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  • Writer's pictureRandy McGravey

4 Year Music Licensing Update

I have now been writing production music for the music licensing/sync licensing business for 4 years. I'm here today to share my experiences, some statistics and other information.

My first 1.5 years or so in the business were mostly dedicated to non-exclusive libraries (Pond5, Music Supervisor and some now extinct libraries including Getty Images Music). Since then I've focused all of my efforts on exclusive libraries, with the occasional non-exclusive track. Here is a chart of some of my takeaways from each year.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Tracks Written










TV Placements





Bear in mind, one year's placements will usually be paid the following year. I attribute about 98% of my overall TV placements to exclusive libraries. Once I started getting regular placements I focused my efforts on the libraries that were doing well for me. The Royalty-Free non-exclusive market has changed a lot in the last 4 years, with lots of libraries either shutting down, lowering their composer splits or switching to the subscription model.

As anyone who joins this field should know, you have to be patient! Some of my albums have taken a year or more to be published, and it takes at least 9 months to get paid from TV placements. I am a member of at least 40 libraries, and through trial and error I have found which ones work for me, and which ones don't. There isn't one library that will work for every composer, so find the ones that work for you. If you really want to compose music for sync, don't get discouraged and don't sign any bad deals (never give up writer's share to someone who didn't write the music)! There are plenty of libraries with fair deals out there, and lots of unfair ones popping up every year.

Most of my catalog is "background instrumental" music, though I also compose vocal music. I find out about a lot of my placements by using Tunesat. The rest I usually find out about when I get paid from my PRO. Tunesat mostly monitors channels in the US and some in Europe, but it isn't 100% accurate. Placements in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, Canada, etc. will be found out through PRO statements.

Some useful resources for me have been:

- Music Library Report - A website featuring music library reviews from experienced composers, as well as other forums.

- In Sync: Music Licensing Forum - a Facebook group which has a great community of composers and is very motivational.

- Google for mixing tips and tricks

- YouTube for mixing techniques

- YouTubers who are in the music licensing business

In conclusion, I feel like I am at the intermediate stage of my career. I've learned a ton and have established some great connections (publishers, libraries, co-writers). The goal moving forward is to keep producing lots of high quality music each year as I watch the statements (slowly) continue to increase. I wish you all good luck in your journeys as well!

Check out some of my related blog posts for tons of other information regarding composing production music, PROs, tracking your music, getting TV placements and much more!

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Learn all about this field and how to succeed in my new book:

Book cover for "Making Money with Music Licensing" by Randy McGravey


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