Strategies

4 Steps to Film and TV Placement

Helen Austin

I’m often asked how to get music into film and TV. I owe my small degree of success to a music supervisor from Bunim-Murray who found me on thesixtyone and placed several of my songs in MTV shows (more info on my latest and largest placementΒ here). For a more helpful answer, I turned to my good friend Helen Austin, whose focus and dedication I’ve admired for years. -Brian

Since getting my music licensed on TV, films and ads, I often get asked for advice on how I did it.Β The first thing I will say is that there is no “easy button” and no magic publisher. It requires a lot of hard work and single-mindedness.

Still reading?… ok πŸ™‚

Step 1: Lay the Groundwork

After being a songwriter for a many years (while being a comedian for a living!) it was only two years ago that I decided that my next “job” was going to be getting my music licensed. I was already a prolific writer and had learned how to record my own songs in my own style at home (and still learning everyday). If it was to be my job, then I was going to work hard and do whatever it took, all day everyday (around kid’s pick-ups, housework, etc).

So I started writing and producing more, listening to critiques and honing my craft (which turned into a song a week for a year). The learning curve was huge, especially on the technical side. I signed up on various music sites and submitted my songs to every opportunity that I thought would fit. These are the sites that I uploaded music to and monitored the listings that came into my inbox on a regular basis:

Sonicbids
Taxi
Broadjam
YouLicense

I also uploaded my music to every other music site I could find: Last.fm, ReverbNation, OurStage, thesixtyone… It’s all very time consuming but you want people to be able to find you easily.

Step 2: Build Your Team

I found a publisher through Sonicbids that I spent time forging a relationship with, and signed many songs with them exclusively. They have found me placements that have really upped my fan base. It also connected me with a music supervisor who wanted my music for an indie movie and also with a producer who flew me to Sacramento to record Beatles songs. It has gotten me two music business conference showcases and many internet radio play spots and features. So Sonicbids has been the best money spent so far.

Through Taxi I found another publisher who I have also signed many songs with, but non-exclusively, which means I can also pitch these songs to other people when the opportunity arises. Taxi costs the most but that publisher has made me the most money, plus Taxi has a free music conference for its members every year.

I got one of my songs on an ad through Broadjam but submitted to MANY listings to get it. But they are good at showing off the artists that they do get placements for.

I had pretty much ignored YouLicense until I got an email from a Korean Record Label through them, who are now working on releasing a CD of my music in Korea.

All these sites cost money either to join, submit or both. Each has it plusses and minuses but I figured it would cost a whole lot more to go back to school. I have been relentless and found success with all and will continue to submit because you never know where the next placement will come from.

Step 3: Produce Targeted Content

Consistently writing and producing a lot is so important because I can’t be too precious about my songs if I want to make money. If I do make a mistake and sign a contract that I regret then I like having a lot more songs where that one came from. Also, instead of just having songs that I think I can submit, I have started writing with placements in mind. Taxi had a listing that was looking for a song with the word “happy” in it, so I wrote a song called Happy, which was picked up and is one of my most successful songs… and it’s only 1:40 mins long!

Step 4: Make Connections

After reading an article by a music supervisor on how they are okay about getting polite emails with links to music, I then sent out hundreds of individual (no block) emails out to any music supervisor I could find an email for. I was very polite and sent links only (they hate attachments!) and follow-ups when I had new music. I got nice replies from about 10 of them but some have lead to placements and at least a direct contact who knows my music.

And then there’s the social networking. Yup, you have to do Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, because you never know who you will meet there. I read an article on “Be Interesting and Interested” and that has served me well in my interactions. But you have to be genuine. If I can spot fake from a mile off then so can everyone else. There are several supervisors who use Twitter to find music and I have had a few placements just by reading my Twitter feed at the right time.

So that is how I have managed to get my music on TV, movies and ads. In case you are wondering, here are my placements. It all started with the “Insight” ad in September 2009.

MTV – Plain Jane (3 placements)
MTV – Real World (3 placements)
MTV – 16 & Pregnant
90210
Ghost Whisperer
Mayor Cupcake (movie) – 3 songs including opening credits
Seeking Happily Ever After (documentary) – closing titles song
Royal Caribbean (ad)
Insight Communications (ad)

I am sure there are many ways to skin a cat (unlucky cat) and this is just my story of how I am getting my music placed. I love what I do, from the writing to the recording and mixing, and even the social networking and emailing. More importantly is that I am grateful for getting to do what I do every day, and this makes the days that I get an email telling me of a placement even better. Those are the happy dance days!

