5 ways to make more sync money from your music

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sync-licensing-youtubeCD Baby has paid $1.2 million in sync licensing revenue to independent artists. Are you earning as much as you can?

As this story from Digital Music News reveals, artists are earning more money these days from user-generated YouTube videos than from the official music videos themselves.

So perhaps not surprisingly, much of the $1.2 million we’ve paid out in sync revenue has come from monetizing music on YouTube — but we’re also seeing a steady rise in payments from other areas: Apps like Jumpcam and Animoto which allow users to add audio to their videos; audio networks that play music in stores and malls; indie films; and many other platforms where people want to add music to enhance the experience for their users.

It’s no secret that big money can be made from high-profile sync placements where your music is used in a TV show, film, video game, or commercial. But the world of sync licensing has grown to include online “micro-sync” usages — in videos, apps, and more — and it’s no longer a side-business for musicians.

The modern music industry is built on a social economy. What your fans do (and want to do) with your music has real value. Sure, you won’t earn as much from a single micro-sync placement as you would if your song got used in a Coke commercial, but micro-sync is all about VOLUME — and as our $1.2 million payout shows, when your fan community is empowered to take social action with your music, you make money. 

Here are 5 ways to encourage your fans to use your music 

1. Let people know they can license your music at FriendlyMusic.com, a service that enables video creators to affordably license great indie music for their videos. Be sure to mention this option on your website, via social media, and in your email newsletter.

2. Make sure your fans know they can use your songs for their wedding videos, family reunion videos, company or school projects, vacation slideshows, etc. Your songs are already in heavy rotation in these peoples’ households; might as well be in their videos, too!

3. Host a video contest and ask your fans to create music videos for their favorite songs. Whether its footage of a dance party, a stop-motion animation, or a bunch of kids lip syncing, these kinds of videos can add up to serious ad revenue from YouTube (and that ad revenue gets paid to YOU).

4. Create and upload videos for ALL your songs (even if they’re just simple album art videos). YouTube has become the #1 preferred listening platform for younger music fans. Make it easy for them to hear your music. the more songs you make available, the more opportunities you have to earn sync revenue.

5. Sign up your entire back catalog for CD Baby’s Sync Licensing Program, because you never know which of your songs might be perfect for some content producer’s needs. Even your oldest songs can keep working for you long-term.

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What do you think of this new revenue stream for artists? Have you hosted a video contest? Have you created album art videos? Did it make you any money or help you build your fanbase? Let us know in the comments section below.

[Take your YouTube presence to the next level with Illustrated Sound. Click HERE.]

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  • iamthegif

    This is cool but we only see 35% of ad revenue when Youtube users use our music as third party content and then we have to split that 35% with CDbaby. Additionally our videos on our own Youtube channels are tagged as containing third party content and we’re only paid 35% of ad revenue which is bad because we could see 55% if we went through Youtube directly. Since we can’t Content ID our videos ourselves I understand the need for a CDbaby to ensure we get paid for uses by Youtube users. My issue is with the reduction of revenue from my personal uploads. I wrote about this on my blog: http://payusnomind.info/youtube-licensing/ Why can’t you guys white list uploads of our videos to our own channels?

  • laxon212

    Great!

  • MichelleBelanger

    Does this include covers, or only songs you write?

    • Only original material. It gets too complicated when you involve cover songs, because suddenly every time there’s a chance to license the track, you’ve got to go and get the permission of the writers/publishers. Sometimes that means 4 or 5 different parties have to get in agreement first.

      @ Chris Robley

  • Michael James Rambo

    I am signed up for Sync licensing. On my youtube videos, it says “Your video includes music that is 3rd party material” even though it is mine. Do I comply to let CD Baby collect stuff from me? Or do I challenge so that it clears my account of that discrepancy? I’m not sure which rout would let you CD Baby do what this article is talking about.

  • Rob Christensen

    Regarding way #1, how do people / users find an artist on Friendly Music or on Rumblefish? I just checked by doing a search for my own band, Saturday’s Radio. It didn’t come up on either site, yet I’ve seen money from Rumblefish in my CD Baby royalties. I’d like to be able to let people know they can license my songs, but I’m concerned that they won’t be able to find it. Am I missing something?

  • Hi Rob, yes. Those bands are searchable in the FriendlyMusic catalog, BUT… I think your band was just recently added, so it might not have been coming up Here it is: http://friendlymusic.com/artist/id/227126/saturdays-radio#editorspicks

    @ Chris Robley

    • Rob Christensen

      Thanks Chris. I see we’re coming up on FriendlyMusic now. I’m still a little confused about the differences between Rumblefish and FriendlyMusic, but I’ll research more via the CD Baby FAQs. Cheers!

