How to Get Your Music on TV and Film—Essential Tips

Updated on July 14, 2020
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Hi, My name is Benjamin Ross from California. I`m a life lover! My passion are traveling and movies :)

If you are recording your own music, one of the most efficient ways to monetize it is by licensing it to TV and films. But how can you get into licensing if you have no experience about it at all? Or if you have been trying it with no success, what do you have to do in order to be successful?

In this article we are going to give you a few steps to help you start successfully.

First Things—Do Your Research

You must have noticed that different styles of music are being used in films and TV depending on the scenes and atmosphere. If you do your best to understand the types of music being used for specific scenes you will be able to find an upcoming movie or TV show that will be perfect for the music you write. Once you figure that out, you will have to get in touch with the person responsible for music supervision and send your music. Does this sound too complicated? Well, the good thing is that there are some good online tools to make this a bit easier.

Tunefind is a website you want to check out first. You can use it to see what music has been used in specific episodes of a TV show or movie that may interest you. You can also make a search by artist’s name and see where exactly their music has been used previously. There are great chances that if they sound similar to you that you can get your music synced in similar shows or films. Another place worth checking is YouTube. You can easily find a list of all soundtracks being used in specific shows or films.

Although t will be much harder to find the best type of music for a movie yet to be released, finding it for a TV show is quite simple. They are probably looking for similar music like the one used in the previous episodes.

Find the Music Supervisor

After we find out what type of music will be perfect for the future episodes of a TV show or an upcoming movie, we need to discover who is the music supervisor so we can get in touch with him. Probably the easiest way to do this is through the IMDB website and taking a closer look at the specific show we are targeting. You will easily find the name of the music supervisor and knowing the name is half the job done.

Produce Top Quality Music

Whether you want to pitch a song you have written earlier or maybe just for the TV show, you have to be aware that your recording must be of high quality. This is extremely important when it comes to licensing. You are practically offering the final version so it has to have the highest quality for a film or TV. Although this is an easy step it is often neglected by most songwriters.

It doesn’t matter whether the song you have recorded perfectly fits the TV or film, the music supervisor will value the production first. It’s quite simple – if the production quality is not in line with the other things they are placing, they won’t even bother listening to it. So, maybe it would be better to hire a music producer to do this for you if you don’t have the skills or experience. You can do this online which makes the whole thing much easier. All you have to do is to find a producer online, send him some samples of how your music should sound like and that’s it.

On the other hand, if you feel confident that you can do everything on your own, from recording to mixing and mastering, just make sure it sounds great. There is an easy way to test the quality. Add your song and several similar songs which are already used in TV shows or films and play them one after another. You can also connect your TV with a transmitter and play the playlist to check how they sound on TV. If the production quality of your song is shoulder to shoulder with the others, that’s it.

Organize everything before you send it

Now that you have prepared everything it’s time to organize everything before sending it to the music supervisor. First check whether you have the instrumental versions of all your songs. Maybe the supervisor is looking for an instrumental as a background music. Another thing worth doing is to sign up with a PRO (Performance Rights Organization) which will collect the royalties whenever your song is being aired. Some of the most popular PROs are SESAC, BMI, ASCAP and so on. And the last thing to do applies for those who are having a co-writer. If you are a sole writer you can skip this, but if you are not writing alone, make sure to have a contract with the co-writer where they allow you to use the song on film or TV.

Sending Your Music

The last step now is to deliver your music. One of the biggest obstacles here is that it is very difficult to contact the music supervisor. Just like you, hundreds of other artists are offering their music, so they are definitely flooded with new music for their TV shows or films every week. However, since you have done you work in the best possible way by doing the research first, then selecting the best type of music for the upcoming film or TV episodes, making sure your music production is of highest quality and everything is properly organized, you can be sure that you are way ahead of the other songwriters.

Ideally, if you have a chance to develop some kind of relationship with the music producer either directly or through other people in the industry then do it. Maybe you can even hire a reputable licensing agent who thinks your music is perfect and meant to be on TV or a film. Of course, it will cost you but it will definitely pay off when your songs start being placed. As your reputation grows you will have a better chance to get in touch with music supervisors on your own.

And when it finally comes to sending that email to the music producer, make sure it is sweet and short and insert a link where your best work can be downloaded from. Never attach the MP3s in the email.

If you follow these tips there are great chances your songs will be successfully placed on TV or a film. At the same time, it will make it easier to start building your first relationships with music supervisors.


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