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142 Comments

  • Reply
    Bazz
    September 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    wonderful article. Very honest and sincere, you spoke about all the companies I have thought about investing my money in but wasn’t sure about. Thanks! Congrats on your placements too :]

    -Bazz
    http://www.youtube.com/imyourbazz

    • Reply
      Traycee Lynn
      March 25, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Excellent article. I’m interested in placement and didn’t know where to start. I like the realistic grind you speak about.

      • Reply
        helenaustin
        March 28, 2016 at 10:28 am

        so glad you found it useful πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Hans DeKline
    September 3, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Very proud of you Helen. I’ve been a believer from the beginning and I’m glad you’re sharing your wisdom with everyone else.

  • Reply
    David Rosen
    September 4, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    i dont know about sonic bids but don’t the other 3 require you to pay to submit to jobs? i’ve always read that that’s never a good sign. i have music on some other music libraries (and have had about 6 licenses so far), the kind that have to accept you in the first place based on your artistic ability, but once you’re accepted there’s no need to pay to submit for a job or to upload tracks. i think that’s the way it should be, isn’t it?

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      September 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm

      I believe the submission fee serves as a disincentive for artists to throw everything but the kitchen sink at each listing. Sonicbids is experimenting with zero-fee listings, and I just submitted to one this morning. Normally I’d just pick the song I felt was the best, but since it was free, I went with four songs instead. Why not? πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        David Rosen
        September 4, 2010 at 11:16 pm

        yea i can see how it could turn into a huge mess if everyone submits tons of music (and crap music haha) to every submission, but at the same time, if the submission fee is anything more than $1, i don’t think i’d be able to do more than a few a month haha. i mean it’s basically gambling once you spend money on each submission. figure there’s a few thousand people submitting (maybe 10’s of thousands, who knows), figure out what your odds are of getting picked (regardless of the quality of your work, just on a numbers level)… basically gambling…

        • Reply
          Brian Hazard
          September 5, 2010 at 12:23 am

          To put a positive spin on it, the higher the submission fee, the better your odds! πŸ˜‰

          • David Rosen
            September 5, 2010 at 2:50 am

            haha now we’re talkin πŸ™‚

          • Sowait
            September 16, 2010 at 9:15 pm

            Honestly, speaking from experience SonicBids and the rest of the places listed are the last places you should be looking to submit your music if you are looking to get your music in Film or TV.

          • Mary Hamer
            November 6, 2010 at 8:40 am

            Any suggestions, Sowait? πŸ™‚

          • Mary Hamer
            November 6, 2010 at 9:23 am

            hehe. That’s my comment up there. Not sure how to claim it yet with disqus, as I accidentally logged in using my facebook, rather than my actual profile. Oh well!

          • Jamgypsy
            February 4, 2011 at 4:04 am

            So what are the first???

      • Reply
        J-EL
        October 25, 2010 at 3:58 am

        Hi brian im new fresh to this world would you say Sonicbids is a great place to start out. Thanx J- el

        • Reply
          Brian Hazard
          October 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

          I recently cancelled my Sonicbids subscription. There are simply too many artists competing for the same opportunities, most of which are worthless. That said, I’ve had some interest from publishers through the site. If you’re just starting out and looking for those types of opportunities, maybe Taxi is a better bet. At least you’ll get some useful feedback.

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      September 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm

      I think I need to clear something up about paying for submissions. I had to pay to submit to find my publishers but now that I have the relationship with the publishers it costs me nothing to submit new songs to them. Sonicbids and Taxi helped me find the right publishers (the ones who were looking for the sort of genre I write) rather than just sending my music to every publisher I could google.

    • Reply
      martin
      March 16, 2016 at 9:14 am

      #David Rosen

      Would you care to share those sites? I know of one, musicdealers that doesn’t charge up front, would really be helpful to find more. Thanks

      • Reply
        helenaustin
        March 16, 2016 at 9:19 am

        which sites… the sonic bids and Taxi or publishers?

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    If it weren’t for Helen’s success, I’d eagerly drop Taxi, Sonicbids, and Broadjam completely. I haven’t tried YouLicense yet, but it’s on my to-do list. I was a member of Taxi for 12 years with hundreds of forwards and no deals, as I detail here.I got a free Sonicbids membership through the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and I’ve had a free Broadjam membership forever, since they used to facilitate online submissions for Taxi. I’ve had no luck with either of them either.I think the key differences between my experiences and Helen’s are:1. She records in a more accessible and universal folk/pop style2. She writes for the purpose of submitting to film/TV opportunities, whereas for me it’s an afterthoughtOr it could simply be that she makes better music! Whatever the reason, I’m motivated by her success and grateful that she chose to share her experience with us.

