The Artists Behind Music Licensing

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Wesley Jensen hails from Denton, Texas. Like other musicians, he creates music to share across the internet and for live performances — it’s a way of life for many working musicians, to record, share, tour and repeat. Oftentimes it can feel like a labor of love, to invest so much of one’s musical craft, to be so committed to something with not a ton of fiscal reward (at least not right off the bat).

This kind of scenario isn’t uncommon for many musicians and it’s one of the reasons Marmoset sets out to improve the music game — focusing on supporting real, touring musical artists through music licensing. Whether it’s collaborating for original composition or placing our artists’ music on viral campaigns, we’re focused on strengthening our community through sustainability.

Every dollar you spend to license a song or invest in original music for your project goes toward a musician’s lifestyle, toward a working artist’s income — so they can focus more time on creating amazing music.

Looking at the journey of the Marmoset dollar, we sat down to chat with Wesley Jensen and learn more about how music licensing has impacted his musical career over the years.

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Marmoset: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey in music in general and how you came to Marmoset? 

Jensen: My interest in music started back in Jr High and it hasn’t ever stopped; I feel like I’ve been in some sort of band ever since. My first release under my own name came way back in 2007 and Marmoset reached out to me in 2011 about being part of the artist catalog. To be honest, I thought it was spam and ignored it for a bit. Ha! It took a strong pursuit by Ryan Wines to wear me down and he finally won me over after I played a Marmoset Music Fest NW Party. Meeting everyone and seeing how great they were, I knew I had to hop onboard. 

M: We’d also love to learn about some creative projects you're most proud of, how do you think they helped define your purpose and desire to pursue music?

Jenson: The music business can be really brutal, so it’s all about the small victories. Ha! Anytime I’ve noticed myself grow as a musician has been important for me. From my first show, to my first album release, to my first national tour, etc, it’s all encouraging and has helped me want to continue on.

As far as specific moments, I’d say around the time I met Marmoset was an exciting turning point for me. That year I had put out my first full length record in which I produced, engineered, and mixed all on my own (which was a lot bigger deal back then as compared to now). It turned out good and was nice to be validated by folks like Marmoset who took it and put it to commercials, etc. 

M: What did your introduction to music licensing look like? What do you think are some common misconceptions about the licensing game? 

Jenson: Licensing has been amazing for me, it’s opened a lot of possibilities musically. I always try to encourage people to to get involved with it if they have the opportunity. In fact, I think I’ve been a bit of an unofficial spokesperson for Marmoset over the years. Ha!

I think there are quite a few common misconceptions, the first being that it’s scary in any way. As musicians, we’re so protective of our craft that it’s hard to sign contracts and think that your music might be used for something weird. The reality is that there’s nothing to lose, especially if your involved with an agency like Marmoset, it’s only beneficial and full of rewarding possibilities. I’d say that the other misconception is that it’s easy — you make music and it gets licensed, just like that. Ha! It’s not true. There’s a lot of work involved in finding the perfect song for each project so it takes patience to see results. You never know when something’s going to land, but it feels like Christmas when it does. 

M: What was your reaction when you first saw your music licensed for a project? How did it compare to something like performing in front of a live audience?

Jenson: I think my first few big licensing hits were commercials. It was weird honestly, but it was cool. It felt good. It’s definitely fun to have family and friends reaching out saying they just heard your music on TV. It’s hard to compare live music to licensing, both are very rewarding I’d say, but different. Live music is very emotionally driven, lots of energy, very in the moment, etc. Licensing is more behind the scenes as opposed to being front of stage, but it’s cool to know you that something you created was picked out of a myriad of options. It’s always fun to win things. 

M: What something you would say to an artist new to the world of licensing or just starting out, is there anything helpful you wish you had known? 

Jenson: If they’re on the fence I’d tell them to go for it. I’d tell them it’s fun and rewarding and they’ve got nothing to lose. If they were on board I’d tell them not to worry about anything at all, the hard part (making the music) is over, now they get to sit back and relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Trust in the people they’re working with and let them find the right opportunities. And if they’re lucky enough to work with Marmoset I’d tell them to say “yes” to anything and everything they’re asked to be involved in. 

M: What new projects are you working on right now?

Jenson: I am ALWAYS working on new projects. I just finished up 2018 releasing a 4 part (16 Song) EP collection Something Old, Something New, Something Else, Something Blue, three of the four are produced by Marmoset’s Brian Hall. Currently, I’m back in the studio working on a brand new project that will wrap up later this spring. All good things!