When my cd first came out I submitted it to various music licensing services. These are agencies that will make your music available to companies that might want to use it for TV, Film, Radio, Videogames, etc. The service is usually free, and in return they take a cut of the licensing fee. Companies like this include Pump Audio, Rumblefish, Triplescoopmusic, and most recently CD Baby’s Sync Licensing. Even though they take a cut I consider it a good service as I do not have the contacts to market my music this way. Plus you can still get composing/arranging royalties from your performing rights organization.
I recently got my first statement from Pump Audio and someone from Disney/Hyperion Book group licensed one of my tracks! Specifically the jig set, Ship in Full Sail/Trip to Sligo/Christy Barrys #2. I made $17 out of the $50 licensing fee. So yea, its not alot of money, but I was still excited that someone chose my music.
Its got me motivated to sit down and write some music specifically for licensing, and then submit it to these various agencies. You can make alot more money if something gets placed that you wrote, as opposed to arranging public domain material. I would stick to genres I am familiar with, acoustic based sounds using mandolin, banjo, guitar, and flute.
I think there is a place for this kind of stuff on TV and other mediums. Often when watching a show or commercial I will hear a simple fingerpicked guitar or banjo that really adds alot. I don’t expect to make a living doing it, but it would be fun and perhaps make me a little extra money.
David Hamburger is a musician that has transferred into writing music for tv and film. Alot of his themes use acoustic instruments and have a Blues/Americana sound. Its really neat to see how the music and whats on the screen interact.