Learn About Licensing at SXSW 2014

Written by Rory Burbeck | November 20, 2013

Mark Gordon is back as a panelist for SXSW 2014

Last week we touched on changes in consumer behavior in the music industry and how artists can make progress towards getting paid in our new streaming economy. However, there are other ways for artists to make money these days: more and more bands are licensing their music as an alternative source of revenue. Licensing gives artists the opportunity to partner with lucrative brands and have their music heard by millions of people who would otherwise be unreachable. At the 2014 SXSW Music and Media Conference, you will have the opportunity to hear from experts on multiple panels throughout the week.

As recently as fifteen years ago, an indie band selling their song for use in a commercial might have been met with fierce opposition and a loss of respect from their industry peers. A recent article published on BuzzFeed, entitled How Selling Out Saved Indie Rock, sums this change up perfectly. Howard Greynolds saw the pushback indie bands received for licensing their songs for commercial use while working for indie label Thrill Jockey in the 1990s. According to Greynolds, the cause of the change in attitude “wasn’t just the huge drop in record sales, but as layoffs swept through the record industry, contacts from labels and distributors went to marketing, advertising, and brands.”

There’s a lot of potential money to be made if you license your music. Brands are increasing spending on music for use in marketing campaigns more than ever before. In the UK, brands spent more than £100 million on music in 2012, up 6% from 2011 according to an article published by Click Music. As long as the brand the artist chooses to partner with makes sense with their identity, artists can retain and grow their fanbase, as well as generate significant revenue. The tricky part is navigating through licensing specifics.

So, if you’re an artist or band manager, what is the proper way of selling your music for use in TV commercials or films? Our panelists at SXSW 2014 have the answers for you. See the list of licensing-focused sessions happening at the 2014 SXSW Music and Media Conference below and click the links to read more. And don’t forget, the next registration deadline is this coming Friday, November 22 - register now and save on your badge.

  • Anatomy of a Placement (Travis McFetridge, Great South Bay Music Group Inc)
  • Art vs Craft - Original Music for Advertising (Jack Bradley, HiFi Project)
  • Breaking Big with Sync, 2nd Screen & Smart Devices (Rica Squires, Shazam Entertainment)
  • Creative Artist Development for Fun and Profit (John Manganilla, Moonwlk)
  • From Art to Commerce & Artists to Entrepreneurs (Tamara Saviano, Tamara Saviano Media)
  • Get Yourself Working With Music Houses on Ads Now (Ravi Krishnaswami, COPILOT Strategic Music + Sound)
  • Sync to Success: How to Get Placed & Get Paid (Jennifer Newman Sharpe, Law Offices of Jennifer Newman Sharpe/Women in Music)
  • Synching Up...Is It Worth It? (Theresa Notartomaso, Publicis Kaplan Thaler)
  • UK Television: 10 Rules For Music Placement (Mark Gordon, Score Draw Music)
  • Music Agency of Record (Daniel Jackson, Cord Worldwide Ltd)
  • 2013 panelist Mark Gordon (shown above) will be on the UK Television: 10 Rules For Music Placement panel at SXSW 2014. Photo by Jim Antich.