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.

1. Get your music mastered: Some people will say that songs used on TV don’t need to sound as good as a professionally released album.  However, you want your music to sound as good as possible because you are competing directly with major record labels.  A typical approach is to record your music at home using a multiple track digital recorder to keep costs low, but make sure to have a professional mix and master it.

You've got music.  You've heard there is money to be made from licensing that music on TV shows (or movies or video games or commericials).  So how do you go about finding places that could use your music?  There are many places on the web to go to find places that need your music.  But today I will share with you three quick and easy websites to check out:

I came across a website yesterday thanks to Greg Kocis that holds some very interesting and exciting ways for an artist to find music licensing opportunities for TV shows on a national scale.  One of the ways that an artist can find opportunities is by looking for TV shows that use music that is similar to their own style of music.  But how do you find those shows?  You can watch a lot of TV, listen for the music that is similar to yours and hopefully interest the Music Supervisor.  I did a quick check and CBS currently has 32 shows listed. 

In prime time alone.  

Multiply that by the number of channels out there (I'll let you count them up) and there are hundreds and hundreds of shows out there.  Who has time to listen and watch that much TV?  No one, that's who. 

In comes, a website dedicated to finding music from TV and movies.  I think the main point of it is to help people find that song they just heard on CSI: Miami or whatever.  Cool idea actually.  However, when I saw it, a whole other way of using the website occurred to me.