Check out music supervisor Joel C. High‘s great advice for artists and catalogue owners from our webinar last month:
Treat it like a business
“If you’re going to make a business in music you’d better treat it like a business. I recommend Don Passman’s book “All You Need To Know About The Music Business” to songwriters because it’s very easy for someone who is a musician to get out there and think that their job is to write music, but if they’re going to be a professional musician they better understand what contracts are.”
Stand out in a pitch by doing your research
“For a musician who’s going to try and do a cold pitch it’s really hard because I get a thousand emails every single day. So for me not to just hit the ‘delete’ button it’s got to be something that gets my attention, it’s got to be something personalized that says, “Hey Joel, I’m a singer-songwriter, I see that you are working on this movie with this director, and that director used my song ‘blank’ in one of their other movies”, or, “I see you’re working on this TV series and I make music that’s great for that series, I’ve watched it and I know the kind of music that you use”. So people who’ve done a little bit of research are the ones that I’m going to give a listen to.”
Email music supervisors instead of calling
“Calling probably isn’t a great idea because we don’t have time to get on the phone and an email can sit there for a while and we can go back to it and follow it up sometime later.”
Present your music effectively
“Send downloadable tracks – don’t send mp3s. Send links to download your music and have a tonne of really laid out metadata on there so if somebody ends up using it they know how to get a hold of you immediately.”
Don’t call music supervisors out for not listening to your music
“A big pet peeve of mine is when someone sends me something and they’ve noticed that I haven’t clicked on it yet so they follow up and say, “Hey, I noticed you haven’t listened to my music yet.” If someone calls me out for not listening to their music then that person goes into my junk folder from then onwards.”
Don’t give your music away in exchange for promotion
“If someone comes to you saying, “It’ll be great promotion for your music”, I think you really need to draw a line in there and know the value of your music. They’re borrowing something from somebody and using it to increase the value of the movie that they’re making, so they should pay a small fee at least to show that it has value. That’s my personal philosophy.
It’s sticking up for what you’re doing, telling people that what you do has value and that this is your business, this is your craft. How valuable is intellectual copyright? How long is a piece of string? You put the value on it. And it’s supply and demand too – if they really do want it then they should pay something for it.
And if they really say that they’re doing it for promotion then you say, “Ok well I want to be on the website, and I want a link to my website on your website, and I want all these other things.” If that’s truly what they’re arguing then I want them to really put their money where their mouth is and then we can talk about it.”
Get your hustle on!
Want to know what Joel is listening to at the moment? Check out his ‘creative control – Keep Your Ears On!’ music supervisor playlist.
We’d like to say a huge thanks to Joel for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak to us. To hear a full recording of the webinar head to our SynchStories Podcast.
Enjoyed this post? Check out:
- SynchStories: Joel C. High’s Tips for Artists and Catalogue Owners
- The Guild of Music Supervisors’ Suggested Metadata Standards
- What Music Supervisors Wish You Knew