In 2013, my partner (Lee) and I formed an iBand called Spicy Folk. One of our goals was to write/produce songs for films/commercials. We weren’t aiming on making millions or anything, but we liked the idea of our music ‘possibly’ being heard around the world; particularly in films or commercials.
Luckily, over the years, the internet made it possible for musicians to be able to pitch our music to industry folk without actually leaving our living rooms. Pros and Cons? Absolutely, and chances are that you might encounter scam companies who promise they’ll get your music heard by music directors or executives for a “payment”.
I wanted to share a few links & experiences with ya’ll, and please feel free to do the same.
This was one of the first places we found that “seemed” pretty legit. They charge you $5.00 a pop to submit to an opportunity. An opportunity can be anything from a commercial to a movie. Music directors contact Hit License and tell them what they are looking for – can be a ballad, or an instrumental. They have tons of opps, and are very specific when it comes to what they are looking for. They even provide example videos to use as a comparison for the song(s) they are seeking. Hundreds might apply, but only a few get shortlisted. If your song gets shortlisted but not chosen, Hit License gives you back your $5.00 dollars, which is very cool.
However, at $5.00 dollars a pop, it adds up very quickly. By the time you know it, you’ve spent $100.00 bucks with nothing to show for it. I also notice that the same few people get licensed, so that didn’t sit right with me.
Huge RED FLAG alert on this company! Upon landing on their site and seeing their hundreds of opportunities, one can easily become blinded. They have 3 different packages varying from free to $14.95 per month. Of course we decided to take the $14.95 package – I mean, they offer unlimited submissions to their hundreds of “music clout exclusive” opportunities. There are music magazines, blogs, movies, and commercial opps – all looking for music. So chances are you are at least going to get chosen for one of these opps, right? Well, not exactly! At least not for Spicy Folk – we never even got a “cool music but not exactly what we’re looking for” response, ever! We must have submitted our songs to at least 200 different opportunities.
Now, the funny thing is – Music Clout states that these opportunities are ‘exclusive’ through Music Clout, so if I were to do a Google search and find the company that are looking for these songs and apply directly, they would refuse me. Well, turns out that - that is bogus! I was indeed able to find the majority of these companies and was able to send my songs in for FREE. So I gave Music Clout my $14.95, when I just could have searched for these opportunities myself.
By the way, when I finally got hip to their little scheme, I did some research on the company. Boy oh boy, they have sooooo many terrible reviews. And they have about 6 different pseudonyms on Twitter – but why? Who knows?
A similar site to Music Clout (but much better) is Broad Jam. Their packages range from $19.95 per month to $399.95 for 3 years. You can also pay $15.00 per submission – yeah that adds up rather quickly. They have tons of opportunities available, and allow you to create a profile and upload your songs. You can even sell your songs & keep 100% of the profits, not bad. Another great perk they have are peer to peer reviews. So if you review 10 songs from other members, they will review10 of your songs. I found the critique to be very informative, no smoke blowing up the kazoo if ya know what I mean. Some were even pretty harsh, but we appreciated that.
So, we paid $19.95 for the month & got to submit 4 songs at $5.00 a pop – oh and they give you one free, so we had a total of 5 submissions. Plus we submitted to 2 others at $15.00 a pop. We never even got shortlisted. I think the worst part of it was – a few musicians who were chosen for the opps were not even that great. I was a bit baffled by some of the lousy recordings, geez. They have tons of contests as well, but yes, you have to pay to enter them!
The upside of Broadjam is the community, you don’t have to buy into any packages to stay on board – you can just have your songs up and give & receive reviews of your work, which in itself is pretty cool. Other than that – I wouldn’t waste my money there.
This is an interesting site – not sure I’m 100% sold on their claims to have linked thousands of musicians with record labels/companies, etc… I could be wrong, but the site never appealed to me.
