What I've been telling the Locals Lounge Discord

On how much to charge, how to get sync licences, and being seen on the scene as my biggest mentor would say -- that and more from the Locals Lounge Discord, the coolest Metro Vancouver musicians' Discord that a square like me could join, in the past week-ish.

Here are some topics that came up in the Discord and how I answered them:

How do I find jazz musicians who might be interested [in collaborating with me]?

Are you going to venues like Frankie’s and Tyrant Studios — or also to smaller restaurants with jazz like the Sylvia Hotel and Boteco Brasil? You can get to know people who play there by going there when they have music. I did this starting 10-15 years ago when I was a teenager but it’s true to anyone who wants to participate in the jazz community. Hope to see you around!

A prediction for 2024:

CD Baby will go belly up this year. Rebrand to something else, sold to another distributor, something. The brand ceasing to hold. Like what has happened to either Bandcamp or now Pitchfork but worse. We shall see.

Would DistroKid be the relative best [distributor] for releases?

I avoid recommending a distributor. My personal bias is against DistroKid because of how some things went with my own music [...] But I acknowledge its popularity and the things it has going for it. As the years go by, I feel that all the distributors get more and more the same, so it doesn't matter too much about which you pick.

Should I charge per-song, or an hourly rate, or some other way?

Per-song is a logical way that encourages charging a bit more, and avoids capping your earning potential. Aside from looking for folks who have other people's money to spend (i.e. grants) getting the client to make you an offer is valuable. It doesn't always come up easily in the flow of most conversations I've had, and it's well-worn advice, but part of getting a good rate is def to avoid being the one to say the number. Plus then if they low-ball you, unless you really like them, you have all the reason to move along.

How much do I charge for a sync licence opportunity on a friend's small independent film project?

When I’ve had to make the first move, I’ve never asked for less than $1000 per side (1k master, 1k composition: 2k total) [...] The thing about that price I admit is that it was for relatively known artists. So if it ends up being only a few hundred dollars it’s not the end of the world. My only point is just if you have to make the first move, go higher than you’d think.

A shocking amount of what sucks / is not great in the music industry isn’t about any artists’ lack of knowledge, but about the industry people’s disorganization and lack of standard work flow.

Every contract I wrote/used was one agreement with a stipulated price per side (master & publishing). We the label collected all the funds and paid the artist (who was the sole writer each time) the publishing side.

But you definitely need the consent of all the songwriters before executing that contract, if you’re doing it as the master person. Or vice versa. [I] don't think there’s a standard way to do that.

I should add I ultimately have no idea if this is the best way to do it [..] I was often a culprit of the problem I described (disorganized professionals) [...] That’s just how I did it.

Back to blog