Q&A: How Music Supervisors License Music

From Music Think Tank:

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 the creation 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!