FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

*For more information on MIC PGH Publishing, read our Terms and Conditions page and our article on our Sanctuary blog about Publishing.

What is MIC and what do you do?

MIC is "Music Industry Connected". We share our one-of-a-kind, non-cookie-cutter IMBM at the Sanctuary Blog, and also personally consult musicians to set them up with unique IMBM business gameplan so they're never dependent on us, or anyone else.

We offer 3 services at MIC: 
1) You can use our IMBM: Indie Music Business Model for free at our Sanctuary Blog -- go read it and use it to create your own music career gameplan. 
2) You can join the MVMT and get all the perks of being a part of our network.
3) You can request a one-on-one consulting session via Skype/Facetime with a MIC Strategy Consultant. In that call, you would build your own custom business gameplan based on the IMBM that tells you everything you need to do, and the team you need to build, to create your dream career.

In 2013, MIC was originally founded as "MIC PGH (Pittsburgh)" by indie musicians for indie musicians in one of the quintessential indie music cities in the USA: Pittsburgh, PA. In 2017, MIC expanded nationally in its unique operations as a music career consultancy (not a label or a management company) developing and spreading the IMBM. MIC creates opportunities for indie musicians, like the MVMT and MIC PGH Sync Licensing Network through our Publishing branch.

We’re “Music Industry Connected” because we demystify the music business for you, connecting the pieces of the puzzle that historically trip up and trick musicians into bad deals. No matter your music career goal, our IMBM: Indie Music Business Model is where your music career begins.

If you want to sign to a label, you need to start as an “indie” (independent) anyway. Record labels don't dish out development deals like they used to - you've got to bust down their doors with your impressive brand, social media stats, and finished music product before they’ll consider signing you.  

If you want to be indie, the IMBM shows you how. Equipped with the legal, financial, and other business basics you need, you’ll know how to make money off your music and achieve your own unique definition of success. As an indie, you’ll harness complete creative control over your music’s content, team, timeline, and ownership/revenue splits.

What are all these abbreviations and branches all about?

The name of the MIC game is the IMBM, The MVMT, and MIC Publishing.

We're the home of the world's first IMBM: Indie Music Business Model, a "Choose Your Own Adventure" model for indie musicians to create music careers without labels, in non-hub cities (like Pittsburgh, get it?). Some call it the "New Music Business", we call it the "Indie Music Industry" -- at the end of the day we're all about helping indie musicians achieve their definition of success. Read all about it in the Sanctuary blog here.

Our mission to rally this paradigm shift of the music industry towards independence (think Chance the Rapper, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) can't be achieved on our own -- so we started The MVMT as a way for indie musicians of all types (and the creative freelancers that support them)  to network with each other, while acknowledging we're all in this indie movement together.

MIC Publishing is our Sync Licensing branch that creates custom deals to license The MVMT's indie music to independent filmmakers, ad agencies, and other project creators in Pittsburgh and beyond. We never own a percentage of The MVMT's songs or royalties, and we're known for "Personally Connecting You To Indie Musicians."


We have a $125 signup fee to be added to The MVMT, and thus our MIC Publishing catalogue, because of the hours of manpower required to add a band to our catalogue: from listening in-depth to all their songs and adding them to our specific playlists, to prepping to vet them out specifically when asked for suggestions from producers (the more genuinely we know/listen to all the bands in our catalogue, the better we can drop suggestions during discussions with producers). We also need to pull in our web designer to add the profile to the catalogue on MICPGH.com.

What's the deal with the mvmt saying you'll get us publishing deals?

In the summer of 2017, we opened The MVMT and MIC Publishing to the public after development and beta-testing in the preceding winter. Over our 8 years of IMBM development, we had so many people (producers/filmmakers) asking us for access to local musicians, and it took us a few years to figure out a way to help facilitate this process while still achieving our indie music mission.

MIC Publishing specializes in "Personally Connecting You To Indie Musicians," so our team of freelancers and interns networks around town, making relationships with organizations and creating deals (we're always hiring, too). We host workshops around Pittsburgh that teach filmmakers and advertisers the ins and outs of sync licensing and how we can offer them access to our catalogue of The MVMT music: either through individual song licenses per project, or through hiring a project music supervisor.

We've created relationships with Pittsburgh leaders, universities, agencies, and entities like Steeltown Entertainment who have waited patiently for us to build up our catalogue in order to have music to show their clients. Read more details here.

Tell me more about MIC publishing?

MIC PGH is a sync licensing deal-creator -- The MVMT's Front-Line bands create our catalogue. We don't own any percentage of the music in our catalogue-- we simply represent the musicians so we can go to our connections around the city and create opportunities that don't currently exist for local music to be placed in local projects. We find these deals, write up the papers, collect the money, take our publisher's cut of 50%, distribute the rest to the band, and that's it. We don't take a percentage of any of the royalties collected from that placement, nor do we require anyone to be exclusively with us.

We're very unique as a publisher because we don't take any royalty collections -- most other publishers don't operate with that advantage toward the musicians. However, we exist to help indie musicians have stable careers, so we created a business model that would simplify the process, enable us to create deals around the city where they currently do not exist and will not exist without our creation, and also give the artists a better long-term financial gain. Everything is very in-spirit with our IMBM, the Indie Music Business Model, found on our site at the Sanctuary Blog.

Bottom line: We step in to make deals, take our industry average 50% publisher's cut, hand over your 50% to distribute as you'd like, and step out so you can make 100% of the royalties. The signup fee is just to cover the cost of what it takes to add a band to our catalogue. We're creating a marketplace for deals in PGH that would not exist without us!


After we find a placement deal, write up the papers, get all parties to agree and sign the contract, collect the money, and distribute the 50% to your band/team, it's up to the band/team to distribute the correct amounts to the correct people. The pricing options available to Publishing buyers varies due to project type --you can read about that here-- so payouts depend on which song(s) we get placed. We never own any percentage of your rights.


It's up to you to verify that the other deal is non-exclusive and would allow you to work with us. If it lets you be in other catalogues and you join MIC PGH Publishing, you would have a non-exclusive deal with us, and you could work with anyone else you wanted. Remember: we're not a typical publishing company, we just focus on placement deals -- we're sync licensing specialists for the indie music market. When you distribute your music through an aggregator service like CDBaby, Tunecore, or Distrokid, it will cover other Publishing needs like distribution to online stores and streaming, YouTube monetization, etc.

Are you real?

We get this question often because we don't fit into the normal mold: we're not a record label, and we're not a management company. We're a consultancy, which is a fancy way of saying we're experts who educate you on your unique situation as it applies to the music industry. We promise we're never spamming you, and we have a Satisfaction Guarantee policy on all of our services.

You can meet our network of professionals, and our intern team around the Pittsburgh music scene, scouting out new bands to invite to The MVMT and understanding what's going on in our underground.

You can also follow the founder Emily Plazek (aka Millaze) as she expands the MIC message nationally across the country - on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.