The job of a Music Supervisor is one that is multi-faceted, adventure-filled, and at its very basic level, simply about diplomacy. It’s also a job where one is continually educating clients and musical talent alike. That also means, educating clients on what exactly a music supervisor is and how can it benefit them to hire one.
The Guild of Music Supervisors defines a music supervisor as “a qualified professional who oversees all music-related aspects of film, television, advertising, video games, and other existing or emerging visual media platforms as required.” Thanks to the tremendous efforts of The Guild of Music Supervisors, music supervision is gaining more and more recognition as a profession and vital component to any media project. Even with all that being said, I’m sure you’re still asking yourself “why do I want one?”.
Experienced music supervisors can be heavily involved in all aspects of a project, from conceptualization/planning, music clearance, and original music production, to marketing and distribution. Like any profession, music supervisors come from various backgrounds and expertise. Some will start as musicians or will come from record labels and publishing companies. So, finding one with a background that aligns with what you are trying to accomplish with your project will only enhance your chances of success.
As a music supervisor, one of my usual tasks on a project is to make sure the music is properly cleared in a timely matter, license fees are within budget, and that the terms are most beneficial to my clients and their project goals. My job is to also make sure that music is thoroughly cleared so that there are no legal issues down the line. I make sure to rigorously research and document all the music that is to be cleared in a project, so no surprises come up once the project is released. Proper clearance on your project not only saves you precious time and money, but a comprehensive music rights package will make it easier for you to get distribution. Plus, nobody likes paperwork…except for a music supervisor!
Another aspect of my job is to ensure that my client’s creative vision comes to life (or if there are any budget limitations, that we get pretty darn close to it). Sometimes this means aiding them in coming up with creative ideas or developing a creative idea they had. My connections to record labels, publishing companies, indie artists, session musicians, music editors, etc., paired with my experience in recorded and live music production ensures that my clients have the tools they need to make their visions come to life and that they are getting quality music in their projects delivered by professionals.
Working With Your Team Or Building A New One
Working on a film project is a collaborative effort. There can be so many different types of personalities and communication styles on one project, it’s important to have a music supervisor that knows how to deal with all types of people.
It’s also a music supervisor’s job to hire and coordinate musical talent for your projects. The music supervisor that you choose should have a network of creatives and industry professionals alike. This will ensure that you not only are getting what you need and are staying within your budget but will make the process that much more fun and creative. One example is a crew I worked with on a feature film released earlier this year called The Planters. A dark comedy about a reclusive telemarketer who befriends a homeless woman with multiple personalities. The filmmakers and producer hired me to do a handful of different tasks, including song selection and clearance. My main task was to get the film score recorded and delivered within their post-production schedule. I was lucky enough to work with the talented composers already on the project while bringing in musical talent from my network. Our crew recorded all the music we needed in a day and got everything delivered to the production team shortly after. We were able to get things done in a timely manner because of the skill level of the people involved and the chemistry of our crew.
Creating Other Opportunities For Clients
Along with creating assets for your projects, an experienced music supervisor will know how to manage those assets and seek out opportunities for you to monetize those assets. I’m not just referring to creating soundtracks for your projects. A lot of production companies (both indie and major) have realized the benefits of licensing music created on their projects. In doing so, they create another area of revenue for themselves, as well as, a way to recoup time and money invested in the project. There are so many ways to benefit from music licensing outside of soundtracks that many people don’t know or don’t think of.
The job of a music supervisor is to make sure things are done properly and in a way that makes things easier and transparent for the client. You would choose a music supervisor with the same care as you would choose your DP or producer. They are going to be the ones in the trenches with you making sure things are done right and fulfilling your needs.
If you have any questions about your media project (whether it’s a film, TV series, video game, commercial, etc.), don’t hesitate to contact my office at 424-313-4699 or reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.