    • Reply
      Aussie
      October 27, 2010 at 12:34 am

      Hi Brian,

      I tried youlicence and nothing has come of it so far (about 6mths) and I’m letting my subscription expire. IMO, the leads aren’t great quality and certainly not great paying. Seems to be more small budget businesses, rather than film/tv/advertising/record labels.

      I’m a member of Taxi (again, only 6mths) and though nothing has come of it yet, the value to me is in the forum and relationships being made there, as well as the constructive feedback.

      My best results so far have come from cold calling with polite, well-targeted emails with links.

      • Reply
        Brian Hazard
        October 27, 2010 at 2:56 am

        Thanks for letting me know! Okay, youlicense is OFF the list!

        Today I submitted to Hello Music: http://hellomusic.com

        If anything comes of it, I’ll be sure to say so!

        • Reply
          chris
          February 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm

          Brian, any news on Hellomusic yet? Was it worth it?

          • Brian Hazard
            February 1, 2011 at 6:16 pm

            It’s definitely worth it! There are few listings that match my style, which is the case across the board with all of these sites. But on the plus side, they offer a fairly detailed written review of your release, for free. My few emails to them were responded quickly and accurately. And I haven’t had to pay a penny, so I don’t see a downside!

          • chris
            February 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

            Sounds Great Thanks for the update.

  • Reply
    Kat Leannan
    September 4, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks Helen for the insightful and interesting article. As a complete newbie who’s just starting to explore my writing and recording options, I very much appreciate your honest approach, the sharing of your experience, as well as the practical leads.

  • Reply
    AbbieHuxley
    September 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Congrats Helen. You did the work. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      nicktann
      November 22, 2010 at 10:22 pm

      Just wanted to say hi Abbie. I’ve had Quicksilver on my iTunes for years and still love it. I’m a long time fan. I’m here because I played a track by Helen on my podcast.
      Thanks

  • Reply
    Mshilansky
    September 6, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Great post! Thanks so much for the advice!

  • Reply
    helenaustin
    September 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks for all your replies to this article. I would have replied sooner but have been away. I really hope that some of what I have written helps. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Mark Kaufman
    September 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    This was the most inspirational post I’ve read in years, in terms of the kind of stuff I do. Helen, I think you’ve finally lit a fire under me. It’s not enough to just write and record…time to play the hand! Thanks Helen, great great post. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      September 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm

      wow! Thanks Mark… that means a lot! Go get ’em!

  • Reply
    Petri Suhonen
    September 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Very good read Helen, thanks!

  • Reply
    Awake Awake Band
    September 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Congrats on the placements! My band Awake! Awake! has has some success with online sites as well.

    “Ocean” Syllabus Music
    “Distance” Delta Airlines
    and we also were scouted by Bunim/Murray

    We owe it all to the hard work we put in on the web and just lots of posting and blogging. Of course you have to have something worth posting about first and of proper quality. We recorded our new album at my apartment and it ended up on Delta so anything goes these days.

    Additional Great Licensing Sites:
    http://www.Music180.com
    http://www.MusicDealers.com (Free)
    http://www.HelloMusic.com (Free)

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      September 18, 2010 at 12:21 am

      thanks for posting those licensing sites. I’ll check them out. We all need to share the knowledge!! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    ddot
    September 8, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Helen, great info for a very inspirational post… for us who are waddling along in the process…

    I have one quick question for you or anyone… if you don’t mind… what level of quality does your songs has to be in order to placed/considered…

    Cause our budget(time & money) won’t allow us to get to the “mastering/broadcast ready” stage for every idea… It would be nice to know if the submissions could be quality “demo-ish” and if it something they’re looking for then we can work towards getting everything solid… what’s your take on this angle?

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      September 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      I record from home am thinking about doing an article on my set-up. I think it depends on the style of music. I produce alt folk pop so can do a lot with just guitars, vocals and some midi. I seem to have hit on a sound that is accepted as broadcast ready (or so I am told). I am careful with accuracy and my songs are all about the vocal.

      If you are doing genres such as rock or country I am thinking that the production would have to match up to the rock and country you hear on mainstream radio, which would be a lot more expensive to produce.

      I feel lucky to have found a style that I not only like to write in, but that is more low-fi and therefore simpler (for me) to produce. I have limits and have tried to embrace those limits rather than fight them.

      I hope that answers you question.

      • Reply
        ddot
        September 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm

        yes it does… thx Helen!!!

