As a musician, having your song featured in film, television, or a commercial can not only be a significant financial boon but can also introduce your music to a broader audience, creating lasting career impacts. Music supervisors are the gatekeepers to these opportunities, selecting tracks that will best fit a visual project's mood, tone, and context.
Here's how you can fine-tune your approach to catch a music supervisor's ear.
Research Is Key: Understand the projects that the music supervisor has worked on and their musical preferences. Tailoring your pitch to their past work shows that you’ve done your homework and can provide music that aligns with their aesthetic.
Quality Over Quantity: Ensure that your music is professionally recorded, mixed, and mastered. Music supervisors are looking for broadcast-quality tracks that can be seamlessly integrated into their projects.
Clear and Concise Communication: When you reach out, keep your emails brief and to the point. Introduce yourself, your music style, and why you believe your music would be a good fit for their projects. Avoid overly flowery language or long-winded explanations.
Easy Access to Your Music: Provide links to your music rather than attaching files to an email. Use platforms like SoundCloud or Dropbox where music supervisors can quickly stream or download your tracks.
Metadata Matters: Ensure your tracks are appropriately tagged with metadata. Include the song title, artist name, contact information, and any other relevant details such as mood, genre, and potential scene descriptions.
Instrumentals and Stems: Be prepared to provide instrumental versions and stems. Often, dialogue and sound effects in visual media require flexibility in the music, and having instrumentals and separated tracks can be extremely useful.
No Strings Attached: Make it clear that your music is pre-cleared and you have the right to license it. Clarifying that there are no legal encumbrances is crucial as supervisors often work on tight deadlines and need to ensure clearances can be obtained quickly.
Understand the Business: Familiarize yourself with how sync licensing works, including publishing rights and performance royalties. Knowing the business side of things can help you communicate more effectively and professionally.
Follow Up, But Don’t Pester: If you don’t hear back after your initial email, it’s acceptable to follow up in a few weeks. However, respect their time and decision if they’re not interested. Never pester a music supervisor with repeated unsolicited messages.
Networking: Attend industry events, film festivals, and music conferences. Building relationships with music supervisors and other industry professionals in person can be far more effective than cold calling or blind emailing.
Showcase Your Versatility: If you have a diverse catalogue, make sure to showcase different styles and moods that could potentially fit various types of scenes or projects.
Keep It Updated: As you produce new music, update your online portfolios, and consider reaching out again with fresh material. Your growth as an artist can keep you on the radar.
Be Patient and Professional: Success in sync licensing often doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient and maintain professionalism in all your interactions.
Stay Informed: Keep up with industry trends and what’s happening in the realm of film and television. Being informed can help you anticipate the needs of music supervisors.
Create a One-Sheet: A one-sheet is a single-page document that has information about you, your music, notable achievements, and contact details. It should be visually appealing and include a professional photo.
How To Contact Supervisors: HTLYM Premium's 2023 Music Licensing Directory is a great resource for making contact directly with supervisors. There is an entire section devoted specifically to music supervisors that lists their contact information, email address, website etc. (Save 50% this week only).
Crafting a thoughtful approach to music supervisors can make the difference between a sync placement and a missed opportunity. Remember, supervisors are always on the lookout for the perfect song that can add that special touch to their project. By following these best practices, you’ll not only increase your chances of securing a sync license but also establish a reputation as a professional and reliable musician in the industry.
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