Presuming you can pre-clear your songs and recordings, you will want to get them to music supervisors and music libraries. Music libraries acquire a tremendous amount of their material from independent songwriters and composers (meaning writers who are not signed to publishing deals) and from artists who produce their own independently released CDs. Therefore, many of them are open to receiving unsolicited material. It is typically tougher to find an open door with a music supervisor—unless you have established credits.
An online search will yield listings of music libraries. In most instances, their submission policies are listed on their website. In some cases, you’ll be able to instantly begin the process of submitting your material. Other times, you’ll need to request permission to have your music considered for representation.
The Film & Television Music Guide (www.musicregistry.com) provides an extensive listing of music libraries and music supervisors, including their contact information. Music Library Report (www.musiclibraryreport.com) offers a listing of hundreds of music libraries, along with contact information, submission policies, and more. Another option is to use tip sheets and pitch services. A tip sheet is a document that lists companies seeking music; the kinds of music they’re looking for; and information about how to contact them and submit your work. Cue Sheet (www.cuesheet.net) is a tip sheet that focuses exclusively on TV and film music. Taxi (www.taxi.com) and Broadjam (www.broadjam.com) are companies that, among other services, provide listings of television and film music pitching opportunities to their members. Taxi members have the option to upgrade to a service called Taxi Dispatch for an additional fee. This provides additional listings of film & TV projects seeking music—typically projects that require music on very tight deadlines. Additionally, by reading trade publications such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter you can learn about upcoming television and film productions. This information can also be gleaned at the website IMDb (www.imdb.com).
It’s always best to ask how the recipient would like to receive your music. Many music supervisors prefer links rather than CDs or MP3s; or they might want you to submit your music through websites such as yousendit or dropbox that zip large amounts of data.
When sending your song digitally—whether it’s for TV, film, or any other purpose—it’s important to embed your contact information into your song files. Metadata refers to information embedded into a digital file. Music supervisors and other industry pros always want this so they can instantly identify where a song came from and how to contact the sender. Free (or inexpensive) programs are available that enable you to embed metadata.
Submitting your work to a music library can be a time-consuming process. You might be asked to describe:
- The tempo
• The type of vocal (male, female, solo, choir, etc…)
• The style
• Artists the song sounds like
• Lyric themes
The reason they require so much information is that most music libraries have databases that are capable of sorting the songs in their catalogs according to key words. In many instances, music supervisors can access the libraries’ catalogs online to review songs.
Those songwriters and instrumental composers who have the most success tend to have many songs placed with various libraries and/or music supervisors. Placing your songs in TV shows and films requires hard work, but it can be a great way to earn credibility, new fans—and income.