Music Industry Advice: Licensing for a Living

Music Industry Advice: Licensing for a Living

Music placements in film, television, commercials and video games continue to be an exciting area of the music business. Not only do placements deliver exposure to a mass audience, they also generate income. To help you take advantage of this lucrative, hot button, promotional tool, we talked with five unique licensing and placement experts––each from a very different area of the industry (songwriting, score composing, music supervision)—for music industry advice and to find out how to become part of their world.

Music Industry Advice: Licensing for a Living Wenty MorrisWENTY MORRIS
Morris & Young / morris-young.com

Wenty Morris and D.A. Young formed Morris & Young over 10 years ago to provide a one-stop-shop for music licensing needs. Today the company employs songwriters to create music for film, television, video games, commercials and recording artists. Currently their catalog includes 20,000 titles and 90 genres, resulting in hundreds of placements in numerous projects, including major motion pictures, advertisements and TV programs. (Check their website for an impressive list of credits.)

Your company has really evolved and expanded.
At first we were just trying to connect the dots and represent our music. Then the industry changed and we changed with it. Now, we cover a lot more area.

What was the most significant change?
The advent of reality shows changed our focus and created a lot of new opportunities. Networks and production companies needed music for those shows, and we wanted to be their go-to source.

What changed your company for good?
We couldn’t keep up with the demand. We needed to open it up and bring more people in. It was no longer a two-person job––it was way bigger than that.

You deal with 90 genres–is versatility a plus?
It is for us. Naturally, quality is most important but quantity is also crucial. It allows us to pitch more projects. And, it keeps us from being pigeonholed and limited in our reach.

What’s the secret to securing an amazing number of placements?
You have to hustle every day. It comes down to hard work and grinding it out 24/7. Also, you have to do your homework, watch the shows and analyze the music. Our success comes from the fact that we know what they need before we pitch them.

You attach metadata to all your music. How important is that?
We’re anal about metadata. It supplies all the information a music supervisor or production company needs, including key words. They’re usually crunched for time, so we give them what they need to make their job easier.

What’s your opinion about retitling a placement to share royalties?
I’m not a big fan of it. We like to own our material. At first I didn’t see a problem, but then I noticed it caused confusion. Now, with new technology I believe it’s antiquated and short-sighted. If anyone is still doing that today, I would be worried.

Final advice?
Let your passion drive you. Develop new relationships every day. And when you finally get your music heard by millions of people, enjoy the feeling...because there’s nothing like it.

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