Organizing Your Music Licensing Tracks
Organization is key in keeping track of your music licensing tracks. It helps to know which tracks are retitled, which tracks are published/claimed and which tracks are still available. I keep a spreadsheet of all of my tracks including information such as the library the music belongs to (if exclusive), co-writers, titles, BPM, etc. Check out my sample spreadsheet below to get an idea of how it looks.
Info (BPM, key, etc.)
Fists of Fury
John Smith 50%
90 BPM, Em
82 BPM, A
Sand and Sun
Muhammed Lincoln 33%, Pablo Montgomery 33%
Jake from State Farm 25%
1 BPM, C#m
Sometimes I'll receive briefs from libraries and I'll already have music in my catalog that might fit. In these cases, I'll consult the spreadsheet and see if any of that music is still available. Other times there might be a non-exclusive brief. If a track is already represented non-exclusively, then it could be submitted for the new brief. As you can see, it definitely helps to have this information readily available. This spreadsheet also helps me make sure I don't give 2 different tracks the same name (which I have accidentally done before).
When I start a new album, I'll often give the tracks generic names until I've had a chance to mix them. For this reason, I sometimes add a 2nd "retitle" column. This gives me something like this.
Column 1: The file name (something like Swagger Rock 1)
Column 2: Touchdown Dance (Name I have chosen)
Column 3: Stadium Anthem (Retitled name given by the library)
Some new composers have probably heard that you need to have a really long spreadsheet with every piece of metadata you can think of. I personally thing this is NOT necessary and will waste a lot of time. All of the good libraries I work with handle the metadata themselves anyway. The metadata is more important for non-exclusive and royalty-free libraries, and those who pitch directly to supervisors. Save yourself the headache and maximize your time actually writing and recording music. Keep things simple and you will be less likely to get burnt out.
Lastly, the spreadsheet can help you realize which libraries are doing well for you and which ones aren't. If you lose track of your titles, check the spreadsheet against your PRO statements. This will help you avoid giving more music to lackluster libraries, or ones that just aren't for you. Always feed the ones that work for YOU, regardless of the experiences of others.
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