly. If I hear someone is looking for music I can point them to the site. I also use the site for promotional reasons and can send people there that need to hear examples of my music, but aren’t necessarily shopping. I do only a few direct licenses a year, but enough to pay for the site. I did one last week actually. It was for music for a DVD for sale. I pointed her to my site, she picked out three pieces. I made the wave files and license agreement available for download and we arranged for payment.

                  The site is hosted by broadjam and my broadjam membership costs me $8.25 a month ($199.00 yearly fee minus $100.00 ASCAP member discount = $99.00)No shopping cart or automatic payment features but for what I’m doing that is fine. I can handle all that hands on the few times a year I need to. That’s my cheap solution…

                2. Thanks v.much for the replies – I will have a good look at the info – I think my ideal would still be the 1st way suggested – only they need to add catagories and cut the price LOADS ! Then I would be a happy santas little helper !

  48. I guess this question is mostly for the UK, but applies anywhere:

    I am having trouble understanding how mechanical royalties work, and how am I supposed to get them.

    Firstly, if I understand it correctly, all “royalty free music” really means is pre-cleared mechanical royalty license music. As in, you can buy my music for $50, and then you can put it on a million DVDs and you don’t have to pay a mechanical royalty each time (which you normally would).

    But if a film director asks me directly for some music for his film, how does this work? How does the MCPS come into this? Do I have to use the MCPS? Can I say to the director, directly: “each time you make a DVD I want $0.50”? Can I register my tracks on MCPS – if I do, what’s the point? Do I then tell the director to go the MCPS site?

    What the hell is the MCPS for? Do they charge per DVD a company makes?

    If I do make a deal with a director to get 3% of revenue from sales of DVDs and cinema releases, and $0.50 per DVD manufactured, what hope do I really have of getting paid anything? I mean, everybody’s screwing everybody else all the time in this famously vulgar industry, right?

    If anyone has experience in this, as usual your help would be enormously appreciated!

  49. Just my not so experienced opinion but, sounds contrary to what exclusive means to me. Releasing an album under that library could be part of an exclusive deal scenario but what you’re talking about sounds kind of semi-exclusive to me.
    I think you’d have to come up with material you haven’t signed exclusively and make an album from that. jmo.

    1. Hi Hysteria,

      I’ll give you the lawyer’s answer — it depends. I released several commercial CDs in back in 90’s.

      Subsequently, I entered into a license agreement with an exclusive library for some of those tracks. I can still sell those CDs, but I cannot give them to another library for licensing.

      It really depends on what you can work out in your contract. If your CD has any legs, it might actually help you get it placed with a library.

      BUT…I would say don’t try this at home. You should have a qualified attorney.



      1. Thats not a problem, if I ever get into a scape, You’ll be first on my call list ๐Ÿ˜‰

        So it depends on the library contract. Your tracks were released on CD before being entered into an exclusive deal. I wonder if it makes a difference that they were on CD beforehand. If your tracks were to have been in the library first would they have allowed you relese them on CD. Im guessing that any eclusive library that allows you to still sell you own tracks through your own website by yourself probably wont have a problem with me releasing a cd afterwards.

        Its nothing im going to to soon. just wanted to get a better picture on how it might work or not. Thanks Pat and Michael for the helpful comments.

        1. “Thats not a problem, if I ever get into a scape, You’ll be first on my call list”

          Thanks, Hysteria, would if I could, but I’ve pretty much officially left the dark side. ๐Ÿ˜†

  50. Im guessing that if I enter all my music into an exclusive music library most of those types of libraries will never allow me to include any of those songs in a commercial album release?
    Please tell me it isn’t so as id love to try and release an album at some stage.

    1. Many exclusive music libraries are exclusive only to film/TV or only as far as other music libraries. Contracts vary. Very often, if their only market is film/TV, they will allow you to continue to pitch songs to artists, sell your songs on iTunes, etc. Check the contracts carefully and if you don’t see what you are looking for, simply ask about it. YMMV


  51. Just wanted to share some stats with some of the newbies like myself ( after doing this for only 16 months I consider myself still a newbie!)

    Since I stated selling tracks in May of 2010 I have sold to date 233 tracks, averaging about 15 track per month. On top of that I have sold 11 60-track collections that Partners-in-Rhyme put together for me.

    No major placements as of yet, or royalties collected or due.

    Hope that helps to those of you just starting out to give you some sort of idea. Don’t know if these numbers are good or bad, but I am very happy to have sold any!

    1. HI Gary,

      Thanks for posting that info. I think it would be helpful to ad how many tracks you have.

      Have you found that certain tracks consistently sell better than others?

      Congratulations….sounds successful to me.



      1. Thanks Michael:

        As of today I have around 160 full-length tracks in my catalog. I have been actively writing since early 2009. No loops or edits.

    2. That’s great Gary. That’s alot of tracks. I can’t imagine having that many tracks much less selling that many. I’ve been doing it almost for a year now and have only gotten 2 licenses that I’m aware of. I take it you have a bunch of tracks at one of these Audiosparx type libraries?
      Also, have you accumulated that amount of tracks over time or are you averaging a track every couple of days? I need some sort of system so I can produce more tracks faster.

      1. Pat:

        As I told Michael, I have 160 tracks in my catalog, so I have sold multiples of individual tracks. As far as libraries go musicloops, and audiosparx have my entire catalog. Due to me losing some of my masters and original projects over the years, some of the newer libraries I am with have about 120-130.

        As far as what sells, that is a real crap shoot. You just never know. I have been surprised many times with tracks that I did not think were my best, sold very well.

        But as has been stated here on MLR many times, it is a numbers game. The more tracks you have the better. Keep writing!

        1. Hii Gary

          If your lost masters are on Audiosparx go to the track edit basics page and download it with the down arrow at the top ! I would be at the same unique track count as you but with more edits. I am guessing at 500. As you say volume counts, and what is selling on individual sites is easy tocheck out most of the time.

          1. Denis:
            Thanks for the tip on getting the masters. I’ll try that. These are mostly older tracks that somehow got deleted from my Mac.

            1. Hey Gary,

              I’m sure that it goes without saying –backup backup backup.

              I keep multiple copies on multiple hard drives. (same with my sample instruments)

              I’ve got midi files going back to around 1985!

              I hope you get your tracks back.


              1. I have learned believe me!! Could have been worse, but yes everything I have is on external drives now.

                1. I have multiple backups of everything. I also just recently burned my catalog onto DVD’s and gave them to my wife to keep “offsite” at her work. I had a fire here once. There was minimal damage but enough for fire fighters to chop some holes and soak a section of the house. Think about offsite copies, if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone!

                2. +1! I have three copies of everything and working on a fourth and fifth. Two at home, one at the bank in a safe deposit box. Slowly uploading everything up to the “cloud” using SOS Online backup. I’m thinking of making another copy and sending to my sister on the east coast. I’ve lost very few things over the years but enough to make me super paranoid!

                3. Time for me to get an external drive methinks. Got copies on my laptop plus memory stick but thats it.

        2. Thanks for the response Gary and again congrats. I’d like to check out some of your music on those sites. Can you direct me to them. I might give them a try.

            1. I appreciate you posting that Gary. You music sounds great. I can see why it would sell. I’ll bookmark it so I can I’m curious, I noticed all the music sounds like it’s the exact same volume. Is that something the site does with the tracks or are you consistently mastering your music exactly the same?
              I’m bookmarking your stuff. Great quality to shoot for.

              1. Thanks very much Pat. I do master everything before I post it. it makes a huge difference in the sound quality of the track and consistency of volume

                Also, keep in mind that many of the tracks previews on sites are in low-res, so you really need to have it sounding as good as you can going in.

                1. Yeah, after listening you what you’re doing I’m pretty stoked to submit. I only have a few tracks but if I can get in the door I can add more.

                2. Pat:
                  When I started last year I only had about 20 tracks. After selling a couple I was pretty motivated to write more!

                  As a side note note, I have learned a lot from this site,( and am still learning) about this part of the music business. it is a great resource where everyone is willing to help and give advice.

  52. Is there such a thing as a composer owned music library or anything that comes close?

    You License is the closest example I can think of where they post ‘music wanted’ adverts and the composer decides wheather to submit thier songs or not. But there is a monthly fee for most accounts and for the free account You License will take a small percentage of the license fee.
    But wouldn’t it be great if the library/website was owned only by the composers who have music on the site. No monthly fee, license fee or royalty splits. The only thing is, who’s gonna keep the site up and running. Also to keep the standard high some kind of review process would have to be implemented.

      1. Thanks Michael. That actually looks like the quickest way to get up and running. Albeit they do take a 5% cut of every sale made through ‘your’ website so not totally free from a middle man. But probably the closest your gonna get. It would be great to have a 100% composer owned music licensing website renowned within the industry for its high/original musical standard. Could it ever happen? What serious composer would have the time on their hands to set one up? Art’s next project? ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. This has been discussed before and could open a can of worms on so many levels. It is a good thought though.

          Also, by volunteering me for the job are you implying I’m not a “serious” composer? ๐Ÿ˜€

          1. No not at all Art. Just trying to shift the workload onto someone else ๐Ÿ˜€ With your proven track record on setting up new and innovative composer friendly websites you’d be the perfect candidate! ๐Ÿ˜€

            Seriosly tho, would be a good thing to get together. I guess the only way to make it happen is to get people talkn about it here.

            1. It would me a monumental task in time and expensive. Whoever set it up would have to be compensated. Then, how do you decide what music to let in? Like I said, a can of worms.

              1. Art,

                I don’t know how you find time to run this site and still have time to write and produce tracks!

                You’re right, it would be a monumental task.



                1. There are times when trying to run MLR and write music is a bit overwhelming but not very often. I feel incredibly blessed that I’m able to do both and have the added bonus of meeting such great people here!

  53. Do you guys who have non-exclusive music at say,for example, libraries like Jingle Punks or Scorekeepers, submit the same music to places where you name your own price like Audiosparx?
    I was wondering how that works where you have music at libraries that can maybe license your cue for $500 but at the same time you have it priced at say $40 to compete on sites Audiosparx where supervisors or whomever can get your same cues for hundreds cheaper.
    Hope that makes sense.

      1. geez. Never thought of that. I guess there’s no problem with supervisors saying “Hey! I just hear the same song I licensed for $500 under a different name for $40 on audiosparx?
        I think maybe I’m beginning to see that there is room for argument when it comes to retitling.
        In any case, thanks Art. Glad to know I can do that apparently without repercussions since you mention no problem with doing it that way.

        1. Repercussions? I don’t know and many would take me to task for it. But if we do believe in the non-exclusive, re-title business model, why not?

            1. That’s the free market at work. Prices vary from retailer to retailer with any product. I’m purchasing a generator for my home this week. I’ve found two retailers that had the exact same product, but a $330 difference in price.

              Not sure why there is such a fuss over this when it comes to music. I guess we’re special. ๐Ÿ˜€

                1. This raises a good question; Should supervisors be shopping not only for the music that best matches their creative needs but also makes the best financial sense?

                  At the same time I don’t want to see libraries rushing to the bottom to offer the lowest price.

          1. Makes sense! I’ll need to start doing that from now on. On a side note I googled my name to see what libraries would come up and in the process I found my name on Tune Find and one of my songs was used on 90210. Cool!

              1. Thanks, I never would have been looking if it hadn’t been for those previous posts!!

                Do you re-title for every different library? Or do you seperate them by type?

                1. I re-title the lower price royalty free one way, the higher priced royalty free another and companies specializing in TV placements yet another. You should see my database!

                2. Please excuse this dumb question Art but you say “one way.”
                  Can that be construed as “one title?” for each of those circumstances you mentioned or do you actually do things a different “way” for each circumstance? Just want to make sure I understand what you’re doing so I can think using retitles to my advantage.

                3. Art, you raise an interesting perspective on “re-titling” in that you are retitling the tracks yourself.

                  In fact, the copyright form line 1 asks for the title of the work and line 2 asks for
                  “ALTERNATIVE TITLES” and “CONTENTS TITLES.” The latter would apply to collections. The former seems to allow the author to supply more than one title for the work.

                  Food for thought.



  54. Tim
    The couple of people I know who make enough money so they could quit their day job and do music full-time, took 5-10 years (and TONS of hard work) to get to that point.

    How much money equates to success? That depends on your goal. Do you want to make as much as a good paying day job and support yourself 100% in this field? Do you want it to be a part time thing to supplement another career? You have to define first what YOUR goal is in order for others to better answre your question.


  55. I have a newbie question, I realize this is a very vague question and open to many interpretations but what kind of money do you think you need to be making on an annual basis to consider yourself successful in the library world – and how long did it take you to get there or how long do you think it will take you to get there?


    1. Hi Tim,

      This has been covered many times here so try searching the site.

      Everyone’s idea of what they need, money-wise, will be different. Generally speaking, I would think $100k a year would be reasonable but it will most likely take eight to ten years and you will need 1500 to 2000 tracks.

    2. HI Tim,

      There are a lot of variables. What do YOU consider a success… 25K, 50K, 100K?

      Where do you live and what is your lifestyle? You can live well in my part of the country (east coast) for 50-75% of what it takes to live in California. Do you want a 60K BMW, or is a 25K Subaru good enough?

      If you have a high maintenance lifestyle, YMMV.



  56. As mentioned before my recording system is a bit antiquated, so I am looking into upgrading my PC amd my software. On the PC front I am getting a local shop to custom build for me so wondered what specs I should be looking for. My main question tho is on upgrading my software. I am using a 10 year old Cubase SX1 at tho mo. Cubase 6 looks very nice but considering my aim is to write fast and effectively I am wondering if another option might be better. I certainly prefer looking down a list of presets rather than spending hours twiddling with reverb settings. Any thoughts gratefully received.

    1. Reason 6 looks tempting with the addition of audio ( at last ) – certainly lots of preset sounds/ fx etc etc. Depends if you can live with the interface though. Certainly cheaper than Cubase, but then you can’t bung in all those free vst instruments and fx.

      1. Thanks Darkstar. I was looking at a couple of reviews of Reaso and it does seem to fit the bill. I do like plugins though. Certainly food for thought!

    2. Hi Ian!
      If you’re used to Cubase and wanna try something cheaper, but somewhat “similar” you could try Sonar or Ableton. I currently work with Ableton and rewire it with Reason. This way I sorta get the best of both worlds.

      1. Thanks Ulla
        I did try Ableton live a couple of years ago but just couldn’t get on with it. In particular I found the piano roll screen too cluttered and difficult to navigate. I do like the look of Sonar though especially with the new channel strip.

    3. Ableton ‘sounds funny’ – yes its great for the time stretch as its so fast to chuck ideas down, but writting whole tracks in it just does not sound as clear as other ones, its like the whole tracks have the resonance of time stretched music.
      For a suggestion heres one – if you cant afford an apple mac ( second hand they are v.resonable tho and you know with a mac you have a nice easy ride, no freezing screens ever etc – get a mac desktop or something ) – or alternatively since apple Logic is prob the best music program turn the PC into a ”hackintosh” and run logic on the PC – got some friends who do this – you run the program which runs mac OS operating syst on a pc ( google hackintosh ) and then for a price of a pc you get to use logic on it.

  57. FWIW, take it or leave it…

    If you’re talking about the top exclusives, mailing a CD won’t work as they go straight in the bin. This I know for a fact. Emailing is equally fruitless. Only way is to have a product and get a face to face meeting to discuss the product. But in order to get the meeting some track record is necessary in order to have some ‘cred’ – say a few documentary series’ on mainstream TV or film scores etc.

    Unfortuantely, the goal posts have moved somewhat and generally, these top libraries don’t need any more composers. Think about it, if you’ve got the best in every genre on your books why waste time listening to demos?? Now if you can offer something different, that’s a good way in. But sending in dance tunes or rock or trailers covered in SD2 is pointless.

    I don’t think people on here quite appreciate the gulf between the different tiers of music library.

    1. I’ll be honest Robert, I have listened and listened to the music on the “top exclusives” and my talent is “not yet comparable” let’s say. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I do recognize the “levels” of libraries, and hoping to move to level 2, above the RF models that are out there. I have read many posts on the MLR saying to “spread it out”, and that is what I’m hoping to do. Possibly get that holy grail of a track record that you speak of. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. The odds have never stopped me from contacting top-tier libraries. I say you have to play the game to win. A loss is not important to me.

  58. When approaching exclusive music libraries, is it best to have about 5,10, 20 tunes that are similar in genre, or can it be a “mixed bag”?

    I am working on a game plan to start submitting to exclusives, but am confused on where to start. I see that most want CD’s mailed to them, but most don’t seem to specify beyond that. And I’m guessing 1 song at a time is a waste?

    Thanks for any input!

    1. No offense JD but at 29 tracks for $19.99, on your library, aren’t you leading the race to the bottom regarding for the rest of us?

      It’ll be interesting to see how the exclusives feel about that.

      1. WOW Anonymous! You are the first person to actually look at my website! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Seriously though, in my defense, those 29 tracks are 5+ years old, and geared more toward the youtube, podcast customers. The quality isn’t up to the standards needed today. Not to mention that I am new (this year) to the library business and have no idea what to charge for what!

        I didn’t mean to offend anyone, and will adjust my price (which no one will see) accordingly (as soon as I figure out what to charge).

        1. Hi JD,

          I don’t think that you offended anyone. But…based on those numbers — you’re selling tracks at about $1.45 per track. Notwithstanding your aspiration to get into an exclusive library, selling tracks @ $1.45 might even keep you out of AudioSparx. They are pretty adamant about not accepting writers who sell on low ball sites. Check out the restrictions in their agreement.

          If you’re also selling the same tracks in online sites at normal rates, then you are competing against yourself, and undercutting the online libraries that sell your music. The online libraries also sell to “youtube and podcast” customers, as well as corporate / business and broadcast customers.

          Now you know.

          With respect to what Robert said, I disagree to the extent that I would say not all doors to exclusive libraries are closed. It does help to have a track record, a personal connection, an agent / lawyer, etc. And yes, it helps to not be submitting the same kind of music that everyone else is submitting — with qualifications. Yes, SD2 is over used, and long in the tooth, but there are other things out there like Rhythmic Aura, Hybrid, Evolve etc etc that continue to add freshness to popular genres, like trailer music.

          The one thing that will really set you apart is striving for good writing. Everyone has their own definition of what that is.

          Food for thought.


          1. Great post MichaelL! Thank you.
            I certainly wasn’t looking at it the same way that you described. I was simply looking for a way to supply a small library, that most customers would probably be able to use a few tracks at most, for a fair price.

            But, “now I know”. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Thanks again.

            1. BTW, is there no one else selling their tracks on their own site? Is this an “industry no-no”? It doesn’t seem feasible to me to market my “library” for hundreds of dollars and still provide another alternative income?

              1. Hey JD,

                A lot of people sell their own tracks. $1.45 per track is the “race to the bottom” issue.


            2. Hi JD,

              Look at it this way, even if you sold 1000 copies of your CD, you’d still make less than 50 Styles (Erwin) did on AudioSparx last year.

              I’m sure that some writers here would say go for it. I’m saying proceed with caution before you shoot yourself in the foot.

              Good luck.


    2. JD,

      I would only send a CD if their website specifically states that is the way to contact them eg. West One.

      Use the ‘set’ feature on soundcloud to your advantage. Create groups of 3-10 similar tracks and include the direct links to the relevant set(s) in your intro email. Even if your demo set only has say 3-5 tracks in it, I wouldn’t start shopping that group out until I had about 8-10 similar tracks in total. You want to be able to strike while they’re interested and if you only have 3 tracks, you’re really not maximising the opportunity if positive interest is shown.

      Spend some time crafting your email. Keep it simple, a basic outline of what you do, and a brief summary of what kind of music they’ll hear if they click on your links. If at all possible, direct it to the relevant person at the library. Make it easy to contact you, and be easy to work with.

      It is certainly possible to make ‘top-tier’ contacts with no relevant track record, although I’m sure credits open more doors.

      1. Hey Rob,

        Thanks for jumping in.

        @JD, Rob came to mind immediately as an example of someone who offers evidence against what Robert Bobshooab said. He has successfully knocked down some bigger doors. If you can find Rob’s post on his first year in the business, it’s a must read.

        Good advice Rob!



        1. Rob, thank you so much! My original question got a little “sidetracked” by my complete disdain for our profession. ๐Ÿ™‚

          That was the answer I was looking for!
          I shall start out trying 3-5 with 5 waiting on “standby”, and work from there.

          Thank you so much!

          Also, Michael. You taught me more than you know!

          1. “Also, Michael. You taught me more than you know!”

            That’s open to interpretation, but I hope you mean in a good way.

            Just trying to say — don’t sell yourself short. I’ve been in the business for 30 years. I’ve seen a lot of people that tried to sell themselves on “best price” come and go. The ones that promoted themselves based on quality are still around.



          2. Thanks MichaelL, that’s an idea.

            @JD – Here’s the recap of my first year and an interview I did for Emmett Cooke’s site.

   – this first year recap discusses Taxi heavily but includes general things I’ve learned.

   – this is broader than the Taxi post and offers more of my journey

            You can achieve with a plan. And I’ve learnt a lot from MichaelL too. Ingest his posts! ๐Ÿ˜‰

            1. Thanks Rob and JD.

              I’ve learned a lot from you as well.

              I was out of the business for almost 10 years, studying and practicing law.
              This site and you guys have helped me get up to speed on all the new library business
              models, and how the game is played.

              Thank you!

              All the best,


              1. Thanks MichaelL! As such a noob, I’m not sure what you could learn from me, but I’ll take the compliment. ๐Ÿ™‚

                1. Ps. I mean I’m the noob.

                  Art, any chance you could revisit the edit time to make it longer again?

      2. When crafting the email, I’ve been unsure about whether or not to mention other libraries that license my music. Since I don’t yet have any significant placements to cite, I thought it might show that others have found my music to be marketable.

        On the other hand, does it work against me to show that competitors might have the same tracks, perhaps at a lower rate? (I’m talking about non-exclusives.)

        1. For non-exclusives, I wouldn’t mention other libraries that have the same music. You’re saying to them that you’re happy to compete with yourself on price !?

          My 2c.

  59. Hi Guys,

    I have a client who wants to use one of my cues in a commercial on TV in Canada (this is a direct license, not via a library). I’ve heard that commercials often don’t earn backend, though it’s my understanding that the client must file a cue sheet with my PRO for any broadcast use. Is this correct?

    Also, would I have to register the cue with my PRO first (it’s an orchestral piece, no vocals).


    1. From what I’ve heard, Canadian TV adverts don’t pay performance royalties, ever. That’s just the way it is there. TV shows are different, but adverts – zilch.

      1. Commercials in the US rarely pay royalties either. I have just finished my 6th commercial and I’ve never received any royalties other than AFM residuals and a few. I know a couple of other composers who have probably done 10-15 commercials combined and neither of them have received any royalties either (other than AFM, which usually isn’t much at all btw). Most of these commercials were for large, national or multinational corporations. No PRO money.

        1. that’s supposed to be “AFM residuals ON a few” not “AND a few.” For some reason the site isn’t letting me go back and edit,

      2. I’ve done a few hundred library tracks for a library that is mostly used for radio ads — zilch as far as US royalties. I do think that I got something from the UK.

        1. Hi MichaelL

          Radio Ads in Ireland pay PRO at a good rate. I suspect, but cant confirm that the UK would be the same.

  60. Quick question – I recently found out a song of mine is being pitched for a upcoming movie teaser. As a newbie, I’m thrilled. How does this look when you are actually selected? How long can it take? Are these decisions made months before the release of the movie trailer or in a matter of days? Is a movie trailer the same as a movie teaser? (sorry, but had to ask) Any great trailer/teaser stories?

    It has been over a month now, so I’m moving on, writing more music, taking advice that I see posted here. Thanks in advance for your stories and info!


    1. Hi Cari
      I’m guessing that this is a pitch by a library you have the track in? Maybe the library starts with “C” and lists pitches on their site?

      In any case, it’s GREAT when your song is pitched for a opp like this. But don’t get TOO excited (a little is OK ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) because, unless there is something very unique about this pitch, the track is one of a great many being pitched by many sources. Many factors affect the decision and film folks can even change their mind at the very last minute. As far as how long it could take, that depends on where the film is in its production cycle- pre-production, production, post-production, etc. Could be a few months, maybe a year or two.

      Be happy! And cautiously optimistic. There is no reason not to keep writing tracks and even pitching this one elsewhere unless it is signed exclusively.


      1. Dear Advice,

        Yes, and yes … and yes!

        I am excited but will heed your advice. Very interesting to hear how it works and I remember reading somewhere that they could change their mind at the last minute.

        On a side note … I’m playing Stravinsky (Piccolo) in a few weeks, so my newest compositions are reflecting some bizarre rhythms … is that bad? ๐Ÿ˜‰

        (the happy and cautiously optimistic composer)

  61. I’ve been licensing about 15 songs through a few different companies for about a year now. I’ve had probably 20 or more cable TV placements (Showtime, History Channel, Vh1, MTV, Discovery, WE, Bravo, etc.). I’m really happy with what I’ve been able to place so far even though I’ve heard they don’t pay that well generally…

    My question to your music licensing gurus out there is more of a philosophical question about over-all strategy. Currently, I’m spending a lot of time trying to create 2 and half to 4 minute instrumental tracks with many parts. I’m really trying to make every second of the tracks engaging. I’m probably spending about a week or two per track… Do you think my time would be better spent just creating quick, but still professional, catchy “cues” that are a minute or two long?

    Also, I was wondering if perhaps some of you compartmentalize all of your tracks into catagories like “rapidly produced short cues” and “masterpieces that you spend many weeks on”…? If that’s the case do you send one type of tracks to certain libraries and the other type of tracks to different libraries (i.e. masterpieces go to Crucial and “cues” go to MusicLoops)?

    I would really love your insight on this! And of course any examples of specific libraries for the specific “types” I’ve mentioned above would be invaluable. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks in Advance!

    1. Nhyne:
      Glad to hear you have had success with placements already!

      I think everyone approaches this differently. I’ve only been involved in submitting songs to libraries for a little over a year and a half so I too am a bit of a newbie to this, and have learned a lot from this website.

      Like you, I concentrate on writing 2-4 full length tracks in various genres. I tend to write quickly and usually spend a total of 10-12 hours on one track from inception to mastering.

      Have learned that you really have to get to the point quickly in the tracks. No long intros, and making everything count as you said. The first 10-15 seconds should set it up.

      Currently selling track through 6 different libraries with close to 160 tracks, and have to say I’m pretty pleased with the success I have had in this short time. The key is quantity (but don’t sacrifice quality) the more tracks you have out there the better chance you will have in selling.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Thanks for the reply Gary!

        Have you put your stuff on any of the royalty free site? If so, do you put all of your songs in all 6 libraries you are with or do you only put some of the best ones in the “higher-end” libraries and put only the other tracks on royalty free sites (not your “hits”)?

        I would love to hear your experience with those type of sites if you have any!

        Also, it would be really awesome if anyone with over a 1000 tracks could give me any insight to my original question – if they should be so kind ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. Currently I am on,,,,, and all non-exclusive. The last one auditive network sells primarily to the Scandanavian countries.

          I have all of my tracks on musicloops. audiosparx, and tunesociety. Eventually I hope to get all of my tracks on all, but it does take time to do it. I try to devote at least one a per week for track maintenance and uploading on the various sites.

          I started with musicloops back in May of 2010, and gradually got on the other sites. Most of my sales have come from musicloops as well.

          If I were you I would check out the comments on this site for these and others to see how others do with them as well. This is a great resource for someone just starting out with this.

            1. Michael:
              Basically it is uploading tracks to sites, and going in and adding or changing keywords, and descriptions on existing tracks. Really nothing to do the the track itself, more site housekeeping than anything..


              1. Hey Gary,

                Thats kind of what I thought. I couldn’t imagine tweaking mixes, or anything like that, after I’ve uploaded the track. Gotta keep moving.



          1. Wow, thanks for the detailed response! It sounds like most people are doing a mix of royalty-based placements and royalty-free placements. The two main libraries that are getting my placements are Crucial and JinglePunks. I haven’t received any cue sheets in my ASCAP account yet as most of the placements started coming in during the Spring of this year. I only know about them because I have a TuneSat account.

            I think I will take your advice and put some songs on the royalty-free sites to try to see if I can make some steady money from them. Thanks again for your advice – it is greatly appreciated!

        2. @nhyne: “Matt”, a regular contributor, I believe has stated that he has over 2000 tracks and last year did around $150k. This is a mixture of royalty free, non-exclusive, exclusive and custom work.

          1. Hi Art, great site! It’s a wonderful resource and I can’t thank you enough for creating a place for everyone to discuss this important aspect of the music industry ๐Ÿ™‚

            I’d read a few other posts on here where people have said that with 500 quality tracks in the right catalogs one can make $50k/year and with 1000 quality tracks in the right catalogs one one can make $100k/year. I’m sure this varies drastically from composer to composer and with luck but I thought it was a nice baseline to help understand the earning potential of licensing music.

