Archive for June, 2009


Music Supervision panel

June 24, 2009

I wrote this article in August 2007 and sent it out to the list but was reminded by one of you wonderful artists how helpful it was recently – so I’m resending it!



I recently went to a panel on music supervising and came away with some gems from music supervisors, hit songwriters and folks at BMI that I thought would be of interest to you. Here’s what they had to say.

Be respectful of how busy music supervisors are – only send appropriate music – otherwise you waste that person’s time and they are less likely to listen to your future submissions

i.e. Don’t send heavy metal when asked for singer/songwriter material, etc.

You have to step up your game and be professional because competition is fierce – a band in Montana has a full press kit vs. a band down the street in Hollywood delivers a CD without any contact info on it!

Be prepared to WORK – REWRITE, REWRITE, REWRITE – a songwriter with cuts on Whitney Houston and other famous singer’s albums once submitted 36 verses (!!!) of a song to a director. Not only did she get the end title song in the film, they also used it as the opening title song! But she had to give them many options that worked for the film.

As a songwriter, you must rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. All good songwriters do this.

You are competing with EVERYONE when you submit a song – even Elton John and Bernie Taupin – your music needs to be THAT good as they can always license a big song instead of yours

Take notes when you go to panels or music conventions – do you really think you’ll remember everything people say? Take good notes and refer back to them often as a refresher

Artists have been broken through TV – Snow Patrol and The Fray were around but being featured on “Grey’s Anatomy” gave both bands a huge career boost

Bands have made $100,000 licensing their music without a manager, major label or publisher – all they had was a song plugger (like me!)

That same band was so focused, they quit their day jobs and played everywhere they could. They were COMMITTED TO BEING SUCCESSFUL – they BELIEVED IN THEMSELVES! And recently got signed to a major label, in large part because of all their success in licensing songs to film and TV

One artist went into BMI and wanted advice and help getting signed to a major label – when asked “why” they said they wanted to license their music. Actually, being signed to a major record label or major publisher will PREVENT your songs from being used as they’ll want a lot of money for them. Music supervisors can license songs from indie artists at 1/3 the rate of a “baby” band signed a major label or publisher. Stay indie if you want to license more of your music. Being signed to a major label or publisher can actually PREVENT your songs from being licensed (they want more money and take too long to clear). But if you goal is to open for bigger bands and tour, a major label would be helpful!

A new composer submitted a cue for a film. It was a temp track but when the original composer’s cues weren’t working, the director asked for the new composer’s song to be edited back into the film. He liked it so much and ended up scoring the entire Jim Carey film. All from one song submission. Sometimes that happens from one submission! With a little luck, it could happen to you too. But the music has to be good. And you have to get it in the right people’s hands!

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

“Motivation and determination are 1000 times more potent than talent alone”
-Some guy online
“Be nice to everyone. You never know if the intern will be the next president of your record company.”
-Michael Buble
“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


Nickelback / songwriting tips

June 21, 2009

This is a great article on songwriting and hey, like ’em or not, Nickelback has sold tens of millions of CDs and continue to churn out hit after hit…

Think that’s an accident?

This article is a couple years old but the lessons are still the same…

Read on…

The Nickelback Powerhouse Rolls On
Posted: April 17, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — With the recording industry in a slump, bands can no longer expect blockbuster sales — except for Nickelback. Past multiplatinum albums are no guarantee of future success either — unless you’re Nickelback. Concert sellouts aren’t guaranteed — but that doesn’t apply to Nickelback.

It’s been almost 18 months since the release of “All the Right Reasons,” which has sold more than 5 million copies on the strength of hits such as the ubiquitous “Photograph.” The Canadian band’s tour is selling out arenas nationwide. All this followed up the triple-platinum “The Long Road” in 2003. And still, the commercial powerhouse shows no sign of slowing.

