Paul Menes has been an entertainment lawyer for decades, and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Following on from our Getting Music Placed in Film / TV post, many of our community were interested to find out more about the role of licensing’s gatekeepers – better known as music supervisors.
To get the lowdown, we spoke with the wonderful Season Kent - Music Supervisor at Clear Songs. Her recent projects include: The Fighter, Limitless,Dear John, Revenge, Macgruber, The Strangers and more.
What is the role of a music supervisor?
To oversee all aspects of the music in the films or television shows. Collaborating with filmmakers creatively as a team to determine the music direction. Pitching song ideas within the budget of the project. Handling clearance paperwork to obtain the rights to use the songs in the film. Overseeing thecreation of new songs and any on-set production music supervision (pre-records, playback edits, etc). Working alongside the composer collaborating on the musical tone of the film. Helping to temp the picture with the music editor, and cutting in song ideas. Overseeing and creatively being involved with a soundtrack album (if applicable).
What is the best way for an indie band to approach a music supervisor?
I search blogs all the time and rely on many different 3rd party reps, labels, publishers, managers, etc to filter music to me. I don’t accept unsolicited music.
What genres of music tend to get licensed most often?
For my television shows I license a lot of indie music. Creatively speaking, it fits the tone of my shows and it’s the kind of music I listen to. I love seeking out new artists and getting them placed. Helping to get a bigger audience to discover them!
Which shows / stations most often look for unsigned bands?
In general, more low budget shows.
How important is it for a band for be affiliated with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC to get licensed?
As an artist, it is smart to be with a PRO especially if you are being placed in film, Tv, ads, etc. This only benefits you and more cashflow to your art!
How much can an unsigned band expect to earn from a placement?
Depends on what they are willing to agree to. Some bands will do gratis (for free) licenses because they want the exposure. It depends per project, per budget, per artist.
When should a band consider a gratis license?
As mentioned, above the amount of exposure may be worth it. I however think an artist should be paid something, even if it’s a small amount to license their music.
What are your pet hates from bands trying to capture your attention?
Calling my office every day to follow up on the music they have sent. I always tell people, you have to understand how much music is sent to me on a daily basis. If I like your music and want to use it, you will hear from me! -Music Think Tank
This article is brought to you by Shaun of Music Industry How To.
Hi guys. Today, I want to share with you my views on some of the traits that makes an independent musician successful. While this isn’t a complete list of the things that they generally have in common, all of these things do tend to be defining characteristics outside of the fact that they have talent.
So read on, and see if you can incorporate any of the below points into your music career.
1. They Realize That Marketing Is A Key Factor In The Music Career
This is something many musicians learn the hard way. It’s easy to think that all you need to do to have a successful release is make a great song that everyone will like. In reality however, that won’t matter at all if you don’t know how to properly market your music.
Marketing is the process of raising awareness of you music or release. If you don’t raise awareness of it however, how are people going to know that you’ve even released a song?
It’s not simply enough to announce you’ve released a CD on Facebook and Tweet about it a few times, real marketing is often required if you want to make back the money you have invested into that project. That can mean live shows, interview, guest appearances, and much more.
Successful musicians know this, and put just as much time into promoting their music as they do making it (And often a lot more).
2. They Have A Good Online Base
The internet is one of the best places to both build up relationships with existing fans, and gain new ones. Because of this, it’s important you have your online presence strategically set up, and make yourself stand out from the crowd.
While online properties such as Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts are important for your online presence, they really aren’t a substitute for having your own website.
Your own website should be the base of your operations. All other account such as Facebook and Twitter should link to your site, drive traffic to your site, and in turn direct people to sign up to your mailing list. Once on your mailing list, you can build up stronger relationships with your fans, and communicate with them directly and effectively.
Your website should be your online base for many reasons. One of these such reasons is for conversion rates. With your own website, you can structure your pages and page features in a way that can guide your visitor to doing exactly what you want them to do. If your main aim is to gain new people on your list, you can make your opt in form prominent. If you want to make song sales, you can divert them to a page with your best audio samples, videos, and buy now buttons.
With your own site, it’s also easier to brand things with your own style in terms of colors and background pictures etc. Can you do this on Facebook?
There are a lot more reasons you should have your own website as your online base, although I won’t go into all of them here. Check out Create A Music Website for more information on why you need a .com, website and how to easily set one up even if you’re not a techy.
3. They Don’t Burn Bridges Out Of Frustration
As you may know, the music industry largely relies on having good contacts. These are people that aren’t your official partners, but ones that you can work with in order to mutually benefit you. This could benefit them in terms of getting paid by you or being associated with you, while you’ll usually benefit by using their skill set or name to further your career.