            I would imagine if you have 500 tracks/cues that a majority of them are short 1-2 minute ditties and the rest are “hits” that the composer spent significantly more time on. Am I right in thinking this?

            Also, do most composers put the songs they spend a lot of time on into the royalty-free sites too or does this bring down the value of them (should other, higher-end libraries such as Shockwave Sound see them on these types of site)?

            1. yeah that sounds about right to me. One important thing to point out is that it will take at least year or two after that 500th track is signed to see royalty statements that would add up to 50k per year. It takes a while for the tracks to get out there, some production companies/networks are notorious for filing cue sheets late, and even if everything goes perfectly it takes 6-9 months from the time of placement to get paid.

              I will have signed a little over 500 tracks by the end of this year, but I don’t expect to start seeing a quarterly statement of $12,500 until 4Q2012 at the EARLIEST. Thats why its good to diversify into sectors that pay a little quicker like royalty free libraries, commercials, and (if you can get in with them) libraries that pay up front for tracks.

            2. “I would imagine if you have 500 tracks/cues that a majority of them are short 1-2 minute ditties and the rest are “hits” that the composer spent significantly more time on. Am I right in thinking this?”

              No you imagine wrong. Thats 500 full length tracks, with all the related edits and underscores on top of that.

              Personally I aim to place a minimum of 50 tracks, plus those pesky edits and underscores, with exclusive libraries every year.

              1. I guess that’s good because I’ve only ever written full-length tracks (haven’t done the pesky editing yet for the different versions though), but I have seen quite a lot of people on this site recommending to keep tracks less than 2 minutes or even less than 1 minute…

                1. Less than a minute seems a bit short IMO. I usually shoot for 2 minutes on most cues as a general rule. Most libraries that I’ve worked with ask for 2 minute minimum, but there have been a few that have asked for 2:30-3 minute cues and at least one that I can think of that likes 1:30 cues.

                  Of course, if you are being asked to do bumpers and stings then that is a totally different story. Then you are looking at 2-30 second type cues.

    2. I recommend limiting your tracks to around two minutes. Some customers like longer tracks, but they’re more of an exception – producers who make infomercials, and maybe industrial videos. TV shows (especially reality TV) use music in short bursts, usually 5-20 seconds.

      Get to the main point / energy of the track fairly quickly, and don’t change much throughout. Make sure you’re sticking to one main idea, emotionally and genre-wise. An editor usually wants something specific, and might use more of your track if it works well throughout the scenes they’re editing. A/B/A (last ‘A’ being bigger) is a common structure for TV, A/B/C/A is what I usually do for the big libraries (who pay upfront).

  62. I wanted to find out if symphonic compositions need to be as realistic as possible, utilizing orchestra samples, etc in order to be commercially marketable. I have an older synth workstation with some nice sounds, but not as realistic as some of the Jukebox compositions I’ve listened to.

    I wondered how classic Vangelis-type synth orchestrations fare nowadays, or tunes that find a middle ground of being less synthetic than his classic stuff, but more synthetic-sounding than modern sampled orchestrations.

    Thanks for any info, and does anyone know what genres are most successful?

    1. “I wanted to find out if symphonic compositions need to be as realistic as possible, utilizing orchestra samples, etc in order to be commercially marketable.”

      I’m sure others will disagree, but yeah, you need orchestral stuff as realistic as possible. You don’t have to go wild and break the bank to get good results though, but you will need something a bit more “realistic” than a long in the tooth all in one workstation synth.

      1. I agree. It really comes down to how much you want to spend on virtual strings software. I use Garritan Strings, as they are not that expensive. They are not the best, but with some tweaking you can get a decent and fairly realistic string sound

      2. “I’m sure others will disagree, but yeah, you need orchestral stuff as realistic as possible.”

        Absolutely. If you are going to do orchestral mock-ups you can’t cut corners. Garritan is fine if you’re layering a string section in a pop tune. But if you’re doing orchestral mock-ups, you need a combination East West, Vienna, LASS, CineSamples etc., to start with.

        The caveat to this advice is that it depends on where you’re putting your tracks. I hear a lot of long in the tooth sounds on some of the RF sites. But those tracks might not sell well, or at all.

        East West usually has the “complete composers bundle” on sale. You may want to check it out. However, if you’re still using an old synth work station, that’s another story altogether.


  63. New Question(s):

    Is it important to compose songs that conform to BPMs that are based on “5”s or “10”s (i.e. 105 or 110 vs. 103 bpm)?

    Does anyone know if it’s necessary to register song titles with ASCAP if the library retitles anyway – I understand that the library would report the title to the Pro if sold to a client, since they are handling publisher duties at that point (I’m signed with ASCAP as a writer, but not a publisher)….

    Thanks for any info

    1. I’ve never paid attention to BPMs. If the library is registering the titles then you should not. Might be a good idea to check and make sure they have.

    2. BPMs just give editors a quick idea of the tempo. If they’re looking for something fast, say 152 BPM, they can skip over slower tracks easily.

      1. Yes but BPM can be misleading in that the feel could be half or double the BPM. I find that in a lot Latin music but it’s true of other genres.

        1. Thanks for the info – I have used a BPM measuring program and Art is right about the doubling problem. It has trouble if any notes are detected in half the timeframe and gives a doubled value.

  64. My first post here – great information and insights here for sure. My (dumb?) question is, if I have released an album through CD Baby, etc., does that mean I can’t submit the tracks to an exclusive library?

    1. I would seriously doubt an exclusive library is going to touch anything available elsewhere, even if it’s CD baby.

      Exclusive tends to mean they own the rights, full stop.

      1. Thanks – that’s kind of what I thought – what do you think about about posting tracks that I would like to submit to exclusive libraries on SoundCloud with the download option switched off?

        1. That’s exactly what I do. This way people can hear your tracks as mp3’s without any audio watermarks, but they cannot download them. It’s worked well for me.

            1. Anything I sign to an exclusive library stays 100% exclusive. It’s not ethical to display an exclusive track without permission. Besides, even with the download option turned off, there’s no guarantee it won’t show up somewhere on the Internet in the future.

              1. My understanding is that you can release a cd commercially but cannot license the tracks to anyone. Here’s a response i got back from an exclusive library about this.

                “You are free to release the material on commercial records anywhere, but you can only grant the right to use the recording but you cannot grant rights on the composition to anybody.”


                1. That brings up a question. I have some tracks on iTunes that were put up by a distribution partner with one of the libraries that I am with. (BTW I have no exclusive agreements with any library.) So what would keep someone from downloading those tracks from iTunes and using them commercially?

                2. “So what would keep someone from downloading those tracks from iTunes and using them commercially”- Gary

                  Only scruples Gary.

                3. If it was broadcast then Tunesat would probably catch it but as John says, scruples are all you can hope for.

                4. Someone could also get any of the tracks we have on previews in any library and copy them. If it plays out of a speaker it can be copied. Granted there is watermarking and lo quality mp3 to deal with, but still it can be done. its the same with any piece of music wether on CD or in the ether, if someone wants to use it without paying they can and will.

                  The upside being that any broadcaster in a major territory, where you will earn decent PRO and sync fees, will demand to see the paper trail associated with anything the broadcast.

                5. “You are free to release the material on commercial records anywhere, but you can only grant the right to use the recording but you cannot grant rights on the composition to anybody”- KP

                  That doesn’t make any sense KP. If you can grant the “use” rights of the recording to anyone, it isn’t exclusive. Doesn’t even sound like professional lingo.

                6. What he is saying is that you can sell your cd commercially, just as anyone can, for private consumer use. You cannot license the compositions for any other use, however, if you’re with their exclusive library. This is from a large exclusive German library, a response to a personal inquiry, hence the non-professional lingo.

                  Hope that makes more sense.

  65. “I submitted several music to exclusive RF library”

    cool – but which is you’re favourite exclusive rf libary? u didnt specify

    i have several but not sure which is the best – i like these libraries best beause they are literally the best of both worlds – exlusive on the one hand rf on the other so essentially your approaching the market from two distinct angels

    also i have placed 7 tracks with rf libay and was wondering how long is it until i see real royalties come thru? i see on some websites it says they can take up to 1 maybe 2 years

    not sure i want to be waiteing tht long really ๐Ÿ™

  66. Hello.
    I have a newbie question about PRO royalties so I tried to write this to receive some advice.

    I submitted several music to exclusive RF library and am also planning to work with other non-exclusive RF and licensed libraries.
    The thing what I’m wondering is who register composer’s music to PRO. I think that composer basically register his music to PRO but also think that RF library(publisher) may register composer’s music to PRO. So I’m wondering which one is right in the situation that is working with exclusive library or non-exclusive library.

    Second question is about tracking service. I’m considering to join tracking service such as Tunesat and Digsound. but before I decide, I just want to hear about it from you(composer) if it is worth to join or not.



    1. @JunL. Generally the music libraries register with the PROs if they are collecting the Publisher’s performance share. If they are not then you should. In any event, if your music is used on TV the writer and publisher will be picked up off the cue sheet, if the cue sheet has been filed. Which leads to Tunesat.

      I have a Tunesat account so I can reconcile my BMI statement and my Tunesat detections. Probably only worth it if you have a fairly large catalog and getting regular placements. Recently I collected $1500 from an unauthorized use that Tunesat picked up. I would have never known about as it never appeared on a cue sheet.

      1. Hey Art, how is tunesat working out for you as far as your re-titles go? (Or maybe you don’t do re-title libraries?)If it picks up a placement that doesn’t reconcile with your records I guess you have to track down where out of multiple possibilities it came from? Probably by contacting the shows producers somehow? Is this a hassle? Thanks, Michael

        1. Hi Michael, I do re-title and I do have to track them down. At this point I have a pretty good handle on where the placements come from and it does involve finding the producers and contacting them. In the two years I’ve had my Tunesat account this has only happened twice. The most recent one took a bit of detective work, a few months and a number of phone calls but for $1500 it was worth it. Maybe a couple of hours work at most.

          1. Thanks for the info! Tunesat is something I’d consider, once the music business decides to start paying again and I have the extra money to put into it…

  67. Question for you guys.
    I have my first 2 cues I want to submit to an exclusive library.
    Do you guys wait to hear from them before submitting to others or do you do multiple (exclusive) submissions and just say no thanks if if it’s already accepted?
    The problem I see having with exclusive submissions is possibly waiting and waiting and worse than a reject is no response at all when I could’ve been submitting all along. Just wondering what your general practice is. I don’t have a ton of cues so I want to get the most milage fron what I have but at the same time, explore outside of dealing with only non-exclusive libraries.

    1. Multiple submissions, only way to go. If you get multiple responses then great, you’ve established some contacts, just send them something else, new.

        1. I agree with darkstar. Since you only have a few cues then it will be easy to do, but it is important to always submit new material as you go.

  68. For me, I got more out of this site than I ever did paying all that money to Taxi for so my years. I get something out of this for my money and there’s no maybe.

  69. I can imagine that it does take a lot of time to manage a site like this, imagine doing it totally for free, i mean, if you just left it then i guess its going to slowly fill up with swear words, people spamming how amazing their library is and lieing about it and the supposed sales coming from owners of such libraries, also trolls just coming to be annoying, and before long advertising for”chat on line to girls” all over the place – i have amazingly seen that done on another music library forum ( listed here ) somehow every single post has got several posts advertising chat on line to girls , i guess some kind of automated bot does it… its a really tricky thing.

    1. Yep, I hate when I go to those sites that have turned into spam sites. I’d rather close MLR down then let that happen.

  70. It was fun while it lasted for me. But I respect your decision.

    Funny, I just started posting links to this site on a few sites I visit. To let other musicians know…

    I wish not every site was always trying to charge, but build by the brand letting sponsors come in within that industry to hold it up.

    Thx for the repsonse

    1. @steven. MLR has been around for almost two years and the brand is fairly well known throughout the world. Unfortunately not many are interested in advertising. A number of kind souls have made donations (a few very generous) but all in all it’s a huge time suck with many, many hundreds of hours spent. So it’s time to for it to stand on it’s own or go away.

  71. Hi Matt,

    I just got an email with your great post, but I’m locked out and can’t see it here – guess this is a loophole and so my time is limited … just wanted to thank you for the insight and good info about the libraries vs buyout scenarios. I’m encouraged by your post during a difficult time, so maybe that’s why I was able to see what you wrote.

    I feel my music, although specialized, will be picked more – Crucial, Magnatune, and Music Loop to name a few, have already been very good to me. I would love to visit with you more sometime. You can reach me through my web site: and I totally understand if you pass.

    Thanks again for the info you shared.


    1. Hi Cari, I’m not sure if you got this message on your site – this is what I wrote:

      I really like your tracks, they definitely serve a niche market – spas, and other businesses needing relaxation music.

      My advice is that you completely embrace your ‘market’, and work on the musical bed that accompanies your beautiful flute performances. Some more live elements – gentle acoustic guitar, harp, maybe some Tibetan bowls, and some live strings would significantly boost the production value of your tracks.

      A professional mix, dripping in (high quality) reverb would give your music the polish it deserves. This all costs money, but I believe you’d make it all back (and then some).

      1. Hi Matt,

        Oh my! Thanks for the feedback! I will definitely make the adjustments and also feel really good about staying in my niche! You are very kind to take the time to comment and it was great to see the message through my website! As I progress, I hope to write for other genres. Sharing your experience and advice is very cool. If ever you need anything, (like Flute!) I owe you big time’s on the house!

        Would love to hear your music sometime!

        Thanks again,


  72. Post date: 6/25/2011

    Thanks Art for the great service!
    I recieved your Lifetime membership invitation this morning and had NO problem with registration and login. I was also able to change my assigned password to a new one which will help me remember it.

    Looking forward to the input, feedback and discussions here on the MLR forums!

    By the way, will you bring post dates back or should we just enter them manually as we post? I think having a small (automated) post date is helpful to put dated comments in perspective, or does that only come with the Premium service? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Michael Borges – CEO,

    1. Thanks Art.I’m in ok now but I did notice my lifetime membership expires June of 2061. Uh, who’s lifetime are we talking about? Maybe I’d better get a checkup. lol.

      1. Hah! I forget there are people younger than me so I just reset “lifetime” to 2211. If you can beat that I want your secret!

            1. Cool thanks Art Slightly different user name but it’s still me !!!! I can only remember so many login names. I will defo be expired by the time my sub runs out.

              1. Hi Denis, I can probably fix it back to your old username if you would like. Just let me know.

                1. I will live with my new identity for the time being LOL I think the regulars will know it’s me.

        1. Well actually, I’m 57 this year but I still plan on being here on this board in 2061. Matter of fact, I don’t plan on going at all.

  73. Just what I thought. This site isn’t about helping, it’s about earning money. You need a subscription to enter? What the xxxx. I will look for another place to hang about.

    What a xxxxx xxxx site this is.

    1. Yeah and you’re the same guy who’s been posting under various names (all from the same IP address), leaving phony e-mails and telling people they suck. So, GO AWAY!


      On more reflection.

      There are still many free areas on this site with a lot of useful information.

      You obviously are a composer and visited this site to help increase your earnings potential. You probably picked up a lot of useful information here and expect to get paid for your creative endeavors. Yet you would deny me any compensation for my creative endeavors.

      1. Hey Art,

        I support your decision 100%

        I expect the quality of posts and the exchange of relevant information to increase.

        Thanks and good luck.



      1. Well that’s always the risk but it’s more than time for MLR to become self-sustaining. If it’s meant to survive it will. If not it just gives me more time to write music!

        1. Art:
          Just want you to know I support you on this. After all we are not in this for our health, as the old saying goes….

  74. whats with the new log in thing ? does everyone have to pay now to use the site ? i tried to look at something in listings and i cant without subsciption, did not realise this had come into place now.

  75. Hello,

    From Japan.Nice to meet you. Sorry bad English.
    Please let me ask a question,what does “sting” mean(Except the artist:P)?

    “8-second stings” for instance.

    1. Hello Takeshi – A sting or “stinger” is simply a short piece of music, maybe 5 to 15 seconds long that is usually used to make a transition between scenes of a show. They can also be called bumps or bumpers.

      1. So you can call the last part after the final crash in trailer music ending, sting section?

        percussion -> builds up -> boom/crash -> sting -> silence?

  76. Hi,

    I am new to this world. Last week I got contacted by Universal Publishing in Denmark. They seem to be interested in what I am doing and were asking me about deadlines, me working for them, etc.

    When going to their website, it’s quite poor on HQ trailer music. I also have no idea about how well used they are in trailers etc.

    What is the possible disadvantage of me signing a worldwide deal with them/any other major company.

    What is the advantages of me signing a smaller company such as Position Music, Big Bang Fuzz, Sonic Librarian, Select Tracks, etc?? Do I limit myself ??

    How is it in the library world, if I sign Universal, does that mean that I will be limited to just work with them? I mean, I will then only work with their selected contacts around the globe.

    What should I do?

    1. Since you are new to this, I would advise you to not sign any exclusive deals yet. Get you music up on some non-exclusive sites first and start building a name for yourself, and getting the feel for all of this. I have only been selling tracks for a little over a year now, and am constantly learning more about this side of the business. A few sites I would suggest to you would be MusicLoops, AudioSparx, and ProductionTrax. Good luck to you!

    2. If you have Universal interested in your work, you are clearly doing something right.

      Faced with a choice between Universal and a bunch of royalty free sites, I know which way I’d go, and it wouldn’t be royalty free !!!!

      1. I see. I just have the impression that these sites, that is listed here to the right, at least most of them, are a good way of getting your music into trailers. Is that wrong? Position Music, Big Bang Fuzz, etc, etc.

        When signing contracts with Universal for instance, is there anything I should know, and watch out for?

        I have worked with clients including work for PS3-titles, but these stuff regarding library music is new for me.

        1. Without seeing their agreement it is hard to comment much expect for the fact that they are a good major publishing company with lots of placements.

          If they want to sign you as a staff writer, you’ll have to submit your music to them first. This will most likely require you to present a certain amount of music to them each month (this is probably why they’re asking you these questions).

          Usually the contract will allow you to shop any music that they don’t take for themselves to other companies. If they simply want to hire you on a “work for hire” basis, then you will only be giving them rights for the work they ask you for. Anything else you write, you can shop around with other companies.

          Unless there is something in their contract that states you can’t write or submit “any” music you write (or co-write) to another company, I see this as a win/ win situation. Again it all depends on the individual contract.

          1. If I understand this correctly:

            I have 100 tracks. 50 of them are my best ones.
            I sign up as an exclusive composer for Universal Publishing.
            I also sign 50 of my best tracks to them + world wide deal. 1 year goes, and I am not published in any trailer or commercial situation, these 50 tracks are already sold and there is no way back?

            I kinda need to guarantee (I know, impossible) that some big client will use any of my tracks, but since almost every company listed on this site (to the right) were interested in me, I have no idea what to do. Which way to go. Feels like I have 10 different paths of chances, or the Universal thing. If I sign Universal I will probably regret it for many years if nothing happens, while maybe some of my cues would be hand picked by a production company if I were listed in a smaller company (listed on this site etc).

            Isn’t this a little bit kind of chancing? How do you think around this. I really went to the Universal Publishing production music site and I am not very impressed. I get more impressed by Select Tracks, Position Music, Big Bang Fuzz, Sonic Librarian, etc… also, Universal P:s youtube is very poor. Are they really “huge” in this world or is that just bull-s?

            What way should I take? I feel like my cues have potential. But I need to decide which way to take.

            I am not interested in having my name put on some royalty free website to make a name.

            I feel like giving away a baby when signing stuff for 50 of my most beloved tracks ๐Ÿ™‚ Feel really anxious about that.

            Sorry If I sound a bit confused ๐Ÿ™‚

            1. I understand your concerns, but there are no guarantees that ANY exclusive library will place your music. There is no way possible for them to do that. Something I can’t understand is your reluctance to sign with a exclusive publisher because their site isn’t flashy enough. Universal Publishing is huge and owns two of those sites you speak of to the right. Killer Tracks and Firstcom.

              As far as giving away your “babies”, that is something you’ll have to get over. If you don’t they will never see the light of day or ever be used and besides you can always make new music.

              This in my opinion is a huge opportunity. Most of the composers here would give their left foot at a chance like this.

              I would highly recommend you find a entertainment lawyer and have them review any contracts you receive. They would be able to explain their terms to you in plain language and possibly even dictate what changes you would like in the contract.

              Let me put a little perspective on this for you. I just turned down scoring a independent feature film that wanted over 60 minutes of music in two weeks for what amounted to dinner and a movie (this was literally the offer) and you are agonizing over a deal that could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

              Ultimately this decision is up to you, no one here can make that decision for you.

              1. Sorry. I needed to hear that. Thanks. I just didn’t realize how big U Publishing were. I thought these smaller companies were better at placements, even though U MUSIC is one of the biggest in the world.

        2. Perhaps we should differentiate between exclusive libraries and exclusive deals. I write for exclusives, exclusively – but yet I am not exclusive.

          However, several years ago I wrote for one exclusive that tied me to an exclusivity deal for 3 years. This was a hindrance and prevented me from writing for other exclusives and I had to remain the exclusive property of the exclusive lib that signed me to the deal until the termination of the contract.

          The upside was that I was penniless and they paid me enough to cut down on the day job. Although this was recoupable (I was young and naive).

          But then again it depends on the exclusive. If KPM – an exclusive – wanted to tie me to an exclusive deal, I’d say sure, here’s the rope.

          Exclusive deals, are I believe, exclusive to the realm of the exclusive library.

          1. i havent done that well from uni site at all so do think about it, some releases made me nothing and had no usage except for the advance! but that may have just been me. its diff cause you have 50, i guess somethings going to happen. but i had dreams everything would be used and in my case it wasnt so.

            1. if in doubt and you are worrying then think about this, how long did it take to do this 50 ? are you a kinda genius that can just knock it up again ? if so why not do a load similar and put them on non exc, whats cool if you doin 50 then is this for projects solely advertising you as a composer ? thats great if so , i never had that, but would like it as i figure it looks good and makes good presence, or another idea, take a portion and split it, maybe 45 to uni and 5 to non exc and see how it goes, but if i were you, consider this, you must be flyin high for a bit as its a buzz gettin 50, then do this, write quick as chips something similar but using 10per cent of effort and i recon you honestly end up with something very similar because your mind sets been so high this year on whats right and wrong, then yeah its gonna have a lot of rough edges but who cares, dont mega edit, just stick it out as non exc, yeah thinkin about it , do that

    3. I’m a trailer composer as well, have been focused on this genre for the past four years. I’ve also written for Universal’s library Killer Tracks, although those tracks have been more TV oriented. One of the great things about writing for the big libraries is that they pay well upfront – usually around $1000 a track. The bad news is that they’re paying you so handsomely because you’re not going to get any of the license fees (a ‘buy-out’ deal). As you probably know, the license fees from trailers can be really good – I recently had a track licensed twice for over $20K (for each film no less).

      I should add that another great thing about writing for a major library is that they have well established distribution networks, and although you probably won’t get any cut of the license fees, you might do really well in performance royalties.
      If I were you, I’d focus on the libraries that will give their composers a fair share of the license fees. One example is Immediate Music, who usually give a composer 40% (someone posted here that they were getting 50%). Some libraries pay even more. These libraries don’t usually pay anything upfront, so it’s quite a gamble. If they never get a track licensed, you never make any money. This has happened to me on more than a few tracks, but what evens it out are the big licenses you can get in the trailer world.

      I should add that another great thing about writing for a big library like Universal is that they’re represented all over the world. Although you probably won’t get a cut of the license fees, you might do really well in performance royalties.

      1. Matt,

        Well done on those deals. Just curious if they were through a library or direct with a supe/studio?

        I didn’t realise you were focused on trailers. As you’d have seen, that’s the direction I’m headed. I suspect I could learn a lot from you. Any chance you’d be interested in emailing me via my website? I’d love to hear some of your music and pick your brain a bit. If not, I understand and no worries. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Hey Rob, cheers man. These recent placements were through libraries. Send me the link to get in touch, I’d be happy to offer any advice. When I started out writing trailer music my tracks were pretty mediocre, but after doing it pretty much every day for the past several years, I’m starting to see the occasional nice license fee come in. I hope the previous post didn’t come across as bragging to anyone, it’s just that I felt like I needed to emphasize that the library world isn’t all about deciding between royalty free licenses and upfront fees.

      2. Can you explain the bit about ‘probably not getting any cut of the license fees’?

        We’re talking exclusive libraries aren’t we?

        Most big libraries IMO don’t pay up front apart from 2 I can think of. Maybe you could give more details of the ones that pay $1000 a track? That would be very helpful!!


        1. All the ‘big’ libraries I’ve written for paid well upfront. By big I mean they’re owned by a big parent company, or have been around for decades. Some of the ones I’ve written for are Killer Tracks, a couple of libraries associated with APM, and Megatrax. The upfront fees were $800-$1000 a track.

          There are libraries, like the ones I mentioned above, that make you sign the music over to them exclusively, and pay you well upfront as part of a buy-out deal. They then get all the license fees.

          There are other exclusive libraries that don’t pay upfront, and therefore give you a cut of the license fees. (I guess there are some shady ‘cake and eat it’ libraries out there, but it’s probably best to steer clear of them!)
          The music still belongs to them permanently, but you’ll hopefully participate in the licensing income. This is more important in the advertising and trailer world, which (fortunately and unlike TV these days) still enjoys significant license fees.

  77. Hello, I was wondering if you have a cue placed by library X, but they have not yet registered that cue with my PRO, is that money lost?

    The cue is registered by me with my PRO with the original title. But has not yet been registered by the library.

    I am a bit new to this and it is a bit confusing.

    1. Hi kb, It’s not lost if the cue sheet is filled out and filed correctly with your PRO. The PRO will pick up the use with the library’s retitle (if you have a non-exclusive, retitle, agreement with that library) and you will get paid.

      1. Thanks Art!! It is a re-title agreement with the library. They just have not registered the cue with their re-title yet. That is where my confusion came in. I get it now. Thank you very much!!!!

  78. I have someone who wants to use one of my tracks.They are dealing direct with me,the only composer and performer on the track.What is the procedure in regards to paperwork etc.Also what would be a reasonable fee to charge for the use of this track in a low budget production.


  79. Do you guys feel that TAXI & Broadjam are scams?

    What is the advantage of a music library if you have Taxi or Broadjam

    1. Hi Steven,

      There were threads here about those companies but Art made a perfectly understandable decision to remove them. Here’s the experience of my first year with Taxi.

      I haven’t signed for a second year but I would have, had I not had access to the MLR site and all the opportunities it has opened up for me. Taxi doesn’t work for everyone but it does work for a lot of those who commit to its way of doing things.

      It does present opportunities that are hard to create for yourself, such as a large 5 figure advertising gigs.

      I have no experience with Broadjam and can’t comment on them.

  80. Hi I have a publisher vs Library question. I’m a brand new publishing company and found that the best way to get started is by acting more of a music library. The deals I planned on making to writers is that I would simply take 50% on anything I directly generate for them (including future royalties). I also wanted to make it non-exclusive so I do not tie up the writers songs. I figure it’s a no-lose deal for the writer. I have a few questions that I can’t seem to put my finger on:
    First, With this type of deal, am I as a pulishing company really building anything? Will I ever have a catalog to possibly sell to a major?
    2. Do I own any publishing by structuring a deal like this?
    3. This one confuses me the most; If I am simply representing their songs can I still register them with ASCAP under my publishing company?
    Any advice here would be greatly appreciated. I’ve read many books on publishing but I know I’m still missing something here. Thanks a lot!

    1. Hey Gregg,

      All my libraries register my tracks with ASCAP. If you’re non-exclusive you’ll probably be retitling to make sure the PRO royalties are distributed properly.

      As far as your library being represented by a third party (a major), that would have to be worded properly in your contract (agreement with the writer).

      Re- “50% of everything”. You’ll have to make it perfectly clear if it’s 50% net or gross.

      You may want to look over a couple typical library agreements.

      Good luck, John

      1. Thanks John. Very helpful. So is it pretty customary to sign with more than 1 library? Also, are you locked in for any period of time? (I know my contract would have to say so) just wondering if that’s normal or not. I have a contract that says that you can opt out with 90 days notice but that doen’t seem fair to me since I would need the time to work the songs.


    2. Hey Gregg,

      If you were to represent cues/songs on a non-exlusive basis, you only own the right to represent those songs non-exclusively. In other words you don’t own anything.

      With your goal being to start a profitable and ripe-for-takeover publishing company or music library, i suggest sharing your vision with prospective writers and convincing them to sign exclusive deals with a reversion clause should you come up short in exploiting their copyrights.

      The whole notion of a “Publisher” is to have exclusive control over some “portion” of a copyright, NOT non-exclusive control over an “entire” copyright.

      1. Thanks John. Alot more clarity now. Not sure how I can convince anyone to sign exclusive with no track record and no advance being offered. I think my plan will be to do the non-exclusive deals, get some placements and build a bit of a track record and then switch my plan to exclusive deals. Thanks so much for your feedback

        1. What would concern me Gregg is that you’re a new publishing company yet have to come on here seeking answers to quite fundamental questions.

