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Musicians: How licensing lets your ‘children’ swim up the digital stream

July 27, 2012 | By Brian Fores | All Things Music Licensing, Music

Musicians have it rough: You toil, you labor, you fret and fuss over your music as if your tracks were your children. You invest much of your capital into the tools of the trade –instruments, microphones and recording software, to name only a few. So in love with the process of music-making, you give scant thought to the fruits of your labor – indeed, dreams of fame, glory and success give way to making the rent, filling the gas tank and waking up early enough to pack a lunch so you don’t have to get pizza or fast-food yet again!


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(Photo by elvira boix photography, flickr collection/Getty Images)

But even if your dreams of grandeur fade away, your love of making music never does – the rush you feel when you pen a poignant lyric or realize that the perfect melody you’ve had stuck in your head all week was not something you once heard on the radio of T.V., but actually your own! You are equally elated when you figure out how to program that drum machine, create a solid loop or record the perfect kick drum or hi-hat (without too much sizzle, of course).

But what do you do with this passion, or the fruits of your labor? With wireless devices such as smart phones, tablet computers and nano-sized music players more common than ever, how can you increase the chances that your music will be heard, no less dare to hope that you might profit from your creations? The first 20 years are the roughest, indeed…

The answer lies in transforming your greatest challenges into your allies. Think about it: these days, the number of people who have access to mobile content – whether it be music, movies or television – are growing exponentially, as we become a more connected world. And here is where licensing poses enormous potential for exposure. A properly placed track can do with one click what years of playing in dive bars can’t – that is, reach the ears of thousands of people, if not more! But that’s just the bonus believe it or not, because licensing presents the very real potential of opening up a new stream of revenue, one that the individual artist is more in control of than ever.

It’s important to stay grounded, however. Patience is paramount, and above all, quality matters. Click here to listen to a collection of top-earning and frequently licensed tracks. A great track is still a great track, and nine times out of 10, that will be the one a client wants to use – wouldn’t you? That’s why it’s important to really give your best in your music, work hard on those tracks, and make sure both composition and production are done with care and craftsmanship whether you compose film music or write pop tunes. Despite our changing world, some things still matter; in this case, putting your best foot forward will ensure that your tracks shine through.

So, loving parent, it’s time to let go of your children, let them swim up the digital stream, see where the world takes them, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll increase your fortunes in more ways than one, as all children tend to do.

Editor’s note: Content Specialist Brian Fores has been with Getty Images Music for more than six years. He began studying piano at an early age, and later branched out to organ, synthesizer and guitar, and has played funk, hip-hop and rock in a number of bands. And did we mention he holds a BA in music and an MA in Jazz History? He enjoys working on home recordings (and contemplating the next piece of gear for his ever-expanding home studio), and the happy dad to a bouncing baby girl and a smart-as-a-whip 11-year-old boy. To learn how to become a contributor for our Pump Audio collection, click here.

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