Often with contacts however, things can go wrong. They may not live up to their end of the bargain, or they may lead you on (When they have no intention of doing what they say) only to let you down.
It’s very easy to get frustrated by these people and lose the contact all together, but this isn’t always the best idea. You see, just because things didn’t work out this time, it doesn’t mean that they couldn’t benefit you in future.
They may go onto bigger and better things, and if you’re still on talking terms with them (Not that you have to talk to them regularly), they may have more time on their hands or be in a better position to help you then. I’ve seen this happen before, so even if things don’t work out with a contact today, don’t fully lock them off or insult them. Simply keep your distance for the time being, and in future who knows what could happen.
4. They Aren’t Afraid To Invest In The Music Career
One thing that all successful independent musicians have in common, is that they have at some point invested in their music career. This could be by buying studio time, paying to press up their CDs, paying to get their website made, buying musical instruments, paying for a course to learn how to market their music properly, or by buying advertising of some sort. These are all things that cost you money, but can help you make more money in the long run.
A good works man needs their tools, and they shouldn’t be afraid to spend to get them.
Having said that, throwing money at your music career and expecting to make a profit back won’t work. You could spend grands on the best instrument you can find, but why do that when you could buy one that will work just as well for under $100?
It’s not about spending the most money, it’s about spending wisely.
Invest in things that could move your music career forward, but have a good idea of how this purchase can benefit you.
So that’s it, four traits of the successful independent musician. While not every successful independent musician will have all of these things in place, there are a lot who do, and for good reason. As with anything in life, there are certain things you can do as a musician that can increase the likely hood of getting where you want to be. You just need to know what these things are.
If you want to increase your music industry knowledge and learn the skills it takes to become a successful independent, you should check out the IMA Music Business Academy course. This is an online music business course brought to you by Music Industry How To, a leading advice website for musicians of all levels.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope you found it useful. If you can think of any other traits you’ll find in independent musicians who do well, please leave your thoughts in the comments below. -Music Think Tank
Director of promotions for G. Schirmer Music Publishers Peggy Monastra, talks about her career and the business of music publishing.
How to build the foundation for a career as a performing artist or band
Got your attention? Good. Now obviously there is no ONE path to launching a career as a musical artist, whether you are going the Indie Route or aim to get picked up by a Major Label…
But I fear that the overwhelming DIY concepts saturating the already overloaded artist/musician is causing analysis paralysis and/or an unneeded amount of complication surrounding what one really needs to do to build your foundation as an Independent Artist or Band.
Throughout this two part article series I am going to do my best to break the component parts down to understandable and slightly over-simplified concepts to leave you with what I believe you’ll find very valuable insight and a message that you can apply to your life/career in some helpful way.
Or, screw it… If you read this article, 4 million dollars will fall out of the sky and land on your doorstep, and the girl/guy of your dreams will instantly show up in your life… Ok. NOW you’ll read!
But today, in retrospect of what I know now, and from working with artists and bands to progress and develop their career, launch albums, and get more clear on what they need to do and as a DIY Indie Artist, there are a few things I would do differently to build the foundation of my musical career…
This is what I would like to share, and exactly what I would have liked to have had someone tell me eight years ago, so hopefully you will be able to benefit from this.
What’s the Problem?
Read the rest after the jump! -Music Think Tank
There seems to be two root problems with growing an Indie Artist Music career amidst the DIY revolution:
1. Artist Career/Development – Developing your talent, the knowledge, skill-sets, and experience, to create the foundation for a long-term, sustainable career doing what you love
2. Clear Focus – Singularly focused-passionate and committed effort, with clear strategy and confident execution, done consistently, until goals and/milestones are achieved
Although, grossly oversimplified, the practical solution is-then, KNOWING, confidently, what few key things you should be doing, and then consistently doing them.
At the end of the day, that is all we can do. That is all anyone can do. We musicians are generally NOT great multi-taskers, and that is actually a good thing. If we nail our focus on the right things, for long enough, consistently enough, anything is possible.
Everything really boils down to that, right?
Because the “Tribe Building,” D2Fan model is undoubtably real, isn’t it?
It’s been proven, time and time again. It is the future for both independent artists and signed acts.
Plus the flexibility and room for creativity for those who truly believe, and are ready, is enormously wide open for you to fill in with your imagination and work ethic.
Undeniably… Anyone with certain – learn-able attributes and well developed talents with music that people enjoy listening to can generally build a fan-base as big and as creatively as one can imagine.