          Wouldn’t you go and get professional legal advice about this if you were serious? I know I would!

          Think I’d be a bit nervous signing with a publisher who gets his advice off a forum tbh.

          1. I tend to agree with Jello on this one. I found myself asking, “what does he know about publishing?” And, “how does he plan to get placements?”

            I’d be nervous signing over tracks.


            1. “I tend to agree with Jello on this one” MichaelL

              Ditto… However, every success story starts with a dream, a vision. Now it’s time to do extensive research on the subject of music libraries/publishing for Gregg.

              Good luck…

          2. While I do appreciate all the feedback…Jello, I have attorneys and I have more experience than you know. I was looking for the prospective from writers. I am a veteran songwriter (25 yrs). It’s how I make my living. I have had numerous songs placed on network TV, many many many placements on cable TV, 2 films and 4 major label artists. I have never worked with a publisher or music library. I have always paved my own way and I have an extensive contact base. I have music supervisors sending me music searches. I know licenses inside and out because I have granted master and sync rights more times than I can count. I didn’t feel the need to mention all that because I’m not here trying to recruit or impress anyone. I do admit I have no track record signing any other writers (I never even collaborated with another writer). This is a brand new venture on my part and being a songwriter I really do want to be as fair as I can to any writer that works with me. Thank you again for the feedback.

            1. “First, With this type of deal, am I as a pulishing company really building anything? Will I ever have a catalog to possibly sell to a major?
              2. Do I own any publishing by structuring a deal like this?
              3. This one confuses me the most; If I am simply representing their songs can I still register them with ASCAP under my publishing company?”

              Fair enough Gregg. But these (above) are fairly fundmental questions which show you haven’t perhaps given it much thought or gone to see your attorney. I don’t see where getting ‘the writers perspective’ on these questions helps you more than a visit to said attorney. Surely there’s just one right answer yeah?

              I cannot comment on your experience or skillset because I don’t know you. I’m sure you’re fantastic. I can only comment from the presepective of reading ‘a new publisher’ posting fundamental questions about publishing on a forum. It’s like if I decided to set up as a guitar teacher then posted on Ultimate Guitar something along the lines of ‘what is a chord?’.

              I merely post a comment to suggest that publishing shouldn’t be taken lightly and if you were really committed Gregg you would perhaps engage in serious discussions with people in the know in order to get the right answers rather than on a forum.

              Whilst I’m sure not intended, it comes across as a bit amateurish, especially as you have stated that ‘I’m a brand new publishing company’ – so, effectively out there looking to work with composers with seemingly little knowledge of what a publisher does. Is that fair on composers whom you might develop a working relationship with? Will you tell them before entering a deal that you’re new and ‘learning the ropes’?

              1. Good point Jello. I’m the first to admit that I have no experience publishing (besides my own works). As a new business, you do have to start somewhere and like I said I have spoken with attorneys. I’m not launching my business until I become an expert on all areas so I don’t see what’s so wrong with asking questions on a forum even if they are basic. And yes, I would be 100% upfront with any writer I sign. All I have is my very large contact base and placements of my own. What I bring to the table is my knowledge of songwriting, what sells in the genres that I specialize in, of course my contacts, and my tenacity and skills to pound the phones. It’s worked for me so what’s wrong with trying to help someone else? Although knowledge is very important I’ve always found that rolling up your sleaves and pounding the pavement can get you pretty far providing you also have the skills. Believe me I’ll learn every angle and what direction I want to take before attempting to sign anyone. By the way, why are you on this forum? Is to actually help anyone or to just tell people why they can’t do something? I believe in being positive and trying to help people but that’s just me and my life has worked out pretty good by living that philosophy. I do wish you the best as well with whatever you actually do.

                1. “…All I have is my very large contact base and placements of my own. What I bring to the table is my knowledge of songwriting, what sells in the genres that I specialize in, of course my contacts, and my tenacity and skills to pound the phones…”

                  Sounds like a very good start. The other stuff is easy to learn. You answered most of what I was asking in my other post. I hope I didn’t come off too negative. Sometimes I read other posts where people seem (to me) a bit naive about successfully launching this type of business.

                  Contacts, a track history of your own placements, and a willingness to pound the pavement are among the most critical…

                  One thing I suggest is approach the business not as just another website with searchable tracks or as one who sends out HD’s full of 1000 tracks. Establish yourself as someone who LISTENS to what music sups are looking for and sends back only a few dead-nuts on-target tracks. That will help you stand out.

                  Best of luck!

                2. Been There,
                  Thank you. No, your post was not negative it was the truth and I appreciate it. Exactly what I am planning on doing. I would be screening everything and ONLY send what they ask for. I have been sceening songs for almost 6 months and still only found a few that I am interested in. Thanks again

    3. Gregg
      Not to discourage you if you are very committed to doing this… It is massively competitive out there and you would have a very long, steep hill to climb. Even under the best of circumstances, you wouldn’t make any real money for at least 2-3 years. You would need to keep a day job to support yourself (unless you have another means of support) and do this evenings and weekends. But it really is a full time job to itself.

      If you connect with some very experienced folks (composers or other industry folks) who have good direct contacts with music sups, that would help.

      Since you might have to start out as a non-exclusive re-title library in order to build you catalog, you will be another one of a zillion companies just like you.

      Do you have contacts?

      Do you have a good grasp on the admin side of this type of business? Contracts both with composers and end users, dealing with composers, dealing with film/TV folks, etc…?

      How many hours a week can you devote to this?

      Are you looking to make a living at this one day or just dabble in it?

      Best of luck

  81. Hi Everyone,

    I received my first money today, from 2 different music libraries … and to actually be paid (although a very modest amount) means a great deal to me; that I’m doing the right thing. I’m waiting it out, as there is reason to believe I’m going on the right path.

    I was bashed the first time I wrote on this forum, for showing my impatience and inexperience … although I’m pretty sure I posted in the Newbie section and only wanted to hear others stories.

    So today I want to give some hope out there, from my short time (8 months) with music libraries, that I have had some success. As a new composer, I have been treated very well by several music libraries and had sales: Ambient Music Garden has been fantastic and supportive. Music Loops which has also included me in the Royalty Free Radio (Relaxation Station), and Magnatunes is releasing 5 albums (2 already on iTunes) plus my albums have already been downloaded through by over 100 subscribers. This exposure is incredible!

    So congrats to all the newbies out there … hang in there to all that are just starting, and please keep sharing those stories of how you are doing. It gives us hope! I see you as my colleagues, not my competition … at least not yet! ; )


    1. Congrats Cari! I remember when I sold my first track over a year ago. I was a pretty cool feeling that people are paying for your music. After selling hundreds of tracks, I still get a thrill our of it. Good luck to you!

  82. hi,
    please can i have some suggestions – i’ve been googlin and using the site and maybe its me being a bit thick and indisisive, but im reachin out a hand – someone please take my hand and help a man in need ! right – i’ve got 100 tracks uploaded on pond5 – also on musicloops and audiosparx – but i want to just concentrate on some cheapo sites like pond5 – please can someone suggest some cheapo sites like it, the only other ones i can find are like credit sites and i dont understand this buy credits etc, its daft, just pay cash and i can half please !, so please if anyone can suggest sites that are cheapy like pond5 with easy upload and not catooh, or revostock as i understand they are dead for sales i will be eternally thankful , in this life and the next. many thanks. ps. its not me copping out as i have read most of the info on here, not all but lots sites and googled tons, and im stuck in a rut. just want suggestion of easy cheapo site, like pond5 – is sounddogs anygood ? thanks.

  83. Big Question! So far I never had a song licensed so I don’t want to get excited for nothing so I’d better ask you guys. I just checked my BMI works catalog where the songs I registered are and noticed 2 new identical entries, one above the other and not by me. They both say “AMSALE GIRLS CUES-AMSALE GIRLS” and in the status column for each entry it says “cue sheet” next to both entries and “0” under BMI work number.
    Does this mean what I think it does? Please tell me I got my first license.
    OK, I just clicked on the apparent retitle and it shows Spiritual Rays Music listed as publisher and the original name of my song (which is anything but spiritual) which by the way I’d left for dead because the quality wasn’t so hot and had stopped submitting it. Has to be jingle punks.
    I do believe I just got my first license.

    1. Looks like you got a placement. A quick Google search of “AMSALE GIRLS” and it’s a show on WE Tv. Congrats!

      1. Thanks alot Art. Never heard of WEtv until I looked it up and saw some familiar shows on their schedule.

      1. Congrats Pat, hopefully the first of many. Jingle Punks have gotten me quite a few placements.

        1. Thanks Stuart. I’m blown away right now. I can hardly believe it finally a first placement.
          Definitely the push I needed.

        2. I just checked out their site I’m a bit confused on a cue vs. a full length track. One in the same or not? I thought a cure may have been a 30 sec track or such. Everything I have is a 2-3 minute full length.

          1. I think the term cue evolved into a somewhat generic term for track these days and is interchangable. I don’t think the length matters. It’s still a cue. The cue sheet I just got is on a track that’s 2min.

    2. Congrats Pat! How exciting to “discover” your placements! In the spirit of discovery, I checked my catalog on ASCAP. Although I have about 10 songs added with different names, there are zero’s for Cue Sheets (Series and Non-Series). Wish I was just reading it wrong! I think they are Christmas songs, so maybe I’ll see something later?

      Anyway, great to hear good news! Very cool!

      1. Thanks Cari. I learned one thing for sure and that is everything is a definite “maybe.”
        First, Jingle punks booted some of the very cues I counted on for getting licenses and left the ones I’d already left for dead. Go figure. The song that was picked up had been sitting there with “jp” after it for months and months, had both a couple of Taxi forwards a few years ago as well as lousy reviews from others.
        One of the most valuable lessons I learned here was “Write it,submit it, forget it” and until you hear about it, there’s always a maybe.
        The second thing I get from this is don’t decide the outcome before there’s an outcome. I was positive nobody would pick cue up and would instead pick up the ones I determined were worth using. Wrong! Every song is a maybe. You just can’t predict who wants what and for what or when.
        (I’m just using jp as an example not trying to turn it into a jingle punks thread.)

    3. Well done Pat!
      When I got my first placements last year it was a great feeling. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Keep on Truckin bud!

      1. Thanks mylesthebaker. I’m pretty pumped today. Definitely helps me forget about past failures.

        1. No failures Pat –just learning experiences.

          Congrats on your placement!



          1. Thanks MichaelL. Good point.
            What are the odds of it getting dropped at the last minute after filing a cue sheet. I’ll check out the show but for some reason don’t expect to hear it. Maybe it’s episode 10 and I have to watch 9 episodes of that stuff only to hear a 1sec sting. lol

  84. I’ve got a question about PRO royalties. It seems like each morning I wake up with yet another thing I don’t understand about the PRO system. And to think I used to consider college physics hard. This just blows that away.

    So if I go and register some of my tracks with my PRO, and these tracks have no publisher because they are in non-exclusive libraries, I would expect to get 100% of the performance royalties right? But when I register the track do I have to put myself in as publisher? If I can’t, then what happens to the publisher’s side of the royalties when my track is broadcast? They would send me the writer’s share… and then what? I hope to god I don’t have to set up my own publishing company just to collect the publisher’s share of royalties on my own tracks.

    Does anyone have personal experience of this?

    Is it as simple as just registering the tracks myself and if there’s no publisher they send me their share too?

    Is there in fact anyone, ANYONE, who understands the mechanisms by which PROs work?! (Specifically the PRS?)

    Any help you can give, as usual, is appreciated hugely. At this rate I’m going to go nuts dreaming of all the missed royalties and set backs and convoluted systems, not to mention the nightmare of collecting international royalties.

    1. I had the same question awhile back and had been told in the past that I had to become a publisher in order to receive my publisher’s share if it wasn’t assigned to another publisher but I didn’t want to have to do that at this time so I did some digging and found that this is how it works with BMI at least with BMI. If you haven’t assigned publishing to a publisher, the publishing share is defaulted to you as the first 100% and your writers is the other 100% for the total 200% share according to BMI……
      “BMI considers payments to songwriters or composers and to publishers as a single unit equal to 200%. Where there is the usual division of performance royalties between songwriters or composers and publishers, the total writers’ shares will be 100% (half of the available 200%), and the total publishers’ shares will be the remaining 100%.
      Hope this helps

      “Please note the following rules with respect to the division of the 200% royalty:

      The total publishers’ shares may not exceed 100%.
      If the agreement between the publishers and songwriters or composers provides for the songwriters or composers to receive more than 100%, the work should be registered with BMI indicating the percentages allocable to all songwriters or composers and all publishers so that the total is not more than 200%.
      Where no performing rights (or only partial performing rights) have been assigned to a publisher, the songwriters or composers will receive the entire 200% (or the balance of the entire 200%) in the same ratio as their respective writer shares. However, a songwriter or composer who has assigned to a publisher all or part of his or her proportionate rights in the publisher’s share shall not be entitled to receive any portion of the remainder of the publisher’s share allocable to his or her co-writer(s). ”

      1. Thanks Pat.

        Does anyone have personal experience with the PRS? Or at least, with having actually received the royalties and being able to check? I received some royalties but I can’t even figure out how to check how much % they gave me.

        I guess I’ll just have to write to the PRS. Not that that helps very often mind you.

        1. Hi.

          If you’re a member of the PRS you should be able to log in to the website.

          There, on your welcome page, they give you the money you receive at each distribution.

          Distributions occur on the 15th of:


          However, normally you should receive statements giving a detailed breakdown of earnings, publisher, country, usage type, duration, programme details. These are now emailed automatically as PDFs and Excel files.

          If you haven’t had a statement, you should be able to contact them and request one.

          I am quite knowledgeable about the PRS and it’s workings, but only from the perspective of exclusive libraries. Therefore I’ve never been involved in the business of registering my own tracks etc. so perhaps this info isn’t relevant to your circumstances or you knew it already!

          Good luck though!

          p.s. I would just add as a footnote, ringing is much better with the PRS. They aren’t very good as responding to emails. They are even less good at sorting problems once they get around to helping. Queries can frequently take a year or more to resolve.

          1. Thanks Jello. You’re right that I did have most of that info already. After checking my last statement I can see the details but I’m still unsure, simply because not all my tracks are with an exclusive. I’ve got a mix of some with an exclusive and some by myself.

            I tried giving the PRS a call a little while ago but the answers were clearly from someone who didn’t understand well enough. Maybe I was unlucky. I will try again!

            Actually, I just had a thought: maybe there is something that we could compare and it would really help! In your excel statement, does it say 100% in your share column? Or 50%? If the latter, does it also say 50% in your publisher’s column?

            Thanks again.

            1. Hi Anon,

              It says 50% in the ‘your share %’ column and that’s the one and only % listed on there.


              1. That’s great Jello! Thank you. Mine all say 100%, even the one which is with the exclusive. I don’t see the publisher being pleased with that, unless of course there is still something I’m missing.

                Thanks again for helping with that. Much appreciated.

          2. For clarity and info it might be a good idea to explain how each of our PRO describe publisher/ writer splits. I read with astonishment earlier in the thread how the BMI does it. They go on the premise of a defined publisher share @ 50 % and a writers the same. They then go on to talk about the total of 200 % going to writers without publishers etc. Now I do understand this method, but in this day and age a totally arcane way of doing it. The premise is that a “publishers share” is automatically 50 % and that is treated like a separate entity . For example a deal for 50% of the publishers share is in fact 25% of the total. Pump uses terminology like this. Very confusing.

            In Ireland IMRO. It is very simple. If I register a new track I own 100 % of it obviously. I can then assign whatever portion of that ( it actually can’t be more than 50%) to a publisher. There is no ” publishers share ” automatically assigned. The publisher gets whatever deal I agree to. If there is no publisher assigned I receive 100 % of all PRO royalties.

            I assume the PRS UK is the same , perhaps Jello can confirm

    2. You are not alone Anon, we should pass a PRO license like a driver’s license, maybe it would be clearer to learn it once and for all!!

      I also found out the same that Pat mentioned: if there is no publisher you ‘should’ get the publisher’s share as a self-published artist…. after all Publish means “Making Public”… unfortunately, companies dealing with royalites and rights seem to like to complicate things with nebulous language, long delays and unclear accounting…. so at the end we don’t really know what they pay us.

      Nevertheless I can tell you that I followed carefully the mechanicals I had paid as a label (my label) for one of their artists (me) and 4 years later I received around the same amount as performance royalty from my PRO…. minus of ocurse all the inter-agencies fees…


  85. Would somebody please help me? I am in contact with a company in Los Angeles called One Stop Music. They place songs with clients for various show, movies, etc.. They are asking me to sign over all Copyrights, forever, to them and then they will go ahead and submit my songs for various projects. Of course there is no guarantee that the client will want to use my song, and there is no “up front” fee paid to me, and the Royalties to me will be between 25% and 50%.
    It seems rather “heavy handed” to me, so I would appreciate any comments, suggestions and help for any of you in regards to this. Also, has anybody else had any dealing with them?
    Thank you,
    Jimmy Cicero

    1. I believe One Stop Music is part of Transition Music Jimmy. If it is they are exclusive, but you’ll be entitled to 100% of Writer’s PRO royalties. As far as signing over a copyright, I don’t see any difference. When you sign an exclusive contract, they own it. Check your contract. There may be a reversion clause.

      BTW, Welcome!

      1. Hi John,
        Thanks for the reply. But if I sign the Contract with One Stop Music, then I will have to take all my music off of sites like Audiosparx, because One Stop Music will actually own my music…….is that right?

        1. > But if I sign the Contract with One Stop Music, then I will have to take all my music off of sites like Audiosparx, because One Stop Music will actually own my music…….is that right?<

          Not ALL of your music. Just the tracks that you assign to them.

          1. MichaelL says:
            May 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm
            > But if I sign the Contract with One Stop Music, then I will have to take all my music off of sites like Audiosparx, because One Stop Music will actually own my music…….is that right?<

            Not ALL of your music. Just the tracks that you assign to them.

            Of the 46 tracks that I have on Audiosparx, One Stop Music wants me to sign over 36 songs to them. That means that those 36 songs are owned completely by One Stop, so I cannot submit them to Audiosparx or anyone else. I wouldn't mind that if One Stop already had clients interested in using those songs, but at this time they don't. So those songs would just be "sitting" in the One Stop Library until some future time that a client wanted to use some of them. In the meantime, I can't submit them to anyone else. I don't feel comfortable with this……am I being paranoid?…….or foolish?

            1. Get a reversion clause, after a set number of years, if an income threshold isn’t reached. That is if you think it’s worth tying up those songs for any length of time.

              1. Are they paying you a good chunk of change for those songs? If not get a reversion clause after a certain number of years based if an income threshold isn’t reached..

                They are not offering to pay anything “up front”, saying that I will get “Royalties” in the future……..if and when a client wants to use a song. I feel that I should be getting something “up front” for signing away all those songs, but they are not agreeing to that. Am I being unrealistic about this? Do all “music placement” companies have the same policy?

                1. I checked out “Transition’s” website and their credits. I didn’t see anything that would have me signing over copyrights.

                  Check the type of placements “One Stop” is getting, and whether or not those placements come from blanket licenses.

                  You could be stocking their library for free, with very little benefit to you in the long run.

                  If they are Transition, look at their credits and ask yourself, how much is that really going to pay? I saw a lot of cable shows — which may be under a blanket deal, which means pennies to you. You would need a lot of air time to equal one Audiosparx sale.

            2. If this is Transistion Music, which I think it is, they generally don’t do reversions. Your only option with them is to sign your tracks over to them for life. They do get placements, but as with any library, there are never any guarantees.

              My personal opinion is signing over 36 of your 46 tracks this way is not the best idea. That is, unless you typically create 50-100 good tracks a year and feel like “there’s plenty more where those came from”.

              Even with a reversion, which I don’t think you’ll get, one compromise would be to sign a smaller number of tracks with them– maybe 10 at most. This can be part of a “spread them around” marketing approach on your part, not putting too many eggs in any one basket.

              Best of luck!

              1. I agree with Advice. Give them 10-12 tracks to start with. If they start getting you a lot of placements sign more.

                I have reason to believe Transition Music is currently trying to build-up their catalog.

                1. Thank you all for your replies and suggestions. I agree and will not be signing over my songs/copyrights to them. I think I would rather take my chances with sites like Audiosparx.
                  Thanks again,

  86. Im a bit worried about my music becoming involved in the GoDigital program without me knowing about it. Can a client who buys your music from a non exclusive library that has no connection with Go Digital or the Ad Share program somehow get your music involved in it? Or can GoDigital approach anyone about any web video that contains music and do some kind of deal with them?

    Forgive me as I am probably quite misinformed as to what they do exactly , but ive been hearing some things I dont like the sound of.

    Im starting to worry about every sale I make incase a client somehow gets my music involved in the GoDigital program.

  87. Just wondering if anyone has recommendations for a simple way to set up a site for libraries to review music compositions at. Something cost effective and easy. Thanks,


    1. @Mike Bandcamp is pretty good or if you are on a mac iWeb plus a .me account is an effective way to do a pretty good quality website for some one (like me) who has no idea how to do it via html etc

      1. Thanks Denis,

        I’d thought of Bandcamp. I didn’t know if the format of a site matters to the evaluating libraries. I figure the whole purpose is to simply have a place where the music can be listened to, but wasn’t sure if it needed to have any kind of portfolio appearance.


        1. Mike,

          I’m using the free soundcloud account. You can upload up to 2 hrs of music (IIRC), and create up to 3 sets. I simply create and delete sets as needed (a set is just a playlist with a single link). The streaming player is quite decent quality, too. If you need more music time, more sets of other features you can pay to upgrade into various levels. I haven’t needed to yet but I will probably do so by the end of this year.

          I point libraries to either a set or a selection of individual links. Haven’t any negative feedback yet, and plenty of positive, so it certainly works.

          1. I actually have the SoundCloud premium account. i get to upload over 30 hrs. of music for about $35.00 per month. it has been great to direct people to hear my library without audio watermarks, and low resolution through my website. I upload all my tracks on there as Mp3 files. i do not of course allow any downloads.
            I’ve been with them for over a year and have had over 2300 plays, and have my entire library on there.

            1. Hi Gary

              Don’t you find Soundcloud does unspeakable things to your files? I had to stop using it as I kept hearing a garbling effect. Maybe it’s just me! My ears are quite messed up after all ๐Ÿ™‚

              1. So true Jello. I had someone here point me to one of their tracks on Soundcloud and I heard the same thing. It sounded to me like the MP3 encoding was the problem. When I asked him to send me his wav and MP3 file there was no such “garbling” (I called it warbling). Something Soundcloud is doing is affecting some files.

                1. Yep, that was me Art. I was actually relieved that it was them an not me but at the same time I’ve been using Soundcloud for those libraries that want links. I’m now having to seriously consider using another source for posting links where they don’t do whatever it is Soundcloud is doing.
                  Could be a deal breaker for some (not all) but I don’t know that I want to take that chance.
                  Anybody know of a good free alternative to Soundcloud that is secure?

                2. Soundclick is free but it’s the same idea where you’re streaming mp3’s so there’s no saying if there will be problems or not. Yousendit allows you to send single wav. files and there’s a free version. I was recently introduced to Dropbox which allows you to make folders and send several wav. files at once. It was kinda tricky at first b/c both parties have to join but it’s nice for sending a ton of music free.

                3. Thanks Musicman.
                  You just reminded me that I actually have a Soundclick account but one of the reasons I quit using it was because I read people found ways to hack into it for downloading music so it wasn’t that secure do downloads. I also saw some youtube videos posted on how to do it.
                  I also have drop boX and yousendit but it’s hard to know if it’s been downloaded in the limited time it has before expiring, Some libraries like to get to submissions when they’re good and ready so I only use those when that is their specific requested so I know they fully intend to review the cues before they expire.

                4. Google Documents seems to be a great alternative to YouSendIt because there is no time limit (unlike the free version of YouSendIt). I have used it before with great success.

              2. No, you are right. I have experienced that with some tracks. Must be a problem with their encoding. For the most part though, the quality is pretty decent for the average listener.

                1. I had problems converting my own wav files to mp3 with a converter program, getting the warbling effect, but then started using Audacity for conversion and chose the 320bps setting since it’s preferred by some libraries anyway. No problem. Maybe Soundcloud has a similar issue.

                  The other thing is whether it’s desirable to put a beep or message on the song every 30 seconds or so to discourage the illegal download problem on some sites that can be bootlegged. (This wouldn’t work on public sites that let potential customers purchase your music, though I’m not sure if many instrumental songs are being bought. these days) Thanks for all the feedback.


  88. If you had one instrumental cue to submit to an exclusive ( I’m not considering buyout libraries or work for hire deals at this point), which licensing/library would be a be your first pick of those who are accepting? Starting to think about branching out to include exclusives that have a good chance for placement..

    1. Hi Pat, I think any of the following are good places to start!

      West One
      De Wolfe

      Loads more obviously.

      Good luck!

      1. Hi Jello
        Thanks for that. That’s a great starting point and like you said there are many out there.
        I’ve already been checking some out some listed here but thought it be an even better idea to get feedback from those who might have off had experience with them good or bad.

        1. One kind of tip as regards which are the best Exclusives…

          When I was first getting into this I spent along time (and still do) researching the PRS database. On there it is quite plain to see who gets used alot and on what shows. You have actual, tangible evidence. Very helpful, because alot of libraries don’t get used that much – there’s really just a handful that do. I would say that recently the landscape has changed somewhat because of Audio Network’s influence (I myself have nothing against ANW but I know alot of people who do).

          I’d say the list I gave is about as good as it gets at this moment in time and almost all of them will meet you face to face and let you play them your album (best to go to them with a finished, themed project that covers genres/styles they havent got).

  89. Dumb question but where’s the rest of the Newbie comments? Just looking for more stuff to read and learn.

  90. Dumb question – asked here before I’m sure – but I can’t seem to find the answer. What is the difference between a music library and a music licensing company? I received an offer from Audio Fount to license music for me, saying I retain all rights. Is that the difference? With libraries you sell your rights?

    1. The way I see it, a music licensing company IS a music library. They just use ‘licensing’ as a way to emphasize their business model, which is probably higher priced needle-drop licensing.

      1. Thank you Matt!! I Googled everything I could think of without even getting close to an answer!
        I guess Audio Fount counts as a music library and should be listed here, but they are not. I presume I should initiate that? All indications suggest that they are new.
        BTW they sent me a 7 page legalese statement. Any resources to help decipher music contracts that you know of? Do you experienced folks rely on your own knowledge/research to interpret these or do you find a lawyer? THANKS!

  91. I had interest in tracks I submitted, and was told the below. I declined their offer. I saw no need for them to own all rights and was totally insulted they would take a percentage of writer’s share!! To me, anyone asking for a portion of writer’s share that didn’t contribute to writing is to be ignored.

    , thanks for submitting the ” ” trax for consideration thru Independent Media pros. Before we proceed further, you should know and understand the deal we make for traks such as these: they are created on a work for hire basis or if pre-existing we acquire all rights in in the composition and master, so we are the owner of all rights, your compensation will be either (your election): $500 for 10 trax and 50% of the writer’s share of public performance income;or no front money and 75% of the writer’s share.

    1. Unbelievable!
      Well thanks for the reply. It just confirms what I suspected. I don’t even know why I am disappointed. I have a difficult time trusting these types of sites. I guess it’s that “one” legit one that came around that keeps me going back – I got picked up with HD Music Now over there but I get a sick feeling in my stomach whenever I submit there.

      I reported one to the admin at the site. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I am staying away (and removing the track I uploaded at IMP (how ironic the acronym is, eh?)

      1. I have music with Jody over at HD Music. Didn’t submit through Xray though. No placements, but legit as you say…

  92. Inquiry:

    So I had a few tracks picked up on some listings over at Musicxray (I know, I know, but I have actually had some success over there). I was wondering if anyone knows anything (other than we can be Googled) about Jim Hughes (Independent Media Pros) or Mike Puskas (who is collaborating with producer Joey Ayoub).

    I am treading cautiously with each because I received an email from one who intends to pitch the material, however no paperwork has been exchanged, and an auto reply from the other with an infected attachment.

    Thanks in advance

  93. I have been asked to provide a library with a composer cue number and Publisher cue number for my music. What are these numbers? All i have are tunecodes and my own CAE no.

    1. The IPI/CAE number is an international identification number assigned to songwriters and publishers to uniquely identify rights holders.

      IPI stands for: Interested Parties Information

      CAE stands for: Composer, Author and Publisher

      You can find these on the site of the PRO you signed with.

    2. If you’re talking about music you’ve already registered then they are probably talking about the registration number. Each time you register a new works it’s given a number. Look up your titles under you’re PRO.

  94. Hello everyone,

    first off thanks for this site – it is extremely helpful!

