Posts filed under Education

Behind the Music Service: Customizing a Song from Start to Finish

Music Customization-score-music-filmmaker-soundtrack-licensing.jpg

Ever find a song that sounds perfect on first listen — only to discover after pairing to picture how it's not quite hitting the cuts on cue? Don’t worry, that’s something the art of customization can help you fix.

Apart from partnering with and collaborating with our talented roster of artists, we also dabble in creating original music in-house for feature films, creative campaigns and more. Need sound design, customization or an original score? Nothing makes us happier than jumping into the studio to bring our clients’ creative vision to life (in an audible medium of course, wink).

While you may already be familiar with what scoring music entails, customization may not be as comprehensible to some. So we sat down to chat and learn more from our in-house Creative Music Editor & Composer, Greg Jong.

Find out what it takes to customize a song from start to finish — click play for a behind the service customization breakdown!

The Ultimate Music Glossary


Navigating music licensing terms and definitions is a breeze when you have the ultimate music glossary on hand — so we created one just for you.


Licensing from the Marmoset catalog of music entails obtaining rights to use the song(s) for an agreed upon time period. Music licensing gives you the ability to use a song in almost any kind of creative project — like building out a stellar soundtrack for your feature film or creating a signature sound to your podcast’s intro.

Custom License

Marmoset can tailor a license to your project’s specifications — does your creative project have some tricky variables or broadcasting terms, or are you considering using a specific kind of vintage song but not seeing the “Buy Song” button? A custom license best ensures you’re covered, fill out our custom license form to get started.

End Client

The end client is the person or company the content is made for — if you’re a videographer hired to film and edit an ad campaign for Nike, the end client would be Nike. Swoosh!

Employee Count

This is is the number of employees who work for the project client’s company. For example, if you were creating a video for a large company like Amazon, the employee count is the number of employees employed by Amazon.

Internal Use

When music is licensed for content such as internal presentations, meetings, intranet or internal email blasts. If it's not being publicly shared or released, we consider this internal use.

Industrial Use

This refers to licensing music for media showcased in trade and sale shows, conventions, institutional meetings, retail dealers/in-store use, kiosks, PR use and B2B facing videos.


If a song is absent of lyrics (vocals), the song will be labeled as instrumental. Commonly, Marmoset has both instrumental and lyrical versions of a song — here’s an example of how an instrumental song is labeled on the search page.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property covers intangible content and creations — it covers anything from trademarks to copyright. When you see intellectual property, this indicates that content belongs to that content creator. For example, a song, while not tangible, is still an artist’s intellectual property.


Lyrical indicates a song with lyrics (the inclusion of vocal melodies). Sometimes the lyrical versions of a song will contain lyrics. While browsing the roster, click the three vertical dots and select Lyrics to see more.


Using on one’s content to generate revenue can be categorized as monetization. When it comes to music licensing, streaming sites or any platform that incorporates pre-roll ads is a monetary opportunity for the content creator.

Non-Permitted Content

This is content that goes beyond the limit of what the license terms cover. Using the previous example of a Personal - Single Use Podcast License — if the podcast is hosted on a commercial or website, this scenario would fall into non-permitted content. Not quite sure and need to double check? We can help.


A perpetual license means forever, ever. With perpetual licensing, you don’t have to worry about the hassles of renewing a license and its terms. An indefinite (perpetual) music license means you can keep your YouTube miniseries online without the song’s license expiring.

Performance Rights Organizations (PRO)

Performance Rights Organizations support artists and songwriters in getting paid for the usage of their work/music through royalties. While Marmoset focuses on helping our artist community get paid for their music, we are not a PRO but instead a sync licensing agency and original music production studio.

Permitted Content

When purchasing a license, you’ll want to review what exactly the license covers. For example, a Personal - Single Use Podcast License’s permitted content covers a single 12 month audio podcast series posted by a non-commercial place (i.e someone’s blog). Read up more on a license’s permitted content here.

PR Usage

Licensing music for promotional purposes or for your company’s PR campaign? This is right up your alley. We can help with licensing music specifically for PR use, just ask.