    • I’m also having a hard time figuring out the best way to direct people to our stuff on Friendly Music. Our songs come up individually in a search but there seems to be no way to find a specific URL with only our tracks. Do you know if there’s a way to find this?

  • Hi Michael,

    Yes. Just hit the ok button to comply. We’re not claiming ownership of any of your video or musical content, just the right to collect ad revenue on your behalf. That’s why that warning is coming up.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Most artists aren’t monetizing their own channels, so our program ends up being a simple way to take care of it all: monetizing all their music across YouTube. Plus, when you monetize directly, there’s the $100 minimum payout. That being said, artists that want to have their channels white-listed can write to cdbaby@cdbaby.com

    Regarding the payout structure, we’ve heard that once YouTube launches its streaming service, the payout rates will be leveled, so there won’t be any discrepancy. The percentage would be the same whether it’s third party content or not.

    Lastly, sorry for the delay in response. I had our blog moderation settings set so that the oldest comments showed up kinda obscured down at the bottom. Fixed!

    @ Chris Robley

  • Will Forest

    Only about half of our songs are on FriendlyMusic. How do we let CD Baby know, so they can upload the balance? (Patti Casey is the artist)

  • Here’s what I just heard from Rumblefish:

    Unfortunately a comprehensive search is not currently available on our newly launched Friendly Music site (in beta) but it is a feature we are working on rolling out in the near future.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Double checking – I have to join CD Baby Pro at the ~$60 fee to get my music on YouTube, etc?

  • Nope. YouTube monetization (which mostly consists of a share of YouTube ad revenue) comes with our standard distribution package. You don’t need to upgrade to Pro. CD Baby Pro exists to help you collect all the publishing royalties you’re owed worldwide. Which is great, but not necessary to collect YouTube ad revenue.

    @ChrisRobley

    • Mahalo! I’m not able to figure out how to do it, then. Each time I click where the articles say to click to monetize, I get sent to a promo for the paid thing.

  • This sounds like a great project. Unfortunately I can’t find my music on the friendlymusic site either. Anybody know what I’m missing here?

  • Are you already distributing your music through CD Baby? If so, you can opt in through your members account. If not, you WILL need to sign up for at least CD Baby Standard (which is $49 per album). But you do NOT need to sign up for CD Baby Pro in order to monetize your music on YouTube.

    @ChrisRobley

    • I only distribute the e-music through CD Baby. Maybe that’s the problem?

  • If you paid the initial setup fee to have your music distributed through CD Baby, then you have access to YouTube monetization. BUT… you have to be signed up for our sync licensing program (also included with your membership). You can opt in any time within your members account. If you’re having trouble finding the place to opt in, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-buy-my-CD, or email cdbaby@cdbaby.com

    @ChrisRobley

  • I don’t think it’s you. Apparently Rumblefish’ FriendlyMusic search is kind of janky right now. I’ve heard they’re working on improvements. Hopefully they’ll happen soon.

    @ChrisRobley

    • meanwhile (6 months later)… i looked for my tunes as well, not there yet…

  • Graeme Leslie

    What about songs that others have uploaded onto their Youtube Channel, how do we get monetized for these?

    • With CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization program, YouTube’s content ID system will identify ANY instance of your song on YouTube (even in videos other people have uploaded) and we’ll collect that ad revenue for you.

      @ChrisRobley

      • Graeme Leslie

        thanks Chris

    • With CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization program, YouTube’s content ID system will identify ANY instance of your song on YouTube (even in videos other people have uploaded) and we’ll collect that ad revenue for you.

      @ChrisRobley

    • With CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization program, YouTube’s content ID system will identify ANY instance of your song on YouTube (even in videos other people have uploaded) and we’ll collect that ad revenue for you.

      @ChrisRobley

  • Bruce

    My music is on there but the bands name is not right. How can we get this corrected?

  • Where is your music appearing without the associated band name?

    @ChrisRobley

  • Where is your music appearing without the associated band name?

    @ChrisRobley

    • Bruce

      “GSlide” is the name of the band. “This Too Shall Pass” is the name of the album.
      All songs affiliated with this album appear with the band name “GSlide/GSlide”.

      Thanks for looking into Chris.

    • Bruce

      “GSlide” is the name of the band. “This Too Shall Pass” is the name of the album.
      All songs affiliated with this album appear with the band name “GSlide/GSlide”.

      Thanks for looking into Chris.

      • Just to be certain, are you saying it’s not appearing correctly in the Friendly Music catalog?

        @ChrisRobley

        • Bruce

          Yes, it is not appearing correctly in the Friendly catalog.

  • OK. So, I would recommend giving us a call (1-800-Buy-My-CD) and we can look into it for you.

    @ChrisRobley

  • OK. So, I would recommend giving us a call (1-800-Buy-My-CD) and we can look into it for you.

    @ChrisRobley