Nickelback has also recently branched out to the arena of benevolence. Digital sales from their latest hit, the activist anthem “If Everyone Cared,” are being donated to Amnesty International and International Children’s Awareness Canada.

“In a climate that a lot of people aren’t doing that well, we’re very, very fortunate,” Nickelback’s leader, vocalist Chad Kroeger, said in a recent phone interview.

“We’re just lucky that we’ve been able to make a connection to fans of all ages, instead of just hitting with one group of fans or one age group,” he added. “Our fans are really over the map, and that makes it really easy when we pull into town to draw a large variety of people who want to sit and listen to Nickelback songs.”

Not everybody wants to sit and listen to Nickelback — mainly, most critics. Ever since the release of 2001’s six-times platinum “Silver Side Up,” they’ve gotten routine drubbings from music journalists and others who deride their radio-friendly, soaring rock songs as unoriginal, insipid or, perhaps of the worst all, Creed-like.

But it’s easy for Kroeger to tune talk like that out — especially with thousands of fans screaming in his ear every night.

“We don’t listen to critics anymore. I don’t think we’ve ever listened to critics, but we don’t even pay attention to it anymore,” Kroeger, 32, said.

The gruff-voiced, curly haired Kroeger, who is also the group’s lyricist, has tuned out the doubters before — especially when it came time to release “All the Right Reasons,” as industry insiders told them they’d never repeat the success they had with “Silver Side Up” or even “The Long Road.”

“Usually, if (bands) do what Nickelback has done, you watch it decline. You always watch, they come out and they’ll have some success early on and it always seems to trickle off, it never seems to gain momentum,” he said. “We worked so hard to make sure that that didn’t happen with this album.”

Kroeger’s devotion to detail in his songwriting is one reason why the band has had such success, says hit songwriter Kara DioGuardi, who recently worked with him for another project.

“He’ll write it, and then he’ll go back and say, `The chorus isn’t right, the verse isn’t right.’ He spends weeks perfecting each song, making it the absolute best it can be,” she said. “Great melodies, great lyrics and a great band makes for a winning combination.”

Kroeger says the band worked particularly hard on the latest record — seven months — and always tries to cast a wide net in terms of the songs’ appeal so they can have the broadest audience possible. It’s not something a lot of acts like to admit — a yearning for mass success — but Kroeger scoffs at the notion that bands shouldn’t want mainstream appeal.

“I really don’t understand that. I’ve never understood that. Criticism of people who want as many people as possible on the planet to sing along to their songs,” he said, laughing. “Sounds ridiculous to me.”

And the band feels their success has extended beyond just hits. The charity campaign from “If Everyone Cared” has raised over $200,000, according to Kroeger. The song, accompanied by a powerful video, pushes the idea that global change for the better starts on an individual level — call it Nickelback’s “Man in the Mirror.”

“We wanted to inspire people that were going to see the video and maybe show people that you don’t need a team of personnel, you don’t need a lot of money,” he said. “What we’re showing in the video is an individual that decided that they would like to somehow make a change and make the world a better place on their own, and they succeeded.”

At first, the band was concerned how the message would be perceived: “We were worried about coming across preachy,” Kroeger said. But as the band thought of their enormous reach, it made them more inclined to include it.

“If you can take that power and turn it toward positivity and awareness and trying to make a world a better place that’s a great motive,” he said.

While the song is a growing success, it doesn’t seem to have changed critics’ perceptions. Recent tour write-ups have been at best ambivalent, and some downright hostile.

But the band measures their success not by critical acclaim, but by their fans. And a recent meeting with a young father, wearing the picture of a little girl on his T-shirt, gave Kroeger all the acclaim he needed when he asked the girl’s identity.

“He said, `That is my daughter, and we lost her, and your song `Far Away’ is the only thing that got us through that loss,'” Kroeger said. “That was just very moving for me.”

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

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Anything worthwhile in life requires time, patience, and persistence.”
–Cheryl Richardson