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  • Writer's pictureRandy McGravey

Music Licensing: Succeeding in an Oversaturated Market

We all know that so many musicians out there are venturing into the music licensing world. Why shouldn't they? It is a fun field with lots of opportunities to earn cash. Although there is a lot of competition, I believe there are ways to break through the noise and beat the competition. Here are some tips on how to be successful in this competitive field.

  • Write and record niche styles that other people aren't doing. Everyone out there is doing corporate music, modern pop, acoustic underscore, etc. Why not try video game music, Flamenco guitar, African music, ragtime, or some other rare style? Think outside the box! Those styles will have a long shelf life.

  • Use real instruments. So many sync composers rely on software instruments, and they can sound old after a while. Real instruments will always sound more unique. My most successful tracks have used real instruments.

  • Try working with young libraries. New music libraries tend to be hungrier than older established ones. Getting into a library early on is a great way to establish a long-term relationship. Many libraries that have been around for a while won't need to look for new composers anyway.

  • Keep increasing your mixing/mastering skills and release only high quality music. Do a bunch of rounds of mixing if you have to. If two artists send the same style to a library, they will take the one that is higher quality. Favor quality over quantity, but still be consistent with your efforts.

  • Spend more time writing/recording and less time reading everyone's opinions and experiences. Create your own experiences. For every person who actually works in the music licensing field, there are probably dozens of "aspiring composers" out there "trying" to do it. Don't try, do it.

  • Collaborate with other musicians. Having different people play on a track gives it more authenticity. Instead of programming drums, have a seasoned drummer play on the track. It will be WAY better. Do you know a pedal steel guitarist? Use them on your country track. Know any string players? Collaborate with them on your trailer music. Real instruments and players will win every time. Collaborators might also have connections of their own that you wouldn't otherwise have access to.

Guess what? There are thousands of music libraries out there, and most of them seem to be succeeding. Similarly, there are tons of composers. Even though a lot of people start writing music for licensing, most of them quit early on or don't release music of a high enough quality. How many brands of beer are there in a given liquor store? Just because there are a lot of options, doesn't mean there aren't enough thirsty people out there. Music will always be in demand, especially with the business changing so rapidly these days. Don't be discouraged by the amount of composers out there. If you have the talent and the commitment, hard work will always pay off.

Special thanks to Clau Dio from In Sync: Music Licensing Forum for suggesting this topic! If you have a suggested topic, leave it in the comments below.


If you are an aspiring music licensing composer, learn all about this field and how to succeed in my new book: "Making Money with Music Licensing"

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