Tip Jar: Trusted Relationships - the REAL Key to Film/TV Placements


Assuming your songs, voice, recordings and performance are “undeniable,” and your business savvy and entrepreneurial chops are up to snuff, the key factor in your success in placing your music in film and TV (and video games and commercials) will result from the authentic, trusted relationships you build with music supervisors and music publishers.

And that takes time––lots of it—for those relationships to develop. Why? Because not only must personal familiarity, understanding, character, connection and common ground be ingredients in the relationship between you and these industry executives, but deep, mutual trust must be there. Cultivating that kind of trust naturally takes a long time. In order to get “there” both parties in the relationship need a repetition of positive, mutually beneficial experiences.

These experiences, however, don’t need to be simultaneous. You can take turns. For example, I do a lot of favors for people in the industry, and it comes from a genuine desire rooted deep in my soul to help people flourish. It makes me feel so happy.  And in return, I may someday need a break, an introduction, a favor or some words of wisdom. Actually, in most cases I don’t. So instead I’ll request special help on behalf of a songwriter or artist who does need help, but might not otherwise be in a position to ask. This way, multiple dimensions of “relationship glue” bonds all three of us together.

These kind of music industry relationship-building techniques are a large part of the seven-person music supervisor/publisher/manager panel and dinner at my Malibu Beach House Music Success Retreat, which I’m hosting in October.

The “Magic” Key To Winning Placements Is . . .

I field questions every day from driven, talented people about how to contact music supervisors and publishers: “How should I word the introductory email?” • “Should I send all the material I have, or would it be smarter to send my best three?” • “Do I submit my material on CD, drive, send mp3s or links?” • “Should I impress them with my versatility or stick to a ‘signature’ style?” • “How soon and how often should I follow up?” • “Should I send 30-second snippets of many songs, or would it be better to send two or three full-length songs?” • “Do I send lyric sheets?” • “What constitutes a professional bio?” • “Should I submit only broadcast-quality masters made by a seasoned producer, or will my own desktop-demos suffice?” • “Should I spend my recording budget on a 12-song demo of all my songs, or is it smarter to make master quality recordings of just a few?” • “Why do I get positive responses about my music from the industry, but little or no action seems to follow?”

And especially this one: “When will the whole entertainment industry and the world’s entire population realize what they’re missing by not listening to my music?” (Stop reading and email me NOW for a consultation if this is you.)

Notice that the questions almost always boil down to one basic question: “How do I gain ACCESS to music executives?”

These people ask me because they think knowing the answers gives them a “magic key.” But... There - Is - No - Magic - Key.

However, There Is A Pathway Forward:
You gotta know how to network authentically. You gotta learn the secret handshakes. You have to go through and come out on the other side of the prerequisite “growing” experiences (multiple heartbreaking rejections) that empower you to walk with confidence into a room full of music executives.

And most important of all: It is imperative for you to build a reputation of trust. That starts with learning the nuances of how to communicate with these people. Make them feel comfortable knowing that you know what you’re talking about and not wasting their time. Learn to attract them with the music and talent you have to offer, so you can inspire them to WANT to pay attention to you.

Enchant Your Way To The Top:
At the earliest point in your music journey, it is a real smart decision to learn what motivates each player in the biz, so you can authentically enchant them. And these motivations are different for each role. For example, the things that enchant a music supervisor are different from what piques a publisher’s interest. Let’s take a look:

Three things that attract music supervisors:
1. They simply love discovering new talent.
2. The appropriateness of the style and emotional content of music they need for a particular movie scene (or TV show, video game or commercial). After all, it’s the music that controls how the viewer feels during any given scene.
3. Speed and ease of clearing your music.

Three things that attract publishers:
1. The market value of your songs.
2. The universal accessibility of your material.
3. Tight songwriting craft.

See how different those are? Having this kind of information is so valuable, because once you are armed with it you will know how to frame what you have to offer, depending on the role of the person you’re pitching to.

More Trust Builders:
• Being able to display that you possess the knowledge of how different music deal structures work. (Record contracts, publishing deals, licensing agreements, band agreements, song splits, just to name my faves.)
• Relaxed tone and vibe when talking on the phone or meeting in person.
• Maintaining professionalism in all aspects of your music career.
• Repetition of communicating with you (in person and/or via the Net).
• Repetition of them seeing your name in multiple places.
• Reputation of hearing good things about you from multiple trusted sources. (There’s that word from the headline!)
• Setting high standards in everything from your writing, recordings and performances to your politeness and honesty

Practicing high standards shows authenticity. And it is the authenticity of everything you do in music that will build a reputation as someone who can be trusted. Oh look! There’s that word from the headline again!––Trusted.

And that, it turns out, is a POWERFULLY magical key.

Producer/Songwriter JOE SOLO (Macy Gray, Universal, Atlantic, Sony) is founder of the Music Success Workshop. To obtain his FREE Music Success Video Nuggets go to joesiolo.com. To attend his Malibu Beach House Music Success Retreat in October, see musiccareersuccess.com. To ask questions or inquire about one-on-one career coaching: [email protected].