Licensing Manager

  • Licensing Manager

Depending on the structure of the employing music company, a licensing manager may specialize in synch licensing, mechanical, performing, or a combination of copyright licensing. He or she is responsible for overseeing the license administrators in the royalty department and answers to the royalty director.


The licensing manager performs the higher functions within the department, which includes approving license requests and invoices prepared by the license administrators; this person is chiefly concerned with ensuring accuracy in the collection of royalty fees, reporting of licensee and artist agreement information, and maintenance of the licensing database. On a regular basis, the manager will receive reports that detail project and composition information on each license request obtained by the department, and peruse determination sheets to see that the license administrator has correctly identified all copyright holders, royalty splits, and noted payee information. When disputes arise over ownership, fees, or usage agreements, the licensing manager must resolve the problem with the client; he or she is empowered to negotiate contract terms on behalf of the company. This person may also be tasked with monitoring and enforcing fee collection on licenses issued by his or her department. In addition to these tasks, the licensing manager must effectively lead staff and ensure timely reporting of data and turnaround of license issuance.

Skills & Education

A bachelor’s degree in music business, communications, or a related field is required for a career as a licensing manager, and coursework should include music publishing and copyright law. Necessary proficiencies include Word and Excel, as well as the ability to quickly adapt to proprietary database systems. The individual in this career should be a highly analytical thinker, organized, detail-oriented, and an excellent communicator. Strong mathematical skills are required. It is also important that the licensing manager is a confident leader who can guide staff and effectively train new employees. Depending on your area of specialization, additional experience in music supervision or film and television production is helpful.

What to Expect

Three to five years of license administration experience in the music industry is required before advancement to the role of manager. Previous employment as a mechanical license administrator, synch license administrator, or similar position is necessary. Positions exist at record labels, music publishers, performing rights organizations (like BMI or ASCAP), and licensing agencies (like the Harry Fox Agency). With a solid education as your foundation, a great place to begin cultivating your career is with an internship with a music company in the royalty or licensing department. This experience will better prepare you for your first full-time job, and make you a more attractive candidate to employers seeking knowledgeable recruits.


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