#117: Paul Anthony – How to License Music for TV, Film, YouTube and Beyond

Over the past decade, independent artists have begun to earn significant income from traditional licensing opportunities in TV and film; but with YouTube quickly becoming the most popular online music-discovery platform, there are countless opportunities out there too, and CD Baby is helping artists get paid for it!

CD Baby has partnered with music licensing firm Rumblefish to help CD Baby artists generate new revenue by licensing their music for movies, TV shows, ads, video games, apps, and YouTube.  In this episode you’ll learn what sync licensing and Micro-Sync are and how you can take advantage of these new revenue streams.


  • Kevin and Paul, 
    This was by far, well worth the 2 month wait for a new episode. It’s awesome that we now
    have a one stop sync licensing setup via cdbaby/rumblefish and that Paul didn’t take the
    salesman route with sugar coating but told it like it is. Great interview and hopefully for many
    a great opportunity!


    Robert Lee King

  • Anonymous

    They are powering the sync licensing program for CD Baby.  All you have to do is opt-in in your CD Baby account.  It’s included with your CD Baby distribution.  You don’t go direct to Rumblefish anymore.  If you’re not sign up with CD Baby, just go to http://members.cdbaby.com to get started.

  • Ronnie Marler

    Thanks Kevin good to hear from you again

  • Ronnie Marler

    With the CD Baby library as big as it is. Besides the obviuos things (quality etc) What can and artist do to bring their tracks to the attention of Rumble Fish’s Filters?                 

  • Ronnie Marler

    I would like to actively promote my music directly to youtube vidiographers.How long does it take for my CDBaby music to show up in Friendly music’s search  from the time I opt-in?
    What is the best way to link to my song on Friendly music?

  • Brian Kelly

    Sounds like a great opportunity. However, I have questions that are not addressed in CdBaby’s FAQ, the Sync Distribution Addendum, or this podcast:

    1. CREDIT: Are licensee customers obligated to display credit to the artist in their media production?

    2. REPORTING: What level of detail do we (artists) receive from CdBaby regarding the use of our music? If our music is licensed for use in a movie, will we know it’s been used in a movie? the name of the production company? the name of the movie?

    3. DESCRIPTIONS: Will Rumblefish do the arduous work listening to each song and assigning descriptions (tempo, mood, style, genre, instrumentation, lyric content, etc.)?  Or will they only use descriptive information supplied by CdBaby, which only applies to entire albums, not to individual songs.

    I also have concerns:
    1. QUALITY CONTROL: If all CdBaby artists can sign up for Sync Licensing (i.e., there’s no quality control or barrier to entry), that certainly diminishes the chances our music will be licensed.

    2. From the addendum: “…may include the privilege to make a musical arrangement to the extent necessary without changing the basic melody, fundamental character of the lyrics of the composition, which arrangement will not be considered a ‘derivative work’ by law.”

  • Anonymous


    I hope this helps.

    1. No, productions are not required to give credit to the artist. However, it really depends on the form of media as to whether or not you get any sort of visible credit. Film always give credit, where sometime TV does, but most of the time they don’t. If a website uses your music, it’s pretty common that they will give credit. It just depends on the medium and what is customary for that format.

    2. In your account, you will see the amount of money you earned from each placement. You’ll also see what the placement was (YouTube, TV Production, DVD, Film, Video Game). Typically it’s specific enough that you can find it on line and check it out if you’re interested to see how the music was used.

    3. Yes/No – They are taking the meta data from CD Baby and adding it all to their search functionality (make sure all your album info is filled out 100% for best results). They have some great search tools that music supervisors and directors use daily to find music that matches what they need. They will also be doing a lot of listing as the music comes in and using new ID technology to help them match tracks with the licensing requests they get. New technology really makes this work so the entire catalog gets exposure. In the past, this would not have been as likely.
    In response to your secondary concerns:

    1. This may sound weird, but quality control is not so much an issue with sync, because the definition of “quality” is highly subjective in the sync world.  A while back, I was pitching songs from a catalog, and I licensed a horrible sounding track 3 times for $2K ($6K total) to a major cable network.  If you heard the track, it would not have passed anyone’s quality control filter.  The point is, is was the perfect track for what they were looking for.  Sync needs are completely different, and as artists, it’s hard for us to think outside of the retail box where we spend so much time trying to get music fans to validate our music by buying it.  

    2. That quote from the addendum just allows a production to slice and dice as needed to make the song work for their usage.  This happens a lot in TV.  Sometimes they move the chorus to a different spot to hit at the right timing with the visual.  Sometimes they just repeat the chorus over and over again.  Sometimes they want a specific lyric.  Sometimes they take an audio snippet.  Basically, they may need to rework the song to fit it right, but they are not creating a new composition that they would own.  You retain all rights.

    I hope that helps!

  • Anonymous

    Ronnie – It will take a couple weeks for everything to filter through and be loaded up.  We’ll be drawing attention to the ways to use http://Friendlymusic.com and YouTube to make money as soon as a majority of the content is ready.  That way you’ll be able to take action right then.


  • Great episode!  Couple questions:

    1. Content ID: We currently have a couple videos for our own songs.  Once these songs get into “The System,” is there a chance that we’ll get flagged for using our own material?  Could this cause any problems for the artist?

