Out Take: Julia Betley

Julia Betley

SVP of Creative Sync Licensing,
Warner Records

Web: warnerrecords.com

Contact: [email protected]

The world of music licensing for Julia Betley, who recently joined Warner Records as SVP of Creative Sync Licensing, opened for her in 1996 with the release of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. A teenage Betley didn’t know precisely what the job was called, but she found the soundtrack so powerful, she knew she wanted to somehow work in music and film. “I went to the USC Thornton School of Music, interned at a variety of companies, worked for three female music supervisors who were wonderful to me, and got to explore other aspects of the music industry,” she says. “It all reinforced how much I loved sync.” 

Now, at Warner, Betley works daily to pitch artists’ music for placement in film, television, gaming and sports. “We’re here to amplify the release of our artists’ music and create memorable moments that really help connect people with visual media,” Betley says. Challenges of the job include making a connection with music supervisors to land placements in a crowded market—and dealing with long lead times. “If you’re working on a film or show that’s in post-production, but not coming out for six months, there’s a challenge in finding current music. Sometimes you have to align sync opportunities with the release of a song, or work around the release schedule.” 

Betley says those aspiring to work in sync licensing should be familiar with the program DISCO, which is used for pitching music, and that it’s also key to have a wide historical knowledge of all types of music to help meet music supervisors’ needs.

“In sync, people come to us for alternative ideas, often because they couldn’t clear a song, or they want something that sounds like music from an earlier decade but is more current. So having a wide knowledge of music helps,” Betley says. “Knowing what your client needs and not trying to sell supervisors on something they don’t want is also appreciated in this business. You can’t make a song work where it doesn’t, so being honest about what you have to work with is important.” •