    I recently joined BMI and was wondering under what name to register my tracks, since I have all these different versions and cuts of the same track (like “Tracktitle 60 sec Cut” / “Tracktitle full length” / “Tracktitle piano solo” etc.).

    Do I register all these different versions or just “Tracktitle”?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    1. Nope you do not have to register your “edits” with BMI ( I’m a BMI member ) just the title will do

      however ….. if you are adding your edits to your library catalogs make sure you add your

      IP , CAE, & ISWC numbers to your edits

      you can simply log in to your BMI account, look in your works catalog, click on the title and it will look like this:

      Work Title: blah blah blah

      BMI Work #: 12345 ISWC: T-12345

      Date Registered: month/day/year Registration Origin: Works Registration

      Songwriter/Composer Current Affiliation Shares IP #
      your name BMI 100% your number 12345

      Publisher Current Affiliation Shares IP #


      BMI Work #: 12345 ISWC: T-12345

      Date Registered: Registration Origin: Works Registration

      your name and account number Current Affiliation Shares IP # 000000000000

      Publisher Current Affiliation Shares IP #
      on this one if you do not have a publisher it will read:
      Excess Clearnce but don’t worry about that BUT if you have been placed and broad cast
      it will state the library’s publishing company name so don’t freak out because that is how they collect their end

      Hope this helped

  95. Does anyone here use Taxi? I don’t see any info about it here. I joined a few months ago, but really haven’t did much with it yet. Do they bring in any big deals for composers?

    1. @ Synth Player

      There were threads here discussing Taxi and other A&R companies but Art removed them due to threats of legal action from one of the companies (I don’t think it was Taxi). You can read a recap of my first year with Taxi (and in production music) here:

      Taxi don’t get you any deals as such. They present the opportunities and you come up with the goods to land the deals. Personally, I’ve found their forum invaluable. I’m ambivalent about their services as a company. They are now also arranging listings from very large advertising agencies, so the potential for extremely lucrative deals has risen. In terms of music library deals, I’m having success with my own marketing.

      1. So Taxi sued this site? There must have been some pretty awful reviews about their service. Probably came from disgruntled members. That kind of makes Taxi cool.

        1. Good God, did you not read the comment!

          Taxi did NOT sue this site. Another company threatened to sue. I didn’t feel like fighting them even though (I think) Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the strong Anti SLAPP legislation in California would have protected me.

          Please go back and read the comment. THINK before leaving a post here!

          1. Hey Art,

            Run “synth player”‘s name through the IP scrubber, I bet he’s Yadgyu

            1. Good idea. He’s been here before as “Jimmy Boy”, equally innocuous comments. I’ve already deleted one of his comments (again flogging the Taxi thing) and put him on moderation.

    2. Taxi indeed has some very high-profile clients. I was with them a year, and had nothing placed. I stopped, as paying their yearly fee was getting me no return on my investment. You may want to try for yourself to see how it works for you.

    Am new to using non-exclusive publishers that retitle
    Have just joined BMI and wondering whether I need to register my own works if I am just planning on sticking with non-exclusive retitle type libraries.
    eg. If I have a set of songs with a library/libraries and they are registering them (retitled with their prefix) with ascap/bmi is there any need/benefit of me going through the process of registering those track names (without the library prefixes) as well?
    Any help appreciated.

    1. Hey Stuart, that question has been answered a number of times here. Search around and you should find a lot of info on this.

  97. Does Anybody here have Steingberg’s The Grand 3 piano vst? I need to know if you can drop it down an octave since my workstation is only 66 keys. I’m putting my Akoutik piano to pasture. It’s either The Grand or Ivory ( I actually like The Grand’s sound better ). I’m playing with the demo but I don’t see how to change octaves.

    1. Nevermind. I decided to bite the bullet an ordered Ivory2. That wraps up by buying for a while.

        1. Thanks MichaelL.
          I wanted one vst piano that would last awhile and was for the most part, a good bet. Should be a good match with Omnisphere and some of the other decent software I have.

  98. Hi,

    I have a number of tracks which are modern, atmospheric style pieces. I can’t figure out which library or who to contact to try and place them.

    I decided maybe it would help to post one on here so that anyone can listen to it and comment if they’d like to. If you have any suggestions as to where I could go with the track, they would be truly appreciated.

    Hope you like it:

    Thank you.

    1. Nice track – seems fine to me as is. Could easily hear that getting picked up.

      Alas I don’t think anyone here can wave a magic wand and say : Go here, to a specific library.
      What you need to do is decide which way you’re going to go : If it’s non-exclusive, then you have loads and loads of places to try, just have a look on MLR.
      If you want to try the exclusive route, you’ll probably need an albums worth before you even try touting it about.

      Best of luck.

      1. That’s a really nice track Ben. I wouldn’t do a thing to it. Certainly worthy of any music library. Checked out your other tracks too – lovely stuff.

    2. Hi Ben, I love this track… Cinematic… inner pictures… just add your dream…

      I would love to remix a version with tenor saxophone and woods, would you be interested in a collaboration? You can hear my style at

      I submit non exclusively to libraries which appeal to me. Except a one time $150 from Pump/Getty nothing much coming yet but I guess we get exposure that way… (this is how I found you)

      This forum is great!

      1. Thank you, I’m very glad you liked it. Ariel, I sent you an email through your site.

        Darkstar and Jello: from what I can tell you both seem like very experienced writers from the UK. I’m from the UK myself, and I’d like to try and go the exclusive route with these tracks, with a UK library if possible. So far, I’ve seen Audio Network, Royalty Free TV (, non-exclusive perhaps) and then I guess some huge ones like DeWolfe. Is there any one in particular out of those that you’d suggest (or others you know)?

        Please do feel free to email me through my website if you get a chance.

        All the best,


    3. Hi Ben

      The track is fine dont touch it !!! The other music on your site is great too. It certainly would fit into a lot of C4 UK programming , Dispatches and all of their factual based programming uses a lot of this kind of music. Might be worth looking up the production companies and approaching them directly. Good luck.

  99. I have to burn wav audio to DVD for a music submission. Is there a really straight forward way of doing this? Can I do this using Nero and keep the sound quality at 24bit 48khz?

    1. @Hysteria

      A 24/48 wav file is not a CD file its simply data that needs a program to play it. Burn your DVD as data with these files in the same way that you would if you were burning any other file (Word/Excel etc)

    1. Hey Art!
      What happened? It used to be that in the left column, you could click on the name of the poster and it would take you right to that post or am I losing it?

      1. That particular plug in stopped working because WordPress gets updated constantly but plug ins don’t. This was the best I could find that works consistently.

      2. No you’re not losing it. I liked that much better too. It’s hard to follow conversations now. Also if there are 5 or 6 people in on one conversation on one topic, it clogs up the whole left side and you may miss out on other interesting topics.

          1. Don’t kill yourself over it. Didn’t mean to complain actually. Can’t thank you enough for the site.

            1. Likewise for me as well. Not meant as a complaint. It’s one of those things you don’t notice much until you lose it but no biggie whatsoever.

      3. Recent comments fixed. Clicking on the link will take you directly to the comment. Keep those donations coming in:-)

        1. FYI Art.
          Tried twice to donate $5 Art. Clicked the donate button and it too me to paypal, logged in, I entered the amount and pressed donate (or whatever it was) and the paypal link shut down and I was sent back to MLR to a page saying “Error 404: The page or post you have been looking for does not exist on this website.”

          1. Just got the confirmation paypal email. Apparently the donation did go through for both attempts even though it acted weird but no problem. The sites worth it.

            1. Hi Pat, sorry for the double. I just refunded it back to you. Thanks again for the donation!

              1. Thanks Art but you didn’t have to do that. I’ll give it back on the next donation. lol

  100. Can anyone recommend a top five of Non-Exclusive licensing/library sites. Ideally ones that are relatively straight forward to use; pay per placement and/or provide good regular backend royalties; have a good metrics systems i.e. what tracks have been downloaded/placed etc; and get good regular placements in network TV and films??

    Thanks in advance

    1. That really doesn’t work as different people have different success rates with different companies. Also it’s usually a long slog to find out what companies work best for your music.

    Am new to using non-exclusive publishers that retitle
    Have just joined BMI and wondering whether I need to register my own works if I am just planning on sticking with non-exclusive retitle type libraries.
    eg. If I have a set of songs with a library/libraries and they are registering them (retitled with their prefix) with ascap/bmi is there any need/benefit of me going through the process of registering those track names (without the library prefixes) as well?
    Any help appreciated.

  102. Can I still offer a song as Exclusive to a library if its been getting local radio play? I want to keep the song for an exclusive library but I also want to offer it up to the local radio station.

    1. No you can’t. If it’s exclusively with a library and contracted as such, no, you can’t go touting the same piece of music around yourself. The Radio station in question would need to license it from the library, to use it.

      1. To nuance this discussion, I think it depends on the contract. For instance, a library that asks for exclusive sync-to-picture rights but still allows the composer to sell it on itunes, offer it for internet use, radio broadcast or whatever.

        1. To further nuance the discussion. I infer from the original post that you mean to offer it to local radio for “listening” purposes, not for its commercial use in advertising.

          If the piece actually got some legs on radio, that might enhance its licensing appeal.

          I’m not sure how interested an exclusive library would be in a single cue, especially if it’s a song. However, you might want to send it to a non-exclusive, like Audiosocket or Crucial and if one of them accepts its, treat the deal as if it is exclusive — i.e., only let one company have it.

    2. It depends completely on the library and the contract.

      Many exclusive music libraries are exclusive only as far as film/TV/video, etc. Some of exclusive only as far as other music libraries but not direct pitch. Others have all encompassing publishing contracts.

      If a library is interested in your tracks, just be open and honest upfront and ask them if there is an issue. Then, of course, make sure the contract reinforces that.


      1. well, again, I’m coming from the point of dealing with Exclusive Uk libraries, and they do expect across the board exclusivity. In fact the PRS statement I just received had several tracks showing radio usage, presumably for ads of some kind either for the radio station or for commercials on the station.
        And again the deals I have also grant rights for the libraries to sell via i-tunes as well if they wish.

        As ever, depends on what kind of contract you sign.

        1. Okay thanks everyone for the comments. I was going to offer the song up to the local radio station first for listening purposes only, and then also plug it on a cd with other songs to a few exclusive libraries. I think ill hold the radio idea for the moment until i do a bit of research on the Ex library contracts. Thanks. But i like what michael was saying about enhancing the songs licensing appeal by getting some radio play. It might be worth taking that kind of different approach for once, and seeing what happens.

  103. How do you guys label cds you send in for demos? Do you use lightscribe or is permanent marker on cd adequate?

    1. If it’s a new contact I’d make it look as nice as possible. If an existing relationship it might not matter. Then again, many submissions are by upload these days.

    2. Thankfully, we send less and less CDs these days.

      BUT if you DO send a CD demo, always send a professionally labeled one & NEVER one with just marker writing. That screams “amateur”!

      Either pick up some CD labels and use any number of free programs to write on the label -or- use a CD printer- one that prints directly on CDs. For the latter, you need to buy the right kind of CDs.

      Given how we don’t send CDs that often anymore, I probably wouldn’t invest in a CD printer. That is, unless your situation is different and you mail out a lot of CDs.

      CD labeling does not have to be fancy, just neat and readable. Dark print against a light background with no graphics is fine. Music sups don’t want the text obscured by fancy graphics and generally are not impressed by that anyway.

      Send the CD in a FULL SIZE jewel case. You can buy blank case inserts and generally use the same software as for the label to write on the insert. Make sure the spine of the CD case identifies you and the genre of the music. Music sups like to keep CDs on bookshelves for future reference. As with the label, nothing too fancy– your name and contact info, style, and most important– track list!! It MUST be on the case.

      Do not put the track list only on the CD label (if you put it there at all). Folks want to be able to look at the track list while listening and CD labels are kinda hard to read when the CD is in the player ;)… A lot of listening is done in the car.

      Every single item you include should have your name and contact info– CD, case, letter, lyric sheets (if included), etc… Things get separated all the time.


  104. Regarding the PRS, again…

    Why are they so poor at dealing with queries and questions? They go on and on about their online help center (obviously to cut costs so that writer members don’t need to speak to a real human, who would be getting paid), but it only has about 20 FAQs for writers anyway. I’ve sent decent questions which just go unanswered. Then, when I finally get through to someone they clearly do not have a proper understanding of how the system works. If they did, they’d be able to explain it, but they can’t!

    Why can’t they just have a section where it explains all the terms as well?! I mean, how hard would that be? Like when they say, your track is an “unnotified work”, it took me 2 weeks just to find out what that meant – apparently it was broadcast but they didn’t have it registered beforehand.

    They are nice guys in person, at least from the times I’ve met them, but the system they have is so unclear it makes my mind boggle. I almost feel like just giving this whole thing up – that’s how unconfident I am in getting paid the correct royalties, and how depressing it is to have to spend large amounts of time chasing down performances or works or publishers. Library music is a full time office job for one. Everyone should be warned of that before they begin. Well, there is one other option: just make so much music that eventually you get a decent return because you’re everywhere. I think I’d rather do that than the headache of administration. Apologies for the rant!

  105. Hi
    can anyone tell me if i will run into any prob with this idea.

    nameing a track say ‘ track funky beats ‘ on a stock site priced at x

    and then

    renaming it ‘ track super beats ‘ on another website.priced at xxx

    are there any potential problems i am going to run into doing this ?

    at the moment i would like to do it and cant see a problem, is there one ?

    thanks all.

      1. What if the stock site {lower priced} has the PRO option ? – would that confuse things down the road, or do you just add that title as an alternate title @ your PRO ?

        i’ve been wondering about this as well – john

        1. Did I answer my own question here ? {alternate titles} – can anyone enlighten me on this one –

          1. I’m no expert, but I would suggest you register each alternate title as a new track with your PRO. This way, not only will you not miss any royalties (hopefully), but also as an added bonus over time you will be able to see which music library is getting you more broadcast placements! (Since you’ll be able to measure the royalties from one title versus the other, even though it’s the same track).

  106. So how important is it join more than one PRO? I am an ASCAP member but received this email from a publisher in the UK:

    “When we checked your name / works on UK and German databases we could not find you.
    Foreign PRO’s do transfer money but only where they can see the correct data. Lost income stays with the PRO and is therefore lost to the writer
    Secondly you appear to have no Mechanical copyright registrations which create difficulties for those who wish to use your work.
    For example if you assign publishing to a proper publishing co in the UK both Mechanical and Performance registrations would automatically be added to the world database to enable collections for disc, radio airplay, synch etc.”

    So I took some advice and filled out an application for PRS. Now what I am being told is that I need a letter from ASCAP releasing the territory. I do have music signed with a number of libraries in the UK and Europe so my question is do I need to be with both ASCAP and PRS or will ASCAP collect all of my royalties worldwide?



  107. Hi, could someone help me with this part of a contract? a library, wants to exploit my masters as follows, is this right?

    “”manufacture, reproduce, sell, lease, perform, publicize, transmit, promote, advertise,
    licence and/or distribute one or more sound track records, compilation records or other
    records (including both audio only and audio-visual records) of any kind or length
    embodying any or all of the Masters, by any and all means and in any and all formats
    and configurations and in any and all media and fields of use now or hereafter known,
    including, without limitation, by means of retail sale, internet sales or electronic

    To me that means they could basically publish my own music and keep the publishing rights for themselves, yes?

    I would appreciate an illuminated view on this, thank you!

    1. >To me that means they could basically publish my own music and keep the publishing rights for themselves, yes?

      Presumably there’s a clause on your contract regarding percentages – the what you get and what they get deal ?

      Otherwise the rest of the wording looks pretty standard for an exclusive deal.

  108. Hi, I have a question about performance royalties. Before you switch off, let me say that I have not been able to get a clear answer about this from anyone at all, and I’ve been asking the employees of my PRO here in the UK, the PRS. It’s the kind of question I would expect to be able to get answered by an employee of the PRS:

    Let’s say I am a PRS member in the UK. My publisher is in the US. They take 50%, I take 50%. They register all my tracks with ASCAP and put me in as the writer with my CAE number (for the PRS). They tell me NOT to register any tracks with the PRS or there will be duplicate entries. Ok, so I understand now that my track, if played on TV in the US, will be reported to ASCAP (hopefully) and they will eventually send my 50% to the PRS (12-18 months later).

    However, let’s say my track is played on TV in Germany. Let’s say the person who submitted the cue sheet (the production company) didn’t know where the track was registered (entirely possible if they bought it from some random music library), they just know my name and the track title. My question is: what, exactly, is the process that takes place for that performance to be reported (if at all)? I mean, how could the German PRO possibly know that I am with the PRS in the UK? How could they know it’s registered with ASCAP in the US? Does each PRO have a database they share with every other PRO in the major countries, each reporting period?

    Depending on who I speak to at the PRS I get these answers:

    “Sub-publisher takes care of it” – I don’t think my publisher even has a sub-publisher
    “That’s just how it works”
    “It’s a really clever system based on reciprocal agreements between royalty collecting societies worldwide, it just works”
    “It’s been like this for ages, it works don’t worry”

    Maybe that’s alright for some people, but it makes me seriously uncomfortable not understanding the process clearly! “It just works” does not make me feel better.

    If you have experience and/or understanding of this kind of situation, I would be enormously grateful to hear it… I’m sure I’ve gone wrong somewhere in my example above (like maybe when they buy it from the music library they’re told about the ASCAP registration automatically, who knows)

    1. You’re publisher wants that $ just as much as you do so they’re going to get it for you both. If you’re music is in an American Music Library and used in Germany, the German production company that used the music will report a cue sheet back to the library.

      I don’t get what you mean by this….. “Let’s say the person who submitted the cue sheet (the production company) didn’t know where the track was registered (entirely possible if they bought it from some random music library), they just know my name and the track title.”

      When a production company licenses from a music library they are provided with all of the writer/publisher info. If you’re with a company that doesn’t provide the info and track cue sheets, then I think you’re with the wrong kind of company.

      If you’re talking about a “royalty free” site, I’d only expect half (if you’re lucky) of any uses to ever be reported. The name royalty free is so deceiving. So many people think they can just use the music however they want without reporting it simply b/c the company uses the term “royalty free”.

      1. In the case of a “royalty free” or “stock music ” website you may have to administrate your own publishing ie followup with the licensee and if it is a usage that qualifies for performance royalties you would have to monitor their filing if a cue sheet. Some royalty free companies will give you the option of administrating your own coppyright in which case you would get the writer AND publisher share. Or they will do it for you and they will get the publishers share.

      2. I agree, it’s all about the library / publisher providing that info. It’s also not difficult for someone in a production company to check the databases at ASCAP and BMI.

        You’d think that royalty free sites wouldn’t involve any performance royalties, but I am actually dealing with a situation right now where someone bought a bunch of tracks of mine off of a royalty free site that specifically says their customers don’t have to report the usage to PROs. As you probably know, professionally produced films and TV shows (the ones that will actually go to air) require the cue sheets to be filled out as part of the deliverables. The lawyers on both sides won’t let the production air until all the paperwork is squared away – they don’t want any unauthorized music being used.

        Anyway, back to the situation with the royalty free library – this customer who bought my tracks is now filling out the cue sheets according to what they see listed on the royalty free website, which in many cases is not complete or even correct writers and publishers information (basically to save space).

        BMI and ASCAP have contacted me several times now to ask which info is correct – that which is registered with them, or that which has been listed on the cue sheets.
        Moral of the story is yes, you can actually make performance royalties from royalty free libraries, so make sure you list the exact writers and publishers info!

        1. Hi Matt,

          Your situation is a perfect example of the misunderstanding of the term Royalty Free.
          As many readers of this forum know by now, in addition to being a composer I am a lawyer.

          Let me state this clearly: THERE IS NO SUCH THING ROYALTY FREE. The term in it’s practical usage means that the buyer gets a permanent non-exclusive license and does not have to pay any additional SYNC FEES.

          SNYC FEES AND ROYALTIES ARE DIFFERENT. Sync fees are paid directly to the licensor (the library and/or you) by the licensee (the producer). ROYALTIES ARE PAID BY THE BROADCASTER — the networks, cable companies, etc., that actually broadcast the program containing music, NOT THE PRODUCER.

          This money is being collected by the PROS — BMI and ASCAP at all times, regardless of whether a particular library “requires” their customers to file cue sheets. The LAW REQUIRES the library’s customers to file cue sheets, if what they are producing is going to be broadcast. The pie already exists. Cue sheets just tell the PROs how to slice it.

          Not requiring customers to file cue sheets is a marketing gimmick. It is analogous to a car dealer telling its customers, “we don’t require that you drive the speed limit.” The car dealer does not have the power or authority to circumvent the law.

          Why does this happen? It’s simply a marketing ploy directed at the ignorance of the consumer/producer, who does not understand that they are not the ones who pay royalties.

          In the beginning of my career, I spent many years working for small non-broadcast producers, who did everything from corporate videos to government training films. The all had a fear of paying royalties, because the worked with micro-budgets AND because they simply didn’t understand who pays royalties and for what kinds of uses.

          I’m sure that there are variations on this theme, like lazy producers who know that they don’t pay the royalties, but don’t want to be bothered by filing cue sheets. However, THE LIBRARY DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER OR AUTHORITY to absolve the producer from that responsibility/duty under the law. It simply can’t be done.

          So — the bottom-line is that libraries who use the term “royalty free” are using the terms “royalties” and “sync fees” interchangeably.

          In a best case scenario the buyer small producer or in-house AV producer, using the music in a corporate video, wedding video or some other non-broadcast scenario and it doesn’t matter.

          In a worst case scenario you end up in the your (Matt’s) situation, with lawyers fighting it out on both sides. I would be curious to know who is paying the legal fees — Matt, the producer OR the library that claimed it’s music was royalty free?

          This situation could be avoided if royalty free libraries clearly explained the difference between SYNC FEES and ROYALTIES to its customers, and told them who is actually responsible for paying both AND stopped implying the power to circumvent the law.

          The library needs to clearly explain to its customers that although they are not required to file cue sheets WITH THE LIBRARY (because the library is not acting as publisher) they are still required UNDER LAW to file cue sheets with the appropriate PRO, if the music is going to be broadcast on a medium that pays royalties.

          The only truly royalty free situation for broadcast media is where the network enters into a direct license agreement with the composer for a buyout — the Scripps scenario — which is essentially a work for hire model AND another thread.

          This post was meant to be informational. It is neithert an indictment of any particular library’s marketing strategy, nor is it legal advice to anyone.

          However, the bottom-line is that Royalty Free is not royalty free.



          1. What about direct licensing?

            “The copyright owner of a piece of music retains the right to directly assign the rights to use their music to any individual or entity, through what is known as a Direct License.

            This means that none of the performing rights organizations collect performance royalties for the performance of the work. “

            1. Anon,

              I’m not sure where you pulled the quote that you’re referencing.

              Yes, there are court decisions that uphold a composer’s right to enter into a direct license, and bypass their PRO.

              However, that does not necessarily negate the option of backend royalties, unless that is what the parties agree to — a complete buyout. That would only benefit a company like Scripps, that owns the network broadcasting the music and therefore would be the entity paying the royalties to the PRO.

              On the other hand, you might directly license (not through a library) your music to a TV producer for little or no money upfront (no sync fees), knowing that you will definitely get significant money on the backend. I know a number of composers who submit hard drives full of tracks to networks, only for the backend money.


              1. Thank you everyone for the information you posted. I think I understand it now. Whenever a track is bought from the music library I’m with, if it is for broadcast the library requires a cue sheet to be filed with them, (as well as the network). As they’re the publisher they then know where to look out for it and have given the buyer the correct info to report to the network: e.g. composer name, CAE, publisher name, etc.

                Out of curiosity, if a track was aired on TV in Germany for example, would the normal process be to send my 50% directly to me in the UK (PRS) and the 50% of my publisher to them in the US (ASCAP). Or would they send all of it to ASCAP, who then divides it up and passes on my share to the PRS? The second of these sounds like it could take a while..

                Thanks again for the help.

  109. This may be “crossing the lines” of the Music LIBRARY Report, but I have a couple of questions (while the site is till free :)) ….

    Scenario: I have just written a new music cue, and I want to market it directly to some film/video producers.

    Is it beneficial to offer this cue on an “exclusive use” basis? Buy Out? Work for Hire?
    I’ve got a general idea of these terms, but not completely fluent in what rights I am giving up.

    I am willing to give up the rights to re-sell, but not willing to give up copyright ownership.
    And what would be “the going rate” for such a deal?

    Should I keep the writers share of the royalties and give publishing to the client? What if they aren’t a registered publisher?

    Sorry about this post already! My mind is racing!

    1. “I am willing to give up the rights to re-sell, but not willing to give up copyright ownership” – JD

      What’s the difference JD? Is there any benefit in holding on to the copyright in a buy-out situation?

      1. You are right. I guess it feels like more of a “I wrote that, and here’s the proof” feeling.
        You just hate to completely “give away” your creation.
        I know what’s coming next… “You’re in the wrong business if….” ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Whether you give up the copyright or not you should still get music credits on the film JD. And if it gets played on TV you still get PRO royalties. You remain the writer regardless of who owns the copyright. Giving up a copyright doesn’t mean someone else can take the music credit.

          1. Understood… kinda. This is turning into a very teachable moment for me!

            It just feels like I am giving up that “legacy, something to leave my kids” kinda thing. It has nothing to do with my ego, otherwise I wouldn’t be submitting to libraries. ๐Ÿ™‚

            So let me understand, if I give up the copyright (Buy Out), I no longer receive any of the royalties, but keep the credit in the scroll.

            Is there a way to keep the copyright, collect writers share, and still give the Producer publishing and exclusive rights?

            1. “So let me understand, if I give up the copyright (Buy Out), I no longer receive any of the royalties, but keep the credit in the scroll” – JD

              Yes, you certainly should be entitled to the writer’s PRO royalties. The contract you sign should spell out all the terms. I gave up my copyright on several tracks, but I’m entitled to PRO royalties and licensing fees. Also there is a two-year reversion clause where the track reverts back to me (including the copyright ownership). So your contract is the part that needs to be scrutinized.

              1. John (the other John) says:
                “Yes, you certainly should be entitled to the writer’s PRO royalties. The contract you sign should spell out all the terms. I gave up my copyright on several tracks, but I’m entitled to PRO royalties and licensing fees. Also there is a two-year reversion clause where the track reverts back to me (including the copyright ownership). So your contract is the part that needs to be scrutinized.”

                OK! Now I’m getting somewhere! That sounds like it it is exactly the deal I’m trying to make!

                I guess my next question is, where can I find/purchase a contract of this nature? I would like to read and try to understand it over the next 5 years! ha!
                No, seriously, I would like to have something that I could customize (MS Word maybe?) and send to the Producer, since I am the one providing this opportunity.

                It is very likely that there will be near zero “backend” on this project, but I want to make sure my bases are covered.

                1. Don’t know where you can download a generic contract JD. Try Googling.

                  As far as payment, make sure you cover 1. licensing fees (based on gross receipts), 2. writer’s share of public performance income, and 3. licensing fees & mechanical royalties for CD & DVD releases.

                  Also make sure there’s a reversion clause (unless you’re getting money upfront).

                2. John (the other John), You have been a tremendous help!
                  Thank you very much.
                  I will start my homework immediately!

    2. JD,

      An indie film producer should be satisfied with a non-exclusive license that enables him/her to use your cue in the specified film (and its trailer). You should retain the copyright and be free to market the cue to others, including placing it in a music library. If the film producer wanted some nature of exclusive on the cue, then agree not to market the cue to anyone else for an agreed period of time (one or two years, max). Get payment upfront. There never is a back end on indie films. The amount is highly negotiable. There is no set fee for music in the indie film world. A starting point is $100/minute of sound, but there are many film composers who will do this work for free. Composers with extensive film credits will ask for many, many times that amount. Also be sure that you get a composer’s credit in the film, plus the right to use the film poster and film name in your music business. Good luck, friend! Bren

      1. Thanks Bren. You make some great points!
        Truth be told, I’m looking for that “golden avenue” to provide something to a Producer that he/she can’t get from a library (besides the entire custom score). Something that would benefit us both.

        The Producer gets exclusivity, and I get a fair lump sum which means I don’t have to spend he countless hours of shopping, submitting, duplicating, tracking cue sheets, etc. for said music cue.

        I have sold just enough of my music too refuse to do anything for free or near free! I have earned the right to charge for my craft. But, I have no problem setting a price, of what I think covers my time, talent, and art, and be done with the whole process. I have made most of my income from custom projects, and after the horror stories (in my mind) of waiting and dealing with PRO’s that I’ve read, I just don’t know if it is worth the headaches. Unless Warner Brothers or NBC calls, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

  110. Hey all.

    I got a dilemma and would appreciate any advice. I’ve had 15 tracks accepted into a publishing house (i could call it a library – but they’re more into publishing known artists and such – they needed some hip-hop beats they could sell cheap licenses for – thats where i come in).
    I got two options – 200 dollars a track, forfeiting any publishing or license cut (i still get the writers share)


    1000 dollars re-coupable advance (will be recouped from future royalties), with a 25% cut of both the licensing and the publishing.

