An Interview With Lauren Pavia Of DeWolfe Music

Posted by Aaron Davison on Friday, March 23, 2012 Under: March 2012


I recently had the chance to interview Lauren Pavia from Dewolfe Music via email.  DeWolfe has been in business over 100 years and they place music in broad range of project all over the world. Here’s my interview with Lauren:

Me: Hi Lauren can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your role at DeWolfe?

Lauren: I am a Licensing Executive at DeWolfe Music USA

Duties include:

-Build & maintain relationships with independent producers, ad agencies, music supervisors, TV network executives, post production houses, video game producers, audio book publishers, etc

-Perform music searches – I make suggestions of tracks for our clients to consider, based upon the specs of their particular projects. 

-Negotiate rates in relation to synchronization rights that are required (type of media and length of term)

-Keep track of license agreements until full execution and payment have been made

-Find and sign new talent to add to our roster

I’ve been here for almost 5 years

Prior to working at DeWolfe Music, I studied Music Industry and Mass Communications at the State University of New York, College at Oneonta and held two internships (one at a smaller production music library, the other at a public radio station)

Me:  What kind of music does DeWolfe primarily place? Are there certain styles of music you tend to place more than others?

Lauren: It really runs the gamut.

Since DeWolfe has been around for such a long time (over 100 years), we not only have contemporary music; we also have Classical music performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, newsreel cues from the 1940s and 50s, and vinyl albums recorded during the 60s, 70s and 80s with people like Jimmy Page performing as a session musician.

We get very random requests all the time, but overall, corporate clients and ad agencies in particular are looking for positive, upbeat, natural-sounding acoustic tunes with bell chimes and hand claps. That’s just right now though – a couple of months from now, the industry will shift as it always does.

Some song searches come back to us over and over again – like sound-a-likes for Coldplay’s “Clocks”, U2’s “Beautiful Day” or tracks that sound like Sigur Ros.

Me:  What advice do you have to musicians interested in licensing their music beyond the obvious tips like “write great music” and “produce great music”. Any specific tips based on your experience that musicians who want to license more of their music should know about?

Lauren: When presenting your music to licensing companies, make sure you “sell” yourself as an artist. Don’t just send an mp3 attachment and say, “check this out – I’m awesome!”

Be professional; include in your email a couple of paragraphs about who you are and what you’ve accomplished. If you’ve already gotten some placements, that is a huge selling point, because it shows us that your style would lend itself well to synchronization placements.

I would recommend trying to secure a few placements on your own before even approaching a music licensing company. That will give you some clout and set you apart.

Me:  What percentage of artists that you work with make a full time living from their music?  Is making a full time living from licensing realistic and attainable?

Lauren: Most artists will need to off-set licensing income with other streams of revenue – whether in record sales, touring, or working a regular 9-5 job. You can’t rely on having a steady stream of income from synchronization placements unless you place your music in a project that’s ongoing (an ad campaign that uses your music as its jingle {thus “branding” your music with their product}, or having one of your cues picked up as the theme for a television series).

Me: What types of subject matter generally work best for songs with lyrics?

Lauren: Relatable topics are usually best – nothing too obscure and difficult to figure out the meaning. I would say to avoid any lyrics with curses (if you do, make sure to record an alternate clean version), or those pertaining to religion, race, politics, etc. Our clients have never asked us to provide offensive music, and quite frankly, we wouldn’t want to represent it anyway.

Me: How much can musicians make from licensing their music? Obviously there are a lot of variables but can you give us an idea of possibilities in terms of how much musicians can potentially make?

Lauren: This really varies. It comes down to: how well-known you are as an artist, what type of placement is this (is this a corporate meeting opener or a feature film requiring all rights/all media clearance), and what the budget of the job is. In synch licensing, sometimes you have to take whatever is available.

As a production music library, our composers and artists are usually not extremely well-known. In fact, many times we’re approached because our clients cannot afford to clear the “real” track they want, so they come to us to find something similar (and less expensive) to replace it with.

I would say, if you’re just starting out, don’t be offended if you’re not offered a large sum of cash. Getting paid at all in this industry is a good thing. And don’t forget, aside from the up-front synchronization fee, you may get paid pretty handsomely on the back-end in performing royalties.

I’ve heard of top 40 commercial artists making several hundred thousand dollars on an advertising placement. But if you’re just starting out, expect to make a small fraction of that as you build your presence.

Me: What makes the most sense from your perspective, musicians writing music in anticipation of potential licensing needs or musicians simply writing what they write naturally and then pursuing licensing opportunities after the fact?

Lauren: I’d hate to tell anyone to craft their art around how to make the most money. But if your goal is to use your music as a means of making a living through synch placements, then you should try to be smart and think, “is this something I might hear in a TV show, commercial, or film”?

You never know though – sometimes supervisors are looking for extremely specific or unique kinds of music and it’s just pure luck that your music might be a fit. So in the end, I’d say to write naturally and leave it up to the licensing executives to find the right placements for it.

Me:  Any final thoughts you can leave us with in terms of how musicians can successfully license their music?

Lauren: When pitching your music to licensing companies, NEVER attach MP3s to your email. It jams up the email server and is a sure-fire way to have it deleted without ever being read.

Send links to your website, or to a site where we can stream your music. Then, if we’re interested, we’d ask you to send us your submission via a file-sharing website like

Me: Thanks for your time, if musicians want to learn more about your company and how they can submit music for your consideration, where can they go to learn more?

Lauren: We have two websites: is our main search engine, where you can learn about DeWolfe and stream any of the 80,000+ music tracks we have to offer is the website for our hip hop/urban label, Beats & Rhymes

If you’d like to submit music to us, please send an email to

If you contact us and do not hear back, do not be discouraged – it could be for many reasons (we’re not looking for new artists at that time, we already have music in the collection that’s very similar to yours, we’re not looking for your style at this time, etc). You can feel free to follow up a few weeks/months later, but rest assured that we do look at every email that comes in. 

In : March 2012 

Tags: music licensing  dewolf music  music publishing  songwriting  ascap  bmi 
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