  • Reply
    Monty Singleton
    September 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Loved the article! Thanks Helen (and Brian)

  • Reply
    Dujon
    September 11, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Great article, I’m a member of 3/4 sites you’ve mentioned and so far Sonicbids has been the best one for me as I’ve recently landed a publishing deal as a result of submitting to one of their listings. I totally agree that following the right people on Twitter and checking your timeline at the right time can lead to great opportunities. I’ve seen so many industry professionals asking for songs over Twitter. Personally, I haven’t had any songs licensed yet but I found this article very validating and encouraging. Looks like I’m on the right track. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Jon Ostrow
    September 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Helen, I left this as the lone on this post appearing on Music Think Tank, but since it seems the discussion is lively here, I will post it again:

    This is a really excellent idea and thank you for the 4-step break down! This has been a topic that I have wanted to cover on my website/ blog (MicControl) for quite some time now but have still yet to take the plunge.

    I do have a question though, and I apologize if it is inappropriate in this forum, but I think it needs to be asked for all of the emerging artists out there: what sort of money did/ do you make from licensing music to ads? Is the pay scale different if that ad is shown during primetime television and day-time television?

    If you are uncomfortable answering these publicly, please reach out to me on Facebook: http://facebook.com/jon.ostrow as I would love to have the chance to pick your brain about this!

    Thank you!
    Jon Ostrow
    MicControl.com

  • Reply
    helenaustin
    September 18, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Just want to say that it was Brian who broke my ramblings down into the 4 steps which made my article much readable!! πŸ™‚ Thanks Brian!

  • Reply
    Tim Verhees
    September 25, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I’m already a few years in business, without any great succes on the net finding new labels a brought . Although local labels are interested in releasing new tracks, they are out of money to take the risk giving new talent a chance.

    As I tried a few things like reverbnation, cdbaby, and so on … I’m not really convinced labels will see new kind of styles and music. They go for what is safe to invest in. So the problem is not making creative things, but getting seen in the mass…

    And whatever’s someone success story may be it’s still like playing the lottery, so for one good story there are a lot of bad ones …

    http://www.myspace.com/verhees

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      September 25, 2010 at 11:13 pm

      IMHO, a label can’t do anything for you that you can’t do better yourself, so don’t let that hold you back!

  • Reply
    The Tap Music
    October 8, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Helen, this is a great post! I’m a music supervisor (mostly do commercial/ad placements which are a bit different) but this advice really is crucial. I’ve posted music searches on our twitter account a few times now and have come across some awesome musicians. You, as an artists, really have to use every avenue available…and when writing the songs for licensing, you can’t be selfish. Be true to yourself, but remember that these songs need to appeal to a much larger audience than just you.

    Thanks again for this post!

    -Jarrett of TheTapMusic

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      October 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      thanks Jarrett for your comment!!! It’s good to know that I am getting the correct info out there!

  • Reply
    Teremoana
    October 10, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you very much for this post – very helpful, honest and yes you have to do that ground work. Thank you for your contribution to this online madness – much appreciated!

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      October 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm

      you are more than welcome. The licensing world can seem a little elusive and my trial and error seems to to have gotten me some success which will hopefully build if I keep putting in the work and writing the songs!! Good luck with your music!

  • Reply
    Jvhanover
    October 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Great but it’s a well known fact industry that B-M do not pay anything for music placements nor does MTV – so how much money was actually made here from the placements?

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      October 11, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      Speaking for myself, I had two B-M placements last year and got $340 from ASCAP so far. Hopefully more will trickle in.

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      October 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm

      I will let you know when the royalties make their way up here to canada! πŸ™‚ My other placements have been in the thousands for the placement alone.

      • Reply
        Audrey Callahan
        April 28, 2015 at 11:55 pm

        Hi Helena (and Brian!)!
        I have so enjoyed this post and am loving the comments equally as well. So much great info!! I didn’t see MusicXray mentioned in the blog or comments here. Do you have any thoughts on them?

        I’ve bookmarked all the others mentioned here and will make my way through them. MusicXray is the only company I’ve done a few submissions through as of yet so I’m just curious about keeping at it through them.

        Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Will
      February 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      I have had a some placements on MTV Cribs, True Life, Super Sweet 16, etc. I don’t get any money directly from MTV, but my last ASCAP check was $818, and $917 the month before. So don’t underestimate what you can get paid from Performance Rights Orgs!

  • Reply
    Mary Hamer
    November 6, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Hi Helen! Hi Brian!

    I was wondering if you could let me know your thoughts on writing and sticking to a particular niche/genre, vs billing yourself as versatile – when it comes to licencing?

    Looking at both myself, I see that the first would be easier to market, but the second may lead to more opportunities. Thoughts?

    Thanks! – Mary Hamer

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      November 9, 2010 at 12:45 am

      For licensing, it’s important to be versatile with broad appeal and universal lyrics. If you can record a catchy song in multiple genres, you’ll have even more opportunities.