You can upload many of your songs to the site, awesome right? Problem is – you have to get ‘music xray diagnostics’ which means you pay $10.00 for each song you want to be able to submit to opps – without doing that, you cannot submit anything. On top of that, you need to pay for each submission, which can range from $5.00 to $25.00, sometimes more!
We submitted to 4 opps on that site, and oddly enough (although completely different companies) they all sent us a very similar rejection letter. It made us wonder if our songs were all going to the same place. Hec, how can we even be sure that our songs were making it to the ears of music directors/executives? Guess that is the chance you take with all these sites.
Every now and again Music Xray sends us a $5.00 voucher via email and tells us that we better use it within 3 days or it will expire. What can $5.00 get ya? A free “evaluation” of one of your songs from a guy named Stuart Epps. Funny enough, we sent him 3 songs (all at different times) and his response was exactly the same all 3 times. More or less said something like, “your song has a lot of potential but can use a better mix/production - if you go to my website and submit your song, I will produce it for you for a good price…” Ah okay, there ya have it! Suffice to say, we unsubscribed to their mailing list.
These 2 are very similar, you must pay for your submissions – and again, we got nothing out of it.
One site that is similar but totally free is www.sentricmusic.com
Yes, FREE! You can upload your songs (should be excellent quality) as they stress that when you upload your songs. Then you can go to their synchronization section and submit to as many opps as they have. You can even submit up to 3 songs per opp, cool eh? Once you are registered with them, they send you emails every time they have new opps, which is very convenient. Sentric Music is my favorite licensing site. Yeah, probably because it is free, so I don’t feel like I am losing anything, except my time, but that’s okay!
All in all, for an artist who is just starting to venture into the wonderful world of licensing their music – all of these sites can be very appealing, and it’s so easy to become overly excited by the “potential” that your music might land in a movie or commercial. However, it’s always a good idea to check these sites out before sending them your money. Google them, read what others have experienced, then use your best judgment.
Personally, I would recommend trying to get your music into a Music Library. You have a much better chance at that, although that is not an easy feat either. Most music libraries are extremely picky and cater to a more “modern” sound. But once your music is in a music library, you can leave it there until kingdom come – and just collect royalties, granted that they get used.
Spicy Folk got accepted by Pump Audio, which I was told was very difficult to get in to. We had to submit 2 of our songs for review, and then waited a long time before we got the “green light” which meant we got accepted – we had to mail them our actual CD, sign a huge contract, and then wait…..and wait…..and wait…..and we are still waiting! I wrote to them asking if they forgot about us, but they quickly replied and said that it takes a long time, as they have so many other artists going through the same process. Oh well.
One last site that actually surprised the hec out of us is www.soundreef.com
This site is a royalty collecting company based in the UK. You upload your songs & have to sign a contract (literally with your mouse on screen) and give them permission to pitch your songs to shopping malls, stores, bars, etc…and every time your song is played, Sound Reef collects the royalties for you. Sure they make a small percentage out of the deal. Then I believe they send you the payments (if any) 4 times a year – it might be 2 times, not sure.
I uploaded 3 of our Spicy Folk songs. At that point I wasn’t expecting anything from them. As a matter of fact I completely forgot I even joined the site. Then last month I get an email from them saying that they sent our royalty check to our paypal account. I was like, “huh”? As I was signing into my account I figured I’d see like $2.00 dollars in there, haha. Actually they sent us $70.00. I was like, “whoa”! I seriously couldn’t believe it.
It was a total surprise, and all I did was upload 3 songs, for FREE! I could have uploaded all of our songs, but at the time I was so skeptical about these sites. The most exciting part was seeing all the locations around the UK where our songs were being played. It was so cool to think that people might be singing our songs as they shop around the mall. That put a smile on my face, not to mention the extra $70.00 bucks in our paypal account.
Anyway, I've rambled enough – I hope this post shines some light for folk who are interested in licensing their music. If you have any sites or experiences you want to share, please do! :)
Originally posted by RAVEN on Thu 12 Mar, 2015