    2. It looks like whatever meta data exists at finalization will freeze at that point.  So if we update descriptions, they won’t push out and update the data for the tracks as they exist in Rumblefish’s system.  Is this correct?

  • Thanks for the questions Doug!  Here are the answers.

    1. You will not get flagged for using your own content.  You will, however, see a notice next to the video letting you know that a third party has ID’d the track.  The third party is Rumblefish.  You don’t need to do anything.  Anyone who uses your track on their video will see the exact same notice.

    2. You are correct. Once we deliver to Rumblefish, the meta data will be locked in.  The content ID system will be adding more info as well, so it’s possible that it will enhance what you already have.  I would recommend making sure all your descriptors are complete before you opt-in.

  • Here’s a question: what about the covers I have on my records with CDBaby? I’ve done all the due diligence on getting them on there, but will those be available for sync? (I’d just as soon not, but just curious).

  • Anonymous

    We automatically block covers from getting submitted for sync, so if you have a couple covers on the album, just opt-in the album and we’ll keep the covers from going out.

  • Anonymous

    How can we get the little iTunes and Amazonmp3 buy buttons to show next to the youtube videos that use our content?

  • Walter Spencer

    i work at a movie studio, sometimes i drop off a CD to a music supervisor
    in the hope they will use it. if this were to happen, would rumblefish be
    asking for a cut of whatever i got ?

  • Jim Caputo

    My music is showing up on television shows and cable music stations.  I’m already receiving royalties from BMI for those things.  Will signing up for synch licensing mean that Rumblefish will be taking a piece of those royalties?

  • Walterspencer

    i work at a movie studio, sometimes i drop off a CD to a music supervisor
    in the hope they will use it. if this were to happen, would rumblefish be
    asking for a cut of whatever i got ?

  • Victor

    but performances of public domain songs get through right?

  • Mcneilsuzanne

    Hello, I am really enjoying this interview.  I have been a Rumblefish artist for 3 years now.  I love it and have received some sweet royalty checks.  So, I have made money from my first cd , and just added my second one to the catalogue a few months ago.  My question is, how long does it take for me to see my songs being used on youtube for cd number 2?

  • Mcneilsuzanne

    Hello, I am really enjoying this interview.  I have been a Rumblefish artist for 3 years now.  I love it and have received some sweet royalty checks.  So, I have made money from my first cd , and just added my second one to the catalogue a few months ago.  My question is, how long does it take for me to see my songs being used on youtube for cd number 2?

  • C560xls

    Do you mean that only through CD Baby we can license right now? isn’t 50% of the royalties a high price to pay?

  • Omeroguerrero

    When I opt in for the sync, can indi films still provide their own license for the of mine they plan on using for their film, or will they need my info (Rumblefish) for them to use? Thank you!

  • Does CDBaby and Rumblefish let you know what movie, what show and how the song is being used in the film or show?  Or is it just a check in the mail without knowing how the song was used?

  • This type of sync placement agreement should be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS.  There is no transparency of accounting, and the artist is given no right to participate in the approval process if anything gets synched. And talk about fuzzy math, there is NO math – the FAQ informs us that “For Micro Sync licenses through Friendly Music,
    you’ll earn $1.99 or more depending on the type of
    usage. When your music is added to videos on YouTube, you’ll make money
    from the ad revenue
    generated on those videos”

    $1.99?  For what? Is that a flat rate? If a game designer uses your song (or an excerpt, or a “slice and dice” version that they have every right to create) in a video game, do you get any royalties for that if it sells a million copies and makes that company 3 million dollars?  Guess you’ll never know.  And what is used to calculate the ad revenue and the artist’s share of that?  What if my song is used to sell weapons or a politician I revile? We don’t get veto power over that, and there is absolutely no accountability for the artist to even find out if their music has been used.  We’re going on blind trust.  And, they’re not even required to give you credit! So why would we allow them to exploit our music in this way, when most likely there isn’t even anything to gain??

    Musicians are taken advantage of every day, all the time, and it is their desperation that makes them go for a sync placement they think will be their “holy grail” leading them to an iPhone ad or the credits of the new Gray’s Anatomy.  I’m surprised that CDBaby, a company which markets itself as a friend to the independent musician, would offer non-transparent deals like this one that perpetuate this MYTH, and effectively exploit musicians.

    I have several non-exclusive synch arrangements with reputable companies who have excellent connections to music supervisors.  They also are incentivized to negotiate good rates for me, as they work for a percentage of what they get for me, usually 10% – 20%. I get to approve everything beforehand, and am provided with detailed contracts describing my rights and payment terms. My work has been licensed in several major TV shows and some films. The
    contracts I received were carefully negotiated,  and I made money – several thousand dollars total upfront and royalties (on DVD sales) that actually pay my rent. 

    How much does CDBaby and Rumblefish get from the deals they negotiate?  NO ONE KNOWS… but its more than you will get, guaranteed.  There is no need for this obscurity. I would never allow my music to be licensed under these terms.  And in my opinion, the only way that independent musicians (no union, no label, no health insurance, no pension, etc. etc.) can gain any respect for their craft and actually earn fair compensation is to  refuse to participate in these types of arrangements.

