Licensing your music is a great way to pay the bills. This article will examine some of the more unlikely opportunities for licensing. – Obviously, most people everyone would want their song playing over the credits of an Oscar-winning film, but these are some good second bets:
Video games are a fantastic opportunity for musicians to rake in some side cash while reaching a wide audience of people who may not otherwise check out their music (because they’ll be too busy gaming). For licensed music in video games, royalties range from eight cents to fifteen cents per composition, and buyouts range from $2,500 to over $20,000. (link: http://www.ascap.com/Home/Music-Career/articles-advice/ascapcorner/corner16.aspx)
Your music blaring over the loudspeakers at a huge baseball or hockey game during a commercial break or time-out can be a great way to license your music. If the MLB or NHL won’t play your music, approach the minor league teams.
Being included in a compilation album—whether it is a mix CD released with a music magazine or a themed release like “Indie Rock Greatest Hits”—is another key way to rake in the cash, especially if you’re placed among famous bands on the comp.
Chains like Chili’s and UNO’s will often have a certain playlist that gets played across all the locations they have. If you can get on the list, you’ve struck gold.
Skateboarding / Snowboarding / etc. videos
Approaching Hollywood right off the bat can be daunting. Starting off with a feature in a skateboarding or snowboarding video that promotes a certain company (for example, Blueprint’s excellent Make Friends With The Colour Blue) is a much more likely move.
Listening to Podcasts like Marc Maron’s WTF, or Bret Easton Ellis’ new podcast, you notice that there’s always music interspersed throughout. That next jam could be yours!
Getting on the soundtrack of an expensive boutique or store can be a huge help toward reaching influencers. For example, if you’re an underground hip-hop artist, try to get played in a high-end sneaker boutique like New York’s Flight Club or Boston’s Bodega.