5 tips for successful music synchronisation

music synchronisation
music synchronisation

That sync-ing feeling: pitching your music to be placed in adverts, films and games can be tough

With more songwriters turning to sync as a creative outlet, this music supervisor gives us a quintet of top tips

Pitching your music to be placed in adverts, films and games can be tough and being a music supervisor, who is in charge of finding the music, can be even tougher! The main challenge music supervisors face is time and so they rely heavily on their relationships with labels, publishers, managers and artists to help them find the music they’re looking for, quickly.

Supervisors can get hundreds and sometimes thousands of tracks sent to them each week and listening to all of those tracks is impossible. They wouldn’t be able to do what they do without music makers, and they need your help to let them know what music is relevant.

Rachel Menzies, music supervisor at Native Music and co-founder/director of Hookline talks us through her top five tips on what to do – and not to do – when getting in touch…

1. Do your research

Who are you reaching out to? What is it they do and what have they been working on? When you work in music licensing you are always working on something, usually big and quite urgent. No more so than a music supervisor.

So before you do anything, do your research. Check out their website where they’ll have some form of showreel of new work which will give you an indication as to whether they specialise in a specific type of media. There is enough info online about most notable supervisors, so check out their social feeds or google them and you will find a great opening line to get in touch, instantly showing the supervisor you’ve done your research.

I work predominantly in the advertising space so am often looking for punchy, attention-grabbing works that grab you within a 30 or 60 second framework. Other supervisors work in long form, or games, or trailers. All very different types of usages and all often need very different kinds of music.

2. Stay relevant

Keep your emails concise and relevant and learn how to describe your style/experience expertly. When music supervisors are auditioning songs to place on an advert or film, they’re often taking into consideration how they want the audience to feel. This is often subjective to the supervisor, but they generally look for songs they feel will amplify the aim of their clients’ story. The song must also convey the right energy and style. Being genre-appropriate (see my first tip) will help you stand out from the rest of the emails they receive.

3. Don’t forget the basics

Make sure your tracks are tagged and titled correctly with easily found contact info embedded in the metadata. Most supervisors have their own music collection categorised and filed in a very organised way so that they can always find music quickly. If you send tracks that have no titles, composer or artist names, or don’t provide contact information – you’ll be lost within the tens of thousands of tracks they search through every day. And if they can’t find you to license your track they will often disregard it from their search due to time limitations. If you’re associated with any sync agent/publisher/label they’ll need to know this information too so that they know who they need to speak to in order to get clearance. Anything you can do to make a music supervisor’s job easier is really appreciated.

4. Follow up

There’s a fine line when it comes to a friendly reminder and over-the-top persistence. Don’t try to force someone into listening to your music, because they’re under time pressure and can’t wade through lots of inappropriate music. They can often only focus on what’s right for the current project they’re working on, and your music just might not be the right fit. Although we enjoy and try to listen to as much music as possible, it’s just not feasible to hear everything.

I have worked with people who have sent me an unsolicited mail before, because the timing was right and their email got to the point and clearly outlined that they had music that I was looking for at that particular moment in time. So it can and does work.

Mike Batt at French House Party 2024

Getting your music placed in sync is a lot about timing, and it’s your job to raise the probability of your track getting chosen over all the other options out there.

5. Meet and greet

Attend conventions, panels and industry events that will get you in front of music supervisors and other people who will help to get your music considered for sync. Music supervisors are all different but I for one am far more receptive to listening to and receiving music when it’s done face-to-face – so events like the Music Industry Series I’m speaking at on 29 October are the perfect opportunity to get some face time. Here is how to make the most of that opportunity:

  • Describe your music/expertise clearly and concisely so I get an understanding of what you do and remember you.
  • Don’t give me CDs – who even has a disc drive these days?
  • Give me your card and I will try to reach out, but understand that I may not always find the time.
  • Ask for my card and send me a brief email after the event to follow up referencing our chat.

Rachel MenziesMusic Supervisor at Native Music and Co-Founder/Director of Hookline, Rachel Menzies is a guest speaker for the London Songwriters Collective at their inaugural Music Industry Series event on 29 October. You can find more details about the event at eventbrite.co.uk

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