  • Ned Benvin

    It is really commendable just how much is CDBaby doing for its members. Innovation after innovation and Dod knows how do they they find all this stuff. All I can say is Congratulation guys. Great job! nb

  • Nick_ratliff

    What is breakout of revenue split between Rumblefish and the writer/copyright owner?

  • Anonymous

    That’s something entirely different.  We’ve been talking to YouTube to try to make that happen, but I don’t see that taking place anytime soon.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a 50/50 split, which is standard for this type of licensing deal.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Ned!  I’m very excited about this new program as well.  We’re really hoping this helps bring in new revenue streams for the indie artist community.

  • Anonymous

    In your reporting, it will show how the song was used.  You’ll see the type of usage (TV, Film, YouTube, DVD, Video Game) and information about the specific production.

  • Anonymous

    Sync Licensing through CD Baby is non-exclusive, so if you have a relationship with a production and are able to work a deal yourself, you do not have to hand it over to Rumblefish.

  • Anonymous

    Once delivered to Rumblefish, it’s only taking a couple days for the song ID to show up in YouTube.  So if you or your fans have uploaded tracks, you should start seeing some action soon.

  • Anonymous

    Nope.  This is non-exclusive, so if you have a direct relationship, by all means, work the deal yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Not at all.  CD Baby and Rumblefish claim no publishing rights to your music, so you will make performance royalties just like you always have.

  • Anonymous

    Yes indeed.  Public Domain songs are fair game for sync licensing.

  • Anonymous

    That should not be a problem as the songs should have a different ID as their wave form will be different.  I’m asking Rumblefish to be sure.  Will let you know.

  • Hottraxrecords

    Will we be notified if a sync license has been issued, or will it just show up one day if a royalty is paid?

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I think you’re confusing several parts of the deal.  Just as a background, I have experience with sync licensing both from the artist side and from working at a sync licensing company like you describe (where the sync company only took 25%).  That being said, I whole heartedly endorse the program that we launched at CD Baby, and here is why:

    1. It’s completely free and non-exclusive. You are under NO contract.  You want to opt out. Feel free.  That is pretty much unheard of in sync.  If you have a better deal, you are under no obligation to stay with CD Baby Sync Licensing (In fact, I would encourage you to go).  For many artist this will expose them to many new opportunities for revenue.  Especially with the micro sync portion of the deal.

    2. The split is 50/50, which you can find stated on the page here – http://members.cdbaby.com/license-your-music.aspx.  That type of split is standard for this type of licensing deal.

    3. The type of company you mentioned that takes a smaller cut, works licensing in a completely different way than Rumblefish.  They keep a very small catalog that the hand pick.  Most artists that apply are rejected.  If songs in their catalog don’t get placements, there is a chance they will lose their deal.  The focus is mainly on the 300-400 music supervisor that are in Hollywood.  That type of company can be great if you can get in, but the majority of artist can’t. Plus, while those Hollywood can supply some sweet placements, there is only so many chances to get licensed.

    4. MicroSync is completely new, and this is where you confused a bunch of the numbers.  It’s NOT traditional sync which is the typical TV, or film placement.  Traditional sync is all commercial usage of the music.  MicroSync is geared completely towards the consumer market.  People who are posting videos and photos online.  These are strictly NON-COMMERCIAL usages.  There are billions of non-commercial (read: cat videos and vacation videos) videos being uploaded.  These people want music.  That’s where FriendlyMusic comes in.  It allows these people to legally get a license to add a soundtrack to their video.  For a typical non-commercial video license, the fee is $1.99.  That give them the right to add your music to their video.  The best part is, if that same video (say it’s cute kittens) goes viral, you’ll make money from the ad revenue generate from their millions of views.  So the initial fee they paid is $1.99, but the payout to you could be very large.  Throw in the fact that there is billions of videos being uploaded (compared to the several hundred movies and TV shows), there is some serious revenue opportunity there.  Plus, you can make money from the videos you upload to YouTube yourself.

    I have music in the Rumblefish program, and music with a traditional sync licensing company.  I’ve made more money from Rumblefish from numerous small placements and videos on YouTube, than the one big placement from the licensing company.  It really is about changing how you think about music being used.

    5.  You last point about artists not getting approval, this is pretty standard as well (It’s called a pre cleared deal).  Many small boutique licensing companies don’t even offer the approval right to their artists.  Read this article to know why – http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2012/01/why-pre-cleared-sync-deals-are-good-for-indie-musicians/. 

    I hope those answers help.  Again, this is completely an optional program that might not be right for you, but for many CD Baby artists, I know is going to generate a lot for money for them.  Even if you have another licensing company, I would highly suggest checking out the micro sync option.

  • Anonymous

    I just confirmed with Rumblefish.  The instrumental versions will have their own ID’s and be treated as separate songs.  Go ahead and get them sign up!  They could be very useful.

  • Anonymous

    It will show up in your accounting section at CD Baby.  You’ll see the type of usage (TV, Film, YouTube, Video Game, DVD), and then some information about the project.

  • Cole

    I am a CD Baby artist, and I signed up for the new licensing program today.  Out of all the the licensing opportunities available for indie artists, this one seems to offer the most chance of generating revenue.

    However, one thing that bothers me is the apparent lack of timely licensing notification.  

