1.  DON’T: Contact music supervisors knowing nothing about the music being used or anything about the show/production itself.

Do your research. Watch the shows so you know what kind of music is being licensed for the show that supervisors is tasked to find music for. And that yours might fit.  If you make a phone call and you get a music supervisor on the other end,  don’t wing it and waste their time. Be specific about how your song might work, know the characters and plot lines of the show. Even arm yourself with a little information about the kinds of productions they’ve worked on in the past which can only help. Compliment them on the work they’ve done and offer your work up as a possible fit (if it’s sincere).  Make sure YOUR music fits, which you’ll know by doing the research and making good music.

2.  DON’T: Send them 15-20 songs on an e-mail thread or contained on a CD.
Song files take up space even when they are compressed. Too many of them and it will clog up someone’s inbox.  Up to 3 or 4 songs is usually acceptable. But even if you have just 1 song that you know might fit,  then only submit that one song. It’s much better to go in with one that fits than with a lot that don’t fit at all. Some supervisors like to listen to CDs, in which case a full CD of 10 songs might work, but it’s best to get permission to send it beforehand.

3. DON’T: Tell a music supervisor what songs he/she should put in their show.
Music supervisors are hired to work with the directors and producers to determine the kind of music that is needed for any given show. Their job to find the right music for the show, so you don’t have to do their job for them. That’s like them telling you “Oh, you should have put a Bb chord in your music instead of a F chord.” See what I mean?

4.  DON’T: Forget to include metadata in your music files.
Metadata is the information you tag on an MP3 file which identifies the song. It distinguishes yours from someone else’s when they have a million files on their desktop. You can meta tag in iTunes or other meta data tagging software programs. You should always include:
– your name and contact information
– the writer and co-writer splits, PRO information and publishing information
– tempo
– genre
– any additional notes which are pertinent to the song.

5. DON’T: Inundate music supervisors with phone calls asking whether they’ve listened to your song.
10 Tips On Music Licensing : Don't Call Us, We'll Call You

If might be difficult, but restrain yourself from calling music supes just to ask them if they listened to your song.  If they have listened and they want your song, or to listen to more of your stuff, THEY will contact YOU. If you don’t hear anything, you have to assume they are not interested or they don’t have a need for your music yet.



Check back next week for Music Licensing Don’ts #6-#10. Or check out some of our other articles below for more information on music licensing.


© 2014 Diona Devincenzi, Savvy Songwriter, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Diona Devincenzi is an multiple award winning singer-songwriter and music producer. She writes for the jazz, rock, pop and country genres and has had many of her songs recorded by independent artists and placed in film and t.v. projects.


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