tips

10 Tips for How To Nail A Music Search

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Try to check as many boxes as possible before sending songs out the door…

Music search. Creative brief. Whatever you call it, artists, pitching companies, labels and publishers all want to find one in their email inbox. Every third cold email from a new company asks to be included on search lists…despite that being somewhat of a fallacy. While most Music Supervisors don’t have one “brief list” that they reach out to for every search, we do have “go to” people for certain genres, budgets, types of artists, etc.

How to first get on the radar is a separate post entirely. But then how do you become one of those trusted sources? How do you get on the proverbial “search list”? This is going to seem like a Catch 22 – but the answer is by really delivering on any searches you do receive.

Fortunately this often has little to do with whether your song is actually selected. Certainly striving to meet the creative need is a part of it, but especially given how hard it can be to hit a target you can’t see, how the music prepared, packaged and sent plays a large role as well.

As with everything I write, I offer the big disclaimer that every Music Supervisor has their own preferences, so read every part of any search email you receive, and make sure to follow any delivery requirements specified. For those new to the pitching game or unsure where to start however, that the below should provide a good foundation of tips to follow (or avoid).
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Durango Songwriters Film & TV Expo 2016 / 9 Tips for Presenting Your Music to Music Supervisors

Music with a view – Ventura, CA

Another fantastic Durango Songwriters Film & TV Expo has passed, full of music (both live and recorded), delicious tacos and hanging out at the firepit into the wee hours.

As mentioned in the recap of my first trip to Ventura last year, it’s one of the few conferences most music supervisors genuinely enjoy and get excited about. After all, what’s not to like about spending the weekend (almost) literally on the beach? On the other side of the table, artists benefit from the fact that, unlike other events where music supervisors flee immediately after their panels, we are all staying in the same hotel for over two days, so there is ample opportunity to form real relationships. This arrangement however, has as much potential to go wrong as it does to go right. For more on navigating and getting the most out of this tricky networking situation check out last year’s post.

This year the idea for what type of follow up artists might find valuable came immediately. While the conference provides good guidelines for attendees, after a few conversations with other music supervisors we came up with a few more specific suggestions to add to help artists get the most out of their Durango experience – or really any conference in which you are presenting music to music supervisors.
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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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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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