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Rules of Seduction

Music is a big part of civilization. Centuries had
passed but music survived and even grew to greater
heights every single decade. As a matter of fact, the
demand of music has been rising very steadily in the
past 10 years and it will continue that way in the
foreseeable future. It comes along with the big amount
of revenue the music industry is currently getting year
after year. It is an unstoppable force as people always
look up for the next great artist around the corner,
thus continuing the cycle and the relevance of music.
The demand of music content is at an all time high. The
global music revenue since the turn of the century has
been steady. The currency is measured in billions.

As the technology grew, music got more technical,
complex and in demand. Others take credit for using
music they don't own. Nowadays, independent musicians
are well aware of protecting their work for legal
purposes. Through music licensing, you can be ensured
of your asset/work being protected legally.

What is music licensing? Music licensing is the
licensed used for copyrighted music. This allows the
owner of the music to maintain the copyright of their
original work. It also ensures the owner of the musical
work to be compensated if their music is being used by
others. The music licensing companies has limited
rights to use the work without separate agreements. In
music licensing, you could get your work licensed in
the form of music, composition and songwriting.

During the music licensing process, there are terms
that would be discussed by the groups involved. If you
are an independent musician, you would be the licensor.
You are the one responsible of the music created, thus
you are the copyright owner of the licensed work. A
licensee would be the music licensing company as they
would be the one who will distribute your work to other
industries. They will also collect the royalty fees as
distribute them back to you if your music is included
in live performances, TV shows, ads, campaigns, video
games, etc.

There are also two kinds of contracts in music
licensing, namely exclusive contract and non-exclusive
contract. Exclusive contract means having your work
licensed exclusively to a single music licensing
company. Only a single company has the authority to
distribute and market your work. If you signed an
exclusive contract to your song or album, you cannot
use the same music contents and get it signed by other
music licensing companies. The agreement is exclusive
and confidential to the licensor and the licensee.

Non-exclusive contract allows a second party to
distribute your work and it doesn't prohibit the
licensor to sell their music to other music licensing
companies or licensees. An independent musician can
sign a non-exclusive contract to multiple companies
using the same music content. Non-exclusive contracts
are generally used to prevent an individual from being
locked into a restrictive contract before their work
gains popularity. This type of contract is designed to
protect music artists from being taken advantage of in
the early stages of their respective careers while on
the process of getting their music out to larger

There are also cases which involves direct payment for
used music content. This is called Sync Fees. Sync fee
is a license granted by a holder of a copyrighted music
to allow a licensee to synchronize music with visual
media such as ads, films, TV shows, movie trailers,
video games, etc. For example, a video producer is in
dire need of music content for a certain project and is
in a limited time of finding one.

In these cases, the artist and the music licensing
company will be contacted directly for the possible use
of the original work and negotiate the upfront payment
involved. Sync fees can range from a few dollars to a
couple of hundred dollars or up to thousands. The
payment usually depends on how big and established a
company is. If it is a well known company, there is a
probability that the sync fee will spike up in value.

We need to understand that businesses nowadays are
paying premium for music at an all time high. The
influx and revenue generated on different industries
are worth billions of dollars and the music artists who
got their music licensed will get a big share of that
money. The content of music is very important. Every
single company need visual and audio content. You can't
do ads, shows and movies without having any music

Music licensing brings compensation for assets used.
This is called royalty fees. A royalty fee is the
payment collected by one party from another for the
ongoing use of a copyrighted asset. You can get
compensated if your work is featured on live public
performances. For every live use of your music, you get
compensated as you own the copyright of your work.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and
Publishers (ASCAP) has collected over $941 million
dollars in licensing fees and distributed $827.7
million dollars in royalties to its members back in
2014. BMI on the other hand, collected more than $1.013
billion dollars in license fees and distributed over
$877 million dollars in royalties to its members during
the year 2015.

Music licensing is the modern way of earning through
music. In the past few years, the physical sales had
gone down. Streaming music has taken over because it's
more convenient and practical with the help of the
World Wide Web. With the rise of streaming sales, the
figures that could be collected as royalty fees could
spike up in the years coming. In fact, as stated in an
Australian financial review website, streaming
generated $2.5 billion dollars in US music sales last
year, overtaking digital downloads as the industry's
biggest source of music revenue. As stated in the
picture below, the global streaming of music is
projected to reach greater heights in terms of revenue
in the upcoming years.

The internet contributed greatly for the rise of music
licensing and streaming. 20 years ago, the distribution
of music hasn't been exactly this big. Television shows
and filmmakers are the top two industries that need
music content. Today, there are more and more TV shows,
films, commercials, movies, ads and tons of video games
that need music content. It is safe to say that the
internet opened the public eye about the opportunities
involved behind it.

One of the most visited sites on earth is YouTube.
People use, duplicate, rework, copy, revise and perform
music from different artists around the world. It also
has an influx of ads which contains music content. To
track all these data, YouTube has a Content ID System.
If your music is licensed, you can contact this site
and they will take a look at their data and see if your
work is being used by other parties. As the licensor,
you have the authority to take actions such as mute the
audio which matches your music, block a whole video
from being viewed, track the video's viewership
statistics or monetize the video by running ads against
it. Every country has different rules about it. But
YouTube runs a lot of ads and monetizing work from this
site is very probable.

If you are an independent musician, you must improve
and instill professionalism in your craft to get your
chances up of being signed by a music licensing
company. With billions of dollars of revenue involved
today, you want at least a slice of the pie. Monetizing
your passion is never easy but taking the necessary
steps to make it work is a must to reach success.


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