    Something tells me the latter option is better, but I would love any advice on the issue..


    1. $200 seems reasonable Mikhail. You do however know you can’t use beats/loops unaccompanied from buy-outs.

      1. If anyone is interested in selling tracks for $200 each on a work for hire basis, please email me immediately, I’d love to take advantage of you….i mean…take advantage of this great opportunity.

        1. He’s talkin’ “beats” oontz oontz. One can purchase a package of beats for less than two bills.

          1. By “beats” I dont necessarily mean simple loop-based stuff. Think Dangermouse – lots of layers, instruments etc. One beat takes me about 7-8 hours from scratch. 200 dollars for 8 hours of making music is pretty good to me. Mind you, ive worked some terrible jobs and Im 25 with no family. But the question is, which would you prefer, out of the scenarios? If anyone had experiences with similar offers, Id love to hear what you think.
            Oontz – Id love for you to take advantage of me by paying 200 dollars for a song. Id be making a comfortable living and you’d be living off the royalties. Lets partner up – I got 100 tracks ready to go.

            1. @Mikal Go for the $1,000 advance, i don’t understand why the $200/cue would be a better deal. Maybe i missed something? It’s quite possible i mis-understood the original post..

              $1,000/cue > $200/cue and a co-pub is more favorable than a buy-out.

              1. I agree. I would go for the $1000 advance too, unless there is some other info that is being left out.

                Yeah, it means giving up some sync fees and royalties for a little while until the $1,000 is paid off, but it sounds like a better deal and you really want to jump at up front money like that when you get the chance. You won’t get offered a $1,000 advance on instrumentals all that often IME. Take the advance, it could literally take years to make $1,000 on each track anyways. Might as well have the money now to help you jump start things instead of letting it trickle in.

                1. Sorry guys – I think I havent made it clear enough. The 1000 advance is for all the tracks – as opposed to 200 per track up front. So its a question of 3000 dollars upfront, or 1000 dollars upfront with a chance (really hard how good of a chance) of making more in the long run. The trick is – should I gauge by the 200 per track offer, that the company is expecting to make much more? That’s the crux of my dilemma. I really wish I could simply look at their licensing history, but I cant…

                2. Ah… Well that is a little different then.

                  The $1,000 dollar advance might still be a better deal, but I think it depends on your individual situation:

                  If you are doing music mostly part time now and have another source of income, I would probably take the $1,000 advance. An extra 2 grand isn’t going to make the difference between you going full time and not going full time. It will take a couple of years to build things up. In a couple of years time you will have hopefully recouped the advance and then will have a co-pub on those tracks when you go full time, which would be nice.

                  If you are like me and are making the vast majority of your income on music and are still early on in your career, it might be best to take the $200 buyout. An extra $3,000 pays a lot of bills, and with the way this industry rolls you need to grab the quick cash when you can.

                  This, of course, is assuming that they will get you placements and make some money. If you don’t have a whole lot of faith in this company making you money, I would take the $200 per track fee. Its only 15 tracks. That is really just a drop in the bucket.

                  So I guess it depends on (1) what your job/finances situation is and (2) how much faith you have in this company.

        2. Hey Oontz, give me an email – can’t contact you. You can take advantage of me – I’ll do a few tracks for you for $200 each if you’re interested in my piano music ๐Ÿ™‚

          Give me a shout


  111. ** Recapping my first year **

    I posted this on the Taxi forums and thought it might interest other newbies who frequent here, primarily because MLR has been such a valuable resource in my travels thus far. Under *NO* circumstances will I enter a discussion debating the merits of Taxi. I’m just sharing my journey in the hope that it’s interesting and maybe encouraging to others starting out. I don’t proclaim any special talent or huge levels of success. This is just about where I’ve come from and where I’m going and the sights along the way.


    I’ve always felt music and had many ideas but up until 2010 never really looked beyond being a guitarist and playing in a church music team. I initially wanted to start writing music for my church and in Feb.’10 bought a midi controller keyboard and between my guitar, Absynth and Drums-on-Demand loops started working on demos for church. But all I got there was polite disinterest. I have to look back now and laugh at the way things are turning out. I don’t mean laugh as in “so there, you should have used me!” but in a “it’s weird the way things work out very different to how we want them to” way.

    Having those few tools sparked a lot of ideas for me. One day in Apr.’10 I was watching TV and zoned out to the picture and really started, maybe for the first time, listening to the music on shows and commercials and movies. I wondered where it came from. There was really good, moving orchestral work, quirky instrumentals in ads, cheesy 15s clips here and there. Some of it was clearly out of my league, but a lot of it, I thought, “I could do better than that” (egg of Colombus anyone?). So I spent a lot of time with my friend Google trying to work out where the music is sourced and how one would go about writing it and getting it used. I found a lot of gibberish and useless information. Some interesting and insightful stuff (such as the Starpolish site) was around, but mostly I found links to various royalty free sites. At the time I didn’t understand what that even meant.

    Somewhere in there, I found Taxi and began to read the forums. I eventually registered as a forum member and put up a few pieces for feedback to see if anyone thought I had what it took. I received some positive and encouraging replies and after some deliberation joined Taxi in early May.’10. I hit up a lot of their listings and was consistently rejected. Initially I didn’t mind, because I was after the feedback and to learn how to pitch to a listing. After awhile though, the rejections got annoying and frustrating. Sure, a lot of stuff was below par, quality wise, but there were pieces I was comfortable with and couldn’t see why it was being rejected. I felt like the screeners were deliberately trying to frustrate me.

    As an aside, since then I’ve accepted the realisation that the screeners are just people too, with their individual biases and perceptions. Here’s a point where I have to disagree with Michael Laskow – the screeners are not objective. If post-modernism has taught us anything, it is that objectivity is a myth. There is no such thing as an “ideal observer” free from all prejudice and able to consider only factual data. That would be a robot. But then a robot probably couldn’t ‘feel’ the art of music. What is more the case, however, is that screeners have a distance from the music (they didn’t create it) and an understanding of what the client is looking for (sometimes though the rejections still don’t make sense and I have to wonder if it was just a bad day or a gut reaction to a submission). As an another aside, quantum physics has taught us that observation changes reality!

    Nevertheless, what a reporter said about Joan Rivers holds true in a broader context. “People who fail in show business get rejected all of the time. Those who succeed, like Rivers, get rejected most of the time.” The simple fact is, this is a business with an oversupply of product creators, so we really need to stand out in some way – that doesn’t necessarily have to be in terms of innovation, but simple things like professionalism, consistent quality, timeliness, easy to work with and so on. That may not be the case in the world of pop and rock stars. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think too many production musicians still consider themselves artists and don’t conduct their work as a business. Of course, there is an artistic side but I get the feeling that is not close to the top of the list of prioritised qualities in successful production music professionals.

    Off track a bit, so…. one thing I committed myself to was the development of skills – composition, production, mixing. Each of those could be a career in themselves but normally as solo operators we have to learn all of them, and learn them well. (At some point, collaboration just makes sense. The old buzzword: synergy. Complementarity in operation can create greater things than the sum of the parts.) I spend time learning how to use my software and equipment, I listen to lots of reference material and practice my mixing to work towards the sound I need. And very importantly, I’m getting less precious about my music. Rejection and criticism can be taken in many ways. But the best way is, “Does that have merit? Can I learn from it?” If yes, great. If not, shrug and move on.

    With respect to skills development, I’ve found the peer-to-peer forum and A/Bing reference material to be the most valuable tools. I haven’t found much value in screener feedback – just being honest. Others will have different mileage. In peer-to-peer, it’s not only feedback on personal material that’s useful, but reading critiques of others work. It helps develop a critical ear and the ability to listen for many factors. When things are pointed out, you start to listen for them and you can hear it in the work of others and understand what the critic means, so that’s useful when critically listening to your own productions.

    Reality check 1: your music is probably not as good as it could be.
    Reality check 2: not everyone will like what you do.
    Reality check 3: two different people who matter (ie. publishers/librarians) could have wildly conflicting perceptions of your work
    Reality check 4: your friends and family will love what you do. That’s their job. Unless you’re fortunate like me – my wife is brutally honest!!

    Getting back to the journey, after reaching a point of sheer frustration with screeners, I wondered what other avenues there were. I won’t go into those details here but I’m now at a point where I have more work opportunities than available creating time. [EDIT: it was in this period I discovered MLR and absorbed the accumulated knowledge and wisdom here]. However, in my hiatus from Taxi submissions, my production skills have improved exponentially, thanks in large part to getting a great DAW and taking the time to learn about K-system level metering, and general mixing practice. So I think it’s no coincidence that 4 months after my last submission, I submit again targeting as well as I could and I get a forward! The irony is, I already have more open doors than I have material and time – I’ve reached a point where I would probably start to get the forwards but I may not even need it. Well, I find it ironic.

    Late last year, I signed several tracks to a trailer library and that really narrowed my focus as to what I want to do. Not long after, I was offered an album deal by a different library and I did 16 tracks for them. It turned out that two other writers had material in that collection as well, but that was another lesson – publishers have their own business plan and goals. Within the last month I’ve now been offered another album deal. This time I’ve chosen my collaborator so I know what to expect…I hope. I’ve also attracted attention from a large production library and additionally am in negotiations to create material for two leading trailer houses. What a ride! Trailer music is a microcosm of a movie/tv show/video game. It has to be powerful, emotive and often intense because it’s about advertising. It’s not there to support a scene or just be a background blip that is largely overlooked by viewers and quickly forgotten. It’s designed to hook people and help draw them into wanting to see/buy whatever the trailer is advertising. My goal now is to become the best trailer music composer I can be. I love it, and I’m really not interested in anything else at this time.

    So coming up in May will be one year with Taxi and for the busy reasons above, I’m not sure if I will renew this time. I’d probably wait until there’s a listing I absolutely must submit to and renew then. Right now, I don’t have back catalogue needing homes and I don’t have time to write to listing. Wish that was translating to dollars sooner, but I accept that’s just a question of time. My aim is to keep the pipeline full, and the dollars will take care of themselves.

    The truth is, I’m still a noob….. but now I’m one with a goal, a plan of how to get there, and a commitment to learning and development. And I know that will set me apart from the other unknowns looking for a break. These are some things I’ve come to accept along the way:

    1) The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know
    2) My music is to fit someone else’s vision. If I want to do art, do my own releases.
    3) Rejection isn’t personal. What is useless for one company might be absolutely perfect for the next, thus….
    4) Targeting accurately may well be more important than anything else. The cheesiest, most cliched sounding piece probably has a home somewhere. Your job is to find it, not get p***ed off at the publishers who don’t want it. If they can’t use it, why would you want them to sign it and have it sit on their shelf doing nothing???
    5) This is a business. Be professional.

    For anyone who read this far, I hope it was an interesting excursion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  112. Just had my fist piece on a TV show! Brewmasters S01 E04 on Discovery. Saw the cue sheet filed on BMI.

    Anyone know where I can look up to see how often this episode has been aired?


      1. Thanks, not a clue. The sale hasn’t shown up with any of the publishers I use. Some of them only give statements a couple times a year though. The only way I knew about it was the BMI statement.

    1. It’s sometimes hard to know how often it aired and the best reflection will be your BMI statements down the road– typically you get paid 2 quarters after the quarter of airing.

      First thing to do is Google Brewmasters Season 1 Episode 4. That usually will get you the title of the episode. In this case, it was “Grain To Glass”.

      If you want to VIEW the episode, if you have a DVR (or equivalent) you can set it up to search an automatically record a show. If you set up automatic recording for all episodes of Brewmasters, you can check to see how often it shows up, if it does.

      Some shows can be purchased very cheaply on iTunes or Amazon. In this case, the episode is available on both for $1.99. So, at the minimum, you can see how your music was used.

      Congrats on the placement!

  113. hi all
    could anyone suggest a good place to put up effects? whats a good site which is easy to upload and then easy to put into categories ? dont know if anyone can help. i know there are loads of music sites in the list but i wasnt sure which are good for effx

  114. Where can I hear examples of stingers, bumpers and transitions? I have to submit alternate versions of my cues one of which is a stinger. I think I know it when I hear it but I’d like to hear a few examples to base it on to be sure.

    1. Just do a search for stingers on AudioSparx.

      Think the last bar or two of your cue — but goose the finality.



    2. have a look at audionetwork. the tracks there often have several vs, click to look, you will find stings within them. audionetwork has some good stings.

  115. Is tinnitus a problem for many musicians here? Im writing music 2-3 hrs a day over the past year and tinnitus is becoming an increasing irritant. I want to turn my mixes and masters up louder to make more precise adjustments/EQs but i dont cos im worried it will get worse if i do. Im scared i could lose my good hearing!

      1. I have a little bit also but it seems to be on the increase now that im putting more hours in. In my experience it tends to fade away if i stop writing for a few weeks or so. thanks for the link ill check it out.

    1. dude, seriously dont turn up your music loud to make the mix right, simple solution, and this will work, turning it up will not, buy some acoustic foam – put it to the sides of the speakers , and behind, and most importantly behind you – i put mine on a piece of plywood on feet behind me on a stand so its really near, i am telling you, the one behind me makes the ULTIMATE difference, before that my sound was bouncing off the wall and i just could never be certain my mix was right, now i listen at a fairly low level, not loud at all and its just flat, i can hear it all clearly. in my case the foam cost 500 pounds, but im not using all of it, i could have just done with the one behind me to be honest, but i also like the ones at the side. this will get u great mixes, the problem is if you cant be sure a mix is right then this will sort it out

      1. Thanks for the tip. ill check it out once I make ยฃ500 quid from licensing my music over the next 25 years or so ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. hi dude.
          ha. yes , well i got mine when i had a good job – saying that i really dont think i needed to spend as much, i cant say how much stopping the music coming out of the speaker and bouncing off the wall behind has helped me – ive always struggled to get things to sound as i want – if u can just get some foam to stop the rebounds suddenly its like a light goes on and the decisions u make create a balanced mix almost immediately – really sorry to hear about the tinitus , ive a friend who suffers and he has learnt to live with it now. i def would say to you though with a really low level the foam is so great. i know ebay has sellers doing some really cheap – like ten or twenty pounds, i got the exp stuff but bought a bass trap for a tenner off ebay and it looks almost the same. good luck , i have heard that your brain adapts to tinnitus over time and ignores it, like the wife ;-)).

          1. heh. i never thot of using that technique with the wife. Adapt and ignore. What an awesome tip, this really is a great forum ๐Ÿ™‚

            sounds like that foam is really worthwhile. Ill check out some deals on ebay. Thanks man.

            1. yes – honestly, my girlfriend is one who never knows when to quit !!!

              i have learnt to switch off much to her annoyance.

              heres some foam – search for acoustic foam, i have them behind spk and to sides, but really they to me are only semi important, the one thats like a light going on is the panel i put on feet behind me, i got some wood legs i made, bought a piece of cheap plywood which measures around one metre by one metre, i put this behind my chair, only about two inches behind my chair, the music then just suddenly sounds enclosed, its fabulous ! the wall is some way away so this enclosed back wall i have made on some wood stilts does what i want, i honestly have always struggled with mixes, i dont know if god made my ears wrong or what ! but with this, i really have a low vol going, u know around the level of a human voice or a little louder, with this i can hear everything really well, i think sound bounces off the wall normally and confuses my decision making even though i am not aware of it one bit, somehow this works, and i have read so so many times people saying (pro people) they would rather have cheaper monitors and acoustic foam than exp and no foam.

              my friend has tinnitus, and over time it is still there but his brain has somehow learnt to ignore it. hope this link helps if you do decide, theres always the ‘old school way’ … EGG BOXES !! cover the room ๐Ÿ˜‰


                1. Hey Art,


                  A friend of mine is a well respected, Grammy winning engineer. He highly recommends Real Traps.


                2. I did a lot of research before settling on Real Traps. It’s a great way to clean up the anomalies of those “box” rooms most of us work in. Just sticking up some foam and, heaven forbid, egg cartons is not a good solution. I even went the next step and use a DBX DriveRack Studio Monitor system that emulates different speaker sizes. It also allows me to tune my room using pink noise (or was it white noise?). Hopefully I have fairly flat room.

  116. Hi Denis,

    >Unfortunately to take a long term view you need to be quite old<

    LOL .. I guess we are a bit "long in the tooth." ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congrats on the windfall!



      1. @Art and MichaelL Maybe so LOL. Actually Art you said some where in this thread about the library business being the toughest one. +100 I have done loads of other things, producing/writing/film/commercials etc but library music writing is a tough nut to crack.

        1. Part of the difficulty with library music is that you have to do SO MUCH of it to succeed.

          Like you long lost commercial, two pieces of music that I wrote for television years ago have earned 100s of times more than all of my library tracks put together. If all of my library stuff paid as well I’d own an island somewhere.

          Like Erwin, it’s something that I do in addition to my other music business.

      2. You mean, like if we’re old enough to remember that a sampler was once a box of chocolates and that aarp isn’t just an analog synth? ๐Ÿ˜‰


        1. And like “booty”. Just read that in the “New American Bible Revised Edition” they have replaced “booty” with “spoils of war”! LOL!

                1. Yes a bit classier MichaelL, but either way our bones are wearing out – not to mention the time we have left on Earth. ๐Ÿ˜€

                2. If you guys are forming a club of guys who have been around the block more than a few times, count me in! ๐Ÿ™‚

                3. Well, now that the gray hairs have come out of the woodwork….back to my original post.

                  We should use our collective experience to provide newbies, of all ages, with a realistic understanding of the library business.

                  There’s a delicate balance between providing a glimpse of the harsh reality, yet still being encouraging.

                  From the library perspective, it’s got to be to their benefit to have writers who understand the business.

                  El Jol quoted his father as saying, “if it were that easy, everyone would do it.” Well it seems like everyone is trying to do it — probably because they have unrealistic expectations of what is necessary and what is possible.

                  Maybe we can help.

  117. hi michael.

    i really really think your point is so so valid. as a newbie myself my ideal situation would be to get honest info. my ideal would be to come to this website and see a list of the music makers and where there music is placed and the exact monthly figures they earn, I know we cant do that for a multitude of reasons , but that would be my ideal, it would give me something to strive for and also i would be able to guage where not to place my music.

    2 Eddy, i am in a similar situation to you. having begun library this year ive been doing it for chappel and atmosphere and have no idea what i m going to earn but yet i am doing it, i have my fingers crossed and today i wake again and am going to try and work hard and do what i enjoy. Good luck eddy, even if you decide not to make library your main income then at least you have an output for music in the future where you can make any type of music without the restraints of what a normal composer has to do, ie become a rocker or ambient person and always wake up and have to make the same music. if you love to make music then its a gift to enjoy and experience and you will always have that if you make music.

    1. Hey Adam,

      That’s great that your writing for both atmosphere and chappel. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get connected with them? Did you contact them directly or did you know someone for either company?

      1. contacted thro a friend – i had past exp of writing records and stuff, had a listen to there stuff which is all really good and did something i thought was completely diff to anything out there, really far out stuff, as far as i could anyway. i hit it from angle of doing something really different to anything else rather than immitate anything, tho saying that i am all for soundalikes as i think thats great stuff but with them i havent.

        1. Thanks for the reply. I was just curious because neither company has a website and I’ve been wondering how to get in touch with them to submit music. They’re both good libraries, I’ve used a lot of killertrax and firstcom in various productions. Good luck with them.

  118. hello fellow music makers

    I was wondering if doing different edits ,stings and versions of the same tracks is such a big issue.I find it quite tedious and messing with my artistical concept of the work ,even though it finally ends up in library I still think of each song as something special and when it’s done it’s done. I’d rather spend that time recording new stuff instead of doing the edits of already finished ones.
    Are there any succesfull library composers which can do without , or is it something I have to get used to sooner or later,thanks

    1. Afraid that’s something you have to just get used to.

      Now, without wanting to start another lengthy argument, ooops… I mean debate ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Artistic concept and library music don’t really go hand in hand.

        1. Ado,

          +1 to El Jol and Darstar.

          You’re concerned about you’re artistic concept. Well the libraries for the most part want the shorter edits. Ads can be 15 or 30 seconds long. It’s more convenient for the customer to not have to edit the track.

          If you don’t do your own edits, the library will likely have someone, who will not understand your concept, and who may not be very musical do the edits after the fact, and your tracks may be butchered.

          Take the time to do. Sometimes you’ll need a tempo adjustment to make it fit, or a few notes of intro. maybe repeating a bar, but it’s worth it.


          1. Yeah, best to do your own edits. One library I used to work for murder your music. Audible clicks, cut off endings, 4/4 bars getting shortened to 3/4 so it all fits…..some crazy things. When you work hard on something and then someone does that to your work it hurts.

            1. El Jol….ROTFL!

              I’ve had the same thing happen. Even had someone accidentally convert the bit rate, so speed and pitch went wonky.

              Had my jaw hit the floor more than once!



              1. Thank you folks, I guess that the harsh reality then .Recently I ‘ve been actually recording short songs like from 30 sec. to 1min 50 sec. tracks ,but I didn’t consider them edits because there are no longer versions of them.
                As I mostly record real instruments sometimes I feel like recording various small versions of the same song would be more appealing then cut & paste task ,though that’s not always feasible

  119. Responsibility: where do we draw the line?

    The great thing about this site, as Art recently said, is how we all encourage each other. There is no denying, that is a good thing. But where do we draw the line? Do those of us who’ve been in those business a long time have a responsibility to offer realistic and unvarnished advice, or should we just be cheerleaders?

    I expect newbies to be enthusiastic. They’re still on the honeymoon. I expect young people to be young people. It’s completely normal for a 20-year old to think that they are the hottest beat generator on the planet. They have plenty of time to sink or swim, and perhaps not so much to lose.

    But, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend of older writers, some with family responsibilities, or who have lost a job or been laid off, who seem to think that licensing music is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    I guess I’m asking fellow writers who are succeeding, if we should not be more open about the odds? And about how long it’s likely to take to earn a living wage. And, perhaps the likelihood, or not, of earning a living wage.

    One writer, Matt, has laid out a timeline that it took for him to reach 150K — about ten years.
    But keep in mind, Matt is the exception. Not everyone who has been writing for 10 years is making anywhere near that.

    Erwin (50 Styles), AudioSparx top writer, stated that his primary income is from his music business, not library music.

    Just my two cents, but when people are pinning their hopes and dreams on making a living library music, especially if they’ve lost a job and are in dire straights, I think we need to be encouraging, but honest. If we are not honest, we may do more harm than good.

    Few people would lose a job today and think, oh I’ll start practicing medicine, or I’ll try out for the Yankees. I know that this isn’t the same thing, but on the level to which El Jol refers, top exclusive libraries, it is analogous to the big leagues. The reality is you have to be prepared to invest substantially to work at that level. It is not the same thing as posting a handful of tracks and waiting and hoping for money to hit your Paypal account.

    Those of us who earn a living making music are truly fortunate. Again, it’s just my two cents, but I’d like to know how other writers feel about this issue. There’s a fine line between discouragement and honesty, where do we draw it?

    Best to all,


    1. I guess this is a crack at me. I know that I may have been a bit naive or maybe even unrealistic. But I think it is still wrong to kick someone while he is down. Just because some of us are not successful does not mean that we should be teased. Reading some of MichaelL’s recent posts has kind of given me the impression that he thinks he is better than us. I just don’t understand what the superior attitude is for. Everybody else is helpful without being a jerk. Whatever!

      1. Not at all Eddy. It’s not a crack at you. I’m sorry that you feel that way.

        I was afraid that my posts would be taken the wrong. NO I don’t think that I’m superior. NOT AT ALL.

        I’ve been in this business for 30 years. I’ve taught music business courses at the college level. I am an attorney, and I’ve lectured on entertainment law at the college level. As a musician and composer, I’ve seen the ups and downs good and bad AND the ugly. The UGLY is why I became a lawyer.

        I DO NOT think that I’m superior.

        But let me ask you a question. Wouldn’t you rather that someone told you straight up how hard this business is, and how slim the odds of making a living are BEFORE you started?

        That’s what my post is about. How do those of us who’ve been around the barn HELP people before they potentially harm themselves.

        I’m sorry that you feel that I think that I am superior, or that I attacked you. My concern is how do those of us who are professionals adequately communicate the nature of the business to those entering it. I believe that we have a responsibility to present the business without rose-colored glasses so that people can make informed choices, and know what they’re up against.

        I’ve been where you are Eddy. I’ve had royalty statements that wouldn’t even buy a cup of coffee, and I’ve had some that would buy a car. I’ve stuck at it 30 years. That’s what you need to do. It’s way too soon to be feeling like you failed. You didn’t. You made a few dollars writing music AND that’s more than most people do!

        Best of luck yo you.


      2. Hey Eddy,

        I know you’re down at the moment and I’m sure you’ll get through this and make the right decisions for you and your family, whatever they turn out to be.

        I can see how MichaelL’s post would feel like a kick in the guts for you at the moment, but IMO he’s one of the most helpful and realistic contributors here. I know it doesn’t seem like that right now, but he is trying to ask some tough questions that need to be asked and I believe you’ll be able to see that and appreciate it soon enough.

        All the best mate, whatever you decide.

        1. Thank you Rob. Please read my follow-up to Eddy.

          My post was generated out of concern NOT disdain for composers in Eddy’s position.

          I believe that those of us with experience need to demystify the process as much as we can.

          It’s good to encourage, but we need to be brutally honest as well.

          To object is to help writers to learn and pace themselves, so they don’t depend too heavily on this business on the front end — and then feel badly, as Eddy is now.



          1. I understand, Michael, and I agree. I don’t know Eddy’s situation at all but as a noob to this game myself, I’ve come to realise a thick skin and the inner acceptance of knowing I’m meant to do this are pretty much non-negotiable assets. A long hard road with no certainty of ever earning a living from this, ought to be regularly sign-posted on the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

            I’m not long off finishing year 1 myself and nowhere near far enough down the road as I would like.

            As always, I find your posts among the most down-to-earth, realistic and helpful. Thank you!

      3. @Eddy L. The last thing MichaelL would have is a superior attitude. He’s one of the many very helpful people on MLR. The fact is that it is a tough business. I will mention again (ad nauseam) that I have been at the music biz game for decades and while I have had my share of successes making music, the music library game is one of the toughest I’ve been in.

        1. So from what I gather, patience and persistence are the only way to be successful in the music library business? I guess that I will have to see if I have those abilities within myself. I guess that when you are down like me, being told about patience and persistence are the last things that you want to hear. When you are in my sitiuation, you really want a golden ticket or a quick & easy way to gain success. But I guess that if I have any chance at becoming successful with my music, I will have to continue to crawl through the mud for a few more years.


          1. You are correct Eddy, there is no “golden ticket, or quick and easy way.”

            Here are some things in no particular order that appear to result in success.

            1) Quantity: Having a lot of tracks. Matt (a successful writer) stated that he has approaching 2000 tracks. Barbie from AudioSparx says that her most successful writers have at least 500 tracks. You’ll notice that Bjorn Lynne (who also owns Shockwave) has 7000+ tracks on AudioSparx. Denis Woods has 416 tracks on AudioSparx. It IS a game of quantity. A few placements here and there will not put you on easy street.

            2) Quality: at some point it DOES matter. In a thread, a long time ago,the owner of Audio Socket said “buy the best sounds that you can afford” There is a difference between East West, Vienna, Symphobia and the stock sounds in a keyboard or Garage Band. Notice that Erwin (50 Styles) AudioSparx top seller uses Protools. Are there people selling music without high end gear? Yes. Is there a point at which you need those tools to go further? Yes, especially if you want to get into the exclusive libraries that El Jol mentioned.

            3) Variety: a lot of people talk about branding and specialize in one genre. But my observation is that the most successful library writers write in many genres.

            4) Library music does have a lifespan. Yes, there are anecdotal stories about the occasional piece of music that earns money for decades. My experience is that unless the tracks are timeless, the royalties will grow and then decrease over time. That is especially true on tracks that are “trendy.” How much use do you think “Seinfeld” soundalikes are getting today?
            This is why it’s good to write in many, perhaps 50, styles. (sorry Erwin, but you are a model of success). There will come a time when trip-hop and dub step will be as antiquated as doo-wop. If you’re a one genre writer, you must plan for the day when your genre is passe.

            5) Sacrifice: When I was in law school, one of the professors said that how well you succeed as a lawyer depends on how much you’re willing to give up to get there. Music is no different –from the beginning. How many hours are you willing to practice your instrument and study, instead of playing football or watching television? Are you willing to have a less expensive car to have a more expensive studio? Are you willing, or able to spend hours and hours writing, instead of with family or friends? I read on this thread that Matt put in 12 hours a day, six days a week — for years — to build his catalog (maybe that’s an urban legend).

            So, no, there’s no “golden ticket” or “easy way.” But, now you know. If you choose to go forward, it’s an informed choice. AND — this is the important part — there’s no guarantee.

