Getting your music played during a sporting event program or during a live sporting event is one of the most difficult challenges in licensing your music out. Most televised sporting event programs use music from the tv networks pre-cleared music library, and getting your music played at the stadium or arena during the game proves even more difficult. However, if you put your mind to it, and make the right moves, it’s totally possible.
Since you are as an artist, the main thing you will have to concern yourself with is writing a great piece of music that goes well with sports. If any of you have played sports before, I’m sure that you know that certain music is great for pumping yourself up before and during the game. Have you ever paid attention to the intro of a sporting event program? The announcers are talking over a bed of some of the most dramatic music you’ve ever heard! Usually these tracks are instrumental and inspirational, which means its a good idea to have instrumental versions of your music, if you typically use vocals in your music.
Also played quite often during the intro of a televised sporting event are songs about the cities that teams play for. I had a discussion with the music supervisor from Fox Sports recently, right around the time of the St Louis Cardinals were playing the Texas Rangers in the World Series. He expressed how elated he was about finding a song with lyrics about St. Louis that fit so perfectly and that he was able to attain from an unknown artist (which means he saved money compared to paying a mainstream artist, so again, he was elated). The advice for artists this music supervisor gave me was to research what teams are good that year, write songs about their respective cities, and attempt to get these songs to him at least six weeks before the playoffs.
The hard part is getting in touch with these people, such as my acquaintance from Fox Sports. Large networks like Fox, CBS, and ESPN all have their own music library, and usually use music bought from huge publishing and licensing companies that own rights to mainstream artists. I just heard an instrumental version of the new Black Keys song “Lonely Boy” played during a televised football game before a commercial just last Sunday. Don’t let that discourage you. If you do your research online and make the right connections, you can find access to submit your music to these larger companies, or directly to the music supervisor themselves for a chance for placement.
Music played during live sporting events can get a little trickier. A lot of the music played at the stadium is usually picked by the athletes. Think of a baseball game where the batter is stepping up to the plate and you hear a pump-up song. Think of an MMA fighter racing out to the octagon while “Eye of the Tiger” is played. Of course these songs will need to be cleared by the suits ahead of time, but unless you know an athlete personally, you will encounter difficulties. Once again, do not get discouraged. There are plenty of companies that you can find online that deal with public performance licenses for live sporting events.
Most of all, like I mentioned earlier, do your best to write a great sports-inspired piece of music and everything from that point is a possibility.