Music + Shoes (guys – read this too – it isn’t about what you think!)

February 16, 2012

I had a thought the other day.

I bet the average studio or TV show spends more on a pair of shoes for an actor in a scene than they do on music for that same scene.

Now, if they license a hit song, of course, this isn’t true.

But the price many TV shows and studios will pay for a song by an unknown indie artist can be as low as $500.

And I bet the shoes for that actor cost about that, if not more.

It is sad but instead of getting angry at a small guy or company (ahem), how come artists never direct their anger at who really HAS the money: the studios and TV networks?

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not the TV producers or movie directors who set the music budgets. It’s the TV networks and studios themselves.

Oh, but they want to help artists with “exposure.”


They care about their bottom line.

In fact, I know that one of the major TV networks sits around in meetings bragging about how they save “hundreds of thousands of dollars” by not hiring music supervisors for certain TV shows and by starting their own label and publishing company. Do you think they really start a label or publishing company to “help” artists? No, it’s to help themselves.

So, the next time you get angry at someone, get angry at someone that deserves it.

Sure, we shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds us. But that hand is barely giving indie artists a grain of sand these days.

The same TV network that crys “poor” when it comes to their music budget will somehow, magically, pony up a LOT of money when they REALLY want a song. But for you? Meh. $500. Maybe $1000 or $1500 if you are lucky….

Stand up and don’t let them offer you peanuts for your music. Just say no!

Someone should start a campaign to gather artists together to fight for fair pay for their work, don’t you think?

(Please feel free to forward this email and this email alone to members of your band or other artists you know. But please do not post it on a web site or blog without asking permission from the author. Thanks!)

Copyright @2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without author’s prior consent.

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management ~ True Talent PR

9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

http://www.truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com – Read my music blog for advice on making it in the music business



  1. Hi!

    I don’t know very much about this- the actual numbers big networks crunch, etc. But it seems to me that unless your song is being used as the opening to their TV show, then $500 for a 30 second clip, for instance, seems pretty reasonable? Are there really a lot of angry people sending you emails about this? The exposure thing is a big plus, after all- maybe 20 years ago, it seems like TV shows didn’t even do that sort of thing. Now it’s all the time, but then bands have multiplied like crazy, and the people who can make a recording for cheap has also multiplied- which means there are a lot of people who would find $500 more than fair.

    I dunno, it just seems a bit like looking a gift horse in the mouth. And it sounds like you want a bunch of Indie artists to form a union or something. I don’t see that helping in the long run. I just see that resulting in less Indie music appearing on TV. Studio execs may just go back to using song cuts more sparingly.

    Sorry, these are just my thoughts. You probably aren’t wanting replies to this e-mail, but something about fighting for “fair pay”- who defines that? I think the market has drastically changed, due to the sheer number of bands supplying their music, and making music for cheap.

    Again, just my thoughts. 🙂

    p.s. I sounded kind of negative above- to me, it seems more people than ever have an even chance at making a decent living at being a musician, given all the tools which weren’t available even 10 years ago. And if an Indie band is writing a tune, then happens to get it placed in a TV show, awesome- but it’s not like they were hired to specifically write that tune for the TV spot, and it has no value outside of that. They can still sell it online, play it at concerts, etc, right? So its value hardly stops at $500, unless I’m missing something here- which I might be, lol. It still seems like a win-win to me?

    p.p.s. You inspired me to start a blog! Thank you! 😀 Also, I thought I’d left this comment earlier, but came back and it hadn’t shown up- so I’m trying again. I apologize if this turns into a double post!

  2. While I totally agree with you 100% and even wrote a blog post about this subject that you were so kind enough to share, I must admit that since then my words have come back to bite me in the ass!!

    I have quality musician friends who wanted me to participate in what would have been a wonderful and fun opportunity to mingle & create, but are now afraid to ask me to do so for free, because of my blog. I lost out on a TV commercial that started out on spec, but has since garnered revenue for those involved, all because I turned it down in my effort to hold out for cash.

    In hindsight, I must admit that for certain people, I WOULD work for free or for low budget because I admire them or want the opportunity to create music with them, or see how there is indeed money on the ‘back end’, etc.

    While, I do agree that the ‘big wigs’ in the industry are only out for themselves and their almighty dollar (as is everyone on the planet), I worry that if my little rant about playing for free has already lost me quality work, then I would imagine that starting a revolution against the industry hierarchy would be suicide.

    Viva the Revolution, just be careful who you piss off.

    now… if we could build a stronger Musician’s Union, that would be something, but the AMF (unlike SAG) does little to support it’s artists. ;-(

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