Musician, engineer and music business entrepreneur Doug Diamond embarked on his career in 1990 by way of Los Angeles’ Dick Grove School of Music, where he completed a one-year engineering program. He became a runner at Ocean Way Recording, advanced to assistant engineer and moved, ultimately, to Nashville where he segued into mastering. He now heads Diamond Disc Audio, at which he offers mastering, video/graphic editing and related services. He’s also the senior executive at Music Opps, an outfit that helps artists connect with a variety of outlets and opportunities.
In 2010, Diamond immersed himself in Berklee’s two-year online music business master certification program. One of the classes he took dealt with music supervision, which prompted him to bring a related service to the music community.
“I do music critiques to help independent musicians raise their game; to help them understand who their competition is,” Diamond says. “Some indie music sounds as good as or better than anything you’d hear on the radio, while other stuff sounds like it was done on a four-track recorder in a basement studio. I give people pointers to raise what they’re doing to a higher level so they can get placements. I give ideas on things to improve. If there isn’t much space for that, I give ideas about where they can pitch their song. Supervision is the new A&R. If your song makes it into a commercial, suddenly you’re huge.”
It’s not always easy for those new to the industry to divine a clear path to success. Indeed, one of the common mistakes that Diamond sees artists make is that they often pitch a song to someone for whom it simply isn’t appropriate. “When artists reach out to music supervisors blindly, sometimes they’ll just send a link or, worse, an MP3,” he says. “It’s better to get to know the person first and find out what they’re working on. I show people where their time is best spent when they send out stuff so that it sticks.”
In addition, Diamond’s role as senior executive of Music Opps complements the work and services he already provides. “When artists submit songs, they’re charged $15 per opportunity,” he explains. “If a client submits a song for a single one, we’ll cross-pitch it to a more appropriate library or opportunity for free, if it’s good enough. We charge on the front-end for the submission. But we’re not a publisher from the standpoint of keeping any of the PRO [publishing rights organizations fees], publishing or sharing sync fees with clients. If a song isn’t quite ready for a particular opportunity, we’ll let the artist know what he or she can do to make it better. One of our clients does all of the music video placements for Costco nationwide. If your video plays in every one of the Costcos, you get exposure to all of that foot traffic, which is good for an artist.”
These days, Diamond is busy mixing and mastering a number of independent artists, many he’s worked with for years. Through Music Opps, he has opportunities for placement with a virtual-reality simulator, SiriusXM and top-tier retail rotation playlists.