      Of course, I’ve never done this myself. I stubbornly stick with my own unique sound and vacant niche, hoping the world will someday adapt. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      Helen Austin
      January 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      sorry I am so late in replying to this!! I am like brian… I stick to my own genre. I am bad at writing in other genres. That said, my publishers have another producer remixing some of my tracks in a different style… so that is one way to go about being versatile.

  • Reply
    Sethums aka Older Than Hours
    January 5, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Has anyone had any success (or frustration) with http://www.filmmusic.net/ ?

    http://www.myspace.com/olderthanhours

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      January 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      Never heard of it, but it’s going on my to-do list! Thanks for the tip.

      • Reply
        Brian Hazard
        February 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm

        I don’t think I’ll bother. I’m not really up for paid submissions anymore.

  • Reply
    WillBillion
    March 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Greetings! Reading this post was very helpful for me and thank you for providing the info! I don’t write lyrics or sing but I compose professional quality music in the genres of classical (orchestrated), pop, dance, urban & r&b. For the past year I’ve been researching music licensing sites and submitting my music (Taxi, MusicDealers, Smashsongs & a couple others). What’s frustrating for me is that almost all of the listings requests ‘full songs with vocals.’ I compose at my home studio and I’m alone 99% of the time… so trying to get someone to write lyrics and/or sing to my music is not happenin’. Three years ago I had a contact who worked in television and he got 68 of my ‘instrumentals’ placed with a number of TV shows (American Idol, MTV Teen Cribs, Bad Girls Club, Brooke Knows Best, Access Hollywood, and others). I still receive the royalty checks! Unfortunately our relation lasted just 2 years and I know no one else on that level. So for the past year I haven’t had any luck with getting my instrumentals placed… and mainly because I keep running into licensing sites requesting songs with vocals! Does anyone have information regarding the placement of ‘instrumental’ music? Thanks a billion!

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      March 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      Hi

      I went to the Taxi road Rally last year and most of their success stories were people who wrote instrumentals. I know that they have listings for a large company that does a lot of instrumental placing so maybe try and submit there and see what happens. But it sounds like you’ve already had a lot of success that you can build upon.

      • Reply
        WillBillion
        March 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm

        Thank you Helen for the info and response! I will direct more attention to Taxi but are there any others without a submitting fee?

        Also, it may sound like I’ve had a lot of success that I can build upon… but what went on was this: As soon as I was done with a track, I would e-mail it to my contact and then start on another. My contact would then place my tracks accordingly and also fill out the necessary paperwork. I never left my studio to go network and meet the people my contact was dealing with.

        • Reply
          helenaustin
          March 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm

          there isn’t a lot around that you don’t have to initially pay for. They are providing a service.

          Going to conferences is a great way to network.

    • Reply
      Audrey Callahan
      April 29, 2015 at 12:12 am

      WillBillion try http://www.AirGigs.com. They are a virtual one stop shop for finding lyricists, vocalists and more. All different kinds of people with all kinds of different prices.

      I’m a vocalist for hire on there and get a lot of work from people like you πŸ™‚ I don’t write lyrics or melodies for others though so we wouldn’t be a good fit, but lots of options and active real people on there!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Great article! I’m curious, though. Where can I find the β€œBe Interesting and Interested” article you reference? Thanks!

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      March 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      I wish I knew. I read it and then couldn’t find it again…. sorry.

      • Reply
        Anonymous
        March 30, 2011 at 2:14 pm

        No worries. Thanks for the great info and being a huge inspiration!

  • Reply
    Tonya ElBoogie Hill
    April 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I am an aspiring Publicist and want to get more exposure for my clients.

  • Reply
    Saturday's Radio
    July 7, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Great info, Helen. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Paul Williams
    September 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Hey Great information here will be taking some advice here well done to you all the best.

  • Reply
    Tapiwa Mapani
    September 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    donno if you're still answering questions but…suppose I pitched a song to broadjam and they offered me an exclusive publishing deal, will I get paid immediately or only when an artists actually records it and starts selling it?

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    As far as I know, Broadjam doesn't offer exclusive publishing deals, but if they did, you'd almost certainly get paid only after they licensed one of your songs. If you've got a really strong catalog, it's possible that a publisher could offer an advance.

