Sync Licensing: How to Get Your Music Placed in Film, TV, and YouTube

A high-profile sync placement is one of the best ways to get exposure for your music (and make a little money while you’re at it).

But how do you get your songs placed in film and TV? Well, one way is to sign your music up for CD Baby’s sync licensing program; through our partnership with Rumblefish, your music will be included in a pre-cleared catalog of tunes available to music supervisors who’re looking for just the right music to fit their project. Best of all, our sync licensing program is non-exclusive, so you’re always welcome to seek out sync opportunities directly or through other agencies as well.

If you decide to wade into the water of music licensing on your own, you need a solid sync-placement strategy. Check out this helpful video from Hollywood record producer Joe Solo, or read my summary of his advice below on how to get your music placed in film and TV.

Five steps to getting a sync placement

1. Pitch appropriate material.

Target the projects that need the kind of music you already create. For TV shows, watch several episodes to get a feel for the vibe and genre of the music. Is your music a good fit?

Moody industrial rock probably isn’t a great match for The Office, but it might work in Breaking Bad. Your sappy love song isn’t going to work in Clash of the Titans 18, but it could be perfect for Spiderman 8, or… ya know,… Grey’s Anatomy.

2. Research new projects that are in production.

There are a few great resources you can check to see what projects are being made by who, and when.

Check The Hollywood Reporter, and click on the “Industry Tools” link and scroll down to the “in production” pages for film and TV.

Also, check out Variety and IMDb Pro for news on shows and movies that are currently in production. Some of these sites may charge a fee for access, but the information is worth it if you’re serious about pitching music for film and TV.

3. Find out who the music supervisor is for projects currently in production.

Music supervisors are the folks who are in charge of what music gets used in film and TV. They’re also in charge of negotiating the terms of that usage between the copyright holder (you!) and the studios.

If you can strike up a good working relationship with one of these supervisors via phone or email, you’ll be ahead of the game; these people manage lists of all the specific scenes in various shows or film projects that still need music to support the intended emotion of what’s happening on screen.

10 or 15 years ago, it would’ve been tough to get a music supervisor excited about an independent music release, but nowadays they love discovering new artists and introducing them to viewers.

For a complete list of music supervisors (with contact info), purchase a copy of the Film & Television Music Guide. Joe also recommends you check out the website for the Guild of Music Supervisors, watch the names scrolling in the closing credits, and do the occasional google search for “music supervisor.”

4. Contact music supervisors.

This is where you begin to forge that whole “good working relationship” I mentioned above. Music business conferences and conventions are one way to get maximum networking opportunities with minimal time commitment. Check out a panel discussion on sync placements and you’re bound to run into a few music supervisors.

Also, a good old fashioned email never hurts. Politely inquire about their music needs, and mention a few ways in which you think your songs might be a good fit. According to Joe, though, the best way to get in touch with a music supervisor is through a  trusted referral from someone else that already has a great relationship with them.

5. Send your material, pronto!

So… a music supervisor is interested in your music! That’s great. Now make sure to get it to them as quickly as possible. Production schedules are very tight. Send it overnight delivery or 2nd-day air. Those packages are always more exciting to receive, right?

Only mail broadcast-quality finished masters. Save your scrappy, scratchy home demos for another day. Put your strongest material first, and only include 2 or 3 songs. As Joe recommends, “Always leave ’em wanting more.”

With that in mind, click HERE if you’d like to view more free Music Success Video Nuggets from Joe Solo.

Have you had success pitching your songs and compositions to music supervisors? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below.

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