Building Relationships With Music Supervisors

If you want to get your music placed in film and television, you need to build relationships. And for any relationship, you need to build it sequentially.

Think of it like a construction project for a new building. Without a solid foundation, the floors above would have nothing to support them. Without the floors, you couldn’t add walls, or cap it all off with the roof.

To land a song placement, you need to first establish your foundational relationships with music supervisors. You do this by reaching out, starting a dialogue, getting to know them, and connecting in person when possible – such as at conferences like BreakOut West.

At the BreakOut West workshop on Music Supervision, one of the messages shared was that you need to build relationships. Do your homework about who these folks are, find out what projects they work on, and research the kinds of artists they work with.

Then, when it comes to pitching your music, tell them something like “I know you’ve recently placed a song by such n’ such, and well, I have a similar song you might like to listen to.”

Once they get to know you and your music, chances are they will think of you if and when an appropriate opportunity arises. If they work with you one time, there’s an even better chance of working with you a second time. And so on. Or they may refer you to another colleague. Etc. The next thing you know, you’ll have a solid foundation for pursuing placements.

Here are some other quick facts from at the Music Supervision workshop:

  • A music supervisor does not select the songs that appear in a motion picture. Rather, they present the songs to producers and/or directors, who ultimately make the decision of which song they want to use.
  • There are two sources of music used in film and television – existing music, and newly created music. And there are two categories of music used in film and television – scores and songs.
  • There are two deals when it comes to song placements – licensing of existing music (like ‘renting’ your music) or commissioning music (buying the creation of a song or score). There are two legal definitions for every song placement – synchronization rights (for the song) and master use licence (for the recording).
  • When it comes to deals with indie artists… non-negotiables are Term, Territory and Media. Fees can sometimes be negotiable. The deal is always non-exclusive. Request that receipt of the cue sheet be part of the deal.
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