            Writing library music is a investment. Like any investment, you have to measure your tolerance for risk. There are a lot of factors that affect that. How much responsibility do you have? Do you support others? Do you have other sources of income (like a working spouse / partner)? Don’t forget health insurance in the U.S.

            On the personal side, how do you handle rejection, disappointment? As Rob said, you need a thick skin. Are you too close to your music? Can you write it, let it go and move on?

            Again Eddy, I’m sorry if you thought that I was attacking you. I wasn’t. You got a placement, which is more than most accomplish. What upset you is that it didn’t pay much. But that’s not you’re fault. And, it’s no reflection on the quality of your music. The fact that someone LIKED IT ENOUGH, to use it is.

            And, I’m sorry if you thought that writing library music is a golden ticket, or an easy way to make money — it simply is not. I don’t want anyone to feel as badly as you’re feeling now –as a result of this business –if it can be avoided. The point of my original post was that those of us with experience need to make the “facts of life” in this business abundantly clear to new writers, while at the same time remaining encouraging. It’s a delicate balance.

            Best of luck,



            @Art and @Rob –thanks.

            1. Slow down man! Thanks MichaelL. That information gives me a great deal to consider. I really need to read what you posted a few times to try to absorb the great deal of vital information you gave me. Hopefully I can find a way to make sense of things and will come to a conclusion soon. Maybe this break is what I need.

              1. Hey, it gave me a break from setting up a LASS template in VEPRO!

                Are you in the UK? What are you doing up at 4:30 am?

                Read and absorb.



            2. @MichaelL

              Great post. Agree with it all really. I think those of us who have been around a while on this forum need to be positive to newcomers as well as realistic. Its a fine balancing act as you know. Here are a few of the personal and professional attributes i think are important.

              1. I have to be able to take rejection and disappointment on a regular basis. If I couldn’t then what’s the point in ruining my life for music. You only live once. I hopefully have been able to develop a positive attitude to all of this. Do I get solemn/down/depressed. sure I do but I do believe that I am going forward. If I take a longterm view on this I can see my progression.
              Unfortunately to take a long term view you need to be quite old ๐Ÿ™‚

              2. To make a living in this game I need to be able to write in more than one style. I like Erwin just like doing a few different things Rock/Pop/Dance NewAge/Celtic etc. Some work some dont.

              3. You made the point about investment in equipment. Absolutely. I have a Protools HD3 rig plus Logic etc. It costs a lot of money, but to compete in the business I am in, I have to invest in it. Do you need this precise setup to write music of course not, but eventually if you are doing this as a career, you will.

              I will end on a positive note. I really felt for EddyL in his post and it got me thinking about this crazy career I am in and how financially insecure it is, early in the week. As I was musing about this I got an emai, 2 sales on Audiosparx which propels me into the number 2 spot under Erwin. I have only been with Audiosparx for 10 months, if I can do it anybody can.

              Sometimes I need to remind myself of what I have actually done, rather than what I think in the moment. Also incredibly I am getting a Pro check for tens of thousands of dollars for a commercial I wrote over 10 years ago which hadn’t ben cue sheeted properly, so had been sitting there for a number of years unpaid.

              All of this happened in 24 hours. The moral of the story and to paraphrase Art “The next email or phone call you get could be your next gig” The trick is to stick around long enough to receive it.

      4. Hey Eddy, hang in there pal. Remember, we do this because we love making music! That’s the key.

        Yeah, it’s not easy reaching say the 150-200k a year mark but it IS possible and that’s what’s exciting. I know several writers who earn that who have been struggling really hard at times. On the verge of giving it up in fact.

        The chase for the prize is quite an interesting, rollercoaster ride. I mean, we don’t want it handed to us on a plate do we? Stay with it Eddy! The wonderful thing about library is that anything is possible!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I understand what Michael is saying… I don’t think he was trying to be an ass or anything. He makes some valid points, and I’d like to share my 2 cents on the “making a living with library music” topic. Not directed at anyone in particular, just general info for people to consider.

      I make probably 98% of my living from writing music. I work a part time job here and there for extra money and to have something I can go to for quick cash should catastrophe strike, but for the most part I wake up everyday and write music for libraries and/or commercials. I am currently in what I consider my 4th year of being “in business” in the music library field.

      I am by no means making a ton of money, but I think I’m doing pretty well considering how long I’ve been at it and my “business” is continuing to grow. I do have a few huge advantages over a lot of the “older” writers that MichaelL mentioned that I think should be known and taken into consideration by all who decide that they want to try to write music for a living.

      These huge advantages are:

      (1) I am young (in my 20’s) and healthy.
      (2) I am not married
      (3) I do not have any children… well, none that I know of (jk of course)
      (4) I don’t have a mortgage, much less one that I am under water on. I rent.
      (5) The city I live in has a cheap cost of living, especially compared to places like NYC & LA
      (6) My car is paid off, and I am debt free. Also, my car is a small, cheap car that gets good gas mileage and is cheap to repair. Not a babe magnet, but it gets me around.

      Some of those advantages might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but IMO they make all the difference. I remember about 2 years ago a very successful composer friend of mine said to me “I don’t think you will have to work a day job for too much longer, because you are young and can live on very little money.”

      Being able to live on very little money for at least a year or two is almost mandatory IMO. Everybody that I can think of who is a successful composer making a comfy living had a period of time where finances weren’t so great. In my experience and opinion, you want to get to the point where you can write music all day, every day as soon as possible. Thats when things start to really get rolling, and that transition from part time composer with a day job to full time composer probably isn’t going to happen without taking a bit of a pay cut for a few years.

      So who is better positioned to take a pay cut? A 25 year old single person who can live on next to nothing? Or a 45 year old who is married with children, has a $2,000 mortgage payment every month and 2 gigantic SUV’s in the driveway? The answer is obvious.

      If you aren’t a 25 year old who can live on next to nothing, that doesn’t meant hat you can’t write music and be successful at it. Its just that your timeline will be different, and you probably will want to adjust your short term and long term goals accordingly. I know some great composers who aren’t full time, but they are making headway slowly but surely. Their credits, connections, and income from music are growing steadily. Just don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and frustrated.

      Since I’m not in the “older with a lot of responsibilities” camp, I can’t really outline a good plan for anybody in that situation. But for the younger people who are unattached, here is a basic plan that you can use to help guide you (keep in mind, this is just a rough guide that is based on my experience and opinion):

      First thing is to get a day job. Preferably one that pays decently but doesn’t completely drain you so that you can be creative when you get home. So, in other words, get a job that you really don’t care about but pays the bills good enough.

      For the first year or two, it will be all about getting your composing, mixing, and recording skills up to speed. Really, you will be continually learning this stuff for your entire life, but it will probably take a year or 2 just to get “competitive.”

      While you are getting up to speed and working that crappy day job, keep your lifestyle manageable. You need to spend WELL below your means. That means: no BMW, no $100+ per month ultimate cell phone plan, no going out and getting hammered every weekend, no going out to eat every day for lunch and dinner (learn to cook!), etc. This will allow you to save a lot of money (which you will need later) and train you to be frugal when you make the move to be a full time composer.

      At a certain point, if things go well, you will be essentially working 2 full time jobs but will only be making the living of a person working one full time job. This will suck. It will be frustrating, draining, and put a lot of strain on any kind of relationships that you have.

      After you sign some deals, get some placements and start making some money, the amount of time it will take for you to be able to go full time depends on a lot of things. Always plan for the worse though, and remember that however long you think something will take will almost always take longer. Is it Murphy’s Law that states “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”? Well, when it comes to the music business, the law should be amended to read “anything that can go wrong will go wrong… and after those things go wrong, even more things will go wrong that you never even thought of.”

      Once you are seeing a royalty stream that you are comfortable with, start looking for a part time job and quit the full time job after you have secured the part time job. The safest thing is to kind of ween yourself off of the non-music income. You don’t want to go completely full time with music as soon as your royalties reach the minimum amount you need to live off of IMO because you never know what might go wrong in the future. In my short time in the music business, I have already seen all kinds of crap go the wrong way for me (but in fairness, I’ve seen things go the right way for me too). So its better to be safe than sorry.

      That is pretty much where I am at right now. From this point on, all I can tell you is to just write your butt off, network, and keep your living expenses down!

      Hope that helps somebody.

      1. @Slideboardouts

        Thank you for your thoughtful response. “Grasshopper” you speak with wisdom beyond your years!

        Truly, your grasp of the necessity of frugal living and the economics of this business is great. Your post should be mandatory reading for all who are considering writing library music for a living.

        My concern, and what motivated my original post, is the older writers who are already encumbered by responsibility. They need to know, honestly, that this is not a way to make quick and easy money. They need to make provisions for other income.

        Thank you again for your well-reasoned response



      2. Excellent insights and learnings. It would be great if you could elaborate on some of the Murphy’s Law experiences you had to help people to sidestep beginner’s errors. Also, any info about what was successful and what wasn’t in your music submitted to the libraries. Thanks for the solid pragmatic advice.

        1. Well, unfortunately, all of those Murphy’s Law experiences are kind of unavoidable. Its just bad luck for the most part. Its not like I made bad decisions, or was surprised by something in the industry that I didn’t know about. Its all just been things not going through like they were supposed to. Crap happens. All you can really do is prepare for the worse by not overextending yourself financially when you think you’ve landed something big.

          As far as what has worked for me musically with submitting to libraries… its kind of all over the map. I’ve signed and placed rock, hip hop, 1950’s Sci Fi orchestral, pop, quirky comedy cues… really just about everything except for the extreme niche genres like Russian folk or Polka.

          One tip I can give you for submitting to libraries is to always try to blow them away with your music, even if you know that they specialize in doing shows that call for really basic stuff. So submit whatever genre you are best at, even if you do multiple genres well. Go with what you know is your strongest genre to help you get in the door, and from there you can branch out to the other genres. Its better to show them that you can do one thing, REALLY well than to show them you can do a bunch of things pretty good.

          1. Thanks again for the feedback, Slideboardouts,

            I am also a fan of sci fi theme stuff and had wondered what libraries used that kind of genre. I’m primarily a rock guitarist, but still find it more tedious to produce with realistic sounding drums and natural cabinet ambiance, etc since I direct record. Still honing a streamline process. So now I’m using a workstation and get more acceptances with some libraries. Also, it seems that lead guitar is mostly out of style, unless anyone knows of any ways of success with that.

            I share the experience of some of the coffee folk, where I find myself getting lost in the music creation and oblivious to the world and mundane chores.

      3. Fantastic post Slideboardouts!!

        I must say the biggest problem for me these days is the inevitable lure of the coffee shop. Where we composers can supposedly go and muse on whether to have that solo played on cello or viola, whilst swathed in the warm comfort blanket of smooth jazz, large espresso and chocolate cake.

        Well, that’s how we kid ourselves. In reality the life of the pro composer means being stuck at home all day and a trip to the coffee shop is essential for mental stability – and also just to remind oneself what a fellow human being looks like! I worked it out recently that (in my case) it amounts to about $4K a year spent in coffee shops.

        So, if anyone’s thinking of going full-time, remember to factor in the ‘coffee shop effect’!

        1. @El Jol …made me smile. I can identify.

          You can do what I did. Buy an espresso machine and learn to bake!

          Doesn’t do much with respect to seeing another human being except when my wife is around.

          But, I can always take the dog for a walk, or pop on here.



          1. Haha, owing to my rural location and lack of coffee shops, I also rely on walking the dog as a sanity break ๐Ÿ˜‰

            1. Walking is a great pick-me-up. I do a two mile power walk everyday (with the missis). Great for my mental state. Really!

              Of course, then afterwards we stop in Panera Bread for a cup. ๐Ÿ˜€

              1. Yep walking is a great head clearer. Unfortunately in this country coffee is pretty dire in most places.

          2. Been a walker all my life and do so every day. One of the great things about SoCal is that the weather seldom gets in the way.

  120. I’m a newbie, enjoyed reading many comments here, you’ve helped me to be patient and given guidance to which music library’s to submit my tracks. I started Sept. 2010, I have about 40 tracks with about 10 different library’s which I found out about here! Thank you.

    I am having a hard time waiting and worry that I’m not doing enough … I understand that my music may not be what “they” are looking for … I’m even ok with waiting from one library for my January payment … I just don’t want to be taken advantage of … so my question is how do I get through today, just one more day, of hoping my music will be used somewhere? What do you do when it feels like it’s not going to happen? How do you cope? I know, this is great material for me to use when I write music – I write better when I feel like this …

    Thanks for your time – please don’t attack me for not knowing how this works – I don’t mean to whine – I was laid off this fall (music teacher) and I want to make this my career because it really is my dream job. I would love to hear your version and upbeat take on this lifestyle.

    ( I write ambient/new age music featuring my flute playing)

    1. “I want to make this my career because it really is my dream job. I would love to hear your version and upbeat take on this lifestyle.”

      I’d say go for it if that’s your dream. Just so you know though, it takes years to really start seeing any traction. I wouldn’t recommend relying on it for income until you start seeing revenue. You may not see any $ for a long time therefore it’s wise to still work a day job while you’re establishing yourself.

      1. Hi Cari

        In answer to your question, you can’t think about that. it will drive you nuts if you do! The best advice I can offer is to forget about a track once it has been completed and out the door. Move swiftly onto the next one and try and aim for 100 hi-quality trax a year. Try and get them placed with a top exclusive library (i.e. KPM, Extreme, Non-Stop, Universal, West One).

        Place them with these companies and your track will get used and that takes the heat out of the uncertainty you find with the royalty free system.


        Good luck!

        1. @ El Jol,

          I’m not disagreeing with you, but you make it sound easy to “get them placed with a top exclusive library (i.e. KPM, Extreme, Non-Stop, Universal, West One).”

          It’s not easy, which explains in part the popularity of royalty free and self-serve upload sites.

          Further, while everyone is happily encouraging Carl to follow his dreams, I would add one caveat: ambient/new age music is a very finite niche, for which there is not a lot of commercial demand. So, Carl, in addition to El Jol’s advice, I would suggest that if you want to get into one of the “top exclusive libraries” you broaden your musical palette.

          For quick reference, go to the websites of the companies that El Jol mentioned. Check out what they offer.

          To place the royalty free model into perspective, 50 Styles (Erwin), is the top seller on AudioSparx. In a recent thread he stated that he made 21K from AudioSparx last year, with 107 tracks. Go to AudioSparx and listen to their top artists, starting with Erwin, and then work you way down from 21K. Is there any music in the top selling music that is like yours? Another poster stated the he made about $2,500 from AudioSparx, over the course of two years, with twice as many tracks as you have, about 80+.

          Listen and do the math.

          “I want to make this my career because it really is my dream job. I would love to hear your version and upbeat take on this lifestyle.”

          I wish that I could sugarcoat it for you, but this is a long term investment.

          Best of luck,


          1. I’ve tried to respond, but my post didn’t go through – just as well as the topic seems to have taken a life of its own.

            I’m not your traditional composer, although I am a classically trained professional flute player with 30 years of orchestral experience. I have written on and off as my career has changed its focus, and currently I am enjoying finding my “voice” with ambient and new age music. I’m not trying to sound like anyone but myself.

            Music is my life – my masters is in music education and I have a background in music therapy. I am new to this and wanted to have a conversation about how it works. What’s a girl to do to get some respect over here?

            Cari Live

          2. Yes, it’s certainly not easy Michael and I hope I didn’t give that impression.

            >>> Cari “I am new to this and wanted to have a conversation about how it works”

            The library process in short…

            You do an album. You submit it to a library. 6 months later they get back and say they don’t like it. Or more usually, don’t get back at all. Or occasionally they get back and say they do like it. One library got back to me 5 years after I sent the demo.

            They ask for tweaks. You do the twaeks as wel as 60 sec versions and edits. You send in the final version. It gets mastered. Contracts are signed. Prod fee is sometimes paid. Wait 6 months for artwork to be done/album to be released. Album gets released. 1-2 years later royalties are collected by various societies – for me, PRS in the UK. Royalty statements come 4 times a year. These are for performances of your work. i.e. 1 minute on Channel 4 is about ยฃ15-20 I think. Publisher takes 50%

            Then there’s another royalty called MCPS – collected by MCPS-PRS – paid to the libraries and they pay you (in most cases) twice a year. This is a one-off fee to license a track based on a set rate card. i.e. worldwide ad – ยฃ5k – usage on a cable channel maybe ยฃ100.

            Hope that helps.

            1. Hi Cari,

              @El Jol…LOL that’s pretty much the process. It’s long and drawn out, which is why you need another option for current income.

              I think that what some writers find appealing about RF sites, is that you upload tracks and, in theory, your making money quickly. I say in theory, because you are competing with 100,000 tracks, which makes you a snowflake in a blizzard.

              One approach is to balance both worlds, if you can.

              If I were to give you specific advice, it would be to explore some more commercially viable styles, in addition to the “new age/ambient” style that you favor.

              Best of luck to you.


  121. Any composers from the UK out there? I have a co-writer in Wales who needs to join a UK Pro? Any recommendations? Also can she join a US Pro like SESAC which I belong to?

  122. Can someone with BMI give me some advice. When I register my alternates versions should I register them as seperate entities, or alternate titles?

  123. Oontz Oontz: is there any way I could contact you personally? I really like the advice and comments you have made on here and, if it is ok with you, would also really like to ask you a few more things off the forum. My email is [email protected]
    Hope to hear from you!

  124. ASCAP or BMI?
    I am a composer and writing background music in various styles.
    Just getting started and reading about both ASCAP and BMI. Would appreciate any quick feedback about which might be better to join.

    1. @RS,

      It depends on what you write.

      I’ve been an ASCAP member for 30+ years AND I am seriously considering switching to BMI.

      ASCAP is behind the curve, with respect to Tunesat and similar services. I spoke with a board member about it, and basically got a “fart and tap dance” response. They do have a monitoring service, but it is geared to top 40 radio. I do not write songs with lyrics. I write instrumental music.

      One of my publishers told me that BMI is gearing up to go the technology route, instead if cue sheets and surveys. And, he said the BMI was going to start paying for music used in radio advertising. ASCAP does not — as far as I know.

      Hope that helps,


      1. “One of my publishers told me that BMI is gearing up to go the technology route, instead if cue sheets and surveys” – MichaelL

        Yikes! A re-titling disaster on the horizon?

        1. He (the publisher) did say the the sh*t was going to hit the fan, when it happens.

          One reason perhaps why ASCAP is ticking to cue sheets.

          1. Here’s what I’m concerned about… From ASCAP:

            “The point is, MediaGuide can be programmed to ignore performances as effectively as it can detect them. The system is not designed to be a register at a supermarketรขโ‚ฌโ€it’s dealing with vastly more complicated parameters. It could be used to cherry-pick feature performances out of mainstream broadcasts and essentially ignore vast numbers of performances in other usage categories. It could potentially be used to faithfully capture and identify network feeds only to ignore local programming such as news themes, movies carried only by local affiliates and the music for advertising that supports such programming”

            If these digital systems can be programmed to ignore or recognize performances, can the Music Industry’s elite be trusted in being fair and/or honest?

            Here’s an ASCAP article:

            Kind of long, but interesting.

  125. Hello,

    I was hoping someone with better knowledge than me (which is probably most of you) could help me out with a question:

    I have quite a lot of moody cues, as in, brooding, atmospheric instrumental pieces. They sound quite similar to the sort of music in films like Heat, Traffic, Man on Fire, Babel etc but I’ve also heard this kind of music in TV shows ranging from detective / crime series to reality TV like ‘The Apprentice’.

    My question is: does anyone have a recommendation as to where to shop these tracks? Which library, or which licensing company etc? If there is a company that focuses especially on these types of tracks I’d be very grateful if you could let me know.

    Thanks for the help!

    1. I am also looking for the same answer – I have Sci Fi type theme music that is also dark or futuristic-sounding. I wanted to find out if there are any ways for knowing which libraries might cater to particular show types of clients (I.e. Sci Fi channel, etc.) vs standard tv commercial clients (who usually want peppy, upbeat tunes). It would be great to have something about this on the library reviews. Thanks

      1. Call NBC/SyFy and ask for your own library deal. Why go through someone else without first going straight to the money source.

        1. Thanks, I’d wondered about that, but being new to the business end of things, I came up dry when I tried to find out contact info for going directly to the stations. Is there any way to establish contact for music submittal, or is there a music supervisor contact directory?

          (Also, is it ever worthwhile for library musicians to use agents, or is that for the rich and successful musicians only?)

        2. Keep in mind that the reason music sups use publishers and libraries is they are qualified, known, reputable sources. They are innudated with people throwing music at them.

          There are many libraries they already go to because they are confident in the “pre-cleared” nature of the tracks, quality, reputation, etc. Also, libraries offer them a very wide range of well categorized choices that an individual composer often cannot.

          Yes, it is possible to market directly to music sups and I would never discourage anyone from trying. But don’t be naive in not realizing just how challenging it is. It’s like having another job– one as a full time salesperson. You still need time to WRITE MUSIC.


          1. Thanks,

            I guess the original question is how to streamline the search process for targeting the most likely libraries that would favor and outplace the music of a genre that a particular musician might have a strength for composing.

            Is there any way of knowing what the different libraries favor or cater to?

          2. Composers are always trying to “sell” their music. Look how much time composers spend researching libraries, submitting to libraries, filling out metadata etc.. for libraries.

            In the above sentence, replace the word “library” with “music supervisor” and now you’re going direct, instead of trying to sell your music to a middleman who tries to sell your music to the music supervisor.

            Michael, I just googled the term “syfy music supervisor” and immediately found three music supervisors currently working on SyFy shows. Email addresses are on their respective IMDB pages. If you think your music is perfect for SyFy content, give them an email with a link to stream some cues.

            1. The time composers spend submitting to libraries, filling out metadata, etc is a drop in the bucket compared to being one’s own sales force.

              Do you have any track record of success going this route?

              Contact info for music sups is easy to get. That’s not the hard part at all. If you did get a sup to listen to some of your tracks, the odds that one of those tracks meets his/her current needs are small and that’s what they are focused on. And they get so many emails like that, they ignore many of them.

              Again, a library provides a resource which is a database of hundreds or thousands of tracks, well tagged and categorized. Can you compete with that?

              I wish you good luck. If you are successful this way, kudos….


              1. Thanks again,

                I guess the best approach is shotgun – doing both the submitting through the music supervisor when they respond, and the library approach when they don’t.

                I just know from talking to a local PBS producer friend in the past that they get their music from one library and didn’t consider individual contracts. I had wondered if there was a way to find out what tv stations, networks, etc. use particular libraries regularly. For example – what library or libraries would the Weather Station get the bulk of their music from.

            2. Thanks for the advice everyone. I think there are pros and cons to both routes – library or direct to the show’s music supervisor. I’d like to pursue the second of these, especially after Oontz Oontz’s comments. I really don’t know where to start though, I mean I could ring up Nat Geo or something but that’s about all I know.

              Another thing I’m not sure on is how I would deal with the production company as an individual composer. I’m assuming you would sell them a track on a one off fee which they can then use as many times as they like in different shows without paying the license fee again right? But then that’s good too because you’d be getting performance royalties? And I’d also need to have a contract I can present them including things like the track is completely free of liabilities etc etc?

              You know, I’m just going to come out and say it: what I really wish I had in this business was a mentor. I’m pretty young but I’m not naive, so I can see how limited my knowledge is. On the other hand I can make great music in a particular couple of genres, and I would really like to get it to more places. It’s very difficult working on your own 24×7, without guidance (other than the internet and this very useful site, but that’s pretty lonely too!)

              If there’s anyone out there who’s been mentored and wants to continue the tradition, or just anyone who feels like getting in touch, please do write me an email – findingoutallabout @

              Thank you.

              1. In most cases it’s just easier for a production company, network, producer, music supervisor etc. to just have blanket licenses with a few music libraries. They pay an annual fee and don’t have to worry about dealing with individual people when they need music. Not saying it doesn’t work to go that route but unless we were looking for something totally unique that none of the libraries can offer, I wouldn’t waste my time.

                It’s much simpler to deal with a company like apm and say, “here’s x amount of dollars for the year”, now I can use all of their music libraries as much as I want.

  126. Hey guys….wondering if anyone knows:

    I realize that some networks take longer than others, but does anyone know: When are cue sheets typically filed? (i.e. before the first episode airs, after the show is entirely done airing, sometime in between, etc).

    Again, I know that some networks are very slow about it, but I figure there’s probably a general rule of thumb to it?

    1. You’re lucky if cue sheets get filed on time (by the date the PROs need them by to pay a minimum of NINE months later). The problem is that most production companies don’t really care about it, because although they might be getting the publishing, those royalties are pennies compared to the money they make from a show. Besides, the money will just get swallowed up and put into the coffers of a corporation, from which no sole person will benefit, hence the lack of interest you’ll find at pretty much any production company (especially the big ones).

      The only pressure they get is from the PROs, libraries and composers, so it definitely pays to check in and make sure the cue sheets are filed (and correctly filled in!)

      Cue sheets need to be filed not long after a show airs, it may vary from PRO to PRO, but I think in the US they want the cue sheets in within two months of the air date.

      If they’re not in on time, you have to wait until at least the next quarter to receive the royalties.

  127. Hello
    Just getting started as a composer and submitting to various stock libraries. Basic question about creating and selling new versions of classical music. For instance can I create a new recording of a piece originally by Mozart or Brahms and then submit to a library?

    1. As long as you list it as Public Domain RS. Also when registering such a track with your PRO, it must be registered as Public Domain. You would be listed as the arranger with 100% writer royalties. The writer should be listed if known with 0% writer royalties.

      1. Thanks for the info.
        So just to be clear then I can record my keyboard performance of a song written by a composer like Mozart for instance and then submit the track to a music library for sale?

        1. That’s right RS. Just make sure the music is in the Public Domain and you’re making the arrangement from the original source.

  128. Does anyone here know anything about the PRS(uk) members agreement or any other collection agency agreements ie BMI/ASCAP/SOCAN having a waiver that allows you to sell your registered works royalty free?

    1. PRS won’t allow you to do that. It’s in the terms and conditions you sign with them on becoming a member. Only way round it with PRS is not to register that particular track(s) with them which you want to sell completely royalty free.

      1. Well just had a very interesting chat with the PRS and was told that even if I cancel my membership I can’t deregister a track once its on their database. This seems crazy.
        It feels like they somehow own my track.

        1. That’s strange Myles. As long as you and your publisher agree to the deletion, what’s the big deal. I’ve had ASCAP delete a few of my tracks. Don’t understand PRS’s logic.

          1. I better check out joining ASCAP then
            My PRS agreement is in the UK so I am waiting for them to email me a copy of it to peruse.
            I think I will be checking out how to complain to the ombudsmen as it seems a very restrictive practice.
            The more I am learning about the library music business the more confusing it gets and the more it seems some of the collection agencies seem to make things difficult.

            Actually just got this thru from them;

            ‘If you cancelled your membership the works would remain on our database but the ownership would be removed, so whilst we’d display your name as an interested party we wouldn’t be entitled to collect any income for those works on your behalf. It just retains the information so that if any labels wanted to use your works they would see that we no longer represent you.”
            Seems a shame to have to cancel my membership just to remove some tracks but do any of the collection agencies allow you to be registered with them and sell the same music royalty free?
            One other point they made is that technically you have to register all your music with them.
            Wow does this seem a little crazy to anyone else?

  129. I’ve noticed a number of composers selling the same tracks on various sites, but at vastly different prices like $89 on AudioSparx and $34 Music Loops.

    Aren’t you concerned about undercutting your own tracks?

    1. This happens more than you’d think. At its worst, it can cost composers thousands of dollars in a single license. Non-exclusive companies can only compete via price. Someone a couple of weeks ago called it a reverse auction, dead on.

      You can remedy this by only submitting certain cues to 1 licensing company, or by trying to sell the cues yourself to the end user.

      1. “At its worst, it can cost composers thousands of dollars in a single license. Non-exclusive companies can only compete via price.”

        I assume that scenario happens when the same track is with a licensing company, like Crucial, and a royalty free site, like AudioSparx, AND the client “buys” the track for $100 from AudioSparx, instead of licensing it for $1000 from Crucial.

        But what about when you’re only with royalty free sites and one site is selling a track at $89 and the other is selling the same track at $34?

        I guess you look at the occasional $89 sale as a bonus.

        1. Hey Anon,

          It’s worse than what you described. Some licensing companies you mentioned have “library deals” with the networks, pre-clearing tracks at a SET RATE of $250 – $1000.

          Other licensing companies choose NOT to have library deals. That way they can ask for whatever amount of money they choose. The Supervisor can always say “We don’t have the budget for the amount you’re asking for, but we can pay X amount”

          Many network shows have budgets of $5,000 – $10,000 to use a cue/song of an unknown band/composer. Of course competition for these uses is fierce, but many shows have these budgets. If you watch a TV show where something explodes on camera, chances are that they have the money to license a cue for $10,000.