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    September 20, 2011 at 12:50 am

    old style exclusive publishing deals do pay upfront but are very rare now. It would be a publisher offering that… Broadjam is just the middleman. Publishing 'agreements' don't pay until you get a song placed. I hope that is clear πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Tapiwa Mapani
    September 20, 2011 at 3:31 am

    Ok thanks…so technically speaking broadjam could "sign" my song and then take like 2 years trying to find a placement without me even getting a cent!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 20, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Not exactly. Like Helen said, Broadjam is only the middleman. They connect you with entities looking for music, by allowing you to submit to their listings for consideration by said entities. That's it. They don't actively seek out placements on your behalf.

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    September 20, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Tapiwa Mapani broadjam doesn't 'sign' anything. They are the introduction to whichever publisher is looking for music. And yes, that publisher could draw up an agreement to 'pitch' the song and get no placements, although it's in their best interest to get a placement, as that is how they make their money.

  • Reply
    Tapiwa Mapani
    September 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Oh I get it…thanks…that definitely clears things up…I've got this amazing songwriter Im working with but his singing talent isn't great so I was looking into publishing for him as Im sure our songs will be able to get placements as some of the "record" listings on broadjam are right up our alley…(pop/rock)

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    September 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Tapiwa Mapani make sure all recordings are great quality. I keep hearing at conferences that 'demos' are not really acceptable anymore now that good home recording is so accessible. Good luck with it all!!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Yeah, and I don't think they'll be able to look past mediocre singing either. You might have to hire a singer, preferably someone who sounds like the artist(s) you'd love to pitch the song to.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Just got my biggest placement yet! More info here: http://colortheory.com/color-theory-featured-on-real-world-las-vegas.

  • Reply
    Tapiwa Mapani
    September 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Ok…thanks for the great advice…I haven't done many songs with him but if you want to listen to a sample of his work you can go to my site http://www.nashmusic100.com and listen to him though the first song I did with him also features a rapper Im looking to develop.

  • Reply
    AqaNautica Kom
    November 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Great info, best regards and good luck. I have a question, if I hear a song on the radio, and want to use that song in my TV commercial, in background music, do I contact the Publicist? I hear famous Bands can charge massive amounts of money to do this.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    November 6, 2011 at 2:42 am

    For sync rights, you need to contact both the publisher and the owner of the sound recording (which could very well be a major label demanding an ungodly sum).

  • Reply
    Annie Marie
    December 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Great info and very inspiring. I had given up for a while but am giving it another try. I just got a call on mycell phone from a guy saying he wants to 'buy' some music for TV background. How do you make sure they are on the up and up?

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    December 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I personally don't worry about it too much. If someone asks to use my music, I almost always let them. On the other hand, it doesn't sound like he knows what he's talking about, and it could turn out to be a big waste of your time. You could always point him to another site where your music is available for licensing, if you've got one. For example, my stuff is in Vimeo Music Store because of my relationship with Audiosocket.

  • Reply
    Keith Lynch
    December 16, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Helen, Were you at the Road Rally this year? Enjoying your music πŸ™‚ Keith Lynch.

  • Reply
    Brian Henly
    December 23, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Man did you ever LIGHT MY FUSE~~~Bottom line it seems is~~~If you want it done ~~do it YOURSELF!~~~http://www.isound.com/brian_henly_lordson.

    PLEASE CK ME OUT~~~~~~~ONE LOVE~~~~~.

  • Reply
    Johnny Amato
    January 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Hello, great article! A few quick questions I hope I can get answered, though: When you submit songs, how important is it that the song is already professionally mastered? And my other question: All submissions already have to be copywrited, correct? Wouldn't that make it difficult to write songs with specific placements in mind, due to the time it would take to copywrite them? Any help to these questions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Shylo Strathdee
    January 12, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    very interesting thanks for all the info. I do music publishing for a record label in Montreal and this gave me some good info I can use.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    January 13, 2012 at 3:48 am

    I know your questions are directed toward Helen, but I'll chime in too.

    As a mastering engineer, I have an obvious bias, but I think it's crucial that every pitch sound like a finished record. You can bet they are comparing your submission to a major label reference that they'd prefer to license if they had the budget.

    Copyright exists once you put the song in some tangible form, which includes a file on a disk. You don't need to register the copyright to be protected. More info here: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html

  • Reply
    Adrian Essiet
    January 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Hello Shylo, My name is adrian, I'm a singer songwriter, I have 2 original songs that I'm interested in placing. its genre is electro soul, and adult contemporary. Check them out here http://adrianessiet.bandcamp.com/

  • Reply
    Murjan Jafar
    January 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    that's must have been a very hard work for you, I am a singer, song writer, raper, and I do a whole lot more. and reading this helped me understand more and more about music. congrats on your big break.

