They say that if a song gets placed in a successful TV show or movie, the royalties may last a lifetime. Being basically the equivalent of winning the lottery for a musician, licensing can be huge income source especially if it comes with a sizeable placement. In this blog post, I would like to provide an introduction to the world of licensing and provide some clues about how to get your foot inside the door about how to get your music placed in TV Shows and/or movies.
It is no secret that the market is currently flooded with original content, especially with the original content competition between Netflix, Amazon, Apple and the more traditional networks. As the competition gets more stiff, the amount of content is only going to increase, which is going to significantly increase the demand for original music being placed on TV shows and movies.
So what’s the procedure of selecting a song for locked picture? Many networks work with a group of people called music supervisors, who are in charge of finding the appropriate music for a given scene in a show. Keep in mind that supervisors are not composers, so they are only in charge of finding and placing music that’s been released before. So, in order to get started the first step is to release your music and get it out there. YouTube, Spotify, iTunes… what’s most important is that your music is out there, discoverable by supervisors. Once you have good material out, you’ve frankly completed a large portion of the musical part of the journey, so all that’s left is the reach out.
In order to reach out to music supervisors, you can get started with a quick google search. For example, I would suggest looking up the shows that you think your music would fit. This may not get your music placed to your favorite show right away, but it can play a huge role for finding your niche and the folks that would like your music. So once you identify some shows that you think could work, I would suggest finding who are the supervisors that work with that show. Through a simple Google or LinkedIn search, many supervisors can be found.
Once you have some names, the rest is about writing a good email. Briefly introduce yourself and explain what kind of mood your song could go for. The crucial move here is to place some keywords that will show up when a music supervisor will type in a keyword for a particular mood (e.g. scary scene) in their inbox and your song will show up. Your email should not be so much about you, but about how your song might be useful. Additionally, please make sure that you have the rights to your song 100% and do not add more than three songs in a single email. If the supervisors want more songs, they will let you know. Be kind and gracious in your tone and most importantly, be patient. Then just send it away!
The reality is that you probably will not get a response right away. You can wait a few days and send a follow up, but if you still do not get a response, don’t worry. If they want to reach you, they will. It is important not to send a lot of emails to the same supervisor if you haven’t received any responses, or it will probably backfire. After all, supervisors receive dozens, if not hundreds of songs every week.
Good luck in getting your music placed, and remember that in order to increase your chances you need to keep making songs and get as much as great content out there as possible!
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com