Music Licensing 101

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Music licensing — where do you start? There being a vast range of licenses for every type of project, if you can imagine it, Marmoset's found a way to license it. But how does it work, where’s the starting line? Is there a starting line? Oh yeah, there it is.

Depending on where you’re licensing your music from, the experience and constituencies will greatly differ. Can you think of a time where you endlessly searched for a song, but couldn’t find the right fit? Or on the opposite end of the spectrum, perhaps you could pinpoint the dream music, yet its licensing terms were so ambiguous it was easier to move onto something else.

We feel you. It’s these exact pain points Marmoset strives to address in the world of music licensing, because your cool project deserves equally cool music. 


What kind of licenses are out there?

If new to the music licensing world, you may be surprised to learn just how much a license can change depending on the project. Factors such as, where the project will be showcased can heavily influence the license needed for purchase. Consider a music license for a commercial that originally was only set to circulate online, but due to its viral popularity, the company decides they'd then like to broadcast it across TV networks too — you guessed it, the project would then require a new type of license. 

We know this can seem like a lot of hoops to jump through. That's where we come in. If you've already secured the license but its sharing conditions have changed, our Music Licensing Coordinators can point you in the new, right direction: compass@marmosetmusic.com

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Prepare Your Budget

When we sat down to gather tips from one of our Senior Music Licensing Creatives, Jackie Westfall, we identified one of the bigger problem areas is budget. "So often, music is thought of at the last minute, when it's integral in the art of the piece," Jackie says.

Truth be told, it makes sense — money can get tight when it comes to creative projects. The time a project has gone through preproduction, production, and post-production, music is often thought of as second to last, prompting a scramble to secure great music on a practically nonexistent budget. Unfortunately, we don't have the secret recipe for generating money out of thin air, but there is something  else you can do to prepare for the impending licensing.

Music companies like Marmoset are equipped with experienced licensing teams who've seen it all. And guess what? All that expertise is at your disposal. Knowing most music comes at a cost, a lot of creatives can get a head start by contacting a music licensing coordinator even before their project is complete. 

"To ensure we're paying our artists what they're worth, we love to collaborate on budgets to be built into the plan," says Jackie. "Finding the right song is the one of the hardest parts, so it's really great to get the financials all squared away before anyone falls too in love with the music."

Types of Licenses

The best approach to ensure a project doesn't get flagged (hello, YouTube we see you), is to review all available options once a song is in your cart — clicking on a license category will open up a more detailed description of the license's conditions that can be used for cross-referencing the project's criteria. 

After perusing the options, select the most fitting license for the project's requirements. If purchasing the license from Marmoset, you'll see a slew of options on the checkout panel: from Independent Film License to Small Business License — but what if the project doesn't quite fit what you're envisioning? Great news! Marmoset offers a custom licensing option. If you're stumped, click the "Custom License" button on the bottom right of the checkout panel — we'll then walk you through the rest. 

Phew, crisis adverted. 

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Any other licensing questions come to mind? We're ready to jump in. Reach out to us here anytime.

Posted on March 19, 2018 and filed under Education, Marmoset.