  • Reply
    Caleb Illmatic Cobbs
    January 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Extremely inspired.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Cullens
    January 24, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Very encouraging advice and information. I am close to graduating from the Los Angeles Recording School and like everyone else, I am looking for the right path. you have encouraged me to try several at once. thank you

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    January 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks Murjan! I'm glad you found Helen's post useful. I've still got aways to go before I catch up with her.

    By the way, I hope you mean "rapper." πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Murjan Jafar
    January 24, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Brian Hazard lol, sorry i have problem with spelling sometime, i try typing too fast and i mess up mostly.

  • Reply
    Loyaltee ShowOff
    January 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Inspiring!

  • Reply
    Joseph Long
    January 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    thank you so much for this post it has caused me to take the next steps in achieving my goal…great information… and if you get a chance check out my library @ http://www.dngmusic.com.

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    January 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    thank you… I will… and probably should write an update very soon πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    January 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    thank you so much πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    January 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    totally… especially in this business.

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    January 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    so glad it helped and good luck with everything πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    January 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I am so glad the post helped… and good luck with everything!

  • Reply
    Nyah Bigg Cali Olton
    January 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    No problem im on the rise/im on a tour rite now/so if there's anyway I can contact you for questions my email bolton_snoop@yahoo.com

  • Reply
    Jermaine Harbin
    January 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Awesome!!! Great article. I'm at the cross roads and this post gave me hope when I needed it the most.Thank you so much. UNCLE ILL "UNBREAKABLE"This summer.

  • Reply
    Juliette J Lyrique Ford
    January 31, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Helen, this article is so helpful and informative. Your wisdom is pointing me as well as other songwriters in the right direction. Every since I made the goal to have my songs in movies and television I've been networking and researching trying to find out how. I'll definitely refer this article to others who have the same goal. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Dereck Looney
    February 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Great advice I'm really more motivated thanks for blogging this πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Max Jung
    February 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    yes thanks.it seems so insurmountable n inpenetrable and things like this really help.x.

  • Reply
    Antonia Redding
    March 4, 2012 at 7:10 am

    This was a useful article thanks been wondering if broadjam actually works!

  • Reply
    Vin Tage
    March 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I have learned that as a musician or artist you shouldn't have to pay anything to submit your music and that these people shouldn't get any fees from you until after your songs actually gets placed. Is this not true?

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    March 14, 2012 at 2:24 am

    The models vary from company to company, and many don't charge any fees. Instead, they usually split any up front payments and collect the publisher's half. I think it's reasonable to pay $5-10, or a flat monthly fee, to submit to listings. You absolutely shouldn't pay hundreds up front to any individual or service that promises placements, because if they can really promise that, they should just collect on the back end.

  • Reply
    Vin Tage
    March 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Thank you for that …it's hard to distinguish between who is real about doing business with you and those that are are trying to scam you …

  • Reply
    Ginger A Thompson
    March 26, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Thank you! Really great info! reverbnation.com/gingerathompson

  • Reply
    Sandy Ross
    March 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you very much for writing and posting this article!

  • Reply
    Seth Regan
    March 30, 2012 at 3:13 am

    I really appreciated this article and thank you Helen for taking time to share. I'd like to also add that LinkedIn is a very good resource on finding music supervisors. I have found a few there who were kind enough to give me the time to discuss licensing, one in particular took an immediate interest in my originals. Best of luck to you all.

  • Reply
    Jon Travis Train
    April 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    thanks for this!

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    April 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    that's great! Good luck!

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    April 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I know… but one day at a time and it seems less scary πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    April 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks. I have had one placement through them but nothing since.

  • Reply
    Helen Austin
    April 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Great idea… thanks for adding that into the mix πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    End The Noise
    April 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you so much for such a useful article! After sifting through 100s and reading mostly spam and "sign up here for your free course" this was the first that was genuine and realistic.

  • Reply
    Kush Klein
    May 4, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Thank you for the insight and good luck with all the future placements!

  • Reply
    Scott Thomas Roffey
    May 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Wow…Thanks for the insight….Thank you very much!

  • Reply
    Ashley Miers
    May 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Definitely good food for thought – and steps to be put into action! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Denis taaffe
    March 9, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Nice article thanks for sharing, something that bothers me is this idea of paying to submit music.I just cant do it. I don’t care if its for a contest, taxi (taxi places about 6% of entries?! so you must be very talented to have success with them) or for an agent or music publishing company (some do charge to submit as well). After years of submitting music and demo’s etc a policy I learned early on to avoid scams are NEVER pay to submit music period.Your music is the value\currency.

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      March 9, 2014 at 10:40 am

      when it comes to agents/ publishers … yes, you should never pay up front for them. They should get paid when you do. But on contests etc, that’s up to the individual and everything has an admin price. Paying to submit some of my music ($5 per submission) has been more than beneficial. In the old days people would have to mail a music package, so $5 for the convenience and not having to send CDs to me is worth it.

