Getting Your Music Into the Movies
Getting your music into movies is a great way to earn extra income, especially if you are an independent songwriter. However, there is more to the process than just sending your music to a studio. Learning the ins and outs of the business, taking advantage of your resources, and using the tricks of the trade are all necessary in order to successfully market your music to the film industry.
The Internet is your best friend! It isn’t enough to be a good composer or musician-you must also be good with the business aspect, and the Internet can be just the tool to teach you about it. Licensing your music, that is, going through the process of placing your music in films or on television, can be difficult if you don’t understand how to do it.
Furthermore, the Internet provides you with tools to market yourself as well as your product. Today, dozens of websites are dedicated to helping independent artists market themselves to the film industry, providing everything from helpful advice to full-on licensing services. Cruising the ‘net for these helpful sites will help you develop a strategy to get your music heard.
Part of getting your music to the right people involved knowing who does what in film production. It isn’t always enough to know just anyone in the studio. The music supervisor is the one you’ll need to contact. Overseeing all musical aspects of a production, the music supervisor seeks to find that particular piece of music that will fit in perfectly with the project they are working on, and they have to do it on a deadline.
That said, it is important to remember that because music supervisors often have very little time to waste, your job is to capture their attention in the simplest, most effective way possible. Submit your CD with a letter referencing any conversations or requests, know what project you are submitting your music to them for, include all of your information in the jewel case of the CD and, if possible, attach a note indicating the most relevant tracks on your recording. This will make your submission stand out and will increase your chances of your music being selected.
If they like your music, the supervisor will want to know that the licensing process will be quick and painless, so your music must be ready for use. Also, familiarizing yourself with the licensing process can help you answer their questions and, in most cases, even negotiate fees. Become acquainted with the performing rights organizations (BMI, ASCAP, etc.) and what they require of you in order to collect your fees and royalties.
If your music has been selected for a film, ask for a copy of the cue sheet, the document that lists all of the tracks used in a film, where they are in reference to the movie, and the production information pertaining to said tracks. Having the cue sheets will enable you to build a portfolio of licensed tracks, allowing you to build credibility in the industry as a seasoned licensed artist.
Using your music to break into the film industry can be time-consuming and difficult, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can make it happen.