Music Licensing – Top Tips To Get Your Music Licensed in TV And Film

Whether you’re new to the music industry or an amateur, getting your music licensed in television or film can be a challenge. It often takes the top music to capture the attention of directors or producers and without the right knowledge, your career can either be a flop or success.

Many questions may occur to you as you are taking the first steps toward getting your music out there. How can I license my music? How can I make my music popular? Will my music ever be featured in a movie’s soundtrack? Keep reading for answers to these questions and many more.

Prepping Your Music

Experts like to say that you learn more by “doing” music licensing rather than reading about it. Choosing your music can be an internally conflicting process. For one, what if your music is not catchy enough? Scrap these negative thoughts and continue with the process because you will never know unless you try.

In case that the last sentence was not enough to calm your nerves, here is a list of what is acceptable and what is not in music licensing:


  • Songs with “clean” lyrics
  • Instrumentals
  • Apple loops
  • Self-owned tracks


  • Samples
  • Explicit lyrics
  • Non-owned tracks


You should export your music files in one of two formats if you can: MP3 or WAV. Quality of your music matters more than you could ever know! Here are some rules to follow when exporting your music:

  • 320kbps>256kbps>128kbps
  • 24 bit>16 bit
  • 48kHz>44kHz

The last one is especially important for anyone trying to license their music in films or tv shows. That is the standard quality for music used in the industry!


Your metadata should be labeled correctly otherwise there may be confusion as to the details of the music file. Metadata is the information that pops up upon clicking on the music file in a program such as iTunes. The information displayed includes track name, artist name, album, genre, and release date. To further add a personal touch, you may want to consider adding a piece of personal contact information such as your professional email.

Creating a Music Spreadsheet

Creating a music spreadsheet makes it easier for both you and your fanbase to keep track of your royalty free music. On your spreadsheet, you should include the music file’s metadata as well as any keywords that work on a search engine when searching for the song.

You would need to keep track of all licensing opportunities that have come your way in order to know where your songs are. The better your description is and the more keywords that you have per song, the better your chances are of catching the eyes of a producer or director!

Registration with a PRO

For those who have never heard of a PRO before, PROs or Performance Rights Organizations are responsible for ensuring that you are paid based on your fanbase. Some PROs function better than others, so it is always best to perform a little research before choosing to register with one.


Research is a vital component to success in every industry. For this specific one, you will want to perform in-depth research on music libraries. These programs are responsible for making your music available to licensing costumers such as music supervisors on films and tv shows, videographers, and ad agencies. Different libraries offer different licensing opportunities, so if you are looking to license your music in film or tv, do research on ones that offer these.

Now that you know how to license your music, what are the different types of music licenses that you may need?

Types of Music Licenses Depending on Your Needs

Royalties are usually paid based on where your music is broadcasted or played. This includes radio, television, or film. However, payments and royalties get more complicated with different types of music licenses. Here’s a quick list of music licenses and what you may need them for:

  • Public Performance License: used for live or recorded music
  • Synchronization License: broadcasting a song with a component that someone else owns
  • Master License: broadcasting anything with a sample from another artist
  • Print License: song that displays musical notes or lyrics

With these quick tips in mind and by following the given steps, you should be well on your way to licensing your music to the show or film of your dreams. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!


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