Protecting your music has never been that easy. Nowadays, with a few online forms,once the right protection company chosen, you’re set to never miss a royal-T.
But is that even worth it at the end?
First of all, ASCAP or BMI have their own fees. For example, ASCAP will require a one time $50 membership subscription. This fee is purely made for your folder to be treated by ASCAP agents and after that, you’re good.
Licensing music doesn’t cost you much but you would be surprised how little is the number of artists that can actually get these $50 back in licensing.
This seems pretty insane while reading it but when a stream on Spotify is paid $0.003 if there was an ad before or after, you songs would need to be played at least 16,000 times on paid platforms to be able to return this investment.
Sure, $50 seems like a bargain for the work they do, but the truth is that even a small fee like this needs a lot of work to have it back.
And once again, this is not anecdotic at all, 70% of artists and musicians will not pass the bar of 4,000 plays.
Now, when it comes to big contracts and partnership deals with brands, let’s say with Ford using your song on TV in front of millions of people watching, multiple times a day, that becomes immediately very interesting.
Deals like that are always very specific and can actually be a headache as well.
Imagine the Head of Creatives of Ford contacting you, the artist, because they love your song and it would be perfect for their new car ad. The first question that they’re gonna ask is if you’d like a little check in exchange for them to air your song with their ad.
If you are not really aware of anything and feel like it’s a great opportunity, you’ll say yes.
Of course, that’s the worst case scenario for you because they are making an exclusive contract with you that does not take care of anything related to licensing music the right way.
What should happen is the following: you should have paid that $50 fee of membership subscription with ASCAP in case of that kind of event. Betting on the karma that your song is good (at that point you are very self-aware and I love that!) and could be picked up by a big brand.
Then Ford asks you for the song, you redirect them to ASCAP since they take care of that and you get the royal-Ts because ASCAP monitor the main TV distributors in the US.
If that looks great on the paper, in reality, everything is way different. First of all, majors have deals with the biggest brands in general. They partner all the time to get their artists featured in ads as well.
So your chance to be picked up by a brand and therefore make money out of licensing is incredibly small because of the insane catalog labels and majors have.
Therefore, if you put into perspective the fact that you need a lot of streams to refund yourself or to even make money with licensing and that your chances to be featured anywhere big on TV or else are incredibly small without a label… Well then why even protect your songs?
Let me answer this question for you.
As an Advisor, I would always tell you to license your songs. Even if there is a fee at the beginning because creating content on the internet has never been easier. More and more people can upload videos on YouTube or social media and not everybody is very conscious with this.
A random video could blow up with your song in it, for millions of views, and you wouldn’t have a dime because of you refusing to license your music.
While you may definitely bank on exposure and people would manually look for your song if it is catchy and link it to the idea of that video, the effect is not always positive.
We have seen plenty of bands, even big ones, signed with a major, having their song used at a political rally that they wish would never be associated with them.
Protecting your songs is to me fundamental. You definitely should consider it.