The real panel of interest for me yesterday was the “On Set with Music Supervisors” panel. It was frustrating at times as the panelists joked among themselves for large parts of the program (as those of you following my twitter know)LINK but it certainly offered some good advice as well.
It should’ve been open to questions from the audience sooner as the place was packed and there was an anticipation in the air, but anyway. Panelists included:
Alison Schneider – Music Supervisor, NBC
Lyle Hysen – Bank Robber Music (Sync placement for Barsuk, Beggars)
Jennifer Czeisler – VP Licensing SubPop
Gary Calamar – GO! Music Services(Supervision)
J. Cohen – (Moderator)
CZ: Licensing income has increased steadily since 2000. As the volume of deals increases, the amount per deal is squeezed a little by licencees. There aren’t as many large licensing deals available
HY: But because of the increase in the use of music by advertisers etc. there are more opportunities to license music than before.
SCH: There’s also been a changing of the guard since 2000 of music supervisors and music licensors at the content owners companies. A younger (35-50) set of people are making the decisions which is opening opportunities for more interesting music to be included.
COH: At what point during production of a show/movie does a supervisor get involved?
CAL: It depends on the project, but the ideal situation is an early viewing of the script so you can think of ideas then a spot meeting with the producer director a week or two after shoot to show ideas. Ideally, they love your ideas and you can go about getting the clearances.
COH: How many people are there who do this kind of job (music supervision)
CZ: We mail to around 240 key players. (SCH thinks that’s a high number, and that it’s closer to 4o. Judging by the tone of the panel – it’s buddy-buddy nature – I’d tend to agree with SCH, Ed.)
CZ: We use licensing now as a much larger part of the overall marketing of a record than before. We have meetings with the marketing dept. and the artist during the release schedule to determine an artists feelings about licensing, what they wouldn’t be comfortable licensing their music for and also to get a feel from marketing about where a licensing synergy might exist.
CZ: Ideally, we’d like a placement in a commercial or show to coincide with a record release date.
HY: I often get that sort of request but given the process, as well as the nature of supervision (i.e. music has to fit the scene) it’s usually very difficult to manufacture that kind of “timed” inclusion, although some networks/producers are more open than others to “bending” the will of the script to fit the song etc.
CZ: That said, any use at all is beneficial – it prolongs the life of the record, even if it’s used 6-12 months after release.
HY: The trouble is licensing has become a last-gasp for some, and by it’s nature, it can’t be used that way. I’ve received calls from folks saying “You’ve got to get me in One Tree Hill because I need to pay the electric bill”. That’s not going to work.
CAL: Overall, though, unless the act included in the show/commercial is of a significant size, my experience is that there’s not a huge sales-bump in the record.
COH: How do you prefer to be approached by potential licensors?
CAL: Do your research. Is it something I could use? What projects am I working on now that it might suit. Just drop me an email and we can talk.
An indie artist at the front then mentioned that she’d been approached for a license by Lionsgate, but they’d asked for her publishing rights in the song. The entire panel agreed that this was only a Lionsgate practice and that it was wrong to ask for such rights.
COH: (TO CZ)You’d mentioned that labels had become more proactive in their licensing efforts lately. Can you describe the process of being more proactive?
CZ: Well, obviously getting the music into people’s hands is important – inviting folks to shows. But overall developing good working relationships with people is key. There are lists that provide information on music supervisors, who they are, what they’re working on etc., but they’re not particularly effective.