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Levis Ads….its always been good

I am feeling a little nostalgic today as I am doing some research on the history of music licensing in ads.

Enjoy the eye candy :)

Brad Pitt and T-Rex for Levis

Helen Austin – A Music Licensing Success Story

I wanted to take a few minutes out of your weekend to share with you what I see as a very special story of an Artist in control of her career.
Nothing talks like success, but it comes in all shapes and sizes. In this case it comes in HELEN AUSTIN.
Helen found me on twitter and through delightful diligence we created a relationship. She happened to live in the area of Vancouver Island that I visited last week to speak. I find Helen’s story very inspiring and I wanted to share it with you all to demonstrate that her diligence is her success.
When she chose to take my GYML in Commercials Workshop (registration is open for a short time only), I decided to interview her for you guys to hear about career, from her.

GYML Interview – Helen Austin by sarahgavigan

Knowledge is Protection and POWER in the music licensing world

This has been a great week. I always love product launch weeks because I get to connect with so many of you and hear your questions. I hope that you were able to take advantage of the training videos that I gave away this week, some of my best.

I diligently follow a few forums online that discuss Music Licensing, because as a consultant and educator, it’s my business to know what YOU need to understand in order to succeed.

I have made it my business to help Musicians succeed in the Music Licensing world.

Now that I think about it, this has been my business in different iterations since 1999 when I met Eric Hilton and Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation at a Music Festival in Iceland. They planted a seed inside my head that changed the course of my life forever. You can read my bio if you want to know more about that story.

When I started Ten Music in 2000, it was my job to REPRESENT Record Labels and Publishers to the Advertising community for the potential of licensing tracks. It was a very new model….there was no one else doing what I did, so there was a certain amount of  ”behind the curtain” in my job. My rolodex was mine and that was what my clients paid me for. It was the “agent mentality. I was trained to think that way. “Stand back while I go out and make magic happen for you.”

As time went on, I began to see that the clients of mine who KNEW the most about the music licensing business, TRUSTED me the most, and stayed the CLOSEST to me, were the ones who succeeded the most. Funny right?

It actually makes perfect sense. With KNOWLEDGE of that which you seek, you have a greater chance of success.

Now I am 3 years into my career as an educator, honing my craft and taking in information in a completely different way in order to feed it back to you in a way you can understand, digest and USE for yourselves. But one thing is still stands true.

KNOWLEDGE is the ultimate PROTECTION and POWER that an artist can have if they want to succeed.

Let’s think about that on a purely artistic level, like how you write a song, or how you get inspired to write a piece of music. The more you KNOW about how to play your respective instrument, the better you are. The more you KNOW about other music, the more you have inspiration.

So this theme felt appropriate to point out as I head into the second (and final) Workshop session for this year.

Here is the Question:

“Sarah, if I want to license my music, what should I do.”

LEARN….you need to learn….it will change everything you do and set you on a course that is tangent to what the business is looking for.

If you want to learn more about my workshop, you can do so HERE. Registration is open for a few more days or until the seats are filled (I am over half way filled in just one day).

The workshop begins on July 12th and runs for 4 weeks.

Have an incredible holiday weekend!


Music Libraries, Reps, Brokers, Online Music Supervisors……what's the difference?

I have just finished a fantastic speaking tour in Vancouver….thanks to everyone who came out and for your incredible enthusiasm.

One of the greatest benefits I get from teaching is to get out hear from YOU. It helps me understand what it is you need to know to move forward with your music career and how it relates to music licensing.

The theme for me lately has been “how to make music licensing a part of your business model as an artist.”

Every musician is different. Some of you are songwriters looking to have your songs covered and performed, others of you produce and perform your own music, while even some of you are non-touring musicians who are looking to take decades of talent and translate it into income.

In the same way, the music licensing business is more diverse then you think.

It’s a food chain, an ecosystem like any other. There are some projects and shows that are going to go for the hits, the best music out there. They have the budgets. Then there are projects that look steadfastly to the Indie and unsigned artists to license from both for the innovation, buzz and affordability. And then there is the library business.

The Music Library business has been a hot topic lately and one I am very intimately familiar with because I built one of the very first models online called HANK. It seemed such a DUH for me and my team when we developed HANK. A place online where those looking to license music could go and search by genre, tempo, mood and vocals. I took the Indie Labels and Publishers that I represented and hosted their music in HANK to allow our clients music to be available 24/7. I founded HANK in 2005 and launched in 2007.

