How to Write & Produce Music for Licensing – Form & Structure

If you want to write & produce music for licensing it’s important to understand that this music is specialized. Music for licensing should be seen as completely different as compared to the methods used to write a song for an album. For instance, you should forget about the traditional verse/chorus/bridge structure. Consider trying a more license friendly structure which has proven to be effective for licensing. 

I want to share the knowledge we have put together since 2007 as a music licensing company focused on licensing music for film, tv, advertising and videos. We have successfully placed over 10,000 songs and have learned some valuable information along the way. Check us out at www.soundscape.io.

We recognized form patterns in our best selling music, and thought it would help our artists and others to read about these findings. I’m not saying that all music for licensing should be structured like this. Most importantly, this is a proven winning structure that has been extremely popular with our clients.

Producing music for licensing

The First 20% of the song: 

This is where the viewer should be captured emotionally by the music so they keep watching. More emotion, no drums, try to capture the audience by connecting emotionally, but keep things subtle, hopeful and not sad. How is this done? Subtle strings, ambient sounds, nostalgia, pads, sweet but not too minor.

The next 50% of the song:

Start building up slight energy and positivity. Start adding new instruments and subtle drums/percussion. The listener should feel the vibe becoming more positive and be taken on a journey. Firstly, this section should have some sort of melodic memorable hook. Secondly, since our goal is licensing, we don’t want the melody played by an overly overpowering instrument. It needs to be subtle and back in the mix so that it doesn’t distract the viewer from the visuals and dialog on-screen. 

Final 30% of the song:

This is the climax and the peak of energy and emotion. The music should bring the listener to the final destination of the music. The climax could be subtle or explosive in nature. Just keep in mind that the climax is the key ingredient the client will be working towards in their ad, video, or scene. The buildup is the journey, the climax is the destination. Make sure to end this with a hard ending, no fade-outs or loose endings. The client needs a resolving chord with a ringout. This can be used if they edit the song short and can simply add this ending to their edit point for a natural resolution. 

writing music in license production studio

Click the following link for more tips on how to write music that gets licensed. If you would like us to hear your music and possibly help get your music placed in film, tv, advertising and videos, click to submit your music to us. If you would like to learn more about our music licensing mentoring program, click here.