In the case of licenses that are nearing their expiration date (non-perpetual licenses), once the license reaches its entire duration period you’ll have the option to either extend/renew said license.

Web (Paid)

When a song is being used in material where you’re generating revenue (think YouTube videos with sponsored or promotional ads, such as Hulu pre-roll or even social boosting) . Keep an eye out for this one especially if it falls within a license’s non-permitted content description.

Web (Unpaid)

Content with no ad dollars behind it or if being shared on a personal website. If your film was created outside an actual studio system and is being shared in a standard festival circuit, this is considered Unpaid Web. In the chance your film is picked up later for distribution, get in touch with us to revise your license conditions.

Music That Makes or Breaks Your Video


There are specific qualities to a song that music producers are expertly skilled to recognize, to distinguish and interpret into layman’s terms — it’s why they’re an essential designated point person when coordinating deliverables between a client and composer.

It’s these very qualities that can easily make or break how successful a song fits into a creative project, whether it be a commercial, film or even a podcast. Seeing it as this is what Marmoset’s Creative Services Team does (whether it be for music licensing projects or original music scores), we’re going to walk you through some helpful tips to keep in mind when using keywords to find the soundtrack you’re envisioning.


Do emotions run high?

Have you ever worked on a video project and considered it “bright” in regards to the cinematography or even the content itself? Are you considering the emotive qualities of the visuals when concluding how the song accompanying the video should sound?

Maybe the video is designed to feel empowering, upbeat or imaginative even. But how would such a term be used to search and filter out the results you’re actually wanting?

When considering the mood of a song cataloged on Marmoset’s browse page, site users can search by a keyword (i.e. “bright”) but without having some instrumental qualities in mind, the results may not be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s also why Marmoset’s music roster is so meticulously tagged and labeled — when our A&R Team is adding/categorizing new songs to our music collection, they consider the presence of instruments, tempo and pace and how all these elements add up to impact a song’s overarching mood.

Let’s look at “Brighter Than Expected” by Marmoset artist, Paper Rabbit as an example. The song’s composition is orchestrally enriched with piano and strings — notably there is treble presence. As an exercise, check out the song and think about what adjectives come to mind. Would you have entered “bright” as a descriptor when searching? If not, would “optimistic” or “whimsical” have been better search terms?


A bit like searching through a crossword puzzle, it’s all about finding the right words to transcribe an accurate description — it may not seem imperative but every word adds up to identify how a song should ultimately “feel.” And factoring in musical elements like frequency, treble, pace and tempo are key not exclusively for exploring an online catalog of music; for an artist, it can also prove useful when arranging a song. Think about if a client described their dream song as “gutty”, you might consider what instruments would deliver a “rule-breaking” kind of attitude, even being mindful of the song’s frequency (i.e. mid-range).

Digging into sonics and interchangeably using non-musical terms to describe a song also comes in handy when requesting Marmoset do a search on your behalf. When our creatives scour our roster to deliver a curated list of music, we’ll first ask some detailed questions to learn what you’re envisioning for the project’s soundtrack — being descriptive of how you envision the details we covered can produce quicker and more precise results.

Considering these musical terms we hope you’ll feel empowered the next time you search or describe a song to your composer, a music producer or even when creating your own music.

Posted on November 30, 2018 and filed under Education, Marmoset, Music.

Let's Talk About Music Licensing (Part II)

Marmoset Music Licensing Part II .jpg

Every day we encounter music, whether it’s the subtle soundtrack playing on that ad you just paused to view on your Instagram feed or the film trailer you’ve played a dozen times. The point is, music is present and often supporting the content in powerful ways — even if it’s only subtle instrumental music.

So now that we’ve accustomed ourselves to music’s influential powers we can take a closer look at the next step — how to use that music on a project.

Just like any kind of intellectual property, that piece of music needs the right kind of permissions/license agreement in order to be used properly. In part one of our music licensing series (check it out here if new to the music licensing world), we went over some popular music licenses and how to jump the common hurdles we see associated with such licenses.

Buckle up. Our continuation on music licensing includes the details to watch out for and consider before purchasing that license.

Organic Content

In our previous post, we looked at the Small Business License agreements and the common places where this music license is put into action. Where a project will live on the web is extremely important in terms of music licensing terms — we’ll dive a bit deeper into why in the next section.