The “Library” business or “Online Music Supervision” business was growing rapidly. They were popping up like rabbits. It was clear that the only scalable model was what I called the “something everything” model. This meant that anyone could submit their music into the system; the goal being to have the MOST tracks in your library. One company stood out in this sector of the business; Pump Audio. Investors agreed and they were steadfastly aquired by Getty Images in 2007 for 9 times their yearly revenue. It was an extraordinary sign of what was about to happen. The explosion, and I mean this figuratively and literally, of the online music library business.

I myself, chose a very different model, and one that ended up NOT being scalable financially. I chose to be selective about the content, to be exclusive and to take a smaller % of only up front fees. Right or wrong, it is the model I still believe in, but it was simply not sustainable financially.

Pump Audio was agressive on many levels, but they were groundbreaking in their revenue model. A model that has changed the music licensing business forever. For better or worse. They take 50% (I am hearing 70% now) of all revenue both front end licensing fees as well as back end royalties, which means that in order to collect on your behalf they must re-title your work and essentially re-assign the copyright non-exclusively.

See, until Pump Audio came into the game there were STOCK MUSIC companies that paid musicians and composers and up front fee to write on assignment for them. The Stock Music Co owned the master and the pub and the artist retained the writers share. This was a sustainable and fair model for many years.

Every time I speak about music licensing I am asked about Music Libraries and what I think about them. I think that the term MUSIC LIBRARY is just a term to describe a company. Other similar company types would be a MUSIC HOUSE (mainly servicing the advertising industry), a BROKER or REP, or even a sync centric PUBLISHER. All of these companies do the same thing; they represent your music for the potential of licensing it to a licensor.

Some of these companies use “online searchable databases” as their leading offering. To date I have seen no one in this space crack the code. Music Supervisors simply don;t have the time to look ourselves, we need to have the music spoon fed to us based on the briefs we send. Other companies take a Agent approach, like a REP or a BROKER. They have smaller rosters and more personal relationships.

The key difference here in all of these companies that you must look at is what portion of the business they service. Stock Music Houses and Music Libraries service the TV Networks that refuse to pay upfront master and publishing fees and will only pay back end. This is the ultimate numbers game. The Libraries load their content onto hard drives and deliver them to the respective clients whom have signed “blanket licensing deals” with. Simply put, the company pays one lump sum to use any of the tracks in the library as much as they want for the period of time allowed on the license (usually one year). Then each show Supervisor turns in a cue sheet and the Library collects the Public Performance royalty on the backend as additional compensation. This rings very similar to how ASCAP, BMI and SEASAC charge for bars and restaurants to play their music, and I would fair to guess they pay put the same way as well.

Reps and Brokers are going after the golden eggs at the top of the business, what I like to call the PREMIUM CONTENT. These are the hits – the hit makers and the tastemakers that have the talent and style that catches the ear of one of these reps, and they go to work trying to place that music in any one of the top TV shows or global and National TV ads where the placement fees average $5000-$100,000 for one license. Make no mistake, this is the top of the food chain.

So in summation of this overview, I give you this advice; think about your music diversely and honestly. Not every track is going to be GREAT, and many of them may not even be GOOD, but within these vastly different types of companies you have the opportunity to choose where your content belongs. The B sides? Great for a music library. The hits…..go for a rep.

Section out your music like this, ask friends for advice and keep doing your homework on all these companies. It’s a very very big business and more players enter it every day, which in my estimation is a GOOD thing……so lets check them out.

Yes, it can be overwhelming, so create a network with your colleagues and friends about whom they have spoken to and liked. Help one another, and in doing so you will help yourself.


You want to make money as a Musician? You have to diversify….

I saw the news today at major label band the Scissor Sisters are going to be creating the score to the new FRAGGLE ROCK MOVIE.

WOW – that is quite a departure and at the same time, pretty cool….following in the footsteps of other Artists and bands that have gone on to score like Trent Reznor for The Social Network or David Holmes for the brilliant Oceans Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen trilogies.

These boys were masters of their respective genres, but it did not stop them from tackling something outside their scope. I dig that tremendously, and not only was it brave, but it was BRILIANTLY good music.

The point of success is not in ONE PROJECT or one song anymore, it’s in diversity. And that means you need to have some damn fine skills as a musician and an artist to keep the creative juices flowing. You have to keep searching and moving forward.

The statement above carries so many parallels to the Music Licensing business.

It is a business that has a solid foundation of what works and what doesn’t – simply defined by how a piece of music makes a piece of film FEEL.

Many of the Musicians and Bands that I work with want to license their music. Got it. Check. But have you ever thought about how licensable your music really is?

Have you ever taken you music and put it up to a commercial on You Tube, or muted your TV and played it along with a TV show? You might be surprised at what you see and hear when you do that. It changes your music, and most importantly, it changes your perspective. I strongly suggest you give it a try.