          Now…if the Music Supervisors search their Hard Drives for that perfect Armenian Action cue, and your cue comes twice, once with a library deal licensing company, and in a non-library deal licensing company, the Music Supervisor is pretty much bound to license the cue through the library rate company.

          Many times, the Supervisor would like to license it for top dollar, because if they license too many cues cheaply, they’ll lose part of their music budget when/if the show gets renewed for another season.

          These incidents are not isolated. It benefits the library rate “licensing companies” because they get half of the licensing fee and some mailbox money, but the songwriters get robbed out of a substantial sync fee.

          Also. before someone chimes in….”one off” source cue placements on network TV are only worth several hundred dollars in performance royalties, so it DOES NOT make financial sense to undercharge on the front end sync in hopes of making it back in Performance.

          The above paragraph may not apply for theme songs…

          This is why i get mad in a hurry when people question the ethics of “PiR” but thank other companies for landing them a $500 network placement.

          I hope that helps shed some light on the subject.

          If anyone wants to debate these issues, PLEASE show supporting quantitative data and we can compare notes.

            1. Also, I should have noted that Library deals aren’t bad by any means. It just takes care and planning when applying library deals to your own catalogue..

              The best way to find out which companies have library deals is to ask the company…

              1. “It just takes care and planning when applying library deals to your own catalogue..”

                And therein lies the rub. How does one go about choosing what to place into which library?

                Thanks so much for your input oontz oontz

  130. Sitting here listening to Carl Perkins and still trying to get my head around how this whole thing works.
    If there are any Brits out there maybe you can answer my question
    If I have my tracks registered with the PRS and then allow those same tracks to be used by websites that sell the music Royalty-Free am I gonna have problems with the PRS?

    1. Short answer :

      In theory yes, as you’ve become a member of the PRS and registered those tracks.

      In practice, probably not.


        1. Thanks for the reply
          I’ll check out the link
          Have you or anyone you know had any problems along these lines?
          My feeling is the worst that is likely to happen is they will ask you to remove the tracks from their database.

  131. I’ve got a bit of a pretentious question but I simply can’t figure this out:

    I have a track being aired on national TV in Spain. The track is registered with a US royalty collecting society, but it is registered by my publisher (who takes 50%, which is fine) – while I myself am in the UK and registered with the PRS here.

    So my questions is: how in god’s name can I ever expect to receive the royalties for this?

    Is it actually quite simple and I will just have to wait till the Spanish network pays royalties to the Spanish collecting society who then pass on royalties to the US, who then pass my 50% writer share to the PRS?

    P.S The PRS have told me I shouldn’t register any tracks with them personally as my US publisher is putting me in as writer with my PRS details in the US when they register the tracks with the US collecting society.. Registering them myself would apparently make a duplicate entry.

    1. >I have a track being aired on national TV in Spain. The track is registered with a US royalty collecting society, but it is registered by my publisher (who takes 50%, which is fine) – while I myself am in the UK and registered with the PRS here.

      Yup, it’s the PRS that’ll be paying you, eventually.

      >So my questions is: how in god’s name can I ever expect to receive the royalties for this?

      Very slowly in my experience.

      >Is it actually quite simple and I will just have to wait till the Spanish network pays royalties to the Spanish collecting society who then pass on royalties to the US, who then pass my 50% writer share to the PRS?

      Thats pretty much the scenario, though I’d think your cut will coem directly to the PRS and not by such a circuitous route. It will take some time though.

      >P.S The PRS have told me I shouldn’t register any tracks with them personally as my US publisher is putting me in as writer with my PRS details in the US when they register the tracks with the US collecting society.. Registering them myself would apparently make a duplicate entry.

      Also correct.

      1. Thank you Darkstar for taking the time to reply, and for putting my mind a bit more at ease.

        It seems amazing to me that it could work this way, even without me registering the tracks at the PRS myself. How could they send my cut directly to the PRS without me having the track names registered there? I’m still very naive when it comes to this stuff so please excuse any questions which may seem silly..!

      2. I’m in a similar situation, with SIAE in Italy.
        I scored a documentary, it came out on DVD almost a year ago (in Europe).
        I have not seen one dime yet.
        I’m with ASCAP…

          1. I wrote the soundtrack for a European Film.
            A while ago the film came out as a DVD in Europe.
            Shouldn’t I get royalties from ASCAP (collected from the local European PRO’s)?

  132. I’ve just had a comical idea for please please someone take up.

    There should be a job opp for someone willing to upload my tracks to these
    royalty free websites, someone who knows what they are doing ( not me )
    can put the meta data in at top speed and i will pay them a cut !! like a call center
    dedicated to helping the music maker, rows and rows of drones inputing data
    and uploading my tracks. oh i can dream.

    After sending to pump, uploading to musicloops and pond5 i have this amazing info
    from this site but still am finding it really hard to decide where to upload next,
    i have realised just how much time it took me to put up 70 tracks on pond5. i have no
    idea how that will go and just wish i had my call center buddy inputing it for me with

    ok keep up the good work and good spirits everyone !

    1. saying that and using this great site….. Art ! if you ever are thinking of slowing down on music and diversifing, how about setting up a call center somewhere, giving some people some top notch training on speedy ways to input metadata and choose choice sites for us…we or anyway I will be happy to pay a portion of the income !! ok joking but i still would love it if you did.

      1. I actually have thought of this. The problem is how to make it viable. Most folks that know how to do this are probably composers working their own library. Even at that, what’s a fair price to pay someone? We all know how much work it is. As they say, the devil is in the details!

        1. Ha. It would be a great scenario but I guess if the fees were ten times as much it would be viable.
          great minds art…great minds !!

          Something that I had not realsised at first was the choice to make a template and then copy the meta data into each of your tracks. The help file on these sites are a little limited and I could have done with knowing this. Its now saved 90 per cent of the time by being able to copy and paste the template. Its the first thing I will look for on a new site, whether there is a template to work from.

          1. Yea I use a spreadsheet with a list of top 5 keywords, top 10 keywords, top 20 keywords and description, bpm, length etc. for each track. Makes it easier to copy and paste into a submission form usually and saves you a lot of time.

            A piece of software that would autopopulate the words for you if you put in a few keywords would be handy – like put in drama, sad, sorrow and it puts in 20 keywords automatically based on that and then you can remove which ones you don’t want. I’d like something like that ๐Ÿ™‚

            1. A piece of software that would autopopulate the words for you if you put in a few keywords would be handy – like put in drama, sad, sorrow and it puts in 20 keywords automatically based on that and then you can remove which ones you don’t want. I’d like something like that

              Now Emmett that would be a good one. I do more or less the same as you, do all the description, keywords on Excel first , then copy/paste.

  133. Hi All-
    Does anyone have any experience in Sports Music Licensing? I want to pitch some songs directly to some NFL Teams and do not want to go through publishers/libraries. It would be helpful to know if there is a status quo approach. Is it a straight licensing fee, a work for hire, a buyout /royalty free deal,sales royalties,etc etc.?


  134. Anybody know if DL Music is exclusive or non exclusive? I was going to ask under DL Music here but there haven’t been any posts since Sept and there’s no info at all listed. I was just given permission to submit.

  135. Hello there,

    I’ve just had tracks accepted by Pump Audio, Liberty music trax and Quest Media publishing. I’m totally new to this – is there anything stopping me submitting all my tracks to all publishing companies?

    It seems to me the more companies out there plugging my tracks, the more likely it is that they’ll get used. Nothing in the contracts I’ve been asked to sign indicates I can’t do this – namely they don’t seem to ask for exclusive rights to the track.

    Can anyone help?

    1. Plugging your tracks?

      Unfortunately, they go into a humungous dark well where they join 16billion other tracks never to be used in any way shape or form.

      Actually, isn’t Quest exclusive? I really wouldn’t bother TBH. Last time I looked on the PRS databse Quest had 2 usages. Ever.

      Not good. And then there was all the business with those ‘briefs’…

      1. I suppose that discouraging the “competition” is as legitimate a strategy as any.

        No one’s looking for rose-colored glasses, but fortunately, there are writers on this forum who are generous with their experience, and actually do try to help and encourage others.

        1. Have you read my previous posts then:? You know, where I’ve provided help, encouragement and advice.

          And here I provided good advice didn’t I? If he’s thinking of punting tracks round to everyone (“is there anything stopping me submitting all my tracks to all publishing companies”) and some are signed with an exclusive library (Quest) then I’ve saved him from getting into trouble. I don’t see you being too much help, but then again, you’re anonymous so that says it all.

          1. First off, I don’t see how ‘Jello’ makes you any less anonymous than ‘anonymous’.

            Secondly, no you did not help beyond questioning if Quest may be exclusive, and implying this might be important.

            However, the point you made was probably accurate, and did give me a laugh. That’s the library business…most tracks aren’t plugged anywhere, they’re just thrown on the landfill site with the rest of the sound-a-like crap. That’s why you need at least 100 tracks if not 1,000 to make enough money to buy your kids a new shirt each year.

            To the original poster and question: if you put the tracks with loads of libraries there are disadvantages – it is not as simple as you might think. For example:

            1. Shoppers then just type your name into Google and buy your track where it’s cheapest.
            2. More respected libraries will look at your profile on the web and perhaps consider it unfavorably if you apply to them.
            3. The effort of logging all your tracks on loads of websites would be better spent on finding 2-3 quality libraries…suited to your music.

            P.S If the Pump thread is anything to go by, it’s about 2 years from now till your music actually gets put up for sale there anyway.

            I’m not sure that signing off with ‘good luck’ is sufficient, so I’ll just say…’don’t give up’, perhaps.

            1. “Secondly, no you did not help beyond questioning if Quest may be exclusive, and implying this might be important.”

              OK, let me make it very simple for anyone struggling to keep up.

              Quest are an exclusive library. You don’t punt tracks around if they are signed to an exclusive library. Will Quest sue you if you do? Errr, probably not but still, it ain’t the done thing.

              1. @ Simon adding my 2 lawyer cents, Jello is correct. signing the same tracks to non-exclusive and exclusive libraries would be a bad thing.

                “is there anything stopping me submitting all my tracks to all publishing companies?” Well, for one thing any contract that you sign with an exclusive libraries.

                @ a different Anon’s advice, “The effort of logging all your tracks on loads of websites would be better spent on finding 2-3 quality libraries…suited to your music.” is good.
                What isn’t clear is where anon is on the exclusive v. non-exclusive route. I think we know that Jello favors exclusives. (although ..where do you stand on non-retitling royalty free sites?)

                Anon, are you referring to exclusives only, or do you think that there are worthy sites to upload and sell your tracks?

                1. I haven’t got enough experience to say much about non-excl vs excl (I’m only excl but I’m going to place some in non-excl to see). I think all you can do when starting out is to try out a few places which you have researched as being good for you, make sure you have ‘get-out’ clauses in your contracts and then pursue the place(s) that perform best… and by pursue I mean make more tracks for them than the others.

                2. I’m kind of in the same boat. I don’t have the luxury yet of picking exclusive I want to be with. I found that they set the bar higher in most cases so I haven’t been able to secure anything with them. I’m finding just the opposite that the time I’ve spent chasing exclusives was better spent submitting to non exclusives where my music has been accepted was the way to go for me.
                  Doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying but I definitely wouldn’t stay away from the places that are easier to get into.
                  Having to the meta data stuff isn’t fun but hey, if they’re accepting the music it’s a start. Gotta start somewhere before you can call the shots.

                3. I didn’t mean that non-excl are not worth the time, I just meant that whichever model of library you go with I think it’s best to pick out the libraries which you think will actually sell your music… it’s one thing to have your music accepted, it’s another, completely different thing, to have it promoted and sold.

      2. “Last time I looked on the PRS databse Quest had 2 usages.”

        If you don’t mind, can you tell me how to look up usages in the database based upon music library. Is it possible to do the same on BMI and ASCAP? I don’t care about quest, but I’d like to know to research some others.Thanks!

        “I suppose that discouraging the “competition” is as legitimate a strategy as any.”

        BTW Jello usually posts some pretty helpful info. I highly doubt he’d waste time trying to kill competition by derailing other composers…do you really think that the tactic your implying would even be worth anyones time? Do you know how many composers are out there?

          1. I think Musicman means looking up which libraries are getting the most usage, not how many of your tracks got used.

            It really would be a great tool to be able to see which libraries are really delivering good placements…statistically.

          2. I thought he meant that he researched the companies cue sheets. I wasn’t talking about viewing my own cue sheets. Maybe I misunderstood him…. was he saying that he only had 2 usages with quest? I thought he said that the library was so bad that they only had 2 usages ever.

    2. Wow – thanks to all (even anonymous who, to be fair, is perhaps simply trying to make me aware that this business is no walk in the park).

      Second question then – if my time is best spent sourcing one or two good libraries, how do I identify those from all those listed on this website, for example? Anyone got any tips on how they’d go about sorting the wheat from the chaff, as it were?


      1. 1. Do they have a professional looking site. E.g. no stupid ads for ‘extra’ revenue.
        2. When you search for music styles on their site does it provide relevant results in an easy to digest fashion. Are songs easily previewable. Is buying a simple process for a customer.
        3. When you contact them about submissions do they reply quickly and professionally.
        4. Are they enthusiastic about your submission and believe your music will genuinely add something to their library instead of being extra fluff – and therefore do they care about your music personally.
        5. Do they actively promote tracks. If so, how. Don’t be afraid to ask them up front, and if they get unpleasant with you it simply means they’re crap, or arrogant, both of which are, in my book, bad.
        6. Do they already have 25,000 tracks in their catalog. If so, I’m not sure I’d bother putting music with them unless it’s something really special which will naturally stand out.
        7. Do they require customers to file cue sheets. Less important as it’s the broadcaster that should really get them.
        8. Do they have agreements with some other library who they’re going to sell your music onto without you ever hearing about it again. Do they look like they might or could do this. There’s something on this site about that, I think to do with 7-digital.
        9. Don’t worry too much about getting the highest license fee split. 40% of $10k is a lot better than 75% of $100.
        10. Is there a clause in the contract allowing you to remove tracks if you choose after a certain time period (e.g. 1 year). (This applies mostly to non-exclusives). If there isn’t, ask reasonably for one to be put in. If they refuse, think very hard if it’s worth it.

        Start with that..

  136. Happy New Year to one and all!
    I have a couple of questions requiring the thoughts of those with more experience than myself.
    A friend of mine in Japan was married to a well known musician who was quite successful in the field of relaxation and healing music. He passed away a few years ago and his wife now sells his work in the asian market and still does fairly well. It is all professional with everything going through JASRAC (japanese prs)
    She has about 100 cds in her catalogue.
    She has now given me permission to try and exploit his works in the western world and so I am thinking production music would be the best way to go.
    Any thoughts as to how best to do this. For example should I set up myself as a publisher and put the works thru that way and knowing how uptight JASCRAC get about the concept of ‘royalty free’ should I be looking at only sites or companies that go thru the Perf. Ri. socs ?
    Any thoughts and ideas would be welcome

    1. Hi, mylesthebaker,
      I’m from Japan.
      I think it’s really hard to negotiate or somethin’ to JASRAC. They never talk to Individual. Probably their answers will be “Ask your company”. So, most of all Independent musician says “JASRAC? Rotten apple!!” and hate them. Only BIG WIG can talk to JASRAC.
      And ahhhh….., worries about China. China never respect copyrights, No royalty payments.
      I’m not sure but via ASCAP or BMI is much better about the issue JASRAC?

      1. Thanks for that PP
        One thing I am worried about is if Ihave something registered with JASRAC or any other PRS that if they see it on a royalty free site they will have some legal recourse or sanction to act on me or the music I represent.
        Has anybody on this site ever had problems like this from the BMI or any other cllection agency?
        Also Does anyone here have an English version of the standard JASRAC Agreement?(A long shot but no harm in asking!)

  137. Just discovered this wonderful site today . . . great way to start the new year.

    I’m not new to writing music for hire, but I am new to the international aspect of it. I’m now living in Canada, but originally registered with BMI.

    Getting ready to turn over 16 trax to (here in Ontario) under an exclusive contract and was wondering if I’m responsible for listing the trax with BMI or is StockMusic required to do it? Which means they would do it thru SOCAN. A bit confusing.
    Any insight.

    BTW . . . Ill report back as to my experience with SM . . .

  138. Kind of a dumb question for musicians who do this instead of having a day job at all and actually making a living at this so please bare with me here.
    I was wondering how you guys handle your medical insurance. Are you actually earning enough to pay these ridiculous medical insurance premiums or are you part of some kind of musicians union or group that helps you get discounted medical insurance?
    What are you guys doing who are just able to making a living at it but not one of the top of the heap guys?
    Just trying to see how realistic this endeavor is to make a living at this once you through individual medical insurances costs into the mix as part of the kind of money you need to be able to earn.

    1. Hi dblock, There are folks on this site making up to six figure incomes and all levels in between. It all depends on your age and physical condition as to your premiums. And to your living expenses as to affordability. A lot of variables to consider.

      1. Thanks Art. Even 50k would be fantastic and would afford me insurance since I have no real debt anymore though I realize the chances aren’t great for even that much.

        1. Don’t sell yourself short dblock, there is always hope. I’m a long way away from a living wage with library music and I do get discouraged but I keep banging my head against the wall anyway. I guess it just feels good!

          1. Jeez, Art! You’re a long way from making a living wage?!! I see comments of yours dotted around where you’ve got placements on big network shows and all kinds of stuff. If you are a long way off, then what hope is there for most of the rest of us!! I say ‘most’ because I am also aware that there are some around here who make buckets. I believe they could probably be counted on both my hands.

            1. Yep, incredibly frustrating, at least for me, to make a living wage. Even though my last BMI statement (Jan. 14, 2011) was my best ever and included daily placements on a network game show as well as numerous other shows, I still have a long way to go. A few things constantly mentioned here are so true.

              1.) It’s a business of pennies.
              2.) You need at least 1000 – 1500 pieces of music.
              3.) Patience and persistence!

              Up to now it’s always been fairly easy for me to make a good living in music or any other endeavor. The music library path is probably the hardest I’ve ever had to work, with the least amount of reward. Then again YMMV!

              1. It’s been a long and bumpy ride for me too. I think that I am going to stop submitting to libraries for a while. It is becoming a time-waster for me. Making songs has been more of a chore since I started chasing the music library thing. I would never reach 1,000 songs within any reasonable amount of time.

                1. Alternate mixes of existing tracks – DnB (drums and bass), Beds (no melody), different combinations, say bass and guitar only. Or broken down further into individual instruments so a music editor can do their own mix. Sometimes called stems, the sky is the limit but DnB and beds are a good place to start. There are a lot of folks here that have much more experience than I, so maybe they will weigh in.

              2. That’s a bit discourageing for those of us new to the field of selling our music.
                I guess it does also depend on what you define as making a living as that obviously varies.
                If you feel Library/Production Music is one of the most difficult ways to make money from music what other ways would you recommend?

    2. Good question. My wife and I are in our thirties, and we pay about $600 a month for the two of us. That’s fairly good insurance for her and pretty basic coverage for me.

      The good news is that you can write it all off as a business expense, including doctors fees and other costs that your insurance doesn’t cover.

      The situation with healthcare in the US is such that talented people stick to their day jobs in order to hold on to good health insurance. It’s a real shame, and I know several talented composers (not to mention a lot of other non-music related creative types) that are stuck in jobs for this very reason.

      The sad fact is that a day job isn’t nearly as steady or reliable as some people think. Being self-employed means having lots of bosses (clients), and if you lose one you’re still probably going to be ok money wise (especially if you’re a composer and have good royalties coming in).
      If you lose your ‘steady’ day job, you lose 100% of your income (and benefits).

      1. Great info Matt. That’s the kind of stuff I was looking for. I think it’s fair to say that for composers making 6 figure salaries health insurance is a non issue financially.
        Never thought about tax write offs and possible group rates through a pro.
        It’s too soon for me to say traditional employment is overrated SINCE I’m not doing better elsewhere yet but you’re right, I wouldn’t have quit to try even though I was hating it. I lost my job and insurance so I have 3 or 4 years to make a go at this.

    3. Hi dblock,

      As Art says,there are a lot of variables. For example, location and lifestyle are big factors. A 500K house in SoCal would be 100K here. Do you need a BMW or are you OK with a Subaru? Do you live in the city, or do you live in the country?

      As Matt also points out, there are tax benefits in the US to being self employed that can defray some of the cost. In addition to health insurance, if you work from home, you can deduct a portion of your expenses, like real estate taxes, utilities and repairs, based upon the square footage of your workspace. However, there is also or a “self-employment” tax. Check with an accountant for the tax implications.

      The days of job security are long gone. A day job, while steady, is by no means a guarantee. To make a living wage writing library music, you need to write a lot of tracks — hundreds. I do custom scoring and have other composing commissions, as well, always have.

      As far as discounted insurance goes, I think that ASCAP offers group health insurance as a member benefit. I don’t know who the carrier is, how good the coverage is, or what it costs. Check with your PRO.

  139. I just created a bunch of stingers out of tracks that I already have in libraries – having never done this before I was wondering if I needed to register them with my PRO (ASCAP) ? –

    I’m assuming yes,but not sure ?


    1. Call your PRO for the official answer, but my advice is that it’s a good idea to register them separately, if the full mix of the track is already registered.
      When I register a track (usually a library does this for me), I list all the edits and sub-mixes as alternate names. That way when someone fills out a cue sheet with something like ‘Track Name – No Melody’, there’s a better chance that I’ll get the royalties for it.

  140. Does anyone have any music placed with companies who pipe music into department stores, bars, on hold music, etc. Would it be lucrative if you had 30 to 50 tracks with a company like MUZAK?
    Just curious if anyone has had dealings with companies like them.

    1. I don’t, but Youlicense often have listings for exactly that with companies like Muzak.

    2. A number of libraries have deals with Muzak and do place tracks with them. If your music DOES get in their rotation, I’m told it pays well on performance royalties. Audiosparx is one such library.

      I would go to the Muzak site and sample their music to see if what you have might be on target. That’s step 1.


      1. Just go in stores and listen to the music being piped in. Muzak even provides music at our local jail. My wife works for the County and sees the ASCAP jail billing.

        1. “That’s the sound of the men… Working on the chain… ga-aaaa—nnng…. Hooh! aah! hooh! aah!”…

          Oh and, “Prisoner of Love” gets a lot of play too!

          ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I need to find some other system for networking. – that’s the thing that is under-developed with the sporadic music output I’ve been doing. I need to work Myspace or make a website I guess. Just haven’t had time for the outplacement, or knowledge of what works best.

  141. Just wondering –

    is there a way to get any peer review by other more experienced library musicians? I would like to find out more about styles and production and what kind of adjustments would be desired. Can links to music be posted on any of these blogs?

    Thanks for any info.


    1. I’m sure if you give a link to some examples of your work and invite some comments and feedback – you’ll probably get some.

      1. Thanks Art, you are fast ๐Ÿ™‚ and that’s what makes MLR so good!

        I read their contract and

        – they do re-title.
        – payment bi-annually
        – can submit by mail

        1. Thanks Ariel, on their web site it says: “Within 60 days of each calendar quarter, Liberty will send artists/composers a cheque for 50% of license fees generated by their music; “. A bit of confusion as to whether they pay quarterly or bi-annually.

  142. Just got a mail from Pump Audio that I had to send in the w-8ben form before they can proceed with my submissions.

    I really hope I got it all right. Filing US tax forms aren’t all too easy since I’m from Sweden.

    On the bottom of the form next to signature and name there’s a field that says: capacity in which acting. What do I write there?

    1. It’s asking who you are. I’d put “composer”. You’re acting in the capacity of the composer.

      1. John, thanks for helping out.
        All though I wonder. Now when understanding better what it means. The W-8BEN form is called ” Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding”.

        So maybe it’s Benficial Owner which is the “capacity in which (I’m) acting”???

        1. Chris, if you make more than $600 with Pump Audio you will have to fill in a W7 (to get an ITIN number), otherwise Pump cannot legally pay you without witholding 30% tax in the US. I’d ask them why not just go straight to an ITIN number so this doesn’t come up later.

          1. That’s interesting. I figured if they withhold tax in the US I wouldn’t have to pay in Sweden?
            Anyone knows?

            Also, why doesn’t other libraries like Music Dealers and Music Supervisor ask me to file this form?

    2. @Chris I live in Ireland so have to go through the same stuff. I leave the “capacity in which acting ” field blank. It is for a person with a power of attorney or an agent to sign on your behalf if they are filling out the form for you. If you want you can put “beneficial owner” in here.

      I am assuming you are not an agent or otherwise acting on someone’s behalf.

      Ireland has a Tax treaty with the US and yes you can claim any withholding TAX back from your own TAX return. Sweden may be different, always check. I know we are both EU but you never assume anything where TAX is concerned.

      A lot of US companies require this form. Get a PDF editor and fill it out once. Save the file so the next time you just sign it and send it off.

      Good luck.

      1. On the other hand… if you can get an ITIN number by sending the IRS a completed W7 form, then for the forseeable future the only thing you need to give any US company is that single number – and they will not withold any tax.

  143. Thanks for the advice. I just emailed them. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t register them. Wouldn’t they want them registered for their own sake as well, so that they get their publishing monies? The 2nd library cd however hasn’t been released yet, so I’ll wait until it’s officially released before I make accusations.

  144. Anon – Exclusive libraries: They register them prior to CD release. You should be alarmed if CD is released and the tracks are as yet unregistered.

    I suggest a phone call to the library is in order.

  145. On registering your pieces with your PRO.

    I have music with 2 exclusive libraries(about 20 tracks), both have stated that they’d register the music I’ve composed for them and not to do so myself. Do they usually do this as the pieces are used and reported to them? Should I be alarmed that they haven’t registered them yet after a few months of the cd release? If so should I contact BMI or the music library. It seems it’d make sense for them to do the registering as the pieces are used but I’m not sure. Thanks in advance for anyone who can give me an answer to this.

  146. When you guys submit songs to your pro do you include shorter versions as alternate titles of the original or do you submit them seperately?


  147. Sorry, I meant: does the PRS have affiliations with all those other ones? That list is what is affiliated with ASCAP.

    1. Yes, PRS does have an affiliation with Canada’s society, SOCAN. I’m not sure about performance royalties for commercials in Canada. Some countries pay for commercials, other do not. If it pays like ASCAP you won’t see much unless you have a ton of airplay for a period of time.

  148. Thanks for that list. Does anyone know who the PRS is affiliated with?

    I take it from that, that a performance on Canadian TV counts then?

  149. ASCAP has an agreement with these performance societies in these countries :
    Affiliated Foreign Societies

    Albania ALBAUTOR
    Argentina SADAIC
    Armenia ARMAUTHOR
    Australia & New Zealand APRA
    Austria AKM
    Barbados COSCAP
    Belgium SABAM
    Benin BUBEDRA
    Brazil UBC
    Bulgaria MUSICAUTOR
    Burkina Faso BBDA
    Cameroon SOCINADA
    Canada SOCAN
    Central African Republic BUCADA
    Chile SCD
    Colombia SAYCO
    Congo BCDA
    Costa Rica ACAM
    Croatia HDS/ZAMP
    Czech Republic OSA
    Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire SONECA
    Denmark KODA
    Dominican Republic SGACEDOM
    Eastern Caribbean ECCO
    Ecuador SAYCE
    Egypt SACERAU
    El Salvador SACIM
    Estonia EAU
    Finland TEOSTO
    France SACEM
    French Polynesia SPACEMF
    Germany GEMA
    Ghana COSGA
    Greece AEPI
    Guinea BGDA
    Honduras AACIMH
    Hong Kong CASH
    Hungary ARTISJUS
    Iceland STEF
    India IPRS
    Ireland IMRO
    Israel ACUM
    Italy SIAE
    Ivory Coast BURIDA
    Jamaica JACAP
    Japan JASRAC
    Kazakhstan KAZAK
    Kenya MCSK
    Korea KOMCA
    Latvia AKKA-LAA
    Lithuania LATGA-A
    Macau MACA
    Madagascar OMDA
    Malawi COSOMA
    Malaysia MACP
    Mali BUMDA
    Mauritius MASA
    Mexico SACM
    Morocco BMDA
    Netherlands BUMA
    Niger BNDA
    Nigeria MCSN
    Norway TONO
    People’s Republic of China MCSC
    Peru APDAYC
    Philippines FILSCAP
    Poland ZAIKS
    Portugal SPA
    Republic of Panama SPAC
    Romania UCMR-ADA
    Russia RAO
    Senegal BSDA
    Serbia & Montenegro SOKOJ
    Singapore COMPASS
    Slovakia Republic SOZA
    Slovenia SAZAS
    South Africa SAMRO
    Spain SGAE
    Sweden STIM
    Switzerland SUISA
    Taiwan MUST
    Thailand MCT
    Togo BUTODRA
    Trinidad & Tobago COTT
    Tunisia SODACT
    Turkey MESAM
    United Kingdom PRS
    Uruguay AGADU
    Venezuela SACVEN
    Vietnam VCPMC
    Zambia ZAMCOPS
    Zimbabwe ZIMRA

  150. Does anyone know which countries collect and distribute performance royalties? I’ve been trawling through Google but haven’t found anything useful.