    For instance, at the beginning of a fiscal quarter, a television series acquires the license to my song for one of its episodes.  The episode airs somewhere in the middle of that fiscal quarter.  The licensing is reported to me at the end of the quarter AFTER the song has already appeared in the broadcast episode (without my knowledge).  In the mean time, I’ve lost out on being able to use the song’s appearance as a promotional tool (e.g. “Hey Facebook fans! My song ‘X’ will be featured on tonight’s episode of the top-rated series ‘Fillintheblank’ tonight at 7 EST!  Check it out!”).

    Is there any plan to offer more timely notifications of placements in the future?

  • DVX135

    Does this only apply to original compositions?  Assuming that I can’t use the cover tunes on my CD, even though I own the performance rights, but not the actual song license?

  • Jeffwyatt

    Excellent podcast!! Thanks so much for this opportunity.


  • Jeff

    Hi, great episode, I’d like to follow up on an earlier question regarding tagging and song descriptions.   In looking over the options for song and album descriptions, there doesn’t seem to be any area to tag songs so that rumblefish clients can search more specifically.  Like lets say I have a great song for weddings, or Halloween, or Valentine’s day.  How can I tag these to make them more searchable?


  • Jonathan Sprout


    OK. I’ve signed up for synching. Now will Rumblefish be able to start collecting for YouTube videos that use my music that are already up on YouTube? Or does this apply to only newly uploaded videos?

  • Sexy Simo

    How do I opt out of this? I already had my music on youtube under my account, and now Rumblefish are trying to claim copyright to it, meaning I no longer earn money from my ads because youtube thinks I stole my own music! I don’t want to do this anymore but there is no option for me to get out of it. This seems like a bit of a scam to me. Not only does Rumblefish get half the profits, but they also make money by putting ads on people’s youtube videos and making the profit on that too!

  • Jim

    I have my songs on youtube, and also have ad revenue set up for myself.   Will the exclusive content ID rights affect my standing with the google revenue stream on my videos?

  • Anonymous

    The answer is maybe. This will not interfere with your videos that you have monetized that do not contain your music, but it’s possible that it could interfere with your videos that do contain your music.  YouTube still does not split ad revenue between the song and the video, but I hear that it is coming.  If you have a lot of videos that use your music and are concerned, email me at the podcast email address (info at cdbabypodcast.com) and I will hook you up with the folks that can white list your videos on your channel.

  • Anonymous

    The opt-out process is simple, and we’re very clear that you can opt-out at any time.  Just login to your CD Baby account and Opt-out the same way you opted in.  It’s the exact same form.  When you do that, we’ll send word to Rumblefish to let them know.  BUT reading your comment makes me think you might be confused about something.

    1. If you selected an option to monetize your VIDEOS in your YouTube account, that only applies to your videos.  That does not apply to your music.  With the Rumblefish partnership, you’ll make money no matter who uses your music on YouTube.  You could literally get hundreds of people adding your music to your videos and making money off of it.  If some of those go viral, you could make some big money.  If you have chosen to monetize your videos, the only way YouTube pays you is by running ads.  With Rumblefish, your music will be in the Audioswap catalog where  millions of YouTube users go to add music to their video.

    2. While it’s obvious to you that you are the right holder of the music, YouTube does not know that you own the music, so even though it’s yours, they’re still going to post the message saying that a third party is administering the rights.  This is not a bad thing, it just their way of saying, “Your songs have been identified and the person who owns them is going to get part of the ad revenue.”  There are so many scenarios where this can happen.  For instance, if you are an artist on a label, even though you wrote the songs, you most likely have someone else administering them.  You would get that same message.  Honestly, I think it’s a good thing that you’re seeing that message.  It means you have proof that YouTube is already monetizing your music and the more videos you make and get people viewing, the more possibility to make money.

    As I mentioned in the podcast, since Rumblefish started monetizing YouTube, I’ve made about $3,000 in the past 2 1/2 years.  Not changing my life (and there are no guarantees), but it’s for an album sitting on my shelf, so I’m glad to have that thing working for me.

    Again, you are free to opt out at any time.  No contract.  No obligation.

  • Anonymous

    Yes!  Once they have the ID in their system, anything new or old that is active on their site will be tagged.  Obviously it’s not retro active on plays, but they will start running ads and you’ll see some money coming in if your videos are getting played.

  • Anonymous

    They are pulling info from the CD Baby descriptions that you put in, but they are also adding tags themselves.  I will find out exactly what they do and if there is anything you can do to augment it.

  • Anonymous

    You are welcome!

  • Anonymous

    You are correct, but go ahead and opt-in your album anyway.  We will not deliver the songs marked as cover songs.

  • Anonymous

    There is no obligation for them for them to, but it’s pretty typical that on a larger placement like that, that they will let you know for that very reason.  It really depends.  Some TV placements happen so fast.  It seriously can be something like the TV production is calling needing a track for a show that will air the next day.  TV shows have a very tight turn around, but for something like a movie, it’s a longer process, so there is a good chance you would know ahead of time.  We’ll do our best to help communicate that.  BUT ideally, they will be getting a lot of placements for a lot of our artists.  It would be hard to keep up with notifying everyone.  That’s how the pre-cleared deal works to your favor.  they spend their time placing music and not trying to track down artists.

