Continuing Education

Where the Music Takes You

Make Money Licensing Your Music instructor Ed Hartman is a composer, entrepreneur and instructor who has spent the last 50 years following the beat of his own drum. After spending much of his youth studying with private instructors, Hartman went on to receive a degree in Percussion from Indiana University and eventually made his way to Seattle in 1979. From there Hartman pursued a multi-faceted career by assuming just about every role one could Imagehold in the music industry from performer, educator and dance accompanist to composer, booking agent and record company owner…not to mention opening his own store, The Drum Exchange in 1992.  “I've always been of the opinion (I should) be a resource to the music community,” he says. “I started a music co-op and a composer’s concert series that developed into a non-profit organization with full orchestra performances and world premieres. I have been Chapter President of Percussive Arts Society and sat on the board of the Seattle Composers Alliance. There was never an inspiration to pursue music professionally, it was always something I did. When I left college I found myself making a living at it.”

And make a living he did. However for all the music hats he wears, Hartman says teaching is the best route for an artist seeking any kind of stability in their lifestyle. “Teaching keeps you local,” he says. “Gigging means traveling.  Both are fun, but not easy to always combine. Teaching has always taught me more about music than anything. If you get married, you will likely need to settle down, and teaching tends to do that for you. I know of many musicians that do balance both worlds well.”

Growing up with an intense love of film, it was inevitable Hartman’s career would eventually lead him to film scoring. “(It) was something that I've always been interested in. If I hadn't gone to music school, I would have gone to LA and become a filmmaker,” he says. “I made Super 8 films as a kid, and never was able to sync music well because that type of film was silent.  I ran LP records or reel to reel tapes with my projector to add musical accompaniment.” 

Music licensing opportunities rose as a byproduct of Hartman’s prolific creative efforts. Initially, production companies came to him in search of suitable tracks. “Licensing music was something that came to me,” he recalls. Image“I've released a number of records over the years, and a production company called me up to use a track on a holiday special.  They paid me, and the show ran on HBO for years.”

From that point on, the licensing snowball started to roll downhill and pick up speed. “Another production company called to use another track a few years later, and paid me as well.  The film was Surviving Christmas, with Ben Affleck.  The film didn't do well in the theatres, but I have received royalties for years.  Films move from theatres (around the world) to TV and Cable.  From there, I saw a demand for my music, and started to pitch it through companies and directly. I have had many placements over the years on TV and in films.  Scoring started to happen after the licensing heated up.”

Sadly, Hartman’s success as a composer meant he had close the doors of store, The Drum Exchange after 25 years of business.  Now he is available for more creative opportunities as well as sharing his great wealth of knowledge attained from a lifetime in the music industry. “I've always been a teacher,” he says. “As I got involved in licensing, I started to see there was quite a bit of confusion about it.  Others musicians asked me questions, so I started to write articles and started a newsletter about it (Adventures in Music Licensing).  I started doing workshops at music conventions and then via music organizations around the Northwest.”  Eventually those workshops evolved into his course at Continuing Education.

Hartman will be the first to tell you lessons learned in the entertainment industry are frequently hard fought and won, but success most definitely starts with an ability to collaborate. “The director is the king,” he says. “He or she Imagedefines the vision.  It is up to the composer to figure out how to express the emotions of the scene. It can be a good or not so good collaboration. Contracts have to be correctly written, and expectations kept within reason.” He also acknowledges one needs to be bit of an extrovert in addition to being an artist. “Initially connecting with clients is always a challenge. Personal connections are everything. Things happen once you make a connection. You have to get to know folks.”

Like every quarter he’s taught since 2013, Hartman looks forward to sharing his knowledge and experience with students. Make Money Licensing Your Music covers not only the essentials to marketing and licensing, but contracting and composing. “I also go over creating your own business so you have a legal entity that can be the publisher of your music,” he says. “The class is very fast moving, interesting and up to the minute relevant to the current market.  Any kind of musician can get something from the class.  All styles are in demand, including instrumental and vocal music.  Considering the lack of paying performance opportunities, CD sales, and streaming income, music licensing is the best way to get your music heard by potentially millions of people around the world, and get paid for it.  With enough tracks, you can make a living with music licensing.  I know a number of musicians that do.”

Learn more about Make Money Licensing Your Music.

Visit Ed Hartman’s website,  

Photo#1 Courtesy of Ed Hartman
Photo#2 © Dreamworks
Photo #3 credit: Chase Grund_cc_2.0