If you are reading this, you probably already know about “sync licensing.”
If you don’t, then head over to this amazing podcast with Vo Williams: “Hip Hop Artist with over 1,000 TV, Film and Video Game placements.”
Listening to the podcast with Vo and Ari will give you a good insight into the potential of Sync Licensing. And if you really want to get into it, I would highly recommend taking the Ari’s Take Academy course (taught by Vo) Advanced Sync Strategies for TV, Film and Video Games
Songtradr Review: What is Songtradr and who is it for?
The podcast mentioned above with Vo Williams, really shows how the sky’s the limit when it comes to sync licensing. Songtradr can be a good place to get started.
Songtradr provides artists the opportunity to license, distribute and monetize their music.
Songtradr has worked with major brands such as Netflix, Amazon, FOX, NBC, and Volkswagen. Giving young artists and musicians the opportunity to get their music placed in either a TV show, film, video game, commercial, etc. These types of placements are hard to get without the right contacts. But Songtradr makes it very easy for A&Rs and Music Supervisors to find the perfect song for their project.
What is a Sync license? Any time a TV show, movie, advertiser, video game or anyone, really, wants to use music in their video, they have to obtain a sync license from the rights holder. If you wrote and recorded and released the song all on your own, then you’re the rights holder. Sync stands for “synchronization” and is the license required to put music to picture.
I was able to get my first big placement thanks to Songtradr. A simple Instagram campaign for Tazo Tea featuring SZA, which earned me an upfront fee of a little under $5,000. I will get into all the details later on.
How Does Songtradr’s Monetizing Work?
Songtradr offers a very unique monetization system to make your catalog work for you. “Monetizing Content” usually means getting paid for views or streams. But Songtradr offers to make your songs available for Business Overhead Radios, Apps, and games.
How Does Songtradr’s Distribution Work?
Songtradr also offers artist distribution: getting your songs on Spotify or any major streaming platform (DSP) is pretty easy nowadays. Companies such as Distrokid, CD Baby, Tunecore are the main distributors and some can get a little expensive. Here is a good comparison made by Ari when it comes to distribution: Best Music Distribution Companies
Most artists, including myself, already use different platforms for our distribution such as Distrokid, CD Baby, Tunecore, or the others.
I personally wouldn’t recommend Songtradr for your distribution.
Instead, I prefer to distribute my music through companies where it is their specialty, such as Distrokid, CD Baby, or Tunecore. I use Songtradr for sync licensing, and they are good at that.
Having distributed a few instrumentals through Songtradr just to test it out, I have had a few issues with release dates, wrong Spotify profiles, and songs that were denied. To be honest, I have also had those issues with Distrokid and CD Baby. The difference is official distributors are dedicated to fixing those issues, Songtradr’s main focus is sync licensing. The process in order to fix those issues with Songtradr was complicated and it took a while.
However,if you prefer to keep everything under one room, they have this option. Being able to upload your songs on only one website would be a dream! The amount of time I spend uploading songs to different websites is incredible. It is a very repetitive task to enter the correct collaborator splits, keywords, genre, PRO information; over and over again.
Songtradr Review: How Do You Make Money on Songtradr?
Sync Licensing and Monetization are the main ways to make money with Songtradr. It is fairly easy to set up an account with them and upload your first songs. Let me walk you through how I got my big Tazo Tea placement.
1. Upload Your Songs
Uploading a song to Songtradr is quite time-consuming. They require a lot of information, which is normal when it comes to the sync world. Here is a quick recap:
Recording: Song title, release date, artwork, and most importantly who owns the master recording.
Before uploading, make sure you own all the rights to your music. Or at least, know the information of all your other collaborators. Songtradr takes it very seriously due to their highly placed clients and you should too. Songtradr is a great platform to have a better view of what information is needed when it comes to sync licensing.
Each owner needs to have their own Songtradr account. This allows them to not only collect their share of revenue but also to have control over where the song is placed. All owners must accept the terms in order for the song to be available for licensing.
Information on the songwriters and composers of the song. Performing Rights Organization, ISWC, lyrics, and royalty splits.
Your song does not need to be registered with a PRO in order for it to be licensable with Songtradr. However, it is highly recommended if you are taking your music seriously.
Songtradr offers a list of Keywords to choose from to describe your song. The lyrical theme, mood, instruments, genre:
Do not overlook this section! Be precise in your description, this is the best way for clients to find your music. You do not want to “clickbait” them by using the trendiest tags. Take the time to complete this properly and precisely.
Songtradr offers you the opportunity to upload different versions of your song such as: instrumental, no drums, loops, etc. By uploading these versions you are making it so much easier for your song to be licensed. A client might want to use only the instrumental version because the vocals are getting in the way of the dialogue.
Once again, sync licensing is a very different world. Ari’s course on “Advanced Sync Strategies for TV, Film, and Video Games” will get you up to speed on what is needed to be successful in this sector of the music business.
This is a recap of all the different agreements that each master owner and the copyright owner.
2. Music Wanted
“Music Wanted” is where you can easily pitch your songs for different sync opportunities. Anything from big commercial placements to independent film. I would recommend you have a look at these opportunities once a week as they are constantly updating.
When it comes to submitting music, Songtradr works on a “credit” system. Depending on the type of placement each song you submit will cost you a certain amount of credits. It could range anywhere from 5 credits to 20 credits per submission.
If you are on the free plan you get 120 credits a month and 2 free submissions, which is pretty good to get you started. I recommend all my artists to sign up for free and after their first placement, to invest in the Pro plan which is only $50 a year.
With the Pro plan, you get 250 credits a month, 5 free submissions, and Distribution. We will get into distribution a little bit later.
Songtradr also takes a commission from your placements. They take 40% if you are on the free plan and 20% if you are on the pro plan. Which is also pretty fair when it comes to Music Libraries and sync placements. Some companies I have worked for take 50% of the licensing fee and 50% of my publishing!
Once again, do your research before signing any type of contract, Ari’s book breaks all of this down pretty thoroughly.
Here are more details between the two different plans Songtradr has to offer:
(More information here)
My Thoughts for Songtradr Review
I have been with Songtradr for several years now, and my experience with them has been spectacular! I personally set up a Songrtradr account for every artist I produce for. For me, it has the same importance as a PRO.
I have worked with countless music libraries over the years and Songtradr has been the only one to be not only lucrative but worth my time. As an upcoming producer, I do a lot of things for free to help me build my career and my time is precious.
A website such as Songtradr that not only allows me to have an additional monetization source for my music, it also works for me. All of the placements I have with Songtradr were out of the blue. I do submit songs through the Music Wanted section, but I have never been selected. Which is even better! Songtradr has sync agents that receive pitches for various companies looking for specific music. They go through their catalog and personally select what songs could fit the pitch. A few of my songs have been selected.
Here are some examples of the “random” emails I have received:
In other words, sign up for Songtradr! You have nothing to lose. If you want more information on the details of my Tazo tea featuring SZA placement, here is an interview I did about it with Digital Music News.
Here is also a Zoom conversation I had with Songtradr about this amazing placement: “Artist Experience on Songtradr – Producer Eric Dubois