Zachary Etzel is a music placement expert having worked at licensing companies such as Rumblefish, Stereobot.com and sound effects library Soundsnap.com.  Here he will tell us a bit more about how to maximise your chances of getting your music on TV, film, advertising and video games.

Over to you Zachary: There are no guarantees when it comes to pitching your songs, whether for direct placement, or to a library who will represent you. However, there are few things you can do to increase you chances, and possibly land that next big placement.

Diversify:

So your favorite music to make is Cajun Zydeco. It’s what moves your soul, really speaks to you, and it’s the only kind of music you ever want to make. That’s great, it really is.  However, if you’re going to pigeon hole yourself to one genre or type of music, especially one that is so niche, specialized, and not exactly burning up the charts, then you need to be prepared to not receive a lot (or any) placements.

Highly placed composers and artists who are heavily placed understand that in the licensing game, the right genre and style of music are just as important as if that music is “good”.  If you’re composing music in a genre that isn’t getting a lot of love from the licensing world, you should consider diversifying your catalogue, and creating music that is, dare I say, more “mainstream”.  Pay attention to musical trends, and what types of songs you’re seeing get placed.  Note these, and take them into account when creating your next masterpiece.

If you can also somehow estimate what the next musical trend will be, and you can start composing to gear toward that trend now, you’re going to be in a much better place when it does. And who knows, it might just be Cajun Zydeco!

Don’t Take It Personally:

I know, right? How many times have you heard this in the music profession? It’s hard not to feel like it’s a personal attack when a song or submission of yours is rejected, or not chosen. However you have to understand that many times it has nothing to do with the quality of the music you’re making, but the fact that your submission probably didn’t fit the brief or direction for what the client was looking for.  The sooner you understand this, the faster you can get back to making the next great song you’re going to pitch.

Host Your Music Somewhere:

Speaking of pitching, are you emailing out MP3’s to folks when you submit? Stop! Please. Seriously. Most music supervisors are inundated on a daily basis with emails from hopeful artists who send MP3s, and with so many coming in, it’s very easy for you song to get lost in the copious amounts of emails, if not the spam filter.

Instead of sending out an MP3, send links to where you songs are hosted, and can be easily listened to or accessed.  Sites like Bandcamp, and Soundcloud have made hosting, and sharing your songs incredibly easy, and if a music supervisor hears something they like, they’ll likely want to hear more of it. Having your songs all in one place, without the MS having to email you to get another song, is incredibly helpful, and it makes you looks organized, put together, and someone worth working with.  Which brings me to….

stereobot soundsnap photo

Properly Tag Your Songs With Metadata:

If you really feel that you must send MP3s, please, please, please make sure you have them properly encoded with metadata. Fewer things are more annoying then pooping open your i-Tunes, loving it, and then finding that there’s no artist or track name embedded. How will anyone know whom the great song you submitted is by? They won’t, and then you’ll have missed out on a great opportunity.  Submitting a song, or songs, that are not labeled properly is nearly the same as not submitting them at all.

Get Your Music Out There:

Seems like a no brainer, right? Have a place where people can easily find, and hear your stuff (as referenced earlier with Soundcloud and Bandcamp). Send your songs to a few music writers, or blogs; see if you can gather a small following of fans. Submit your music to a few aggregators and libraries and see if they can push some of your music for placements.

The more that your music is out there, and the easier it is to find, the more visibility you have. The more visibility, the more placements you’ll garner.  None of this is rocket science, but these few things, when implemented, will help further your licensing placements, and hopefully your musical career.

Let us know if you have had any experiences that back up what Zachary has said…