Randy Schroeder
Issue: March 1, 2007


SAN FRANCISCO - The choices for licensing music are expanding fast because of some new Websites that have popped up in the past few years. In addition, independent musicians and labels have never had an easier way to get exposure, and make money. Everyone wins. Here's why?

If you still think most producers hire a music supervisor for every production, think again. Take a look at some of the new online music licensing sites and you'll see why. Most allow producers to listen to music tracks from independent artists, and license what they need right away.

So what's the big deal? In the past, producers would find a track they liked first; then they had to secure the license, which usually involved finding and contacting the artist; then negotiating a price with them, the publisher, and often the label. It's not only a lot of work, but it takes time.

With the new online sites, the negotiations are all done up-front, so the music is ready to go. It's known as pre-cleared. The producer, game developer, filmmaker or multimedia producer can choose anything directly on the site and know the negotiating has already been done. No contacting anyone else, and no hassles left to handle.
In addition to the convenience factor, these online services offer better music at reasonable prices. Not long ago, the only choices were expensive, popular music or low-quality production music … or even worse, library music.

Good producers finally understand the importance of the music they use. Pick the right music for that film, TV spot, or videogame, and it has better odds of being an award winner. And with the right collection of tracks, some are taking the next step and offering a CD for sale for extra income and/or a great little marketing device.

Here at  Musync (, we're one of the fastest growing libraries with good-quality music. Because we're not promoting individual musicians or labels we sift through hundreds of tracks monthly to pick the best artists to represent. We'll soon have 15,000 filtered, pre-cleared, sample tracks in all genres, from indie artists worldwide, online and ready to go.

The founders of Musync, a TV producer and animation company editor decided the best service would be one that would simplify the process for producers by finding and filtering the best indie artists and labels worldwide -  and then give it to them for a reasonable price.

One familiar problem: ad agencies, filmmakers and other media producers hire a music supervisor, then have someone internally handle the licensing part. The problem is there's usually a disconnect between creative and legal, which often compounds the amount of time it takes for this process.

Another big problem: editors, directors or producers use temp tracks early in the production, and as time goes on, everyone falls in love with that track. Often, it turns out to be a track that's way outside the budget, so the process to find something similar becomes difficult or impossible.

Using an online site helps producers find a track within the budget right in the beginning. Then the licensing part is a snap.

Musync is the only one that has real live music supervisors you can actually talk to if you need help or advice with any or all the steps involved - perfect for anyone who's either too busy or just a novice.

Back in the old days, Harry Fox was the king of music licensing. The process was not only difficult, but often took weeks or longer. Online music licensing can save anywhere from 30 to 130 hours of somebody's time.

Some producers may feel the only way to go is composed music, but that trend is changing. While scored films were the trend of yesterday, younger producers and directors are going with tracks that will reflect the feeling of the production or carry it. Naturally, it depends on whether it's a big budget blockbuster film or a car commercial for national television. Either way, music can make or break the illusion of the story being told.

Generally, every production team wants big name talent - Madonna, Rolling Stones, or U2. Unfortunately, very few budgets can afford these artists; so the hunt for alternatives begins.

At the bottom of the barrel is royalty free music, which is cheap, but is also the lowest quality. Producers with even the smallest budgets don't even bother. Nowadays, everyone's got a friend in a band, which sounds like a good way to go, but without proper contracts or clear license agreements, it could be a big problem later. Even worse is using music that was not created by the artist and turns out to be ripped off. Music fraud could cost a bundle later, so it's always good advice to stay clear of anything that's not 100 percent safe.

Production music has improved over the years, and so has library music, but the risk is that you'll hear the same track pop up again somewhere unexpectedly in another production, and it might not be a good thing?

The best finds are legitimate, legally-licensed, pre-cleared independent musicians and labels. Why? Many artists produce very high quality music and they're still affordable - because they're undiscovered. The problem? Finding the good ones. Who has the time? This brings us back to the new online licensing groups who are saving their customers hundreds of hours, helping producers license great music easily, at realistic prices, and at the same time giving indie artists a shot at the big time. What a great business model.