The Music Supervisor

There seems to be a misconception in the indie music community about the role of the Music Supervisor. I hear about so much bitterness because an artist never heard back from their client, or their track wasn’t selected, or any number of complaints. The one I hear the most and would really like to address is more about their role. For the record, I’m not a music supervisor but I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the best in this business and I want to share some things that I’ve learned.

Studio Side1First, I’ve never met a music supervisor that does not absolutely love music and those that create it. They know music as well as most musicians and producers that I know, if not better in some cases. Additionally, they are passionate about the fans.  Fans of the content they are syncing the music to, as well as the fans, and potential new fans, of the music they use.

With that being said, they are probably one of the most exposed in the creative process. They need to match the perfect audio with a visual that usually costs anywhere from several hundred thousand to several hundred million to create.  They are also responsible for the clearance of this music: The source, the agreements, & the fees.  Studio Side2

Every time a Music Supervisor allows a piece of music to go to air, they put their entire career on the line. It’s much bigger than just the right song for the right project. Does the song contain any samples or interpolation? Is the song cleared properly? Are the creators of the music allowed to license it? It goes on and on.

In the end, with so much music out there & so many people submitting music, my advice is to build a relationship. Get to know these people through events, panels, blogs, playlists etc. Listen carefully to what they are telling you. They will tell you everything you need to know how they prefer to communicate, to how they like to receive submissions. Be patient. Just because you’re certain that your track is perfect, there are many factors that are simply beyond your control, and all in all the decision is not up to you.