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andygcohen on 01/10/2017 at 02:27AM

(A little over) A year as a musician on FMA

Instruments I regularly use in my songs


I am Andy G. Cohen, a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who, since October 2015, has had my music available under CC-BY licenses on Free Music Archive. This blog post is my story about how FMA has been helpful to me as a musician. In short, it directly led to about a 1/3 million plays directly on FMA and most likely tens of millions of plays indirectly (through the videos and podcasts which feature my music). 

Before FMA

I am a musician in my spare time -- for me, it's a hobby to play different instruments and compose songs; I've been doing this since I was about 9 years old. After many few years of making music for myself (or playing in little bands), I decided that I would share some of my original songs online, originally on the platform SoundCloud. Some of my songs started being used in different homemade videos on YouTube. When I saw that some of these videos were quite good, and that my music was really adding something to them, I decided to license almost all of my songs with the CC-BY (attribution) license.

Once I changed the licensing to CC-BY, I was eligible to be featured in SoundCloud's moderated Creative Commons Group (sadly and frustratingly for CC musicians, SoundCloud has gotten rid of the groups feature). I then saw my listens jump from a few dozen to a few hundred. I also started occasionally seeing videos pop up with my music in it. Nice!

Enter FMA

At this point, I realized that releasing my songs under CC licenses significantly increased the total number of people who heard my music. I started getting emails from people who liked my music, and some even occasionally voluntarily paid for my music! At this point, I tried to get myself onto FMA, probably the biggest site for CC-licensed music. Initially I contacted an admin and was added to ccCommunity -- later my music also got picked up by the Music for Video curators.


In the (roughly) year since I've been on FMA:

   - My music has been played over 1/3 of a million times directly on FMA

   - My music has been featured in thousands of videos and podcasts, including some which have been on television and others with millions of plays.

   - On any given day, my songs are featured in several new videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Some of these videos are really cool, and it's pretty amazing to see what kinds of creative things others have done with my songs!

Additionally, seeing people actively listening to my music, using it in their videos and podcasts, and using it in ways that I hadn't anticipated has really given me the motivation to make even more music. The "success" my music has had on FMA has directly led to me composing, finishing, and releasing new songs. The fact that people attribute me in their videos has led to new listeners who thought a song they heard in a video sounded nice, and decided to listen to me on their own.

I would really recommend any small or independent musician who wants to see their music used in ways they may not have previously imagined to make use of Creative Commons, and try to get featured on FMA, which I feel is a great platform for creators of all kinds -- both musicians, and those who use music in their creations. In the attached playlist, you can find my "top 5" songs which are used most often in videos. Check out my FMA page or my website at for other music from me -- to date I have 23 or so songs on FMA, and I release about 1 new one per month.


Thank you, FreeMusicArchive.


-- Andy



Monplaisir on 01/12/17 at 09:26AM
Hey, I feel the same. Since I'm here, my music is way more heard and used, it's really encouraging. FMA is an awesome website with a cool community and I'm glad to be a part of it.
Nice article, nice songs, keep it up !
andygcohen on 01/13/17 at 09:05AM
Alpha Hydrae: Thanks!
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