Your Film/TV Tunes:
How to Make Shows Come Back to You Time After Time
Placing songs in film and television has for years been lucrative for major labels, independent companies and even some DIY artists. But too often a great song’s chances are torpedoed by complex rights hassles or poor preparation. Indeed, when a music supervisor discovers that you don’t control both your mastering and publishing rights, he or she will likely move on to someone who can deliver songs without the headaches. In the following Tip Jar, industry expert Frank Liwall explains how independents who control their songs’ master and publishing rights have a powerful advantage in the film/TV licensing game.
1. Save Time For The Gate Keepers.
In our time of mass consumption of information, with a wall of music surrounding us every time we blink, and ever-shrinking net profits, it is absolutely imperative that we, as independents controlling both sides, be able to save time for the users of our music. If we can save time for the keepers of the gate, they’ll appreciate it and come back for more.
2. Understand the Needs Of The Pitch.
Be focused. Know your catalog, and know your strengths. Obviously, controlling both sides of a license––the master and the publishing––already gives you a leg up in most instances, but understanding the needs of the pitch and knowing what you can provide to fulfill those needs, is what really seals the deal. Be focused in what you pitch. Better to send one or two spot-on pitches rather than cramming the inbox with 20 “must haves.”
3. Communicate In A Timely Manner.
Being responsive to the needs of music supervisors or editors requires not only knowing what to pitch to them, but also, how soon to pitch it. Most supervisors are working on tight deadlines, so whether it is responding to their budgetary needs or creative needs, the ability to communicate quickly and clearly goes a very long way.
4. Build One-to-One Relationships.
We don’t have the bureaucracy of the majors. This is why independents that control both sides of a pitch often win out. We often control catalogs that work with us because of our business sense; these catalogs want us to work closely with them in further exploiting their works. They are as eager as we are to close the deal and move on to opening the door for another. Such a close one-to-one relationship doesn’t exist when you’re dealing with large multi-layered majors. The majors often have four or five steps before they even get to the approval that might be required from the original writer or artist.
5. Be Forward Thinking.
With media needs changing so quickly, it is important to always be willing to openly discuss new types of licensing needs that might be required. This is an approachable subject when dealing with independents, but imagine the layers involved when approaching a new licensing idea with a multi-national organization. As independents we have the ability to think outside the box and make what appears to be an unworkable situation into one that is beneficial to all parties.
6. Keep Your Ear To The Ground.
Most creatives these days don’t want the current Top 40 single to fill their needs. So, when it comes to mining the fields for the next big thing or the hippest new sound, the independents are the “go to” source. We’re the ones cultivating the stars of tomorrow, and who truly have our ear to the ground, deciding the next movement in music.
7. Indie Is In.
Finally, our time has come. Being indie is the place to be. Whether it is series such as Shameless, Breaking Bad or Vampire Diaries, when it comes to TV, being an independent is definitely the way to go. These shows want to use our music, and making it a one-stop no-hassle process only sweetens their experience.
8. We Cross-Market.
Just getting a song placed in the biggest TV show or blockbuster film is often not enough. If we control both sides of the placement, we can add key search work links in social media platforms, which will drive sales and further recognition for the artist. This, in turn, opens the avenue to new fans, allowing them to discover new music, while creating new demand in new markets.
9. The Snowball Effect.
It is amazing how quickly word can spread when supervisors or creatives discover that you control both sides of a particular artist or a particularly hard-to-find genre of music. If you’ve managed to assist in making the creative process easier, you’ll find that users will certainly come back to you and refer others to you when they’re searching for that similar artist or sound. Suddenly, working with one supervisor leads to working with five, 10, and so on.
10. Film And TV Create Interest And Revenue.
Gone are the days of chasing radio. One key placement can bring you immediate sync income for the master and the publishing. Plus, download sales that come from properly marketing the placement and performance mean income derived for the label, publisher and writers. If you control both sides of the placement, you have potentially opened up six revenue streams, versus the one or two you might see from radio.
--By Frank Liwall
FRANK LIWALL founded the Royalty Network in 1994 based on the notion of offering non-traditional and progressive administration deals to songwriters, artists, producers and publishers. By taking an innovative and non-proprietary approach to copyright ownership, the expertise of 18 years of experience as a sharpshooting numbers man (Liwall is an ac- countant and auditor by trade) and who previously handled such duties for The Harry Fox Agency Inc., Liwall has earned himself a following that boasts some of the most prolific and talented people in the music industry. Contact him via http://krianmusicgroup.com and http://roynet.com.