Sync license fee for a documentary

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  • #41140

    Hi there,

    I’ve been using the forum for a while, but this is my first post here. I’m sorry if this is a silly question, but I couldn’t find an answer in the old posts. Maybe you guys can help me with this.

    So, I got a message from a film company interested in getting a sync license to use one of my instrumental pieces in a documentary for tv. I’m quite new in the industry and tbh I don’t know how much I should charge for it. I know that their budget is about $200k and they plan to distribute in Europe. That’s a 3-year deal. What would be the average cost of such a license?



    My advice: Quote $2000 for the broadcast sync license and tell them you want 100% writers Share and 100% publishing share of the performance royalties. Tell them a cue sheet is required with your PRO (writer and publisher) details and you need a copy of the cue sheet. You should present them with a drafted music license that spells out all the terms of the end usage and the rights you’d be granting to them to rent your music.

    Ask them how the music is going to be used? For how long under the scene? Is it featured? Or will there be voice over all over the track? What TV network is broadcasting the documentary? When will it go on air?

    Get all the details of the end usage.

    You have to join/ affiliate with a PRO if you want to get paid back end performance royalties.

    If they think your quote is too high, they will make a counter offer. It’s always better to quote high than low. No reason to bid against yourself. How do you know their budget to make the documentary is 200K?


    Thank you so much, Music1234!

    I know that is their budget because I’ve asked the producer who emailed me. It’s probably more, I guess. I just thought that would be important to get that information before sending them any offer.

    I don’t know yet if there is any VO, but I know they are planning to use a little more than a minute of the track. I will definitely ask them about all the other things you’ve mentioned.
    Thanks again!


    I agree mostly with Music1234’s advice, except: “tell them you want 100% writers Share and 100% publishing share of the performance royalties”… you don’t need to tell them you want it, it’s a license so implied in that is you will be getting all that.
    And – $2000 is most likely very high for a Europe only, $200k budget track. Chances are they’ll be able to license a great track from any major library for far less. Like less than $500. I’d suggest $500 might be all you could ask from a project at this budget level.


    Thanks for your help, Mark_Petrie! I appreciate it.

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