Licensing fees are based on the duration of the usage, the project’s overall budget, the type of project, and its ultimate distribution. Let's look at a purely hypothetical case, which may or may not be based on actual events:
AcmeCo™ hires a new CMO, and her first order of business is to tell the world about its very important mission. She commissions you to create a stirring brand anthem demonstrating the company's commitment to these newly-discovered guiding principles. Because there exists no relevant or usable footage, your client encourages you to “get really creative with it” - so long as you interview six key executives and ensure their screen time reflects their respective positions in the corporate hierarchy. Like a sorcerer conjuring spirits with his wand, you cleverly disavow such notions while simultaneously praising what you believe to be the intention behind her directive. You design a compromised but nonetheless compelling creative treatment and commence filming. You’re in the edit bay now, and you discover a dynamic cue in Storybeat’s One Hit Wonders album.
A sparse piano intro sets a tone of anticipation. Soon, a guitar figure appears, suggesting a pivot to action that's confirmed seconds later by the bass and drum’s assertive entrance. and the emergence of an angular, unobtrusive string theme. The music is now unequivocally stating, “AcmeCo™ not only believes these things, but by God we are doing them!”
And while indeed AcmeCo is doing wonderful things, the Fortune 500™ company must now acknowledge there’s still work to be done. Having propelled the story up to this moment, the rich layers of instruments now dissipate, leaving a gentle unison string pad sustaining atop the sparse piano’s refrain. The VO utters a thought-provoking but largely uncontroversial rhetorical question, the answer to which miraculously rolls right off the tongue. The music makes its grand re-entrance, a triumphant melodic theme now soaring atop the familiar phrases established in the first act. Smiling faces of many colors express their appreciation for AcmeCo’s very important mission as the cue crescendos to its final downbeat. Cymbals, guitar, and a low piano note ring out as these appreciative faces are cleverly scaled and masked to collectively form the shape we recognize to be the AcmeCo™ logo. Fade to white.
In such a case, a perpetual, royalty-free license would be priced at roughly 10% of the project's gross budget, with a floor of $2500 and a ceiling of $10k.
If, on the other hand, you’re using thirty seconds of a Storybeat cue alongside fourteen other cues in a 22-minute cable episode, the range is between $500-$2k.
Have some other scenario in mind? Get in touch and let's discuss.
In projects with dedicated production and post-production roles, the editor seldom controls the budget. More likely, the production company’s EP has been sold on an annual package from a big production library, and editors are expected to sift through the ukuleles, pizzicato strings, glockenspiels, and grown-men-whistling to find a usable, if uninspiring, track. In cases like these, it’s often better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.
Select a few Storybeat cues to audition in your timeline, and when the scene starts to click, KEEP it there. If you’re really loving how it’s working, drop me a note. I’ll send you a clean/un-watermarked file for your presentation cut, and once your director is in love with the cut, I’ll help you strategize a gracious way to find the budget.
At the moment, most of the tracks on Storybeat were originally written and paid for by Flow Studios. All the musicians listed on the track pages were paid a session fee at the time of recording, and will also receive a pro-rated share of Flow’s earnings from any and all licenses issued by Storybeat. For example, if five musicians are listed on a track, they each receive twenty percent of the writer’s earnings; read up on publisher/writer splits if you want to get in the weeds.
I’m hopeful that when things really get cooking, this will add up to something meaningful to honor these amazing musicians’ contributions.