Make a music supervisor happy: choosing relevant tracks

Photo: BRRT, via Pixabay

Photo: BRRT, via Pixabay

You’ve listened to our advice, and your tracks are a legal dream, your mastering is flawless and you’re poised and ready to respond if one of your tracks is selected for a sync project. Great! But one thing could still be holding you back: your track selection.

The perils of the sync track dump

Now, you’re a busy person. It’s easy to decide to make your life simpler: you’ll send the same set of tracks to every request you spot or brief you receive. Surely the client or supervisor can decide what best fits a particular project.
The difficulty here is that clients are busy too – chances are that if an artist has sent or uploaded ten or fifteen tracks to a request for a modern classical instrumental, and the first two turn out to be dubstep with vocal, a music supervisor is that much less likely to sift through the rest in the hope that one of them fits the brief.
In fact seeing five or more tracks from the same artist can set off alarm bells – how likely is it that every single one could be perfect for the project? Stranger things have happened, of course, but the time pressures involved in the process mean that clients and music supervisors must use the law of averages to their advantage.

Instant recognition – for all the wrong reasons

Likewise, if you submit the same set of songs to every single music request, it can be noticed – if worse comes to worst, the same client will see your “package” listed for completely different briefs. When an artist or label repeatedly submits songs to totally inappropriate briefs – whimsical folk pop to minimal house briefs, a song containing swearwords and drug references to a children’s foodstuffs project – it becomes clear that they’re not really paying attention, and may make it less likely that their submissions will be taken seriously next time.

Preparing for requests

First of all, look through your track library. If it’s huge, take the time to go through your back catalogue (on our system, this could be an excellent time to make sure that every version you have is uploaded, beautifully tagged and labelled, and that your details are up to date) and if necessary refamiliarise yourself with every song and its structure, and imagine what kind of projects it might fit. Knowing your catalogue inside out will help you immediately recognise when a sync track request could be perfect for your music, and save you a lot of potential rummaging.
Think too about the territories where you hope to have your music licensed, and be honest with yourself if you’re lacking in contact with that country’s ad or film music landscape. That’s what the internet (and as an example, our placement back catalogue) is there for! Do a little research, and check out song structure and instrumentation in the industries and product categories you’re interested in syncing for. A beer ad in Germany is often quite different to a beer ad in the UK.

Read that brief!

Just as a jobseeker is more likely to land a good job by sending a perfectly tailored application to ten positions that match their skills rather than a hundred identical, scattershot applications to jobs that might sort of fit the bill, a song submission has to fit a brief to have a chance of acceptance.
When a brief catches your eye, read every part carefully – the title may say only “electronic track” but the main request might elaborate with information about style, tempo and vocals in a way that narrows it down to only one or two of your tracks. Likewise, listen to the reference songs if there are any, playing close attention to their tempo and mood. Now think about your own music. Does anything jump out at you as being suitable? Be honest with yourself – if nothing fits the bill, save your efforts for the next brief where you’ll really be in with a chance.

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