Interview with a music supervisor
This article features some excellent advice for music creators from professional music supervisor Wendy Levy about placing music in television, which can also be applied to film and other media. This expert testimony Q & A interview article was published on the Berklee College of Music site under the title: Advice from a pro about song placements in TV productions.
A link to this article was also posted by ‘Strategy & Communications Consultant’ Eric Jensen on our Music Publishing And Licensing group for sharing and discussion. If you are new to Music Publishing And Licensing group, you can learn more our the About LicenseQuote page.
This discussion already received many positive comments, currently making it one of the most popular topics on our professional discussions page.
Comments from our Music PAL members:
This was a great interview with a lot of useful tips for people starting out in the world of placements. Thank you for posting it here. I learned a lot.
What a great interview… extremely informative.
One of the best pieces of advice Wendy gives is to use the IMDB database, a seriously useful resource for music supervisor info. Watching a film you like the soundtrack of ? All the IMDB.com listings point you to the music supervisor if you scroll around a little.
Great article from Wendy Levy. Thanks for sharing.
Great article with some excellent advice from a seasoned music supervisor!
And many more!
Key point from one Q & A
Q. What makes a song easy for you to license?
A. It’s best if there is only one stop for me to clear it and if the writer can easily verify ownership of the song. Never lie or exaggerate. The last thing a music supervisor wants is someone saying they own a song when they don’t. That’s why a lot of supervisors will go through a third party, like a publisher or label. That puts the liability on the third party who is screening the songs and taking responsibility for knowing who owns them.
Some more great advice
When someone gets a good placement, the song can go to the top 20 on iTunes. One artist got some major-label heat because of placements. It gets the attention of the labels if you start to chart with your placements.
Some artists I know have been in and out of record deals and are now independent and have incredibly high-quality material. I may use a strong song over and over for several years. A successful placement should lead to more placements. When you get in with a supervisor and get a placement, build on that relationship. If you were useful to them once, you’ll probably be useful again.
Other questions and answers from article:
1. How can songwriters find music supervisors for TV shows?
2. Is it advisable to just cold call a music supervisor?
3. How should a songwriter/composer prepare before calling a music supervisor?
I have heard from small publishers that say they have watched a show and know what I need. If they do they are golden to me. As a songwriter, you won’t have a catalog as deep as a publisher’s, so you have to target. I know some songwriters with very small catalogs, but they are very good at pitching them. Know what you have and where it will work rather than just calling everybody and hoping something works out.
4. Are there any general criteria by which you judge whether someone’s music will work for the shows you work on?
5. Can you give some practical tips for those making submissions to you?
6. Are there certain musical styles that you work with most frequently?
7. What makes a song easy for you to license?
8. What is the average fee range for a song placement?
9. What are the different types of song placements for songs in a TV show?
Concluding remarks and advice
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