Getting Songs on TV and Film


Getting songs on TV and film requires that you understand how music placement for television and film works and who the facilitators that you will need to speak with are. Music for motion picture is usually managed by a Music Supervisor working for or on behalf of the television/film production company. If it’s a commercial placement for a television ad, the music supervisor will be working directly with the advertising agency responsible for the campaign. This person will be charged with identifying the most appropriate music for the project, conferring with the producer/director, and procuring the music from you, your administrator, or agent.

Getting songs on TV and film projects will require you to ‘license’ your music to the television network or film production company. The licensing agreement will detail the use of your music, the term of use, and the portions of the copyright from which you aim to generate revenue. Assuming that you own both the master (the recording) and the publishing (you wrote the song and it’s not represented by a publisher), you will negotiate two ‘frontend’ fees: the ‘Synchronization License Fee’ which is the fee for the right to ‘synch’ your song to the motion picture, and the ‘Master Use License fee’ which is the fee for the right to use your recording commercially under the terms of the licensing agreement. The third and, arguably, most important fee is the Performance Royalty for the public broadcast of your music. This is a ‘backend’ fee, collected periodically by your performing rights organization (in the US, it’s ASCAP, BMI or SESAC), and paid to you minus the PRO’s commission after your music has been aired. It is important that you register with a PRO before licensing your music commercially.

Independent artists (or unsigned artists) often waive the Synchronization License Fee and Master Use License fee so they can attract as many music supervisors to procure their music and, in turn, enjoy as much exposure as possible. If the project is successful and your song is used in length, the Performance Royalty, which must be paid under almost every nation’s copyright statute, may amount to several thousand dollars overtime.

Getting songs on TV and film is just one of the many services We Are Listening provides through our music competition platform. Submit your music for a chance to work with a music supervisor and secure lucrative network-sized television placements and film project opportunities.



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