In my most recent webinar for How To License Your Music Premium, with composer Dario Forzato, one of the topics we discussed was the idea of luck vs hard work in the context of licensing. One of the topics Dario focused on in our webinar is how having a consistent routine and schedule that facilitates creating a consistent output of music will lead to consistent results over time. Of course, along the way, you might just get lucky here and there and stumble upon the right opportunity at the right time. There is an element of luck in the careers of most successful musicians and artists. But it’s the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly work you do, that over time will lead to the most consistent results and will greatly increase your “luck”.
My favorite expression about luck, that I’m sure most of you have heard, is that “luck is when preparation and opportunity meet”. I’ll give you an example. When I first got into licensing, I was lucky in the sense that my former songwriting teacher had gone on to form a successful publishing company and was in need of the exact kind of music I was making at the time. It was lucky, you could say, that I even knew her in the first place and that she just happened to need the kind of music I was into at the time. Of course, I had spent years writing and recording songs prior to our working together, which is where the work part of it comes in to play. Had I not been diligently working on the craft of writing songs and recording music for several years prior to reconnecting and working with my former teacher I wouldn’t have been prepared for the opportunity that presented itself.
According to Dario, and I concur 100 percent, hard work and consistency is what separates those that are able to do licensing full time from those who just get lucky and land a placement here and there. I did a podcast with Composer Eddie Grey recently where he more or less said the exact same thing.
If you make enough music and submit it to enough places, chances are you can get “lucky” and license a few random things. But it’s the composers and songwriters who diligently set out to create an amazing catalog of music and build ongoing professional relationships they cultivate and nurture over time, that end up in the “lucky” position of creating music for a living.
I recently created a Youtube video talking about this topic and someone left a comment along the lines of “Here’s another video that doesn’t really reveal the “secret” of licensing and doesn’t really say anything”. It was something like that. I sometimes get the feeling that musicians imagine there is some sort of insider, top secret, confidential knowledge, that only musicians “in the know” are privy to, that if they only knew would instantly lead to success in the music business and in music licensing. Maybe there is. Maybe the Justin Biebers and Bruno Mars of the world know something myself, and the hundreds of musicians I’ve worked with over the years don’t know.
What I aim to do with my website, podcast, webinars and so forth is share what’s worked for me over the years and also to find other successful musicians that have carved out successful careers in the music licensing business and find out what’s working for them. I came up with the novel idea of simply asking people who do music for a living to tell me how they do it, and I share that information with the growing community of musicians who read my blogs and are members of my website.
We all have slightly different paths and we sometimes get “lucky” in different ways. But what I know is true, across the board, of all the different people I’ve interviewed and worked with over the years who are successful in licensing, is that they’ve worked hard to get where they are.
If I discover some sort of “top secret” formula to success in licensing, believe me, I will gladly share it with you via my podcast, courses, webinars, etc. But, in the meantime, keep putting in the work. Hard work is the only thing that I know that works consistently and it's much more reliable than luck.
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