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ELI5: Music Libraries and Licensing
Old 18th August 2019
Gear Nut

ELI5: Music Libraries and Licensing

So I guess what I think I understand is that there are "Music Libraries" that provide a central repository for Film-makers (Film, TV, Game, etc.) where they can go (or their audio engineer can go?) to find music for a Commercial or whatever that type of music might get used for in a Show or Film.

I suppose the same is true for people who work in Radio and other audio broadcast formats where they also need music for commercials, theme songs, and so on.

Obviously, everyone and their brother wants to be a Game Composer, and Film Composer, and I would guess everyone also wants to put songs in Libraries in the hopes that someone's going to find it?

I imagine if someone picks up your piece, you get some money.

How exclusive are those Libraries?

Aren't some going to be "go to" for people in the industry - such that getting your music into a Library that no professionals use isn't going to get you very far.

Are there "strategies" for getting accepted, and getting yourself more likely to get picked up - Tags, specific Styles, Formats (15 second, 30 second - i.e. writing to commercial length rather than 5 minute or 10 minute magnum opuses?).

What happens if you submit a piece of music to a library and it's accepted? Do they then have the exclusive rights to it?

Let's say you submit something that gets accepted, and then 10 years down the road it's just still sitting there and no one's used it for anything - is it just in limbo?

Is it even worth it to try to get your music into these libraries? Is it like hitting the lottery, or is there really a decent chance that something will get picked up?

Likewise, can you just play the odds and throw as much spaghetti as you can at the wall (submit as many pieces as you can to as many places as you can) and you'll better your chances?

Or would time and energy be better spent trying to get work composing for local TV and Radio spots - local commercials, things like that?

I'm not looking to make millions of dollars - doing a job for a couple hundred dollars would be great.

Advice and Wisdom appreciated
Old 18th August 2019
Gear Addict
Arcana's Avatar

Read this 10 part article in SOS. That should answer most of your questions.
Old 18th August 2019
Gear Addict

Very good link by Arcana. It's mandatory reading, really. On top of that, read up about exclusive vs non-exclusive libraries, and make sure you understand the difference between the two. Also, head over to and read everything in the 'Newbie Info' section. I would advise against paying for a subscription on music library report though. You can find all the info you need for free through googling. But the free info on there is well worth reading.
Old 18th August 2019
Gear Nut

Thanks Arcana - I'm on it!
Old 18th August 2019
Gear Nut

Thanks Goodkeys - I'll take them on in the order I got them, so SOS first, then musiclibraryreport.

This is great. Keep 'em coming!
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