Among all the skills necessary for a music supervisor to master, perhaps the most difficult is how to be an ally to everyone. No two collaborators are the same. Different taste. Different agendas. Different levels of tech savviness. The list goes on. Producers, Studio Executives, Music Editors, Editors, family friends, spouses…I’ve seen all of these folks be called in to submit their opinions on song selection at one time or another. Of course, the most important person to please on the creative team is the director. The director needs to feel taken care of, confident that you are doing everything in your power to serve their vision and make their precious baby come to life exactly how they’d like (which I don’t mean in a derogatory way – I’m sure any director will agree to the film/baby analogy).
But it’s not just those making the film or television show that a music supervisor has to attend to. Even when there are zero dollars in the budget to bargain with, labels and publishers also need to feel appreciated and valued. To know that you are always fighting to get their artists paid what they are worth. It’s their job to support their artists, and to do so they need you to support them. For a music supervisor, problems arise when these two core desires (to complete the director’s vision and ability to pay artists a good/fair price) come into direct conflict.
By Amanda DK
Recently a handful of independent managers, artists, songwriters (and friends) have reached out to me asking the same question in slightly different ways:
How do I get my music into television and films?
I hope those people don’t find it impersonal or rude that I’m answering them with a public article. I’m writing this because I want to help…honestly, helping them is helping me. It’s just that these sort of questions come up multiple times a week and I am always giving the same answer.
I’ve had the bits and pieces of this post rattling around in my brain for quite some time now, so when Tsuru alerted the Paper Crane Collective that he may not be able to post today due to an alleged “road trip” for a so-called “fashion show,” I figured now might be the right time to unleash it (in all seriousness though, he and Tsurubride are both rockstars, I’m happy to help). It was posted on PCC on Friday, and now I’m bringing it to TA.
When I’m not blogging, I spend most of my time in a cubicle where I work in TV music at a studio. I also music supervise the occasional project on the side when people want me. A good part of my job is keeping track of the flood of music submissions that come to my boss and I from all over – independent artists, major labels, indie labels, publishers, agents, managers, pitching agencies and the occasional publicist. Having been in this role for a solid two and half years now, I’ve spoken to a lot of folks on the phone who don’t know that it’s unprofessional to send a handwritten letter with a chicken scratch title written on the CD in sharpie, or have no idea what yousendit is. Based on my experiences there are a few things I believe every artist should be aware of in order to come off educated, to protect their own music, and give their tunes the best shot of getting licensed.