These days, to be a musician and actually make money off your music, I believe you need to be in the game of licensing. Simply just making music and releasing it isn’t enough, as you probably already know. Unless you are really well known you really can’t make anything, and even the well known artists aren’t making what they should and/or could. There are always companies and businesses and movies and shows that need music. In order for any of them to play any music they need permission, a license to use it.
So where do you go to get these companies to license your music? How do you know who is looking for music in the first place? If you find out they are looking, how do you get them to listen to YOUR music? This is where the “middle men” come in, these are companies that the companies LOOKING for music come to to help them FIND the music they are looking for. These “middle men” companies show you the opportunities, you submit your songs that you think they may be interested and then a music supervisor goes through all the submissions and chooses the final songs to be licensed for the company/project.
There are SEVERAL of these companies, YOULicense, MusicSubmit, Broadjam, Songtradr, MusicClout, you can do your own research and see which works best for you and your style. Many of them charge a monthly membership fee, some do that as well as charge per submission and some take percentage of the license. My personal favorite is Songtradr, one because I actually got my music licensed through them but also because with the low membership price and percentage they take, they let you submit and unlimited amount of songs per submission, increasing your chances and costing you less upfront.
Also, remember to have your songs copywritten and signed up with ASCAP or BMI!