With that fan-base, you can seek funding, produce records, sell music, sell merch, make connections, and make money. It’s been done. There is no mystery about this possibility.
“…But Jamie, it’s so easy to say these things, it’s not all that simple.” You are absolutely right. I do not disagree with that at all. It’s VERY tough. It’s just like ANY business or business venture because there is a ton of risk and a ton of things that have to go right, and NOT go wrong. You have to stay consistent, and work EVEN when you don’t FEEL like it.
You have moving pieces and people get on each others’ nerves… Unnecessary amounts of energy get spent on the wrong things.. People start to doubt themselves, misinterpret the “Signs” the “Universal Wizards” are sending out, and they give up, or slowly fizzle out, etc.
Look, for the most part, we all get that you have to do several things really well. You have to make great music. You have to market yourself and your music just as well, you have to manage your business, bla bla bla… These are all theoretically AND very practically, the truth. And you may understand that…
But if you don’t have a structure in place, one that is built on a solid strategy, and of which you enjoy doing almost all of the things, you are going to have a hard time staying consistent to the level that is required to make massive amounts of momentum, which is required to grow into a professional.
By that, I mean either make enough waves to get enough attention to get signed, or create a unique DIY career with your music or Band, or really anything else you can dream up for yourself.
Right Knowledge, Right Strategy, + Consistency = Get to Your Next Level.
Whatever that may be.
I think the reason that most bands/acts/artists/musicians who sort of flounder and make slow progress, who want to build a career today, don’t have the knowledge and the strategy when it comes to the business and marketing end of things…
This creates a blindness, and that lack of clarity = confusion, luck, chance type thinking, and this keeps people from growing their careers. In other words, they aren’t doing all of the things they know they can, and aren’t active in creating and shaping their career..
-Turning each show into an EVENT and capitalizing on the opportunities that present themselves
-Creatively hounding the local media folk to get some attention that you could build on
-Building and keeping in touch with your email list, and treating that as your biggest asset
Here’s how I know this is true… BECAUSE ARTISTS/MUSICIANS are the SMARTEST and MOST CREATIVE people I have ever met. Period. End of story, and I have been around just about every type of person.
This is different than a lot of other industries because unlike the get rich quick “opportunity seekers,” our industry has its heart in the right place. Maybe one of the only things we got right, but it counts for a lot!
The other VERY REAL challenge that we all face is… FOCUS. Website, SEO, Social Media, Booking, Marketing, Performing, Production, Picking kids up from daycare, dealing with family problems, staying healthy, IT IS INFINITE. There is too much information. You know this, you have heard this… But what do you do to overcome it? Do you focus and prioritize?
In other words, there is just too much information and ideas and things to try to manage that the basics sort of get lost, and some very basic things like creating a strategy for what you are going to do becomes ANTI-Music, or just “not rock and roll man…” Sure. It may not be the way Hendrix did it, but those days are long gone man.
Although, it’s no longer really part of the built in model by labels, let’s not forget that artist development is real.
I think for anyone just starting out in their career, the main thing to remember is that there is an INCUBATION period. Just as with anything. In any job, or any career, you put in the consistent work and you do certain things in a certain way for a couple of years… Then there is almost NO way, UNLESS you for some reason STOP, that you won’t conclude with one of two findings…
- This IS the foundation for the rest of my life, this is the right path, I have found my area, my audience, honed my chops, and know that I can grow a solid career doing this…
- OR, this is NOT the path for me. Maybe I don’t really want to do THIS, and by now you understand that. But you should know that fairly early, and you don’t need to spend two years performing in front of people if you hate doing it and do not love it.
Read the Feedback and Adjust
Be cognizant of the feedback you are getting… Of course, don’t just go and keep playing the same music at the same places if everyone keeps booing you off stage. Adjust, try new things.
This is not hard for artists and musicians, as most of us are intuitive, and can quickly tell whether something works, or something doesn’t. We just have to go out and try it.
So What Are Those Key Things I Started To Mention Earlier?
Since Artist Development is OUR job, what ARE the things – that if you did and were consistent in doing would set you up for the best chance for success over a period of say two years time?
I had to break this article into a two part series because it got too long. So STAY TUNED for Part Two.
Professor of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music Peter Alhadeff, discusses the music industry from a unique perspective — that of a business economist whose focus is on global markets and market forces. He describes the courses he teaches at Berklee in economics and statistics and how he ties these topics to the business of music, and speaks at length about the worldwide music market and how anyone starting a career in music can learn about, and harness the power of, the massive international music scene.
