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Making money with music with Jamendo Pro

Jamendo is a free music service that distributes Creative Commons music based in France. It’s a pretty cool site to discover music, but a lot of people don’t know that if you’re a musician, you can actually make some decent money through their music licensing program ‘Jamendo Pro’.

I’ve read some posts online that state it’s useless and you can’t making money with it, but I have first hand experience in this and can genuinely say that it is possible to make some decent money with this service. I’ve made about $400 on this service so far over a couple years. Sure this isn’t huge money, but it’s sure better than the $20 I’ve probably made from Spotify in the same amount of time.

So how do you do it? Well first you must determine if you WANT to do it. To qualify for Jamendo’s Pro program, you music cannot be a part of a royalties collection agency like ASCAP or BMI. This is because of their Creative Commons licensing approach which allows unlimited streaming from their website for free. If you’re okay with that, you register an account and start uploading music, then submit the tracks you want to have listed in their pro program.

What I have learned: There’s a very specific type of track I made that is generating 100% of my income on Jamendo. This is only the tracks that fit a very specific niche in sound. I created some all percussion tracks that were very culturally specific (Brazilian Percussion). I noticed those tracks were the ones getting picked up by companies, so I made more of them specifically for Jamendo and put them up there. Then I created detailed tags that allow people searching for those types of tracks find them. If you’re uploading your works of art that are highly original and hard to categorize, you are most likely going to make nothing, no matter how good your songs are. This can be said for any commercial music licensing program.

If you want your music to be licensed, think about the product or service your music is going to go to when you are creating it. Don’t create music YOU like and hope somebody else will like it too. People license music to sell things, or enhance products. You have to understand that the music you are making for this purpose must be complimentary, not the focus or the consumer’s attention. Once you understand this, making money with licensing is much easier.

Why Jamendo is better than the standard royalty-based licensing services? Well, I can only speak for me personally in this case. But I have had my music registered with several other companies that use a more traditional approach and my experiences were not nearly as good.

  1. Many of these companies are responsible for pushing your music to buyers, so unless they think it’s a good fit, they won’t even suggest it.
  2. Lots of ‘fly by night’ companies. So many of these companies come and go and never follow through with payments. I had one company (Shami Media) use my music in all kinds of unauthorized ways, I had to contact the people they were licensing it to directly and send cease and desist letters to all of them. They never paid me, never sent me a single report, and I had to threaten a lawsuit to have them remove my music from their catalog. 
  3. Jamendo has been around for a decade now, and I have absolutely been paid by them. Everything is online, and you have complete access to who and where your music was licensed. For example, my music has been used in several of these Novo Fogo youtube ads (see below)

Anyway, in the 21st century making money as a recording musician is not easy, so the more income streams you have the better. Hopefully this article helps you add Jamendo as one of those income streams.

If you’re interested in learning other ways to make money in today’s musical landscape, check out the book The Musician’s Guide To Music Licensing.