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Questions and Answers about the music business

April 13, 2007

Date: April 13, 2007 3:03:11 AM EDT
Subject: Questions and Answers about the music business

I’ve decided to start a new email column of sorts.

Ask me a question about the music business (preferably relating to artist management or music supervision & film/TV licensing) and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Fun, eh?

I hope this can serve as a forum to educate artists about film and TV licensing and the music business in general.

After all, the more you know, the more successful and powerful you will be!

So, feel free to email me your question here and I’ll do my best to answer it!

Here’s my first question:

*********

Hi Jennifer,

How are you??  This is Jocelyn.  First of all, I love the articles you send me.  Really, really helpful.

I’ve been wondering for a while (and maybe tons of other artists do as well) what are some cover songs that are constantly wanted/used for movies/tv shows year after year?  Or songs that are a particular theme and feel that are consistently asked for?

I am asking because I’m doing a new record and I really want to aim for getting TV placements and am trying to figure how to give myself the best shot at that — of course, besides writing great songs.

I hope all is well.  Thanks!

Jocelyn

*******
Thanks for the question Jocelyn. That’s an interesting question and one I haven’t been asked before.

In general, for my purposes, I’m not often asked for cover songs.  Requests do come up from time to time but when they do, they are often obscure covers songs that you may not even know.

Another reason why I don’t get many cover song requests – if you cover a song, the publishing would need to be cleared.  And many famous artists and many publishers may not license their song and allow it to be used in film, tv or advertising.  So, before you cover a song, you might do some research and see if that publisher or songwriter licenses their songs for film and TV and even so, if they would authorize a cover version.  i.e. Beatles, Rolling Stones, the bigger the artist (and bigger hit the song) in general, the more I’d stay away from covering it if you’re thinking about doing it purely from a film and tv perspective.  A perfect example is Peter Gabriel who was famous for not licensing his songs.  Now of course he’s sold out, as many artists have, perhaps for the exposure, or perhaps because he needs the money.  But do your research.

So, I’d really say, stick with original songs and remember, if you put a cover song on your album, go through the Harry Fox Agency (http://www.harryfox.com – more on this later) and make sure you take care of paying mechanicals for every CD you press!

On a related note, a lot of artists and composers ask me if they can submit instrumental songs or score for placement.  While I am sometimes asked for an instrumental or library type cues, most every TV show you see already has a composer for it.  And that composer generally takes care of 95% of the instrumental music you hear.  Same goes with film.  Film composers get paid big bucks to make great music for the movies you shell out $10+ to see.

So, assume that unless specified, I always need songs with vocals.

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.”—–Norman R. Augustine
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“People have to learn they have to juggle everything until they get lucky. They need to work a steady job, make a living and make time for the band. They need to take all the money they make from the band and throw it back into the band”
–David Draiman, Vocalist for Disturbed, interviewed in Music Connection

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