Today's post is part two in a three part series of guest posts all about how to pitch your music directly to music supervisors from Joseph Miller. Joseph is a music coordinator for CBS sports and an independent music supervisor and licensing agent.
Joseph and I recently created a course together all about how to pitch your music directly to supervisors. I'll have more details about our course soon. In the meantime let's take a look at more ways you can start preparing for submitting your music directly to music supervisors.
Over to you Joseph....
PRE-PITCH THOUGHTS - YOUR NEW MINDSET:
1) Because music licensing is so cut-throat (and you've been told a million times already it is relationship based) stop making your pitch about you and what you want that person to do for you. Instead, DO SOMETHING FOR THEM. Develop a relationship and offer them some kind of service or benefit. Are they a filmmaker... okay, so maybe you don't know how to rent camera gear or transfer digital film to a DVD but maybe you have a friend (whom you met at a recent networking event) does. Get in that way and once you establish a trusting professional relationship I can practically guarantee that person will reach out to you and ask: "Do you have any songs a la ____?" Something as simple as wishing someone luck if they're speaking at an event or congratulating an award or recognition will do the trick if you approach it correctly.
2) Cold pitching is virtually a waste of time. In the rare case your music spoke for itself, you should have already been a star. Think about the last time you received e-mail from an "Unknown Sender". Did you read every word? What key points were you looking for to determine if you would respond or even continue reading? Build your e-mail so that it will be READ.
3) Avoid concentrating on big placements or accomplishments, instead identify goals and concentrate on the small steps required to reach them.
4) Work on your craft every single day whether it's 10 minutes or 10 hours and track your progress to see what garners success. Write your plan on paper and look at it every day. Stop trying to pitch to everyone and focus on doing more with fewer people.
5) If you're not getting e-mails back it's time to step back and re-access your strategy. Setbacks allow for evaluation and analysis. Practice makes perfect and getting better will lead to success.
6)Attend every networking opportunity you can. Make sure you are known because it's not about whoyou know... but who knows you.
7)Once you land a placement, make sure you use that success and have it create more placements. A similar concept to "if you want to be rich, you must make sure your excess money creates more excess money" (from Ten Decisions You Need to Make to Get Rich by Robert Kiyosaki). Invest in a better website, better quality recordings or hire an intern or agent to pitch your material while you focus on writing.
WHAT YOU NEED TO PROVIDE IN A PITCH TO MUSIC SUPERVISORS:
Your approach should be short and sweet. Get in our heads and craft your letter so as to not waste our time (and yours.) As a professional, grammar and proofreading are not required - they're expected. Will you be a hobbyist or a dedicated music placement professional?
When first reaching out to someone new make it personalized and never send more than two short and sweet emails: the first with links and the second being a follow-up. If nothing in response, move on. Try to develop loyal "customers" instead - customers that genuinely care about new artists and want to help prime your catalog for placement. One of the first lessons you learn should be based on the amount and type of responses you get.
Web presence is critical to your success. Many music supervisors (aka music supes, supers or MXSup) will always crack through your sugar coating and get to the meat of your content. Sure you may look cute or trendy and have a great website but we want to listen to your progressions and musicality and find out if you're successful when it comes to touring, fan based marketing, YouTube hits and any form of sponsorships.
Your Myspace or Facebook page is not your website. This is an automatic red flag for many and shows you are not committed or dedicated. Your website should contain the basics including press, news, embedded players, videos, reels, testimonials, social media links, opt-in boxes and newsletter sign-ups. If you choose to operate a newsletter PLEASE make it consistent and send it out when you say you will. If you skip one because of whatever reason, there's no need to apologize. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and just get on with what you have to say... or do you have nothing good to say anyway?
Autoresponders and autobots will send out these messages on a regular basis. Send them to your CLOSE network of friends and industry folk on top of anyone that "opts-in" to receive. Compiling a mass contact list is the wrong idea. Utilize social media to entertain new audiences.
While I can't tell you what to write because it should be something based on the relationship you have with this person you are trying to sell your music to, it should always be personal and friendly. People like to work with people they feel comfortable around and have a connection with. If someone in your network recently won an award, picked up a new project or even made a new transition with a job or had a child... acknowledge their success and make them feel good while appreciating everything they have done for you. Their success through your form of appreciation will help out tremendously down the road.
Nitty gritty you've heard over-and-over:
1)Master your recordings. Make it sound like what you hear on the TV and radio. Maximize your output level - people are always looking for what sounds the loudest. Plus, it ultimately gets compressed anyway when broadcasted so it should be at its highest dB level to start. Sending demos or un-mastered tracks are a waste of everyone's time.
2) Tag your tracks with a contact and proper info. Title, artist, album, etc ALWAYS. Any tracks that show up in iTunes as "unknown" or "track 1" automatically get deleted. If your track is part of a library be sure it has the pre-text.
3) Include all splits (totaling 100%) for writer, publisher and master ownerships. Yep - you really do need this.
4) Register your songs with the US Copyright office. Register your songs with a PRO. Register with SoundExchange. Register a publishing entity. Just do it!
5) Make your instrumental tracks the same length as your full mix tracks. If we want to pin point a song from the full mix by noting the time and then request an instrumental to find out you clipped the first :10 because in the original it was only vocals, we'll have to do more work to find the spot we were seeking.
6) Links vs. e-mail MP3s? If you don't know which they accept or prefer... it's safest to go with neither. Instead, try an embedded playlist. A lot of libraries use these and it's basically an internal player but the music streams from an outside link. If you can't pull that off, a link to your website is next best thing. This varies greatly from supes so keep track of whom you are dealing with. Check out some forums or the supervisors' website and maybe you'll find your answer. Not doing what they ask or indicate will limit your chances of inking a deal.
In : January 2013
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