In the past year, I have had a lot of musicians asking about how can they write songs and get them placed in TV and movies. So the next few weeks, we are going to talk about how to place your music in different music mediums.
I heard Micheal Elsner from Master Music Licensing give some great words of advice, he said, “ For anyone wanting to compose music for TV, take the next 2 weeks and watch a lot of TV. Try to ignore the dialog and listen all the music that pulls the show together.” And I totally agree. If you don’t study the TV, films, gaming & advertisements you want to place music in, how can you create music a music supervisor will accept?
SO lets start with some beginner steps.
STUDY YOUR MEDIA.
Music is composed for so many different things, everything from intros to podcasts, themes for TV shows to video gaming. Maybe you should listen to a little bit of everything and pick a media that you feel you can be musically creative.
Creating music to go with moving pictures, is a lot different from constructing an original song to release to the public. Most placements are not listening to the words, they want the music for the ‘feel’ of the production. Yes, the vibe of the song is everything! You may want to try watching some music videos or turn the TV down on a show and start thinking about the kind of music production you hear in you own head. This is a good way to see if this type of music creation is for you.
CREATE A HOME STUDIO.
When you submit to any type of music supervisor your production has to be mix & mastered. The production has to be GREAT! So get your home studio together. Back in December I did a blog listing recommended equipment for a home studio.
Here is a quick review recommended by 3 different musicians on what you need: A Computer (With Garageband or Audacity recording programs); DAW (Digital Audio Workstation); Headphones; Audio Interface; Microphone; Speakers (Studio Monitors). Try SWEETWATER to check out the pricing!
Also, get familiar with someone who can do mixing & mastering for you…check out Upwork and Sound Better. The main thing is you don’t want to have to pay to go into a studio plus pay for mixing & mastering for every song unless you have the budget to do so. It may be time to take some recording lessons so you don’t have to outsource everything. OR maybe you partner with someone who has a studio and you can share the profits when your music gets placed.
TRUTH HERE! You are going to have to put some money out to start your studio and maybe take some mixing lessons if you are taking this music placement career seriously.
GET YOUR BUSINESS TOGETHER
What I mean is, there are a number if items a music supervisor will ask you before they consider using your music to making you an offer.
- DO YOU OWN THE MASTERS? So are these your own creations and do you have all the stems and masters of the recording. Production-wise when a company wants to synchronize your music to a moving picture, they want to use the masters to get the best sound. It has been recommended to me that you make sure all the music stems are saved after you mix (&/or master) your songs to a hard drive for later use. Also, write out a SONGWRITER SPLIT sheet before recording any song. You just want to agree to each writer’s percentage of ownership. If you need a copy of a songwriter slit sheet, email us at MusicBizMentors@gmail.com
- COPYRIGHT.GOV. Are the songs you are submitting copyrighted? You can copyright an entire collection of songs all at once as long as they are by the same songwriters. PLEASE, go to COPYRIGHT.GOV and protect the ownership of your songs. FYI: The Copyright office is the only entity a court of law that will be recognize as proof a song is yours.
- PERFORMING RIGHTS ORGANIZATION or PRO. You need to join a PRO; that is ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. You just pick one of these companies to collect your royalties. You join as both the songwriter and your own publishing company. If you need to learn about publishing, Bobby Borg just put out an extensive book to help you learn publishing called, “Introduction to Music Publishing for Musicians.”
- PERMISSION TO CONTRACT. If you have more than one songwriter for a song you are submitting, you want to have power of attorney so you can give permission to do sync contracts.
ORGANIZING YOUR MUSIC.
Most new songwriters use a soundcloud to organize their music catalogs. You can even protect your soundcloud so when you send a link to that music source, only the person with the link can listen.
METADATA. This is a collection of information like the author, file size, the date the document was created, and keywords to describe the document. Also you want to include the artist’s name, the album, and the year it was released.
What is important is if you are submitting your songs for placements, the genre, vibe and up to a handful of specific descriptions will help the music supervisor choose your song for a specific scene; just don’t go overboard with 30+ descriptions.
There are some great You Tube videos teaching you how to put your metadata on your songs…Check those out if you have not been doing this for your song submission.
Personally I would have at least 8 to 10 songs recorded before I pitched a song to a music supervisor. Best is to have a tab on your own website that says, song catalog or Music Placements.
We will do a separate blog on how to pitch to acquire a Publishing deal! Get your basics together, so you can be ready when you find an outlet to submit your songs to.
We hope these first basic steps have been helpful!