10 Phrases That Make Music Supervisors Cringe (From Those Pitching Music)

Nope Chuck TestaEveryone knows music supervisors receive dozens of emails every day from people trying to get their music heard – artists, managers, publishers, labels, third-party pitching companies, publicists, agents, etc. Respectively, we encounter a range of tactics all seeking to achieve the same goal – to convince us to click the link, stream, download, save, file, flag and of course, ultimately place their music.

As you’re likely already aware, there are many factors at play, and in the past I’ve offered advice on the overall pitch email and submission methods. The focus of this article, however, is purely on the words. I wish I could divulge specific keywords to rise to the top of every music supervisor’s inbox…unfortunately these do not exist. Everyone has different preferences, expectations and pet peeves. For better or worse, it’s much simpler to call out some of the wrong approaches to take, especially since there are some cringe-worthy phrases that show up in emails again and again. After polling a handful of music supervisors responsible for overseeing the music in many of the top films and television shows out right now, here are some of the most common phrases that make us all wince:
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Seven Tips for Connecting with Music Supervisors at a Conference (from a Music Supervisor)

Photo Credit: Jay Farbman for The Guild of Music Supervisors

This past weekend was the very first Guild of Music Supervisors State of Music in Media Conference. Many of the most influential players in the media music community shared their knowledge and experience with students, aspiring music supervisors and peers across 24 panels, presentations and sessions. Topics ranged from an overview of the job, to getting hired, to creative strategy and communication, an in depth look at music clearance, metadata practices, marketing the music and more.

We involved in the the planning could not have been happier with the turnout – both the number of and the enthusiasm and support from the attendees. I had many discussions with panelists and presenters about how unusually intelligent the questions were.

Still though, there were a few…frustrating situations that arose. As with any conference where music supervisors are present, regardless of the content or goals, there was a faction who just viewed the event as an opportunity to put music in the hands of those with power.
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TuneCore Interview Follow Up Part II: 10 Mistakes Artists Make When Pitching Music

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Another photo from an upcoming Sessions At The Steps performance!

This is the second of two posts written as a follow up to my interview with TuneCore that came out earlier this month. Check out the full article here, and thank you again to TuneCore for having me!

Last week I further articulated some benefits I’ve found to using unsigned or independent artists in projects. Today I address a topic most music supervisors I know could pontificate on for hours and hours: mistakes artists make when pitching their music.

Because I am an unabashed fan of listicles, I kept it to just ten pitfalls to avoid if you are an artist trying to bust into this crazy world. To any fellow music supervisors reading this, I would love for you to add more in the comments!

To begin, here is the question (and my answer) from the original interview:
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TuneCore Interview Follow Up Part I: 4 Benefits To Using Independent Artists (When Possible)

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Photo from an upcoming Sessions At The Steps…Stay tuned!

Last month I had the great pleasure of chatting with Kevin from TuneCore about how I fell into music supervision, my favorite projects and more. The result of that conversation appeared on the internet early this month.

Read the full article here.

While I am grateful for the opportunity to talk (my favorite activity!) and generally pleased with how the final product turned out, I think everyone can identify with the experience of finishing a conversation and thinking, “Argh, I should have said this instead!” or “Oh that would have been a way better way to explain that”. Full disclosure, they were kind enough to let me edit the interview, but as an occasional interviewer myself, I attempted to keep at least some representation of the actual conversation, despite temptations to just re-write my more inarticulate moments.

In particular, there were two questions I wanted to clarify and/or expand upon. Initially I intended for this to be one post, but then the words started flowing and I took it as a sign to split it into two.

This week addresses some of the benefits of placing music by independent artists, when they can save a music supervisor’s life (and how to avoid complicating it).
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Now Digging / San Fermin

San Fermin Denny Renshaw

Photo Credit: Denny Renshaw

In my extreme old age (I turned thirty this year, guys) I’ve become much choosier about the shows I get out to, especially if they are farther than my immediate Eastside vicinity. I know I have friends who roll their eyes at this. To those people I say, “INVITE ME OUT MORE THEN JEEZ”

Last month I trekked all the way to the Troubadour to see San Fermin. It was 100% worth it, and not just because I found a parking spot less than a mile away. It was one of those shows that reignited my love and desire to be a part of an industry that helps support such amazing art.
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