3 Easy Steps to Getting your Music Heard by Music Supervisors
Getting your music heard is arguably one of the most challenging obstacles today’s artists have to deal with. Getting your music heard by the right people is even harder. I’ve created a list of 3 steps to help you get your music into the hands of a music supervisor - the “right people” in my book.
1. Pandora (or any other online radio service) – Pandora’s main objective is getting music heard. The music genome project breaks music down into a variety of different classifications to truly give the best recommendation service possible. Being on Pandora can be a huge advantage for an independent artist.
- Scenario 1 – Mike the music supervisor has a song that is perfect for a spot in a brand new Coca-Cola commercial, but, for a variety of reasons, the song cannot be licensed. What is Mike going to do? He’s in a time crunch and needs a killer song that resembles the one he already had in mind. Mike opens up his web browser and navigates himself to Pandora, types in the song, and begins clicking through the related songs. Lo and behold, a song from Tim the Toolman’s band comes up and Mike thinks this song is even better than his original choice. Tim the Toolman just landed himself a sync license on a Coca-Cola commercial.
- Why does this matter? Pandora and other services just like it have become huge resources for music supervisors due to the ease and accuracy of the programs. Getting on Pandora can potentially be a long and arduous process, but the benefits far outweigh any possible disadvantages. Of course you’re not guaranteed to get picked up simply because your music is on Pandora, but hey, you never know, someone is always listening. Look at Tim the Toolman.
2. Sound alike artists – creating the perfect pitch and determining your direct “sound alike” artists.
- Scenario 2 – Tim the Toolman gets into an elevator with a very important music supervisor, Mike the music supervisor. Mike is known as the guru of video game music. He single handedly created the Rock Band enterprise and has broken a vast array of artists because of placements on these video games.
Tim the Toolman instantly recognizes him and turns to introduce himself. Mike politely says hello and asks, “Who do you sound like?” after Tim tells him about the awesome band he is in. Tim, unprepared and still shocked, fumbles with an answer. He says, “Um, well, you know, we sound, um, great!” Mike is immediately turned off by the conversation and runs out of the elevator as soon as the doors open. Tim blew it.
- Why does this matter? A lot of artists refuse to compare themselves to other artists for sake of jeopardizing their “originality”. While the band may be as original as they say they are, this really hurts them when they’re trying to pitch their music to someone.
Think of it this way, if Tim the Toolman had a pitch prepared that included one or two artists his band sounded like, plus some other creative adjectives that described the awesomeness of his band, Mike probably wouldn’t have written him off and run out of the elevator so quickly.
Something simple like “The Red Hot Chili Peppers meet Gin Blossoms with a pinch of Cajun seasoning” will do the trick. You need something that sparks interest in the person you are talking to; something that will make them want to listen to your music. It is also important to rehearse this pitch. You want to have it ready so that it flows well in normal conversation. The last thing you want is to sound like a robot or trip over your words like Tim did. Keep it short, simple, and to the point.
3. Ask – Network with music supervisors and keep tabs on what projects they are working on. You need to find out what needs music supervisors have and then you need to satisfy those needs. Asking the right questions to the right people is the most valuable thing you can do for your career.
- Scenario 3 –Mike the music supervisor just moved to Nashville, TN, home of Tim the Toolman’s awesome band. Mike is the music supervisor for the hit sit-com, My Wife’s Daughter. The show is widely known for the cool music that is scattered throughout each episode. Tim got wind of this from a friend and sees this as a perfect opportunity. Tim asks his friend for an introduction. Upon first meeting, Tim makes it a point to play it cool. He knows he can’t shove his music down Mike’s throat. Instead, Tim starts building a friendly relationship with Mike. They talk a little bit about work and music but Tim is careful not overwhelm him while still making sure to ask what types of projects Mike has on his plate. Tim leaves the meeting with business card and Mike’s contact info and goes to work on a song that is perfect for a project Mike expressed some frustration about. A few days later, Tim sends him the song. Mike loves it and places it almost immediately. The relationship has now been established.
- Why does this matter? Tim landed this job because he was aware of a need. He knew exactly what Mike wanted and fulfilled that need. As an artist, it is important that you establish these working relationships with the music supervisor so that you can be the first to know about upcoming opportunities. This way, you can satisfy the need before it is truly realized by the music supervisor.
Doing these thing will in no way guarantee your song gets picked up for a spot. However, actively pursuing these opportunities will bring an artist one step closer to getting their music placed and could result in the biggest break in an artist’s career. An artist must be persistent when seeking licensing deals and must continually be adapting to the needs of the music supervisor. Having these qualities and following these steps will surely put you miles ahead of most other artists out there.
What other suggestions do you have for getting your music heard by the right people? Leave a note in the comments!