Music Licensing Coordinator, Nathaniel Schmidt

Music Licensing Coordinator, Nathaniel Schmidt

In the case of music appearing in advertisements, videos being used to generate a source of revenue (think of those 30 second ads you see appear on trending YouTube videos), this will not fall within the “organic content” category. So what does fall into the “organic content” category? We asked Marmoset’s Music Licensing Coordinator, Nathaniel Schmidt.

“Anything that is not organic web — which is something we define as anything posted to a website or social media page, YouTube or Vimeo, anything that is just going to kind of live there, it’s not going to be promoted, there are no ad dollars behind it, there is no paid downloads for it. That’s all organic web content.”

Don’t worry, if your version of content cannot be defined as “organic,” licensing music is still an option! Instead of purchasing a license for the song through Marmoset’s website, our Creative Music Licensing Team can assist with creating a custom quote/license for your needs.

Projects that most likely will require a custom music license include:

  • broadcast radio

  • in-app media

  • anything that’s paid web

Think your project falls within this category? Get in touch with us here to begin the custom license conversation.

Can We Ask You a Question?

In the case of custom licensing, the project in question probably has a few specifications we’ll want to ensure are covered in the agreement. In true Marmoset fashion, we leave no stone unturned, in which case you can expect us to ask several specific questions regarding the project the custom music license will serve.

Looking to save some time? Providing us with specific information right off the bat will cut out down a custom licenses interactions. Here’s what we’ll want to know so you can stay ahead of the game.

  • Client: Who's this video for? About how many people do they employ?

  • Content: What's the video all about?

  • Lifespan: How long will this be live?

  • Project Title: Do you have a project title I can file this under?

  • Picture: Do you have picture /video to share?

As we continue exploring music licensing throughout our series, we’re always curious to know what’s on your mind. Are there licensing questions we can help better clarify or do you have feedback for the list of licenses on our FAQ page? Don’t be shy, let us know how we can help.

Posted on November 1, 2018 and filed under Marmoset, Music, Education.

TechTalk: Searching for Music Just Got Easier

TechTalk Marmoset Music Licensing.png

Imagine sifting through a vinyl collection, crates stack up haphazardly climbing toward the ceiling. Now imagine a juxtaposition of a neat 4 x 4 cubic shelving setup, where each unit neatly displays the artist name easily — alphabetical order heaven. The latter, while takes time and effort to achieve, is exactly what Marmoset envisions through its online catalog of music.

We remove the figurative room of dusty crates, providing a conducive system for searching and licensing music easily. And we wouldn’t be able to do it without our in-house Tech Team.

If new, dear reader, our ongoing TechTalk series provides updates and new releases by our steadfast developers. This week we’re covering the launch of Marmoset’s Search by Phrase function.

It Goes Something Like This…

Searching for a song but only able to recall lyrics from the song you’re looking for? You can now search by typing in lyrics (or by the title of a song if preferred) in the search bar. Once on Marmoset’s Browse page, enter the phrase or title in parentheses.

In the example below, we enter the phrase “I saw your colors all over me” — lyrics to Frankie Simone’s War Paint song.

Searching by these lyrics filter out unwanted results, producing one song result that contains this exact match of lyrics.

To view full lyrics to a song, searchers will first want to search for a song. Next, on the search results page, hover over the three vertical dots symbol on the right side of the page. Clicking this will produce several results such as Lyrics, Add to Favorites, Add to Mixtape — clicking on the Lyrics icon will result in a second window the song’s lyrics.*

*Some songs with vocals may not have a lyrics setting available this is due to some artists not submitting lyrics when adding their music to Marmoset’s roster.

Posted on October 24, 2018 and filed under MarmoLabs, TechTalk, Education, Music.

Let's Talk About Music Licensing - Pt. I


Navigating the world of music licensing can feel overwhelming if going in blindly. And with a project’s many variables to consider and gauge, the starting line can have the potential to change — again and again.

