1. Pandora (or any other online radio service) – Pandora’s main objective is getting music heard. The music genome project breaks music down into a variety of different classifications to truly give the best recommendation service possible. Being on Pandora can be a huge advantage for an independent artist.
- Scenario 1 – Quincy the music supervisor has a song that is perfect for a spot in a brand new Gatorade commercial, but, for a variety of reasons, the song cannot be licensed. What is Quincy going to do? He’s in a time crunch and needs a killer song that resembles the one he already had in mind. Quincy opens up his web browser and navigates himself to Pandora, types in the song, and begins clicking through the related songs. Low and behold, a song from Confezzed Organization band comes up and Quincy thinks this song is even better than his original choice. Marcus the Toolman just landed himself a sync license on a Gatorade commercial.
- Why does this matter? Pandora and other services just like it have become huge resources for music supervisors due to the ease and accuracy of the programs. Getting on Pandora can potentially be a long and arduous process, but the benefits far outweigh any possible disadvantages. Of course you’re not guaranteed to get picked up simply because your music is on Pandora, but hey, you never know, someone is always listening. Look at Marcus the Toolman.
2. Sound alike artists – creating the perfect pitch and determining your direct “sound alike” artists.
- Scenario 2 – Marcus the Toolman gets into an elevator with a very important music supervisor, Quincy the music supervisor. Quincy is known as the guru of video game music. He single handedly created the Confezz enterprise and has broken a vast array of artists because of placements on these video games.
Marcus the Toolman instantly recognizes him and turns to introduce himself. Quincy politely says hello and asks, “Who do you sound like?” after Marcus tells him about the awesome band he is in. Marcus, unprepared and still shocked, fumbles with an answer. He says, “Um, well, you know, we sound, um, great!” Quincy is immediately turned off by the conversation and runs out of the elevator as soon as the doors open. Marcus blew it.
- Why does this matter? A lot of artists refuse to compare themselves to other artists for sake of jeopardizing their “originality”. While the band may be as original as they say they are, this really hurts them when they’re trying to pitch their music to someone.
Think of it this way, if Marcus the Toolman had a pitch prepared that included one or two artists his band sounded like, plus some other creative adjectives that described the awesomeness of his band, Quincy probably wouldn’t have written him off and run out of the elevator so quickly.
Something simple like “Lil Wane meet Quincy Jones with a pinch of Cajun seasoning” will do the trick. You need something that sparks interest in the person you are talking to; something that will make them want to listen to your music. It is also important to rehearse this pitch. You want to have it ready so that it flows well in normal conversation. The last thing you want is to sound like a robot or trip over your words like Marcus did. Keep it short, simple, and to the point.
3. Ask – Network with music supervisors and keep tabs on what projects they are working on. You need to find out what needs music supervisors have and then you need to satisfy those needs. Asking the right questions to the right people is the most valuable thing you can do for your career.
- Scenario 3 –Quincy the music supervisor just moved to Houston, TX, home of Marcus the Toolman’s awesome band. Quincy is the music supervisor for the hit sit-com, Just Tell The Truth. The show is widely known for the cool music that is scattered throughout each episode. Marcus got wind of this from a friend and sees this as a perfect opportunity. Marcus asks his friend for an introduction. Upon first meeting, Marcus makes it a point to play it cool. He knows he can’t shove his music down Quincy’s throat. Instead, Marcus starts building a friendly relationship with Quincy. They talk a little bit about work and music but Marcus is careful not overwhelm him while still making sure to ask what types of projects Quincy has on his plate. Marcus leaves the meeting with business card and Quincy’s contact info and goes to work on a song that is perfect for a project Quincy expressed some frustration about. A few days later, Marcus sends him the song. Quincy loves it and places it almost immediately. The relationship has now been established.
- Why does this matter? Marcus landed this job because he was aware of a need. He knew exactly what Quincy wanted and fulfilled that need. As an artist, it is important that you establish these working relationships with the music supervisor so that you can be the first to know about upcoming opportunities. This way, you can satisfy the need before it is truly realized by the music supervisor.
Doing these thing will in no way guarantee your song gets picked up for a spot. However, actively pursuing these opportunities will bring an artist one step closer to getting their music placed and could result in the biggest break in an artist’s career. An artist must be persistent when seeking licensing deals and must continually be adapting to the needs of the music supervisor. Having these qualities and following these steps will surely put you miles ahead of most other artists out there.
What other suggestions do you have for getting your music heard by the right people? Leave a note in the comments!