  • Anonymous

    To answer your question about how MicroSync revenue is calculated, there really is not a straight forward answer (specifically talking about YouTube here).  It’s similar to how companies like Spotify calculate streaming, but even more complex.  In the case of YouTube, the ads that appear are not all equal.  What the advertiser is paying for that ad can very greatly, and since YouTube pays a portion of the ad revenue, the payout could vary greatly.  It’s going to work out to be pennies per view (just like streaming), but if your music is used in lost of videos, it can add up fast.  I know artist that make a good portion of their music income off of this stuff.

    A nonexclusive deal is not new, but being able to walk away at any point is rare.  Sure you can decide to terminate your contract with a licensing company.  Most likely they’ll let you out.  With our deal, you can just login to your account when you decide it’s enough and be done.  That’s unique to this deal. 

    We do state that it’s a 50/50 split.

    I understand you feeling like your music is precious, as I do as well.  Every time I release a new album it’s like I’ve birthed something new that takes on a life of it’s own.  But honestly (just speaking for me personally), I’m not so precious about my music that I can’t send it out and get it to  work for me.  I’ve had music used in sports action DVD’s, MTV shows, presentations, YouTube, indie films, and a bunch of other random stuff.  It’s even lead to some CD sales.  I’m overjoyed that those folks found something I created useful and fitting for their production.  That’s why so many artists enjoy writing music for film and TV.  It’s fun to craft something that fits into a bigger production that isn’t just about me as an artist.  You may not feel that way, which is totally cool.  It might just mean that sync licensing as a regular income steam isn’t for you.

    As for your question about making money off of product sale, I’ve rarely ever heard of that happening with major label artist for a sync placement as sync licensing is not about those rights.  No, CD Baby or Rumblefish to not make money off of any sort of product sales.  Why would an artist want to let their songs be used for something else that a company might profit from?  Well, I can tell you that the a large majority of CD Baby artists that have found success the independent way did so because of a sync placement.  One of our biggest artists sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of CDs and downloads after their song was featured in an Old Navy commercial.  Did they get money from clothing sales? No.  Did they get a nice sync fee?  Yes, probably more than the average American’s yearly salary.  It broke their career.  It exposed them to a huge audience that in the past was only available to an artist that signed all their rights away to a label.  They got paid on all counts and have a wildly successful career as an indie artist.  Too me, that’s what is is exciting about sync licensing.  Many people now discover music from TV, film, commercials, youtube videos, video games, and more.  It’s a great place to be.

    I’m guessing from what you’ve said, that this program is probably not for you, but that’s OK.  You should do what you feel is best for your music career.  Pursue your art in a way that makes you happy.

  • Marilyn Carino

    OK, its obvious that I’m not going to have my questions answered, so I will leave it to anyone reading this exchange to draw their own conclusions. Just let me say that you have not addressed the questions I asked, especially, about why there is little to no transparency with the All Media program.

    I am a professional musician and songwriter and am certainly not softheaded or sentimental about my music being used for commerce.  I am a businessperson and my music is my product. I earn 100% of my income from music, I have no “day job”, and the reason is because I have made myself savvy about how to get paid for what I do.

    Why do you think A-Rod and Brad Pitt get so much money for what they do?  Because their work earns OTHER PEOPLE lots and lots of money, they know that and they charge accordingly for effectively “licensing” their talent to the product of baseball game (sells tickets and TV advertising) or a film. If a director wants to use my song in a pivotal scene in his film, I’m going to take that into account, along with the film’s budget when I negotiate my price for licensing that song. That’s why you get a different publishing royalty if your song is in the credits or in a silent scene than if it is in the background.  DID YOU MUSICIANS KNOW THAT??

    That music is going to increase the value of that film, that product, and I SHOULD GET PAID FOR ADDING THAT VALUE!! So I negotiate getting a percentage of DVD sales, AND I GET IT.  Why should other people make all the money and me none?  Ridiculous! We don’t need to accept such small returns for our work!

    Why are people always trying to cheapen the value of music and treat musicians like beggars??

    I’m really happy for the dude that got the Old Navy gig, and those things do happen SUPER RARELY to indie artists – most national ads and big studio films use artists signed to 360 deals on major labels, which are owned by all the same companies.  I’m speaking for indie artists who have to run their own businesses and I’m sick of us being taken advantage of – companies like yours figure we can’t afford lawyers and we’re ignorant of our rights and you’d be right, most of us are. But that doesn’t mean things can’t get better for us as we learn to wade through the sell-speak and overcome our own delusions of easy, lazy money.

    Bottom line, why the obscurity? Why not transparency? Why aren’t we assured of at least getting proper credit? Why no accounting? You’re right, the program is not for me, definitely. It hasn’t done much for my opinion of CD Baby either.

  • Anonymous

    I was not avoiding you question, I don’t think I was fully understanding what you were asking.  Yes of course Rumblefish is negotiating the best deal on behalf of the artist.  It’s in everyone’s best interest for them to do so.  All the placement details will show up in the CD Baby accounting section, so you will know exactly who is using your music and what type of placement.  Where music is credited (like film credits) it will be. Places like a TV show, they have no on screen credits, but it will be credited on the cue sheet and reported as it should be to PROs.

    Frankly, I’m a bit surprised by your reaction to a free program that is completely your choice to participate in.  I can honestly say that if I did not think that this was a great opportunity for many of our artists, we would not have worked so hard at CD Baby to help make it a reality.  CD Baby Sync Licensing is not for everyone, but it is for a lot of folks.  We have so many artists at different places in their career, that’s why we leave it up to you to choose.  

