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  • Randy McGravey

Sync Music Licensing: "The Big Libraries"

Updated: an hour ago

A lot of new sync music composers often ask: "What are the best music libraries to join?" While that question has a different answer for almost every composer, there are certain "major" libraries and labels that have a reputation for getting a lot of business. I'm talking about companies such as Universal, Warner Bros and APM.


Many libraries and labels are sub-published through these companies (meaning these companies distribute their music in certain territories). Having large sub-publishers in different countries helps place your music throughout the world. Below are some of the companies that I consider to be "Major labels" (although there are independent libraries that are highly successful as well). Some of them are related, and sub-publish through each other.


5 Alarm

APM

BMG

EMI

Megatrax

Sonoton

Sony ATV

Universal (Universal Production Music, Firstcom)

Warner Bros. (Warner/Chappell)


These websites are more like databases of libraries and labels, as opposed to strictly being their own library. If you browse any of these sites, you will likely see many other libraries and labels that you have heard of (if you've been in this business for a bit). Most, if not all of these libraries deal with exclusive contracts (in perpetuity). You need to be comfortable giving your tracks to them for the life of the copyright and not shopping them elsewhere.


If you plan to submit to any of these libraries, you will want to have top-notch recordings. I wouldn't recommend submitting to these companies if you are just beginning, as you don't want to be blacklisted or be seen as a low-tier composer. Personally I have submitted full albums to them, and they may take the whole album, or some of the tracks. Always look on a library's website to find composer submission instructions, or the appropriate person to contact. You may have luck submitting to their main website, or perhaps by contacting one of the individual labels.


And of course, if you don't hear back from a submission, don't get too discouraged! There are plenty of "fish in the sea" and it is very common in this business to not hear back. As I said before, there are other boutique/independent libraries out there that are also successful. The "big" libraries won't necessarily work for everyone. Through trial and error, you can find which libraries work best for you, and curb your efforts towards them!


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