[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0SmTOoGpHU]

We talked to Jay Sweet the other day about how music festivals can be launching pads for careers of new artists. This time around, Jay & George Howard discuss a subject many of you have said you want to hear more about: getting your music used in film/TV/ads.

Jay is one of the founders of Sweet & Doggett, a music supervision firm. Over the past ten years, he has worked with countless artists and movie/TV/ad producers to match music with moving images.  In this interview he offers some thoughts on getting started with having your music used, and what to do to increase the frequency of usages.

If you are in a hurry, here’s a quick summary of the key points:

1. Directors tend to be very loyal to their music supervisors
A director might forge a bond with a music supervisor or musician early on in his/her career, and then stick with those people for decades to come, as they get more successful.  So, one way to start is to make connections at local colleges where young filmmakers are just starting out, and offer to score their films for them for free.  Who knows, the person walking around on campus today might be the next Spielberg.

2. Create something to show
Grab a piece of film (or make your own video), and score it. Not only will this provide you with great practice, but it can become a calling card.

3. Know your values
While it seems most artists are eager to have their music used just about anywhere, this may not be true for you. Where would you not be comfortable having your music used, and where would you be thrilled for it to be used? Think about this before you talk to music supervisors.

4. Find the players
Once you’ve determined where you’d love to have your music used, find out who the key people are. Who is the producer of a project you’d love to get involved with, who is the music supervisor, etc.

5. Stand out
Easier said than done, of course. While knowing the players is key, don’t inundate them with emails or calls.  Instead, build up your profile:

    • Make sure you’re gigging a lot (ideally in places where these people might be, so you can invite them to your shows)
    • Work hard to get some social media buzz around your music (so these people might follow you on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr)
    • Make sure your music is up on iTunes, Spotify, Rdio and other places music supervisors might look you up
    • Try to get radio play in key areas (hint: just about every music supervisor listens to KCRW in Santa Monica)

(Editor’s Note: Let TuneCore Publishing Administration pitch your compositions for placements in film, TV, national advertising and more.)


George Howard is the Executive Vice President of Wolfgang’s Vault. Wolfgang’s Vault is the parent company of Concert Vault, Paste Magazine, and Daytrotter. Mr. Howard is an Associate Professor of Management at Berklee College of Music. Follow George on Twitter.

Our Playlist

Never Miss a Beat

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!