On the eve of tomorrow’s “informational” hearing on theUMG-EMI merger by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, several movers & shakers have given the deal a thumbs up…
Sean Parker: In an interview yesterday at the New Music Seminar in N.Y., Tommy Silverman asked the Napster,Facebook and Spotify hotshot what he thought of the Universal-EMI merger. Parker replied, “After witnessing 12 years of the music industry languishing in a difficult transitional period, Universal buying EMI is ultimately a good thing for an industry that needs leadership willing to drive change.”
Katy Perry, warming up to the idea after taking a defiant stance during NARM last month: “What I like about Universal is that, for the first time in a long while, we’ll have real music people owning EMI, who understand its rich legacy and want to invest in me and it to make it even better for the artists and fans. I’ve met with Lucian Grainge and heard that he wants to keep EMI as a separate entity alongside Universal, which could be a very smart thing to do considering how great the EMI team are. I have had great success with EMI and look forward to great successes with Universal. ”
Dave Holmes, manager of Coldplay, one of EMI’s biggest artists: “I look forward to working with the Universal team. They have assembled the most talented group of executives in the industry today, and their success speaks for itself. This can only be a positive for the artists and executives at EMI.”
David Robkin, CEO of the Nashville-based indie labelBigger Picture Group, recently told The Tennesseanthat the merger might even help independent labels, which attract artists precisely because they aren’t big, mainstream companies. “We’re competing not necessarily based on dollars, but based on time available and creativity and flexibility, and I think that’s something that as companies consolidate and get bigger,” he said. “it actually creates opportunity for us.”
Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, Co-National Executive Director,SAG-AFTRA, speaking on behalf of the entire union: “We believe that the pending acquisition of EMI by UMG warrants favorable consideration by the [European]Commission. The devastation of the music industry over the past decade is unparalleled in any other sector of the entertainment and media industries.”
Tomorrow’s hearing, featuring such luminaries as Lucian Grainge, Roger Faxon, Irving Azoff, Edgar Bronfmanand Martin Mills, will be webcast live at 1:30 p.m. EDT/10:30 a.m. PDT. Stream the webcast here. -Hits Daily Double
Pete Galli is an artist manager and owner of the Los Angeles-based Galli Management. He oversees the careers of The Bravery, Damone, and Andrew W.K.
Here in the Cyber PR® offices, we quite frequently have musicians about to release albums this fall for press release writing services. We no longer write press releases for bands, but wanted to at least give you the basis for how to do so properly, should you still feel the need to release one yourself:
A press release should be one page only and on letterhead (if you do not have letterhead put your logo or your record company’s logo at the top). Your press release should be formatted like this:
1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
All Press Releases start with ‘FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE’ written in the top left hand corner, and always in CAPS.
2. The Contact Information
Contact Info should include your first and last name (or the first and last name of a specific person) a phone number and an email address. The web address is optional here or you can include it at the bottom in the additional contact information section.
It should look like this:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ariel Hyatt (212) 239-8384
Next comes the Headline of the Press Release which should be simple and centered and bold
Jen Chapin to Celebrate Release of New Album With East Coast Tour
This is an expanded part of the headline which brings the reader in and accentuate the headline by adding detail
10 city tour supports Ready, her new album on Metropolitan Hybrid.
Cities will Include Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, and Hartford.
5. Opening Paragraph: Location, Date & 5 W’s
The Opening Paragraph should start with (City, State) Date — This is so the reader knows where the information is coming from and how timely the information is.
Example: (New York, NY) June 20, 2012
And it should answer the 5 W’s:
Who, What, When Where and Why
This initial paragraph should always grab the reader and answer all of the basic questions the reader might have that are factual. If the release is to promote a show or a specific event include the full date, venue name , venue address, showtime, ticket price and ages as well as a link to the venue for further directions & information.
6. Second Paragraph: USP / Unique Selling Point & Quotes
This is the “meat” of your press release so make it juicy!
This will include further information, more details, an engaging story, a quote about your music, or about the topic of the release from reviewers, fans, a producer, a venue owner or an industry tastemaker (because what other people say is always taken more seriously and is more believable than your own hype) and the USP – Unique Selling Point – a short description that captures the sound of the music (pretend that the reader may never actually hear the CD and include what makes you stand out.
7. Final Details & Additional Contact Information
Here is where you would include all tour dates, a mailing address a link to your websites, and a place where a photo can be downloaded a link where the CD or tracks can be purchased or label contact add them here.
8. The 3 # # #’s – The End!
Now type this:
# # #
This indicates that the press release is finished and there is not another page.