How Many Music Libraries Should You Work With?
A lot of people ask me what libraries I have music with, and how many libraries I work with. I'm here today to answer some questions about this. Let's start with non-exclusive libraries (although my efforts have been focused on exclusive libraries for at least 2 years now).
How many should you work with?
You can work with as many non-exclusive libraries as you want, with the same music! I would caution composers to only work with ones that have good deals and good reputations. You might think that having the same music in 100 different libraries will gain you a lot of money. While this might be the case for some, it isn't the case for most.
Personally I like to only work with a handful of non-exclusive libraries that have proven to be good for me. I like to avoid subscription libraries in order to discourage price shopping from clients. A client might see your track on Crucial Music (for example) and shop around and find the same thing on a subscription library for $9.99/month. Instead of paying upwards of $$$ for the music, they can get it through a subscription library and earn you $0.00024. This obviously isn't ideal and will lose you a lot of potential money.
If you're fine with getting a few bucks a month from lots of different libraries after doing lots of work uploading, then subscription libraries might be fine for you. If you want bigger potential from a few smaller libraries, then boutique libraries are more likely for you. Just don't sell yourself short!
How many should you work with?
Allow me to share how many exclusive libraries I currently work with. It is somewhere around 30 libraries, and I am always looking for more. Sure, I have some go-to libraries that I would give most of my music to if they would take it all, but they don't want or need every single album that I write. They might reject music for stylistic reasons, catalog demand, poor quality/writing, etc.
Most of the good libraries are very selective and only release X amount of albums per year. When I finish a new album, I like to offer it to some of my best performing libraries first. If they aren't able to release it, I'll shoot for some other big name libraries with good sub-publishers. After trying that for a while, I might try some of my moderate performing libraries and other independent libraries.
When it comes to exclusive libraries, I say the sky is the limit! You won't be competing with your own catalog if your music is represented exclusively. The more you work with, the more opportunities you will get (briefs, connections). These libraries don't take it personally whatsoever if you work with a lot of other libraries. If you spread your music out, you can really gauge how well each library is doing. Some might get good domestic placements only, while others get placements all over the world. Some get good regular sync fees while others are mainly blanket licenses. You don't know until you try!
Just be weary of libraries that aren't doing well for you after 1-2 years of publishing your music. They likely aren't the right fit for you, or they might not even be getting much business at all. Also you should always keep at least 50% of backend royalties and 50% of sync fees. Best of luck with your musical journey!
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