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


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