    From what you have describe about yourself, if you and I were chatting music career stuff over coffee, I would tell you to go the way you are.  Sounds like you have a good thing going, so why mess with it.  For others, it could be something more than they already had.

  • Great podcast. I’m very excited about CD Baby’s decision to offer such to us artists. Have a question: if you have music that’s already been sync’ed are there tips/ways/options through Rumblefish to capitalize on that exposure and those plays??

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this podcast, I listened to it the other day. It’s a really exciting idea and made me rethink the way I approach my back catalog, and projects for the future. Thanks for the encouragement you guys give us.

  • Hanjo Gäbler

    That´s right. I decided to let CDBABY do it all. Here in Europe the services are not the half so good. Thank you CDbaby!
    cu Hanjo from Hamburg

  • Roy

    What about royalties? If my song is used in a TV show for example, do I get 100% of the royalties from multiple airings? What if that TV show is leased overseas? Do I get royalties? Do you take any percentage of those royalties? -Roy

  • Chnda

    Awesome. THANK YOU

  • Dbssll

    As it happens i make the kind of music which may well benefit from synch licensing (Atmospheric ambient electronica – no vocals.) So I read with interest the comments and I can see there may be pro’s and con’s but to be honest I wasn’t out there attempting to do deals on synch licensing myself and so any revenue generated by that means is more than I would have been getting left to my own devices.
    So I am in – and it will be interesting to see what if anything materialises from this initiative. Generally speaking I think its a good idea that cd baby are on the case with this. Obviously there will be something in it for them, they are a commercial organisation but as long as the terms are not outrageous I am OK with that.


  • Anonymous

    You are welcome!

  • Anonymous

    We DO NOT take any money from the performance royalties generated when songs are used.  If you are using a performance rights organization (like ASCAP), make sure all your songs are listed properly.  Where most indie artists lose out is that they sign up as a writer, but then never go and list their songs. It can be a bit of a time consuming process, but you must make sure your songs in their database for them to payout any royalties.

  • I just finalize my divorce and am so happy to be able to now start putting thing back in order…It’s time to start promoting and CDBaby is the best they are making this process a lot easier…Thanks

  • I’m really excited about this feature. Sounds really interesting and I’ve already opted-in. So far one of my songs has been reported to “belong” to Rumbelfish but non of the other album tracks have (they’re all original compositions).

    Is this normal? Or maybe there’s some problem with the way I’ve tagged my tracks?

    Thank you!

  • Dianne

    I still have a couple of unanswered questions about this.  While it all sounds very good – I would like to know if CDBaby/Rumblefish will be renaming tracks via our PRO on every song that is licensed in order to take their 50% share of publishing.  Will they notify artists that they have renamed a track with a PRO?  What about any upfront monies, or will there be upfront money deals?  Will Rumblefish take 50% of that also or all of it or?? Thanks so much!

  • Martin Kennedy

    I sent an email to CD Baby, but I havent heard back. Basically, Youtube is preventing me from ‘monetizing’ (Im a youtube partner) my videos saying that the music “may be owned or licensed by Rumblefish.” They are asking me to provide documentation to prove I have the ‘necessary commercial use rights for all elements in your video.’ I have been through this process before for other reasons.
    What should I do now?
    I need to have ads on my videos.
    The big question is this – if I prove to Youtube I am the owner of the track and have the rights to use it etc, does Youtube then turn around and disable Rumblefish from using my music (thus making the whole CDBaby/Rumblefish sync project a waste of time for people who monetize their Youtube videos)?
    This is massive problem for me.

  • Anonymous

    We can white list your YouTube channel, so any videos you upload will not be monetized by Rumblefish, while the videos outside of your channel will be.  2 things.

    1. Can you send me a screen shot of the message to info at cdbabypodcast.com?  I’d like to have it for reference since it sounds slightly different than what the average artist is seeing.

    2. I’ll send your info over to Rumblefish to make sure our sync program does not interfere with what you are doing as a partner.  From what I’m told, this is a quick and easy fix.

  • Anonymous

    No.  We will not be doing anything to claim publishing rights on your music.  Our percentage will only reflect the percentage of the sync fee.  It’s important that you make sure all your songs are listed with your PRO to ensure they collect for any performances.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, this is normal.  The other tracks should come online soon.  The message you received just means that Rumblefish is indeed collecting revenue on your behalf for those tracks.

  • Dianne

    So do I understand you correctly that neither CDBaby nor Rumblefish will be taking any share of publishing at all – just 50% of synch fees?  That is truly a great situation for CDBaby artists!!  WOW – thanks for the prompt reply.

  • RussellAlbum

    Hi. Firstly thank you CD Baby for everything you are doing for Indie artist. In my opinion there is greater opportunity that can be derived from ones music being used in (TV, Film …etc). Since all usage of one’s music in this senario is recorded by Rumblefish, CD baby should request that they record suffcient info where possible to provide feedback to it’s members. i.e.
    If used in youtube, the link to the youtube video.
    if in a online ad then a link to the ad.
    etc… as these are marketing opportunities for cd members to refer there fans to as a success.

