How to Grow Your Catalog as a Music Producer

A portfolio or catalog is a collection of music produced by a singer, songwriter, or other artists that haven’t been assigned, licensed, or sold. Basically, the music you create – and keep for yourself – is your catalog. As a music producer, the definition of a catalog is a little bit different.

It could include the credits you receive for mixing and mastering music for artists, bands, and other groups. Or perhaps you own the music licensing for certain songs that you acquired from artists. Because many producers create beats as well, those beats will also be part of their catalog.

Why does it matter? When you own the rights to your music you can begin to license that music for others to use. Films, television shows, commercials, and even video games—along with a host of other media and entertainment companies—often buy the rights to use music that’s already been created.

Unless a movie production contracts with an act to create music especially for a movie (the theme song for Ghostbusters for example) or hires a composer to score the entire movie and therefore create unique music for the film, songs for a soundtrack are usually purchased or “licensed” for use in the movie. This kind of work is one of the ways to make money as a music producer.

Synchronized (or simply “sync”) licensing is the act of selling your music for use in movies, trailers, and other visual media output. This could be music for a commercial, a drumbeat as part of a film score, and so on. There are several ways to sell this licensing, including exclusive, non-exclusive, royalty-free, and so on.

Recording Connection mentor Chad Zuchegno in recording studio
Recording Connection mentor Chad Zuchegno in the recording studio

How to make a music production portfolio?

You love making music, whether it’s arranging, mixing, or creating drum beats. It can often feel like you have hundreds of starts but only a few “finished” clips of music. It can be discouraging trying to build a catalog of music this way, it can be time-consuming, and an extremely difficult way to make money.

Not to mention all of the work required to get those beats to the music industry marketplace. We mentioned before how your music can be sold, but for now, let’s concentrate on building your music library. Collaboration is key when you want to produce really great music.

This allows you to concentrate on what you’re really good at and handoff other tasks or processes to those who excel in those specializations.
It’s a way to streamline the process, get your music in front of those who need it, and ultimately sell beats and other tracks. Perhaps you’re a great composer and beatmaker but having someone else to mix your music would save you ample time and frustration. Then, by all means, collaborate with a mixing engineer who can mix your music with a fresh set of ears!

Artists, songwriters, and producers all need to keep an eye on the bottom line if they want to make a career in the music business. While bringing in another person means you split the money if you can produce a finished piece for your music catalog that much faster, it makes a lot of sense.

Reach out to collaborators

It can be a laborious process but finding people who complement your talents with their own can be worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those artists, singers, sound designers, and other music producers you admire. Provide examples of your music, and see if they would like to work with you. You never know unless you ask!

Approach it like a business proposition because for all intents and purposes it is. Sure, you may be looking to produce gold records, win a few Grammys, and create the songs the whole world sings at some point. But at the start, you’ll need to kick out some music that can start making money.

Contact potential collaborators through social media, explain what you’re hoping to get from the partnership and see where it goes from there. Music production or music publishing can be just a numbers game at the start. Whether it’s hip hop, EDM, pop, rock, or other genres, the more you produce, the more you’ll have to offer those who are looking to buy.

Bringing your music to market with Music Distribution Platforms

There are several music distribution platforms where you can distribute your music, including UnitedMasters, CDbaby, Landr, Tunecore, and others. Do your research to find the site that best suits your purposes. Be sure to look into whether you will keep the rights to your music or not. Are there flat fees? Do you pay per song? Is it easy for people to find you when they do a music search? Does the music distribution platform you’re considering work well with video apps like Tik Tok to make it easy for people to discover, buy, and use your music?

When your music is bought, how do you get paid? If you’re in a partnership, how does the money get distributed? The music business is, after all, a business. Will there be a 50-50 split of the proceeds? If you wrote, composed, and arranged the music but needed help with the vocals, you will want a bigger piece of the pie.

Create a Successful Music Producer Portfolio

It can be a little overwhelming to think about all of those numbers, percentages, and clauses when all you want to do is produce music. But it’s important to protect yourself. Through the Recording Connection Music Business Program, you’ll learn about contracts, agreements, copyrights, and more.

Recording Connection will place you inside a real-world environment and give you one-one experience with an industry insider. They’ve worked with publishers, created their own labels, and worked with independent artists to get their music to market while making sure their end is taken care of.

We’ve all heard horror stories about music producers or beatmakers who left themselves exposed when it came to the business side of the industry. Music can be a cutthroat business! So, if you’re ready to start selling your music, arm yourself with the information you need to protect your music and build your career and catalog with insight straight from the pros. Apply today.

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