The more you know about what music works to film, the better your chances are of making a piece of music that is all things; GOOD, REAL & Licensable. The triple crown.


Music Licensing Fees…'s ain't so easy

There is one question I get asked more then any, ” what is the average price for that kind of music license?”

It’s a tough answer to give, and many of the conversations I have online with DIY Bands and Musicians lead me to say the same thing;  ”It’s all negotiable,” which of course is of no help to you whatsoever.

Two quick things for you today:

1.) An article that I believe is the best answer of averages I have found to date on what things are “worth” and what they “cost”, but REMEMBER, these costs are based on the perceived value of a track and that is in the mind of the owner and the buyer.  So check it out:

2.) This is an idea for how to get the best deal possible if you have been given a licensing contract and have no idea how to negotiate the best deal for yourself: ASK AN EXPERIENCED LICENSING REP TO DO IT FOR YOU. I love this idea and did it for several artists that ended up becoming clients in my day as a rep. It kills a few birds with one stone. You offer the rep a small % of the license fee to negotiate the contract on your behalf. This way you know you are getting the best deal possible, and maybe they will be motivated to take you on as a client because they see you as client that is making money!

Simple….but sometimes the best ideas are.

Happy Monday….now go kick some ass.


Vancouver…….here I come and it's all about MUSIC LICENSING

Ok, maybe it’s going to be about some really good Japanese food as well (my very favorite).

I have been gushing on and on this week about how excited I am to go to Vancouver, and the events just keep stacking up! Pretty cool. So I wanted to give you all a breakdown of my events, when and where and what….

SAT. June 18th – The Beat Bootcamp Event – FREE TO ATTEND – Downtown Vancouver
I will be speaking for one hour about the basics of music licensing and how to get your musi to stand out to a Music Supervisor

SUN. June 19th – GYML Live Workshop – Downtown Vancouver
This is a great chance to get to work directly with me in a workshop setting. This is also a great lead in to my upcoming workshop

THURS. June 22nd – Vancouver Island Music Business Conference – Music Publishing & Licensing Panel

Looking forward to meeting you all in Vancouver!

Awww shucks….

Well this does ride the line a little between shameless self promotion and just outright pride. I can’t tell you how great it feels to know that so many of you out there who have followed the blog of the GYML Newsfeed on Music Licensing, are seeing results and that my strategy and methods are working for you. I thought I would share this one testimonial in particular. Mina was one of my students in the last workshop.

Thanks so much Mina…….that really means alot to me.


Music Licensing and Composing for TV Shows – A talk with The Transcenders

I have had some incredibly good fortune in my career, and it’s because I have worked with so many incredible people. Even better than that, I have been able to work with them on the way up in their career’s. It is simply a magical time. There is genuine excitement for new experiences, nervousness about making mistakes and hope for the future all wrapped up in humility. Not everyone has this combination, and it has nothing to do with a single note of music.

Personality is 90% of the game in the entertainment business. Talent – 10%. It’s hard to digest that – but it’s true.

I wanted to post this interview today to introduce you to a writing team that has 90% personality and 90% talent.

Yep – it adds up to 180%, but hey, this is the music industry, since when did anyone know how to do math?

Mike, Terence and Brian are a clear example of humility and talent. Have a listen. Enjoy and have a spectacular weekend.

Your friend,

GYML Transcenders Interview by sarahgavigan

INDIE CONNECT – Music Licensing Lunch – in Nashville June 6th 11:30am

Hey there…well summer has hit hard here in Tennessee. It’s hotter than heck, the cicadas are everywhere (and I do mean
everywhere) and the lightning bugs are on the way.

I do love summer…..

But no summer vacation for me.

June is going to be NUTS.

Starting with an invitation from the great folks over at INDIE CONNECT I will be speaking at their weekly event this coming Monday
June 6th at 11:30 am.

Details on the event location and directions are <<< HERE!!>>>

I also thought, what the hey… let them see what the whole thing is about..

Music Licensing; placing your music in Films & TV

An overview of the music licensing business and a strategy to help you get your music licensed.

In the first half; basic industry terms and expectations for music submissions will be discussed.

In the second half we will explore how to successfully pitch to a Music Supervisor. Learn what the decision makers are looking for and how to create a music submission that stands out.

Length: 60 minutes

What you’ll learn:

• The components of the business
• Basic terms you need to know
• How to prepare your tracks for licensing
• What Music Supervisors are looking for

So come on out and have some BBQ for lunch,
and shake some hands.

Q&A always gets interesting!

Have a great (short) week and hope to see you there!

Your Friend,
Sarah G

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