    Also where possible where the person intending to utilize the music be requested to include a hyperlink to the CD baby’s page! 

    Lastly I would hope that CD baby would receive a 6 month report  from Rumblefish which categorize what music successfully used in the above senario. 
    1. No of successful usage per genre of music.
    2. No of successful usage per genre of music in TV,film,Youtube, DVD game.)
    3. Any other information like tempo,instrumental characteristcis which would assist CD  Baby members in being more successfull at submit music best suited for this senario.

    Lastly maybe CD Baby should be creating a service where by these organizations can search for possible songs on the CD baby library or submit request for music for their DVD, filmYourTube projects etc… The process would be that CD baby would search for a song at a nominal fee (if they chose not to search) and present the most suited list of songs otherwise it could submit in a forum for the CD baby members to csubmit new songs for consideration.. (Am I taking this to far?) Anyway some food for thought.           

  • Amy Duncan

    Thanks for this interesting podcast…I just shared it with a friend. I have one album up on CDBaby, but now that I know about this new licensing program, my head is buzzing with new ideas that might work in various types of media. My question is: Once I write some new tunes, do I have to compile them into an album to sell on CDBaby, or is there some other way to do this?

  • Eadams

    Is there a market for all genres of songs? I write in country and Gospel genres, is there much of a market for this type of music?

  • Benevolenceband

    Hey Hanjo! Nice seeing you here!

  • ekm

    I feel pretty much the same way as Marilyn Carino.  I’d like to know, actually, how Marilyn negotiates sync, because that is how *I* want to do it.  I am not comfortable with the sync program set up with CD baby, especially the fact that we can’t negotiate or opt out of individual deals, especially for concepts or products we don’t feel comfortable supporting.

    kbruner writes: “Frankly, I’m a bit surprised by your reaction to a free program that is completely your choice to participate in.”

    I think it’s just that artists are increasingly realizing how important sync is. We entrust our titles to CD Baby due to CD Baby’s rep as being artist friendly.  But there are too many unknowns here, to little artist control.

    Me, I guess I’ll wait and see how everyone else’s experience go… but if I could get my music into a place where I could negotiate sync on a case by case basis, and also opt out of YouTube sync, that would be so much better. 

  • Jonathan Sprout

    Thanks, Kevin!

  • John Hopf

    I recently signed up for the sync licensing but I am not sure whether it actually went through. On completion nothing was stated by cdbaby “yes” you are finished. John Hopf   albums BEACH BUM, Songs from Another Time and Already There.

  • Anonymous

    There is a popup that let’s you know you are done.  It’s possible your computer blocked that.  If you go back to that screen and it shows the album has been opted in, then you should be all set.

  • Anonymous

    There is opportunity for usage for just about any type of music.  It’s about the music that fits the project that it will be synced to.  I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of country and gospel used place on TV, film, YouTube, and on the web.  That doesn’t mean it;s the most popular type of music people are looking for, but it is used.

  • Anonymous

    You are correct.

  • Anonymous

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree, because I could not disagree with you more.

  • Mina Mauldin

    Just signed up for Sync Licensing with CD Baby!  YAY!!  

  • So I had to wade through all of this babble to find out what? What do I need to do to best promote my music on Rumblefish? Just give me a link.

  • im new to this but i really like what cdbaby are doing to help DIY musicians try and make a living from their passion.

  • Arlene Faith

    Do you collect 50% forever or just for a term, three to (five years) on a given license agreement and what if a film co/tv wants to use the song but wants to re-record it?  and let’s say it goes on a soundtrack cd? how do you figure the split then?

  • Arlene Faith

    Do you guys re-title songs?

  • Thanks Donny!

  • I’m not sure what you mean Arlene. Would we change the name of your song without your permission? No.


  • CD Baby Sync licensing can be thought of as paid-up-front deals. So time is not really a consideration. The company that licenses your music, pays for certain terms of use. If they need it for longer or a different purpose they will need to buy it again.

    Anyone can cover and record your song. It’s a compulsory license. They don’t need your permission. Just like you could cover and record a Bruce Springsteen or Madonna song.

    Though, when you make money from a cover song, you are required to pay the composer.

    Artists usually license cover songs through a company like Limelight or Harry Fox and and then those companies make sure the artist gets paid.

    PRO companies like ASCAP and BMI also make sure that artists get paid when their songs are played on Radio or TV.

    Chris B

  • Snax

    I have videos of live performances of some of my tracks on Cd Baby. Do these videos generate revenue as well?

  • Evan

    This was a really great episode. Listening to this podcast is actually making me want to get my ass in gear and finish my record so I can take advantage of all these great services and ideas. One thing though… IT’S BEEN ALMOST A MONTH I NEED MY PODCAST FIX NOW!!!!

  • Ronnie Marler

    Any Update?

  • Hi guys … thanks for the podcast and for this new opportunity.  I opted in our two CDBaby albums and cruised over to Friendly Music to see how it works.  Would love the opportunity to tag our own music with keywords. Is this possible?

  • Info

    Hi Chris.  I am a CD Baby member.  What I am wondering, and what is nowhere to be found in the pre-opt in info on the CDBaby site, is what exactly is paid?  And how?  Is it a 50/50 split between the artist and Rumblefish?  And is that of a one-time up from licensing fee, or are back end royalties split with Rumblefish as well included?    Some more particulars about payment would be helpful. 

