This month we’re sitting down with Wendy Duffy, Founder & President of Resin8 Music Licensing and Management; talking about music licensing, what licensors like Wendy look for when partnering artists with companies, and life after a placement.
Whether it was the first time she heard Michael Jackson’s Thriller or her countless hours spent watching MTV, Wendy was bitten by the music bug at an early age.
Music is her reason for everything. After managing VO talent for almost 6 years in Los Angeles, Duffy decided to take her knowledge of the industry and extensive contact list and apply it to her first love: music. With a background in radio, publicity, marketing and promotions, Duffy saw an opportunity to partner with artists and focus on brand initiatives as a musicpreneur.
This idea and passion is what forged Wendy to start Resin8 Management alongside iV Music Licensing, which Wendy launched in July 2013.
In April 2016, she went solo, launched a licensing division and started building talent awareness by partnering with artists to get music placed in advertising initiatives such as TV promotion and Film Trailers. By forging relationships with top companies such as Capitol Publishing, Secret Road, Peer Music, Kompass/Kobalt, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, MTV, Disney and VH1, Duffy continued to grow her brand and become a top player in music licensing.
The Wendy Duffys of the world are viewed as a golden ticket you randomly find which will get you instant, viral fame from some crazy commercial or movie placement. Once you have found your ticket, you’ll live happily ever after while rowing down a chocolate river of money. However, a better analogy would be the cereal box toy in which you have to put in some serious work on the Lucky Charms before getting to the bottom of the bag. Likewise, success with music licensing doesn’t happen overnight. There is a plethora of work to be done and songs to be written in the process of getting your music licensed. There’s more cereal to be eaten.
For Wendy, it’s more than just finding the talent. It’s about finding the right person. Are you a good human being who fits into the family which is the core of what Resin8 stands for. Can the relationship supersede the talent itself? Can she be excited about who you are? That sentiment goes beyond just one person. Anyone on your team should be equally excited about what you’re doing. They should be energized to work with you because they love your music. In return, you should want to work with them because you love the work they’ve done. The whole team’s enthusiasm shows through the accomplishments you’re making together and as individuals. No matter how much love and respect we might have for one another, it can be a brutal world out there. Unfortunately, love and respect doesn’t resonate with the production team making the movie trailer or commercial. Only talent does. It’s about being a great songwriter who is able to create music with an identifiable emotion. Then that emotion can sonically match the emotion a supervisor is looking to represent their brand, commercial, or whatever they’re working on. To do that, it takes a great depth of talent.
Like anything in the industry, there are “Gatekeepers” that make this extremely difficult to land syncs on your own. Still, getting connected with these people can open doors. Trendsetters in the industry, like Wendy, are a great first step; they have the keys and the willpower to do the work.Wendy has even made changes to her company to be more open to additional music discovery through Resin8.
A massive part of getting music licensed is the research. As an artist who is growing and team building, it can be a very daunting task to do the massive amount of research and outreach to land a placement without help from Resin8 or another music licensing company. Wendy doesn’t believe it would be advantageous for an artist to search out a placement on their own which could take years to accomplish. She also doesn’t think that’s the best way for an artist to be spending their time; and she’s not wrong. As an artist building their career, there’s your recording, live shows, PR, marketing, and branding to focus on. Without a team behind you helping in these areas, you can’t reach the numbers or fans needed to make it worth it to these gatekeepers.
A great example is Jung Youth, a hip hop artist out of Nashville who has made awesome strides the last couple years. This year, Jung hopped on a track with Sam Tinnesz and the hit-maker himself, Super Duper, to create “Untouchable Now” that landed on the 2018 NFL Draft. Additionally, he put out an EP earlier this year “61502” which earned glowing reviews from Earmilk, Nashville Scene, and One’s To Watch. He’s humble, fun-spirited, and has a work ethic that drives it all home. He continues to grow his visibility, landing placements on international movie trailers, award show promos, and more. Jung Youth is a hidden gem in the Nashville streets and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world joins the wave.
What does Jung Youth have to do with this blog? Well, he works hard, he’s extremely talented, overall a great human, and oh yeah, did we forget to mention... he’s one of Wendy Duffy’s clients at Resin8.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for success in music licensing:
Make sure that you understand and prepare the licenses needed to sync a track with a TV show, commercial, or film.
When finishing your recordings, have a mix engineer deliver instrumentals and TV versions of the songs.
Make sure that you have contact information readily available on all websites in case someone stumbles across your music and is interested in licensing it.
Register all your recordings with a PRO.
This preparation will last a long time after the current project you are working on. Even small licenses can provide sizable royalties if you are properly setup to receive them. Prior to the start of the entertainment company, licensing played a large role for AGD founders, Nathan & Tim Dohse, while performing and recording with the rock group Fight The Quiet. In fact, an ad agency recently reached out to license a track for a local Arizona commercial after having found the old Facebook page for the band.
Music licensing is not a new thing. It can feel that way to many people but it’s been around for a long time. It can be a way to kickstart some careers or a tool of discovery for fans. The point is everyone wants music and that includes brands, TV shows, movies, commercials, and even podcasts. Landing a placement can be a life changing event. However, as an artist, it’s not the only thing that is important. Building a foundation that generates value around your talent enables these “gatekeepers” to consider choosing your music for placements. Professionals, like Wendy, are opening so many doors for artists, but they are also gatekeepers. They are picky about who they spend their time and energy on. It was a pleasure that Nathan and AGD got some of Wendy’s time to dig deeper into music licensing, the process behind it, and her view on bridging the gap between artists and the buyer.