  • Reply
    Shamone LaMarra
    March 31, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Great Stuff… Check my music would love some ideas of taking it to the next level. I have been placed on a new Hulu Original so I am on my way. http://www.shamonelamarra.net

  • Reply
    Christian Champagne
    April 23, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Hey all. Strange, either i missed it or then no one mentioned Musicxray.com which personally I feel is probably right at the top of the list. The prices on there will range. However in most cases responses will come within 24 hours, or max 45 days. SonicBids in my opinion aren’t all that great at least if your looking for solid tv & film op’s, seems they have more of these “you’ll get great exposure” type deals, with no money attached as well as live gig op’s. I tried Youlicense for a few months and wasn’t very impressed. Broadjam is not too too bad, a lot of their op’s take a while before you hear anything back. But it is a legit service nonetheless, not a scam site.

  • Reply
    Dawson Whitfield
    August 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Great article Helen. I would almost argue that the last step (to really hit this one out of the park) would be to talk to someone 1-1 to really get the low down. My friend did this (he scheduled a call with Gabriel Kirshoff: https://www.wisewords.co/experiences/2201/) and it was amazing.

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      August 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      absolutely that is always a great idea to get one on one advice. I have done this at conferences and via Skype though SAC πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Mo4beats
    September 4, 2014 at 12:02 am

    This was just the info I was looking for! Having worked with a few hip hop artists on both the independent and major side of the music industry, I have been currently looking toward getting music placement within commercials, films, and video games.

    Thanks, great post!

  • Reply
    erick
    January 12, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    visit http://musicbeats.net/how-to-get-music-placements-tv-film-commercials/ for a sure fire way to get placements on tv and film

  • Reply
    Devlin Miles
    February 16, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Hello Helen and Brian,

    I am just finding this post years after publication, and it is still applicable today with more sites out there competing for the artists submissions. Like musicclout.com. What is even more amazing is that I actually read every single comment on this thread- years in the making.

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I hope you both have tripled your placements since this article. I will be keeping up with your updates on Twitter.

    I have recently launched a live podcast that is to help other indie artists with cross promotion and share struggles and achievements as well as live music. I would love to interview either of you on this topic of placement and where you are now because of your efforts. I think this is a golden nugget of information, that many others are seeking, like myself. I am interviewing artists as well as other members of the industry to get an understanding of everyone’s roles and challenges on their end and hopefully get more golden nuggets to share with each other. You can check it out here.

    http://sweetlittlebloodhound.com/player/?playlist_id=4

    Best of luck to all and I hope to be hearing you all on the airwaves soon.

    Devlin Miles
    http://www.SweetLitttleBloodhound.com

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      February 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Devlin!

      Yeah, this is definitely evergreen content, and continues to be Google’s favorite post on my site.

      Personally, I haven’t had too much success with sync placements in the past couple years, but Music Dealers and Marmoset have been pitching my stuff, and I’m content to leave it to them. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Elijah-Blue Vieau
    March 18, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Fantastic article filled with great stories. As with most things in life, it’s the process of completing all the steps required that ensures your goal is met. It’s no different with making a living as a songwriter! Due diligence pays off in the end, no short cuts.

  • Reply
    Albert Bevia (@AlbertBevia)
    May 8, 2015 at 6:22 am

    This article is amazing, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story, few people would do that, what an inspiration. I have writting for about a year (inbetween kids, work, etc) and this article is giving me hope that I can at least try to get some song licensed. Thank you so much again, amazing story, but like everything else in life, you get what you put in.

  • Reply
    Hannah
    July 29, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    This is the first article I’ve read where the comments are equally as helpful as the main article. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Hari
    April 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNZ35s2j28w

  • Reply
    Murray Gould
    May 21, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Helen – I have read your article, and have some questions. For a number of years I was a free-lance violinist in NYC. I played in a couple of Broadway shows, did a fair amount of studio and concert work, etc. I have written a number of songs, but not promoted any of them. I us the the Sibelius program to score music, and record using my own voice – the records are not, strictly speaking, what one would call “studio quality,” but certainly sufficient to convey each song on its own merits. I believe a number of the songs I’ve written would do well commercially. I need some advice from you – what shoulld be the next step?????

    • Reply
      helenaustin
      May 23, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      I think first thing to do is to make sure your recordings are studio or ‘broadcast’ quality and take it from there. Everyone wants a finished product these days, because we all have access to easy ways to make this happen. And then follow the steps in this article πŸ™‚

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