  • Info

    Thanks for this response.  Could the people at CDBaby please make sure this info is more clearly spelled out on the CDBaby site for the artists?? It is completely unclear right now.

  • Info

    Also, it would be very helpful it the site spelled out exactly what was exclusive and what was not.  Somewhere, it says that the Content ID thing is exclusive – what exactly does that mean??

  • Info

    I think what is very key in this exchange is how Marilyn’s very valid question about the AllMedia type of license was never addressed.  I agree with   Mariyn that it lacks transparency in a serious and dangerous way.  I sincerely wish CD Baby would address this.

  • Sorry for your trouble and the confusion. The first real Rumblefish quarterly payment won’t be paid out until late August. There was a previous payment, but it only accounted for a few days when the program had just begun.

    As for the ads not showing, I’m not sure. But I could hazard a few guesses:

    YouTube shows ads selectively and optimizes ads based on the viewer If you’ve already seen an add a dozen times in a month without clicking–they probably wont show it to you anymore. They may also restrict views of your ads because you are logged in.

    Have you tried viewing the videos on other computers? It could also have something to do with your account settings, or a penalty for clicking on your own ads.

  •                                              AVAON’S BIOGRAPHY


    Frederick “Avaon” Doyle was
    born on January 22nd, 1983 in Crown Heights– Brooklyn, NY. He was
    raised by his mother and grandmother until her passing in__1993____. While Avaon’s
    father was around, he was consumed by street life and was said to have been
    mafia affiliated.  Avaon being exposed to
    the fast life at such a tender age, he was far from thinking about nursery
    rhyming… He was growing fond of rhyming on a more grown-up scale known as Hip-Hop.  Coming up in an era of sex, drugs and crime, his
    adolescences quickly started to fade, while his curiosities of the rap game and
    fast life became increasingly alluring to him. 
    As a child, Hip-Hop always fascinated Avaon.  He often took part in battle rapping with
    friends and other neighborhood rappers. What intrigued him most about Hip-Hop
    was the ability to express him-self through lyrics and saw it as an outlet to
    get his inner most feelings off his chest.

    Eventually, Avaon’s fathers’
    gangster ways caught up with him and earned him life in prison for a number of
    mafia-related charges. With the untimely passing of his grandmother and losing
    his father to the streets, Avaon became numb to the world and grew feelings of
    hatred and animosity. He wanted people to share that pain as his rage
    intensified. He quickly spiraled down the wrong path and dove head- first into
    robbing, selling drugs and gun play. Thinking a life in the suburbs would do Avon
    some good, at the age of 13 his mother made the decision to move to Jersey City,
    NJ in hopes of a better quality of life for her family.

    To no avail, moving to  Jersey did not coax Avaons’ desire for living
    the life that he had in so many ways already became accustomed to. He was deep
    into a street life (Darkside) filled with crime and unfortunately was never
    privy to the consequences of living in the fast lane with no boundaries. In
    2001, karma came back around to greet him for all the wrong decisions as well
    as reckless behavior that he had so often displayed. Avaons’ actions landed him
    behind bars for a total of 10 years of and on.

    Once behind prison walls,
    Avon’s perspective on life slowly started to change. He had nothing but time on
    his hands which he spent most of in deep thought, evaluating his life’s
    decisions. As days passed, the flow of letters started decreasing, commissary
    started getting lower & lower and reality started to set in. He became
    irrelevant to his homeboys and others whom he thought were loyal to him. As the
    old saying goes “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” He knew that prison was no place
    to be and not where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. This awareness
    swayed Avon to make a much needed change for the better. For the duration of
    his sentence, Avon would document details of his life’s story as well as become
    more versed in Hip-Hop. Always a true fan of the genre, he expressed his
    feelings, but this time his raps reflected the grace of God. Avaon knew that
    God granted him a second chance and he was going to do better. Upon his final
    release in 2011, Avaon has been focused on his music as well as starting NGL

       Currently, Avaon is
    promoting his latest record ‘Black Star’.  His music resembles hope, strength and
    struggle. His story inspires listeners to have hope. Creating music from his soul
    allows him to give his fans everything from a positive message of new- found faith
    to battling personal demons that were once a hindrance to him.  From Rapper to Producer Avaon is a man of
    many talents and would like the world to give his music a chance, so they can
    truly understand and appreciate his movement.


    One of Avon’s favorite quotes reads: “Repercussions of the
    game… You go from a Benz, to a number and a name.” –Maino



                                                                       Be Inspired





  • Robbie Alan

    Licensing can be a profitable option,for songs,but if
    noone can find your music,it’s worthless. Film makers
    can’t license you music if you’re not listed.If you’re
    highly visible,then you’ll get somewhere. I’ve
    tried Rumblefish,with no results. That’s the key,
    as musicians we don’t need promises,we need

  • i’ve rescored a film and want to post it. can you monetize a video that you didn’t make but you wrote the music for?

  • Shinipon

    What is the different between music publisher and music licensing? I though both are music publisher job.

  • kbreuner

    A music publisher administers rights for songs only. Sync licensing is one way for a publisher to make money, but not the only way. A music licensing company is usually focused on working on behalf of publishers and labels to get their songs and recordings placed in film and TV.