The Complete Guide to Sync Licensing

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Selling MP3s and CDs ain’t the only way to earn money from your music. Licensing your music for use in TV programs, films, commercials, games, apps, YouTube and more has the potential to generate significant revenue streams for all the music you create. 

Over the past 10 years, music licensing has become one of the best ways for independent musicians to make money. You can generate licensing revenue (through the initial fee and performance royalties) and get valuable exposure for your music at the same time.

But how do you get started? What IS sync licensing, anyway? How does it work? How do you meet music supervisors and get a sync placement? And what exactly is CD Baby’s sync licensing program?

Sync licensing made simple!

We’ve posted a number of informative articles about music licensing over the years. Now we’ve archived them all in one easy place. Check out The DIY Musician’s Complete Guide to Sync Licensing!

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  • Linda

    I’m getting skeptical about Rumblefish I got zero money on the CDBaby report and I was getting as much as 30 cents a click on some ads before I went with them.
    I can’t help now but wonder how much I have lost these past months

  • Hey Linda, that first Rumblefish report was only for the first few days of the deal. In the coming months we'll have payment/reporting for the following months. But regarding the 30 cents thing– it's good to remember that the Rumblefish sync deal and the direct YouTube monetization are different beasts. When you are collecting ad share directly from YouTube, you're monetizing your video. When you work with us/Rumblefish, you're monetizing your song– everywhere it appears on YouTube. It is always possible for you to have Rumblefish release their claim to a particular set of videos within your account/channel (so you can collect direct ad revenue), but still have them collect money for those songs' usages elsewhere on YouTube.

    • Linda

      Thanks Christopher. Good to know. I was going to give it another payment period before I opt out. I wasn't expecting a fortune.hahaha But very surprised when there was zero.
      They do still miss stuff though. I have some videos sitting there a long time that have yet to be claimed by them

  • I'm letting Rumblefish handle the monetization of my videos both to see how it goes and because I'm to lazy to fill out the exemption form every time I post a new one.

    However, Youtube refuses to let you change any of the details of the video as soon as it's claimed as third party. Can't change the title or description or thumbnail. That obviously presents a problem. I've just asked about it on the YouTube board too, so hopefully there's a solution.

    • Yeah. Hopefully they change that– especially so you can get in there to change the descriptions.

  • So youtube says the songs claimed by a 3rd party and cant be monetized. Is there any way to prove you own it and monetize as well as use cd baby's Sync Licensing

  • Hello right now i am a partner with cd baby but i dont know how to put my youtube account under your administration and would like to control my account to see how many money i have earn from other who put my music in they accounts. And why when cdbaby claim any of my music on others youtube accounts, I dont see my artist name and the distribution company like Itunes etc. Please help me about this.

  • When you join CD Baby's Sync Licensing Program, you are giving Rumblefish/CD Baby the right to collect ad-revenues from any video on YouTube that uses your music, not just the videos in your own YouTube channel. You will see these figures reported quarterly in your CD Baby accounting section. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to write


  • renomussatto

    CD Baby has given all my music to You Tube. They created computer generated video (CD Cover) and are selling ads. I get $0.0001 per view plus, now all my “authorized” videos are impossible to find. The option to cancel You Tube Music is not available in CD Baby for the newer releases. How do I get those CD Baby/You Tube videos REMOVED (without pulling them out of CD Baby)?