It’s very important that one has their own web presence when it comes to having an online presence.  Facebook pages are nice, but it may not be  around forever.  Look at Friendster and MySpace as examples of once popular web spaces that have been toppled by newer players.  It is also much more professional to have your own website, and with your own “dot com” domain  name.

But how do you go about doing this without spending a lot?  The nice thing about Facebook is that it’s FREE, right?  

Here’s how I have my own website presence for less than $15 per year.  There are lots of people out there that will host your website, but it can cost quite a bit.  One example is - which charges $20 per month, which ends up costing you $240 a year.   I have nothing against them, I’ve used for years for my band, and I’m sure they are a high-quality company and provide great service.  All I’m saying is that  it’ll cost you $240 for the year, not to mention domain name renewals, which are around $15 per year now.  

Here it is at it’s simplest; buy a domain name and have it point to a freely hosted website.  Two steps (sort of - I broke it into four steps below).

Here's a great article on how to ID Tag your music files so all sorts of information appears when someone else (i.e., a music supervisor) opens up your music file.

So you don't want to rely on music publishers or other song pitchers in the industry and you're ready to dive right in and be a mover and a shaker in and of your own right?  No problem, get ready for some serious work. 

The idea then is to find out about films and TV shows that are currently in production and who is responsible for the music for these projects.  Here are some great places to start: 

When first starting out, there are a few ways to go about finding opportunities for licensing your music.  If you have the time, you can do all the legwork yourself by hunting down places that need music, find out who the music supervisors are, get their contact information somehow, build a relationship with them and see if your music might be a fit. 

Or you can submit your music to publishers who will try to license your music for you.  A publisher has lots of contacts and therefore should be able to place your music easier.  It’s what they do.  Once you have some credits under your belt, you’ll have more credibility as an independent artist and music supervisors will give you more attention than someone who has never had their music used for anything whatsoever. 

If you do it yourself, however, you can end up making twice as much money because you don’t have to split the royalties with a publisher.  It also takes a lot of time and effort and it may take a while to see some success.  So let’s take a look at music publishers.

While it’s nice to get on national TV or in a major film, there may be other places to place your music that are much closer to home (if you don’t live in Los Angeles that is, which most of us don’t).  It may be easier to get your music used in something local because you can meet people face to face locally and there is less competition.  Local sources are a good place to start making money and getting credits under your belt.

In television, music can be used as a theme song, the underscore, a song written for a specific scene, a pre-existing song, production company logo, promotional music, or as a commercial jingle. 

In film, music can be used in three basic ways: 1. the underscore, 2. the song written for the film and 3. the pre-existing song.  This website focuses mainly on how to get the music you already have recorded into film and TV, or the “pre-existing” song.  The pre-existing song can be used multiple ways in films:

A lot of talk goes around about the importance of music licensing as a revenue stream for your music career and also as a means of increased exposure.  And you hear people talk about either the mountain of money that can be made and you also hear people talk about how the money isn’t really that great.  So what is the truth, especially for the independent artist?

You get paid three ways when your music is licensed for use: The synchronization license fee, the master use license fee and through royalties of public performances.  If you own the copyright and master recording, the sync and master licenses can be, and usually are, combined into one license.  This is where you have an advantage as an independent artist.  Music supervisors like dealing with this type of arrangement because it makes things easier and faster.  However, let’s go through an explanation of each type separately so you understand the difference.

In the world of music licensing, a lot of music supervisors are looking for the “up and coming” artists or the next big thing.  And in many cases music supervisors are like the new A&R people traditionally at record labels.  They can discover and make a relatively unknown artist famous overnight by using their song at the end of a popular TV show.  There is also a huge market for using super popular songs in TV shows and movies because the audience is instantly familiar with those songs and they lend authenticity to a scene.  But what about those of us who don’t have a buzz around our music or aren’t the next big thing coming out of SXSW?  Well, there are some distinct advantages to being a smaller, independent musician in the world of music licensing.