At Marmoset, we work closely on our own and clients’ creative projects everyday — from films to commercials — so we understand the struggle. It’s the reason we’ve recruited our Creative Licensing Coordinators to step in and share their industry experiences and advice with our readers for this special series on music licensing.

This week we sat down with Music Licensing Coordinator, Nathaniel Schmidt to talk about the most common music license, what to carefully watch out for, and how to choose a music license confidently.

Small Business Licenses

Approaching a project in terms of categories can give a licenser superpowers; in a way, it’s process of elimination by narrowing down what music license is best suited for a project and better yet, which licenses don’t apply. No matter what step of the music licensing process you happen to be on, we recommend starting by checking out our license breakdown page here.

From Independent Licenses to Small Non-Profit License, the guide outlines the purpose of each license, the expected cost, and even usage terms.

While Marmoset sees all of these plans licensed daily, there’s one in particular that often has some confusion surrounding it — the Small Business License. Geared toward small businesses and operations, this option allows these clients to obtain an affordable license for usage of high quality music. While the term “business” is in the title, this music license serves the purpose of pairing with content that highlights the spirit of an organization.

“This license is for people not selling a product specifically,” says Nathaniel. “Instead, this music license is more for brand videos, how-to pages, things of that nature. It’s a license for content that’s more informative, something that highlights the brand or company rather than a specific product or service.”

Here's another recap of what a Small Business License entails.

Small Business License — Music for highlighting company culture, events and employees.

  • Tunes for highlighting company culture, events and employees.

    • Permitted Content: You are an individual wishing to license one master recording and composition embodied thereon (“Musical Work”, as defined in the attached Standard Terms and Conditions) for the creation of a film or slideshow that highlights an organization as a whole. Content may include company highlights, event coverage, culture highlights, and employee insights - films that give an overall sense of the spirit of the organization. 

    • Non-Permitted Content: Fundraising campaign or call to action, or any film that highlights a specific product or service of the organization. 

    • # of Spots: Single (1) use 

    • Lifespan: Perpetual 

    • Cost: 

      • ▶ 1 - 20 employees: $199.00

      • ▶ 21 - 50 employees: $499.00

      • ▶ 51 - 100 employees: $699.00

      • ▶ 101 - 250 employees: $999.00

So while the video editor licensing the song works for a company of five people, if the end client (who the video is for) has 150 employees — Marmoset will want the licenser to abide by the latter.

Beyond the Music License Page

While the aforementioned page offers an in-depth overview of the many different music licenses that can be purchased through a couple quick clicks on Marmoset’s site, these licenses are not fully comprehensive. Instead, there are a variety of projects that will require other types of licenses that don’t always easily fit within a simple category.


“When people see click licenses, they think they somehow have to adhere to that,” says Nathaniel. “We can do custom licensing. But keep in mind we have designed these more basic licenses to facilitate the process for smaller projects, independent artists, or what we sometimes refer to as micro budget projects.”

Nathaniel goes on to describe how many of these licenses listed on our music license page are geared toward more limited web usage, whereas paid web, broadcast radio, or in-app media projects would need a customized license.

“The click licenses were designed as a kind of like in-between measure where certain things can be pinpointed — like typical classic uses that can be easily identified and just made available. But for example, if it’s just going on a small business website, you don’t need to deal with someone going back and forth in a negotiation, signing a document, being invoiced. Instead you can easily just pay and go through the site.”

Our Creative Licensing Team gets how the details can get muddled from time to time, so keep in mind our team is always welcoming to offer input and guidance.

“There’s no need to rush; we understand that your project is important and you might be on a tight timeline but the world isn’t going to end if you don’t necessarily get it right the first time,” says Nathaniel. “But because of that we suggest reading through the licensing page that covers all the click licenses we offer. After reading through that, if it doesn’t sound like it fits then it probably doesn’t and you should reach out.”

Thanks again to Nathaniel on our Creative Music Licensing Team for kickstarting our music licensing series! Stay tuned for next time when we dive into frequently answered questions and clarify what you should know when asking about custom licenses.

Have music licensing questions you’d like us to address? Send them through the form below, then head over to Marmoset’s Instagram page as we chat about licensing with Nathaniel.

Posted on October 15, 2018 and filed under Marmoset, Music, Education.