Archive for the ‘Music Supervision’ Category


Music Licensing Advice from Music Supervisor for “True Blood” “Dexter” “Entourage”

January 26, 2015

Artists always ask me for advice about pitching and placing their music.

I’ve been doing this for 14 years (since 2001) so I know a thing or two…..

I’m always honest and tell them how competitive it is….

The key is – you HAVE be willing to write songs, an EP or even full length album JUST for licensing if the music you make on a daily basis isn’t a fit for film/tv.

Each show, film, ad, video game, trailer has a VERY specific sound or type of music they need so if you’re making songs that are say, like pizza but they need ice cream…you gotta learn how to make ice cream…

Artists always say, “I see your listings….but I don’t have anything like that.”

You don’t get it!

If you don’t have it, MAKE it!

Now I’m not saying to make death metal if you’re a singer/songwriter…but if you see listings that are at ALL in your creative wheelhouse, you have to TRY doing something different! That is, if you want to ever license a song….because when a supervisor like Gary is working on a show and has ONE slot to fill, and he can choose from EVERY major label artist in the world, you have to bring something to the table that he can’t get from someone else!

Don’t believe me?

Here is more from the horse’s mouth!



Gary Calamar, freelance music supervisor, is, without a doubt, a force to be reckoned with! Extremely popular television series like True Blood, House, Weeds, Dexter, and Entourage are just a few of the impressive credits to his name; he also works on documentaries, theatrical films, ads, and trailers.

Amongst his many other talents, Gary is also a musician! So if you’ve read through this piece thinking “yeah, yeah, this guy is just another industry rep who doesn’t truly understand me and my creative process,” think again! His most recent accomplishment, “You Are What You Listen To” was released on Atlantic Records and is getting some great press and airplay. Now, Gary is experiencing the industry from the other side of the tracks. This is great news for musicians because (although you may now be competing for licensing slots!), Gary will see the world from your eyes and will work even harder to place the most deserving tracks in his productions.

Your job? Make great music! Do your homework and pitch appropriate music to supervisors. Placing your songs in a production is tough. It’s a moving target. There are lots of talented musicians out there and limited slots to fill. In addition to trying to get your music placed, work on your live show, publicity and radio play.

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR ~ 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


Lonely Trees on NBC’s hit show “Smash” tonight!!!!

March 27, 2012

Tune in to NBC’s hit show “Smash” tonight at 10pm and hear Lonely Trees and their new song “Room With A View”


Tips on how to license your music

April 29, 2010

The importance of having someone represent your music for film/tv has increased dramatically in recent years.

Many supervisors echo this sentiment.

Good thing I’ve been pitching music to film/tv for almost 10 YEARS!!!!

Need someone with the right relationships to the film/tv world? Contact me!!! You’re wasting your time if someone hasn’t been doing it as long as I have….

Excerpts taken from an interview with music supervisor Ron Proulx:

How can artists find out about new projects and their related music supervisors?

That begets the question of how should artists be looking to get their music in film and TV. It used to be that an artist, because there weren’t so many trying to do this, could get heard above the noise. Now I think the best way to find out about stuff is getting someone to work on your behalf rather than you yourself trying to find it. I just don’t buy into one artist with five songs or fifteen songs spending time trying to get their music into TV shows. It’s too competitive, too many people doing it now. I’d leave it up to the people that make it their job to find out what shows are looking for music. I have people send me two songs and I tell them “You’re kidding me, you can’t be sending two songs to people, you’re killing yourself”.

Is it realistic to think that artists can approach music supervisors directly or are their chances higher going through a company/library/etc?

I can only speak from our point of view. I think that life has changed and therefore the latter is the better method now. We used to deal with artists directly all the time and really enjoyed it. In fact we have made some really good friends with certain artists that we’ve licensed from a lot. But it would be very difficult now, in this environment, to get our attention as a single artist, not impossible, just far more difficult because there is just so much other noise happening and so many other people with a lot of recordings. You can only talk to one person at one time and if I’m going to talk to you for only ten minutes and hear about your ten songs I should spend my ten minutes talking to you if you have a thousand songs. So it’s a better idea these days for artists to deal with people that do this for a living. They are much more plugged in. Or if you’re an artist, here’s another way of doing it, go find 10 other artists that will let you do it for you and them, then you’re becoming the guy that is doing it for a living.

What catches your attention when you receive a new submission?

Something that sounds passionate, different or rather unique, because it is very hard to capture my attention if you sound like Madonna or you sound like any band that I know. But, when someone sounds truly different, it’s like back in the day when you first heard Massive Attack, you went “wow, what’s that?”, or the first time you heard Portishead and went “What’s that?”, or the first time you heard Loreena McKennitt and you went “What’s that?” That’s what gets you, it’s when you say “What’s that?” as opposed to “That’s just like so and so, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before….”. For me that doesn’t do it so much. There is so much music out there that it is hard to make it unique these days.

Would you say that with the current economic situation and budgets music supervisors are more eager to work with indie bands?

Yes. It has been going like that for several years now. It’s nothing new. The question might be “Where is this going?”. Of course we use indie bands. We love indie bands. Almost 95% of what we license is from indie bands, in fact maybe it’s 98% from indie bands, come to think of it. For every 100 licenses we do probably 98 of them are with indie acts.

What do you think about music supervisors being the new A&R’s?

That has been happening for a while, at least the last several years. The A&R for what is the question. A&R for record companies? But where are the record companies? One of the few areas that artists are able to make money now, outside of live, is through licensing. Therefore, I think that the license-ability of an artist is something that perhaps helps somebody decide to work with an artist because it is one of the very few true revenue streams. If you’re a manager and you want to manage a band, I would expect that the license-ability of that artist has something to do with your decision, if economics has something to do with your decision. We recognized in 2003-2004 that we were the new A&R. We realized that if all anyone did was just listen to what we were putting in TV shows, that was where the quality music was because you can’t put bad music in a TV show typically. It stops people cold. So sure new A&R but for who? Because the opposite is going on too, the other end of the stick, which is people that are downsized from record labels, and people who used to want to be A&R guys now want to be music supervisors because there are no A&R jobs.

How much money can indie artists expect to make from licensing music into TV and Film?

The fees are coming way down real fast. Supply and demand, which any business has, supplies go down, fees go up. Supplies go up fees go down. There is an endless supply of music now. It is so easy to find music it is ridiculous. So the fees have gone through the floor. When people used to say things like “we’ve got $20,000 dollars” they’re lucky to get $3000 in that same environment. People are much more aware, producers are much more aware of the whole music licensing thing. And people have been competing on a cost basis, which is always bad for any business to compete with cost. That is how Walmart competes with other businesses, on cost. They keep the cost going down, down, down because they have pure volume. We even get people trying to give us music for free. I have no expectation that our producers will go that low but they won’t pay a lot for it. Music traditionally has been something people don’t want to pay a lot for, like live music at the bottom end of the barrel.

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

~Music Marketing~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
— Jedi Master Yoda


NY Times article – the importance of licensing your music

March 7, 2010

Here is a great article on the importance of licensing your music:

Want to get your music in film and TV?

Just in the past 2 weeks I’ve had artists songs up for major network TV shows, 2 songs being sent to 2 big Hollywood producers and today I’m meeting with a video game company about future music in game opportunities.

Need help promoting your music to film/tv?

Email me back.

I’m working a couple artists right now who are getting amazing feedback and interest. You could be next!

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

~Music Marketing~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
— Jedi Master Yoda


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