    I had a track used on a TV ad in Canada. Do they collect royalties? Should I be chasing for my distribution cut?

    Thanks for the help as always!

    (Sorry for posting this in the other thread too, please feel free to delete that one)

  151. Wow never been to the newbie section before, I like the last couple of threads, about $$ from the UK, I’ve been in this business for 15 yrs now, and 90% of my income comes from UK Publishers, mainly Boosey & Hawkes or Imagem now or something like that, and Sonoton, can’t totally live off the income but I’m getting close…..


  152. Do people here generally make more money in back-end, or license sales, per year? What has your experience been?

    1. As noted before I make 99.9% of my income from working with exclusive UK libraries. On average I make about 25% of that from publishers, the rest is performance royalties, or back-end, as you refer to it ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Man that is totally awesome! I need to find out how you have become so successful.
        Darkstar, would be willing to help me out by answering a few questions? Since you are very successful with exclusive UK music libraries, maybe you can help me to become better.

        1. What libraries do you work with?
        2. What genres of music do you create?
        3. How often do you submit new material to libraries?
        4. What equipment do you use?
        5. How often do you get paid?
        6. What has been your biggest payment to date? (License fee, royalty check, etc.)
        7. Where can I hear some of your music?
        8. How long have you benn working with music libraries?
        9. Is music your main source of income?
        10. Who taught you how to create music?

        Any information you could share would be so awesome. I have not worked with any UK libraries. Hopefully I can get more insight as to what it takes to be successful. I think that you would probably be a perfect role model for someone like me!

        1. “Darkstar, would be willing to help me out by answering a few questions? Since you are very successful with exclusive UK music libraries, maybe you can help me to become better.”

          Thats very kind, but there are a lot of composers out there with a lot more talent and success than me.
          This being such a public forum, you’re going to have to excuse me not answering all your questions in detail :

          “1. What libraries do you work with?”

          About half a dozen exclusive libraries.

          “2. What genres of music do you create?”

          Whatever I’m asked to, I’ll have a go at. Generally speaking it’s working to specific brief’s and if thats Mastodon meets Lady Gaga, performed by Tuvan throat singers, I’ll try and figure out how to do it. Obviously I’m better at some things rather than others, but I learned pretty fast if you do one style only, you limit your opportunities.

          “3. How often do you submit new material to libraries?”

          All the time. I aim to place at least 50 tracks per year. More if possible. Some libraries take things track by track, others take full albums.

          “4. What equipment do you use?”

          Nothing special, a long in the tooth MAC and Logic with and ton of plugins and as many real instruments as I can play. I do on occasion work with other writers and session players if I need something I can’t do myself, like vocals, brass, banjos, whatever….

          “5. How often do you get paid?”

          The PRO payments are quarterly, the publishers pay out twice a year. But collection from overseas PRO can take years. I just got a payment from a bunch of US and European usage from 2008. So it takes a while.

          “8. How long have you benn working with music libraries?”

          Placed my first track 10 years ago. More by accident than design.

          “9. Is music your main source of income?”

          Yes. But it’s taken a while to get to that position.

          “10. Who taught you how to create music?”

          Classically trained till I picked up a guitar and a fuzz box, after that it’s self taught all the way.
          Though to be fair I did a lot of commercially released music before switching to Library and also ran a recording studio while that was still a viable proposition, long long ago in a galaxy far far away.

          Hope that helps and isn’t too much of ramble.

    1. Thanks everyone. Actually Robin and I were talking about that yesterday. We have a very small place so couldn’t have more than 10 or 12 people. If any of you live close enough to Los Angeles and want to attend please let me know through the contact page I’ll probably make an announcement through the mailing list. Of course if someone has a larger place and would like to host it that would work too!

  153. OK. So having now removed my songs and being in the process of
    A) tracking down the others involved in those old recordings
    B) tracking down the source of what might or might not be an uncleared sample
    I have a practical request.
    A) any suggestions where I might get an agreement form to send to those involved and what that agreement form should say ie. do I agree to give them all a % of anything I make on the recording or just ask for a waiver?
    B) how do I go about getting a sample cleared? Is there a clearance agency or do I need to contact the record company?

    1. A) sure there must be some co-writer agreement somewhere online. These though can be pretty simple, just need to agree a % split that everyone involved is happy with. Thats the tricky bit though. Good luck.
      B) You’re joking right, you didn’t actually sample from a commercially released album / recording ??? If thats the case, you’ll need to clear it with : the record label – who own the master recording, the publisher who owns the publishing rights, and no doubt the artist who wrote the thing in the first place. I’m no expert, but they’ll probably want money, all of them. And a % of any usage.

      If you really have gone down this route, I’d say forget that material now, or replace the samples with your own work, asap.

      If B) is refering to a commercial sample library – check out the manufacturer’s terms. Most ( but not all ) allow usage in library music without any real problems.

  154. I honestly believe that mylesthebaker would not run into any issues by simply re-recording the songs. If he created the original compositions and did not have any legal contract regarding compensation to other parties, he would not be legally entitled to get permssion from anyone to exploit those works. Myles would not owe anyone any money from those songs. If those other guys did contest the rights to ownership, the burden of proof would be with them.

    Also, re-recording would solve the issue of using those samples/loops. Since the new composition would not use any of those samples/loops, there would be no infringement.

    I know that many people here believe that they are experts or that years of experience entitles them to have the correct opinion. But the truth is that there are arguments and counterarguments for many issues. A law in the books today can be overturned. A new law can replace the old law.

    I do not claim to be an expert, but I believe my opinion to be valid. I also am thankful that other people question my opinion and challenge me to defend myself. I learn from others and they also learn from me. It is good to exchange ideas without making others feel bad.

    Enough of my craziness. I guess that I need to get back to the studio.

    Best of luck!!!

    1. I was going to write a long response, but decided that it was pointless.

      Nameless, I have a law degree and I passed bar exams in two states. I suppose that gives me just a slight edge on you when it comes to legal analysis.

      I don’t mean to make you, or any one else, feel bad, but your perception of law has no basis in reality.

      Do you also go into hospitals and argue with doctors over their diagnosis of patients’ ills?

      No one should EVER take legal advice from a non lawyer.

      Please write music. I’m sure that it is what you do best.


      1. @ MichaelL: I do not believe that you fully understand where I am coming from. I have never stated that I was a lawyer or an expert on the law. I respect that you are a lawyer. You are a very smart person. But you are not a copyright attorney. I do not believe that you have the final say-so regarding copyright law.

        Since you are a lawyer, you should be able to view my side of the story as well. Lawyers often agree on things This does not make one lawyer worse than the other.

        I believe that I am correct. I base this off of what I have read and what I have experienced. I have recreated songs that had originally contained samples. A copyright owner can attempt to sue a musician for creating a sound-a-like track. But it would be left to a judge’s or jury’s discretion to decide if a copyright was violated.

        Just because two songs sound alike does not neccessarily mean that a copyright was violated. I actually hear soundalike tracks used on TV shows all of the time. Chords may be changed a bit, but the basic melody instantly strikes me. I can guarantee that the TV show composer has about a one in a million chance of being sued. The chances of that artist losing are about one in a million also.

        Taxi actually has listing that ask for artists or songs that sound like such and such. Music Dealers has had several calls for remakes of songs that were once popular. I am sure that these companies would not do this if they thought they were going to get sued.

        I know that legal issues can be complicated and scary. But I am not intimidated by lawyers. I have an attorney available to represent my business interest. If I ever needed to go to court, I would hire her for my legal needs.

        I have learned a great deal from our exchange. I will call it a day regarding this issue.

        Best of luck!!!

          1. Well, without wanting to drag out this exchange much further, I’d like to add a footnote to this :

            “I have an attorney available to represent my business interest. If I ever needed to go to court, I would hire her for my legal needs.”

            I have a lawyer I’m real happy with too. Problem is he’s not an entertainment or copyright specialist. About 15 years ago I found myself in need of legal help to sort out a deal gone bad with a record label. My own lawyer simply wasn’t in a position to help. I ended up engaging a specialist music lawyer at around ยฃ250 an hour. As you can imagine, when the dust settled and he’d got me what I was entitled to, I ended up paying him a big chunk of it.

            So with all respect to anyone in the legal profession, they tend to be the winners in these situations ๐Ÿ™‚

            1. @darkstar: that is why I’ve noted in previous posts that in the US copyright litigation is very expensive. First, your copyright must be registered, and 2) you need $75,000 worth of damages. Proving that requires other experts, like accountants. It adds up to hundreds of dollars per hour, or more.

              In the case of Mylesthebaker, the issues are a little more nuanced, because Namless has perhaps confused the unlicensed use of samples/loops with using samples of other peoples’ music, which is apples and oranges.

              While using unlicensed samples/loops could be a copyright issue, it is also a breach of contract by the person who originally bought the samples. 1) When you buy a sample library from East West, for example, its terms of use do not allow you to let another person use those samples.
              2) If MTB uses those samples and avers to his music library/publisher that he was authorized to use those samples, he is violating the terms of his agreement with the library/publisher, which is also not a copyright issue. So apart from the copyright issue, there are simple contract claims, which could be brought in any court of proper jurisdiction.

              Depending upon the fine print, there could be a “choice of law” clause in the license agreement that states whose law will apply, and in what jurisdiction. Thus, someone from the UK could end up defending themselves in the US. Conversely, someone from the US could end up in court in the UK or Germany.

              A lawyer should always advise a client of the potential cost going in, and the possible outcome, so that the client can make an informed decision whether to proceed.

              With respect to continuing this discussion: I have offered opinions based upon my knowledge as an attorney. Engaging in pointless debate with someone, who shall remain nameless, is a waste of my time and only confuses the issues for the rest of you. So, to use a legal term, I am going to opt-out from answering future posts on legal matters.

              Anyone that has a legal question should consult with their own attorney and not seek advice from non-attorneys on an open forum.

              Best of luck,


  155. Al least Mylesthebaker, you ARE learning, and appear to grasp that this is a business, and that there are possible far reaching implications to the actions that you take.

    Congratulations, you’re well on your way to being a professional!

    1. I think that I’ve finally hit the wall and concluded that this is a huge time vacuum, which is draining away from valuable writing time.

      Back to music.



  156. For me the main issue is who played what and I guess as it was recorded such a long time ago I didn’t really think it was a big issue but now I see that it is, so best to be professional from the start. I am learning I need to tread my way carefully in this business as I understand more how it works. A mistake I have now rectified by either removing or requesting removal of all the tracks I can’t be sure of from all the website I put them up on.
    To put a bit of perspective on this I have only recently started putting tracks up on these website and as yet have only sold 3 licenses all with tracks recorded completely by me ( in fact only using the built in synths from Cubase SX1).
    Now if I can upgrade to Cubase 5 and muck around with the vocals a bit I think I can do a good job of re recording some of these tracks.

  157. I think that you guys are making a big deal out of something small. I believe that mylesthebaker will do what he thinks is best. I was just offering my opinion based off of the knowledge that I have.

    I myself would definitely re-record the songs and submit them to libraries. By doing this, Myles could bypass the issue of using a sample of a song. Since a new composition was created, there would be no violation of copyright.

    Hip hop producers get sued for using uncleared samples because they use the master recording to make a new song. If those producers got some band off of the street to make a new version of the song and sampled that, those producers would not be liable for using the master recording.

    I think that musicians should focus on creating music. Let the lawyers and pundits dictate the definitions for a copyright and other intellectual property issues. The musicians need to focus on creating hits and getting paid.

    Thanks for the advice, guys. You all bring up some good points.

    Best of luck!!!

    1. Now I’m going to not speak like a lawyer (which I am).

      @ Nameless — Dude, I think that you missed the point. MTB is not talking about using samples of songs. I believe that he is talking about the samples, specifically loops, that were used in recording the songs.

      Every sample library, has limitations in its user agreement license that forbids certain uses of the sounds/samples. One in particular is that the person using the samples/loops needs to be the original licensee.

      When MTB signs a contract with a library he will be asked if he was licensed to use the samples/loops that he used. If he says yes, but that is not true, that is a big problem for him AND the library.

      As far as your spin on hip hop producers and master recordings goes, you aren’t even close on the law. You’re absolutely wrong.


      1. “When MTB signs a contract with a library he will be asked if he was licensed to use the samples/loops that he used. If he says yes, but that is not true, that is a big problem for him AND the library.”

        Yup. My experience ( as previously noted, with UK based Exclusive Libraries ) is that they will expect you to sign a sample release form, showing you have the permission as writer to use those samples. Not uncommon to ask you to provide copies of end user agreements from sample libraries to confirm this.
        Likewise if you’ve used session players, they’ll need copies of session agreements, waivers, invoices etc etc.

        You the writer, by signing with them, become *personally* liable for any infringement.

        Guys, I cannot stress how important these contract terms are. By all means go ahead, take a risk and use something uncleared. Just be aware how much money you are risking, we’re not talking small change here
        Personally I’d rather play russian roulette than take that gamble.

        1. Darkstar, you obviously have a grasp on the business that escapes Nameless.

          MTB gets it.

          Thanks for your input.


          1. It’s interesting to me that we are on a website whereby if a composer thinks a library did the slightest thing inappropriate or supposedly acted unprofessssionally, they will publicly rip the library to shreds.

            But am I reading that a composer feels it’s OK to act unprofessionally and use samples or other copyrighted material that he/she is not authorized to use? If you used an uncleared sample or steal someone else’s copyrighted composition (e.g. re-recording a sample) and you sign contracts attesting otherwise you are asking for trouble and frankly, deserve it.

            Be honest in all your dealings. Treat others as you would want to be treated. If you are about to sign a contract and are unsure about something, ask.

  158. @ mylesthebaker: I would re-record the songs and submit them. Sometimes you have to take chances in life. I know that everyone believes that you should play it safe and forget those songs. But I believe that musicians are too risk-averse these days. Getting sued is a possibility, but it is not likely.

    If you really believe in those songs, you can re-record them. That is the equivalent of doing a cover song. Since a song has two forms of copyright (master recording and composition), you would only be found guilty of using the composition with authorization. I am not sure how it works in the UK, but in the United States you can get a compulsory license to make a cover of a song.

    Do not be scared! You can re-record the songs, send them out to companies, and seek out the original co-writers and publishers. I see no point in being scared. Be bold, my friend. This is how you become powerful. Learn to manage risk, not run away from it!

    Best of luck!!!

    1. “I would re-record the songs and submit them. Sometimes you have to take chances in life. I know that everyone believes that you should play it safe and forget those songs. But I believe that musicians are too risk-averse these days. Getting sued is a possibility, but it is not likely.”

      That attitude stinks. So, what you’re saying is it’s effectively OK to shaft other musicians who – should any songs become succesful – have a legitimate claim to a proportion of royalties.

      You won’t get far with that attitude my friend.

        1. “You’re a music library’s nightmare Anonymouse.” John the other John, I’m not sure what you mean by that. Maybe you’re confusing Anonymous with Nameless.

          @ Nameless, MTB never said that anyone who played on his songs was a CO-WRITER. MTB never said that the songs were published. You’ve made a huge leap based on assumptions. If MTB is the sole author and the works are unpublished, He can do what he wants. All the talk of copyrights and compulsory licenses etc, is irrelevant.

          However, the risk for MTB is more practical than worrying about getting sued. As I’ve said before on this forum. There are are several criteria for initiating a copyright lawsuit including, that the work must be registered, and you need 75K worth of damages.

          The more practical risk for MTB is that if there is an issue, he’s dragging the library into it. Risk taking is necessary and admirable under certain circumstances — like deciding whether or not to buy that expensive new string library, or to quit your day job. But, the kind of risk taking that you’re talking about is irresponsible because if it goes wrong it will involve others, i.e., the library, who was not informed of the risk, and thus didn’t have the opportunity to avoid it. Oh yeah, like John the Other John said, that would be fraud. or as we lawyers say a material misrepresentation.

          If MTB followed your advice and it backfired — do you think that library or any other would go near him with a ten foot pole in the future?

          Your little spiel on musicians being too risk averse is romantic BS. Music in the context of writing for libraries is a business. Jeopardizing your long-term relationships is foolish.

          This is my opinion and is not to be construed as legal advice (had to say that).



          PS. Nameless, unless you are a lawyer, please stop injecting “fuzzy law” into the discussion. AND, if you are a lawyer please stop injecting fuzzy law into the discussion. No one should offer second-hand legal advice, especially not lawyers. Anyone with a legal question about copyrights should HIRE a lawyer, with expertise in the area of intellectual property.

          1. Yeah, you’re right MichaelL, I was referring to mylesthebaker (and Nameless now that you mention it). Sorry Anonymouse!

      1. Actually all the songs are my own compositions and it’s mainly a case of tracking people down for the clearances as musicians and for the odd sample. If I can’t find them then as they are my own songs, re recording is probably my best choice.
        I guess I thought I didn’t need to chase all these things up but talking to you guys and the PRS I am best sorting it all out first.
        I only hope I don’t p**s off any of the sites or people I already sent the songs to.
        Some of the songs are a bit dated (like me) so writing and recording a bunch of new stuff more suited to production music needs was phaze 3 of my masterplan but I guess it just got bumped up to phaze 1

        1. Of course you mentioned this mylesthebaker: “The tracks recorded with the production team included them playing some parts and adding ideas” – this could include them on the copyright – depending on their input.

  159. Mylesthebaker:

    You’ve gotten good advice, and made the good choice.

    You would be asking for trouble, potentially placing yourself and the library at risk.

    In your place, I would start over. If you are the only writer on the tracks, why not re-cut them? They’re probably a bit dated anyway.


    PS. my opinion is not to be construed as legal advice

  160. I have a question concerning ownership and samples
    A lot of the music I am in the process of uploading to various site was recorded a few years ago mostly on 16 track reel to reel. The tracks were recorded with the help of friends and friends of friends who were producers/studio engineers.
    So here are my questions
    1) On some songs there are drum loops of which I don’t know the origin so how important is it to get these cleared (it may prove difficult to track them down)
    2) on some tracks various musicians and members of the production team/engineer played who I have no idea of the whereabouts anymore so what do I do about their share of the royalties?
    3) The tracks recorded with the production team included them playing some parts and adding ideas so how does that affect the royalties etc

    I guess what I am asking is ‘do I need to bother getting all these things cleared before trying to place these tracks’ or should I just go ahead and deal with any claims that might arise if the songs are placed.
    Also how does this relate to my PRS membership and track registration.
    Maybe I should just dump all the old stuff and start with a clean slate, or try and rerecord them?
    Any thoughts?

    1. Unless you can get these issues resolved, I’d start with a clean slate. In the future make sure you have any musicians playing on your tracks sign release forms.

      Without knowing the origin of the drum loops, you would be creating fraud with the companies you sign agreements with (unless they accept them with your explanation).

      Start with a clean slate.

      1. Absolutely – it’s hard to say this, but really you can’t place tracks with libraries if :

        1) you aren’t 100% sure you have the right to use any samples those tracks contain.
        2) you have to have writer splits agreed.
        3) you are 100% agreed on any royalties due to performers on these works.

        Failure to do the above, at the very worst is likely to result in very nasty and expensive legal actions.

        So really, start with a clean slate.

        1. Just IMO…

          I think it would be wrong to use tracks that have no evidence of ‘library friendly’ samples and if you can’t provide musicians buyout/release forms. The scenario you describe above sounds highly risky to me and I would forget about those tracks.

          KPM for example require information on all samples used on an excel document. In addition, all musicians sessions have to be bought out for set fees and their release forms signed and returned etc.

          You never know when these things come back to bite you in the ass! So I say play safe!

          (To use the work of these musicians you mention you would have to track them down and get them to sign release forms – which would also require you having to pay them fees).

          Just IMO.

          1. Well that’s all pretty clear then
            Thanks for the feedback guys and time to start pulling down some of my tracks.
            Onwards and upwards (well sideways I guess!)

  161. @ Pat: I plan on sending my songs to any non-exclusive library that I can find. I am not worried about saturating the market with these tracks. It is more of an experiment to see if I can get out a lot of songs in a short amount of time.

    I am pretty sure that many libraries may reject most or all these songs. But I am bound to land them somewhere and get some placements. If I get a good deal of these songs placed in a year, I will default to only making 30 second and 60 second songs. Who knows, I could start a new trend!

    Best of luck!!!

    1. I just bought Robin Frederick’s new book just out,” Shortcuts to songwriting for Film & TV.
      Very good read and full of useful information.
      You should pick it up. It’s especially good for those of us starting out in this particular field of composing.

  162. Hey all – Recently got a few exclusive contracts going – Got a few questions:

    Where is the majority of your income coming from, license sales, or the publishing? Both of the contracts I have give me the writer’s share of the publishing…
    Another question is, what would one recommend to a beginner – place 15 tracks to 3 exclusive libraries, or 45 to one exclusive (assuming they’re all on an equal plane, in terms of revenue).. What are the advantages/disadvantages to both choices?


    1. At this stage of the game I’d probably go with spreading tracks over the three libraries, see who can do what. That’d be my game plan.

  163. @ Pat: I am composing tracks that are all 60 seconds long. I have about 30 so far. Now, it is much easier for me to create exciting tracks that are short. I can start off with a chorus, add a verse, and come back to the chorus. Also, I can start with the verse, go to the chorus, do a drum or instrument solo, and then go back to a shortened chorus.

    Initially, it is not as easy as you think it is. You are sort of programmed to make tracks that are at least 3 minutes long. But these short songs are more fun for me. I plan on sending out my songs when I get around 50 or so. Hopefully this will increase my output without reducing quality. Most tv shows and commercials play less than a minute of music, so I figure I might increase my chances at getting placements.

    Best of luck!!!

    1. I have more interest in writing short pieces but I also have interest in licensing them so I wanted to get some input before I commit to doing a whole lot of them only to find out I may be limiting myself to a very small segment of the licensing market.
      Some feel a min of 2 min is sufficient which so far is what I’ve done mostly between 1.45 and 2:45. Others are like “whatever” somebody always wants something.
      Have submitted anything? Which libraries do you plan on pitching the .30 /1 min cues to?

  164. I was thinking about doing a bunch of .30 and .60 music bed type music you might hear in the background of commercials. I’m not talking about 3 min instrumentals cut down to hose lengths but rather I would compose them to be .30 and .60 long.
    Is there a demand for that and who might be interested?
    Are there any libraries that you know of I might have a chance pitching pieces like that to?
    It would be a great opportunity for me to get alot of music out in a fairly short period of time just to get the ball rolling in addition to composing longer pieces.

  165. Hi, this is a great site. I’m new to all this and just need help with a PRO question. I’m signed up with a PRO and registered my work. But it tells me if I do not have a publisher I can’t receive royalties. Do I have to become my own publisher to receive royalties? I’m a freelance writer and have my music in a few non-exclusive libraries. Any help would be great. Thanks.

    1. Saint,

      Yes you can become your own publisher. Just register it to the same PRO you’ve signed up with.

      You can name it what ever you wish. As an Example: Saint Music.

    2. “I’m a freelance writer and have my music in a few non-exclusive libraries” -Saint

      Those non-exclusive libraries should be registering your works with your PRO. They’ll want to register themselves as the publisher (at least most do).

      1. Thanks a lot John. I just talked to my PRO and she basically said what you said. Once again, thanks for helping me out.

        1. Also…

          Some libraries will only register tracks when they get placed. You can check with your libraries about that.

  166. Hi everyone

    I am new here and only starting in composing for Media. I am a bit confused…
    I have contacted a company in UK who also has got a music library and they’re interested to put some of my music on their library.
    However I understand they want all of the copyrights (I assume both the publisher rights and composer’s rights).

    This is our exchange:

    “The copyrights will be owned by us, library deals are by their nature in perpetuity. We send out DVD’s and hard-drives of our music so we can’t take stuff out of the library once it’s in, as the tracks are delivered all over the world and we can’t then ask for them back. ”

    and also

    “Regarding the splits, it’s a 50/50 split on both sides, it’s a standard library agreement. ”

    Does that mean both licensing rights+ writers’s rights split equally? or just money made from sync lincensing?

    I have been reading a lot about music libraries and I am still confused. I thought that generally if the library wanted all of the copyright, they would give some money upfront? there was no mention of that in our exchanges.
    How is that possible to give up all rights and at the same time still get something?

    Is it something commun nowadays?

    Can somebody please help me with with all of that?
    thanks a lot!!

  167. Very newbie question here ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have been licensing my music online for about 4 years now and only joined Tunesat last month. In the past month I’ve found 5 uses of my tracks on various tv shows so I can only imagine how many times the tracks have been used over the years. About 3 years ago, I joined my national PRO (IMRO in Ireland). To date, I have never received one royalty cheque ever…

    Do I need to be reporting all of the uses of my tracks by sending them my tunesat data each month? Should they be doing something for me? What exactly is the process for getting money from music used on TV? Does the TV channel file a cue sheet with the composer details for each show and then the composer’s PRO is contacted?

    Also, if I say to them “x track was used on x channel” – where are my royalties, then what is stopping that channel saying “we bought it from a royalty free website” as I have my music on lots of different libraries that are based on lots of different types of library structures (royalty free, royalty based etc.)

    Thanks for any info everyone ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. HI Emmett,

      My understanding of “Royalty Free” does not mean that the end user / broadcaster has no responsibility for back-end royalties. Royalty Free means that the person or entity buying the track can use it again and again without paying another license fee.

      I assume that you’ve registered the titles with your PRO. The Royalty Free Library most likely did not. I would contact the producers who used your music and ask for cue sheets. Hopefully, your PRO will accept the cue sheets. Over here you can talk to ASCAP until you’re blue in the face.

      “Also, if I say to them “x track was used on x channel” – where are my royalties, then what is stopping that channel saying “we bought it from a royalty free website”

      They are likely to say that. If you think composers are confused by the term “royalty free,” imagine what the purchasers think. That is when you diplomatically explain that you need the cue sheet to get your slice of the blanket license pie, which presumably has already been paid. At least that’s my take on it.

      Art…what is your understanding?



      1. Hi Michael and Emmett,

        For me, the first call would be to the show to try and find out where they got the music and then get a copy of the cue sheet to submit to your PRO. A couple of times I had to call a show when I discovered detections on Tunesat that I could not account for. In both cases the people at the shows were very accommodating and concerned (though in these instances I did not need cue sheets from them).

        And yes, the “Royalty Free” thing is a misnomer and I’m sure confuses the purchaser. I would also contact whoever purchased the music and explain the “facts of life” to them. Maybe they thought they owned it and put themselves down as writers/publishers?

        Another thing to consider, if it’s a U.S. show, is there will be a longer lag than normal in getting paid as you are with a PRO in another country.

        BTW, many of my cues were not registered with BMI (my PRO) but got picked up off of the cue sheets.

        1. How do I contact the producers though? I had a track used on BET (Black Entertainment TV) for example 4 times in the last few days – how do you figure out who to contact?

          If I send all of these usages onto my PRO here, will they follow up for me or is it all up to?

          1. I’d confront your publisher first with these placements Emmett. I had a placement on BET that wasn’t reported once. I contacted my publisher, and he apologized for the mistake. He thought he already registered it with ASCAP (but didn’t).

            I then contacted ASCAP and gave them all the info I had. It showed up on my next statement. Work through both your publisher & PRO.

            1. I think Emmett is saying he doesn’t know who the publisher is. He would have to contact all the various libraries he is with to see which one placed the songs. Quicker, I think, to go directly to the show but neither way is easy.

          2. I would start with calling BET (probably Google will help, that’s what I did), get a hold of the music supervisor for that show, get the cue sheet and submit to your PRO. Wouldn’t hurt to establish a relationship with someone at your PRO so you can push from both ends. Takes time and some detective work.

  168. Hi, A library has requested that I send ” A data-DVD (containing all of your tracks). Uncompressed wave format. The track names , your name, the title and bpm.” What I want to know is does the library want music on the DVDr or data only?

    I placed the DVDr in my dvd player, but an error appeared on screen.

    Can any one offer some advice?

    1. They want you to put your wav files as *data* files on a DVD. DVDs can be used to store general files of any type. If your computer came with a writable DVD drive there should be a program on it that supports making a data DVD.

  169. Thanks Rob (Cruciform)

    Re: Contract MASTERS ” Writer shall re-record the applicable musical compositions until the masters are delivered to company in a form commercially technically satisfactory, as determined in company’s sole discretion”

    GENERAL RELEASE “The hereby waives any claim to authorship in respect of each and every musical composition written, recorded, performed or otherwise controlled.”

    MUSICIAN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT 1. ” Employer here engages musician to perform, without limitation, at rehearsal sessions and recording sesssions for the purpose of creating master recordings….
    2. employer shall not compensate musicican….

    they’re re-title. It looks like they want authorship. (Sorry if I’m saying the obvious)
    It doesn’t sound like the kind of agreement I should sign? My songs are finished and I wouldn’t want to re-record them. Should I contact them regarding my reservations?