Just a quick reminder that December 26 is the deadline for the early bird registration for my upcoming mentorship program, "The Sync Tank", that launches on January 8.
Sign up by December 26 and save 100 dollars off the full price.
“The Sync Tank”, includes extensive one on one coaching, with training and leads specifically tailored to your music and your situation. You won't find this sort of customized training on how to license your music anywhere else.
There are limited spots available.
Learn more: https://www.htlympremium.com/sync_tank.html
Creating a successful career in music often requires more than just talent and passion; it involves understanding the industry from different perspectives. For musicians looking to enter the world of sync licensing, a vital piece of advice is to think like a music supervisor. This approach is not just about making music that resonates with audiences but also about understanding how your music fits within various contexts where it can be licensed.
In today’s post, let’s dive deeper into this concept.
Understanding the Role of a Music Supervisor
A music supervisor is responsible for selecting and licensing music for various media, including films, TV shows, advertisements, video games, and more. Their primary goal is to find music that enhances the narrative, emotion, or branding of the project they are working on. This requires a deep understanding of how music can influence an audience’s perception and experience.
Music supervisors look for tracks that complement and elevate the visual content. This can range from finding a song that perfectly encapsulates the mood of a scene in a movie, to choosing a track that aligns with the brand identity for an advertisement. When you’re writing music specifically for sync licensing, consider how your music can be used in different settings. Is your song suitable for a dramatic movie scene, a light-hearted commercial, or a suspenseful moment in a video game?
My first publisher, who was also my former songwriting teacher at Berklee, used to ask me a really simple question whenever I would send her tracks, which was simply, “Where do you see this song being used?”. At first this question would throw me off. I was thinking to myself, I don’t know, you’re the publisher, where do you see this song being used. But I eventually realized, what she was really trying to do was to get me to think more about how and where my tracks could be potentially used, so that I would write and create tracks that had the best chance of being synced. She was encouraging me to think like a music supervisor.
Of course, you don’t always know in advance where or how your songs will be used when you write them, since it’s possible anticipate all the different projects your song could potentially be used in. But if you’re writing specifically for sync, it’s helpful to think in these terms. By anticipating what types of projects your music could potentially fit in, it will help you create tracks with better odds of actually being licensed.
Crafting Versatile and Thematically Relevant Music
You should aim to create versatile music that can fit into various themes and contexts. While it’s important to maintain your unique sound and style, consider incorporating elements that make your music adaptable to different scenarios. For instance, a song about universal themes like love, adventure, or struggle can be more easily placed than one with very niche or specific themes.
A great exercise, and one that I suggest anyone interested in writing for sync do on a regular basis, is to simply start paying attention to the music that is used in tv shows and movies that you watch. When you start to actively pay attention to what types of songs are used in different scenes and different contexts, you’ll develop a better sense of how music supervisors select music for their projects.
Building Relationships and Networking
Understanding the music supervisor’s needs also involves building relationships within the industry. Networking with music supervisors, attending industry events, and staying informed about current trends can provide insights into what supervisors are looking for and how to pitch your music effectively.
As I’ve often discussed in my blogs and videos over the years, my first music publisher for Sync was my songwriting teacher at Berklee. Although I didn’t actually license any music through her until about 7 years after I finished Berklee, the fact that I knew her made it much easier to get her to check out my music and work with me. You of course don’t need to personally know everyone you work with in the business, but it helps to form personal relationships when possible. As humans, we’re simply naturally inclined to want to work with and help people we know.
Research and Customization in Pitching
When pitching your music, do your research. Tailor your pitches to the specific needs and preferences of the music supervisor you’re contacting. Demonstrate how your music can solve a problem or enhance their project. Personalized pitches show that you’ve put thought into how your music fits their specific needs.
Staying True to Your Artistic Identity
While adapting to the needs of the industry is important, it’s equally important to stay true to your artistic identity. Your unique voice and style are what will make your music stand out. Balancing commercial appeal with artistic integrity is key.
Thinking like a music supervisor when entering the world of sync licensing is a strategic approach for musicians. It requires understanding the role of music in various media, creating versatile and high-quality music, effective networking and pitching, and balancing commercial needs with artistic integrity.
By adopting this mindset, you will greatly increase your odds of getting your music licensed. The music licensing business, like any other business, is ultimately about understanding and serving the needs of your clients. So be sure to take the time to really understand the business and craft music that will work in a variety of contexts and settings.