Have you ever wanted to work in music? Have you ever wanted to work in television or some other video sort of occupation? You could do both.
A music supervisor for film or video is the person responsible for coordinating all aspects of obtaining the right music for a specific production.
Sometimes the music supervisor makes suggestions for the right song at the right spot in the production, then works to get clearance to use the music, negotiating the payment and making certain the music fits into the overall budget. Sometimes the music supervisor is tasked to obtain the rights to songs the director or others want.
Not too many people in this job saw a help wanted ad, applied for the job on a film and got it. Instead, most music supervisors:
• Find music industry internships to learn about the job and to make important connections with current music supervisors.
• Take music business classes to learn more about licensing rules and laws.
• Work as an assistant and get to know decision makers in television and movies and prove your worth to these people
Play to your strengths
A good music supervisor needs to know how to negotiate
The “scene” from Reservoir Dogs would not have made the same impact without Steeler’s Wheel and the song “Stuck in the Middle”. A music supervisor negotiated successfully to get the rights for that song and many movie aficionados believe that one scene, with that one song, made the movie a classic.
A music supervisor must be able to keep multiple balls in the air
There isn’t just one person or company they must negotiate with. Each piece of music requires multiple licenses. The licenses have a deadline for when they must be obtained so the movie can be released on time.
Communication skills are very important
Not only for negotiating, but many letters and emails will be required to get the rights to songs. This initial interaction with a person or a company can determine whether music permission is granted or denied.
Being a music supervisor is not just finding the right songs for the right scenes in movies. There are opportunities to find great songs, some well-known and popular, and some quite obscure, for commercials or training videos.
Many video makers realize that professional sounding songs can make the difference in their product, and a music supervisor can help them ratchet the quality of their product higher. Don’t limit your dreams to only movies.
If being a music supervisor is really what you want to do, don’t limit your opportunities to work for video productions of different sizes and qualities.
Any production that requires the rights to be obtained is an opportunity to learn more about the job. If you stick with and continue to learn, you too might be finding just the right song for the next Tarantino movie.