“What Are Film & TV Music Supervisors Looking For?” Songwriters, artists and especially composers ask me that question all the time. I’m going to give you the answer in a minute. Be forewarned, you might not take me seriously because it’s so incredibly easy!
Remember when your parents told you not to watch too much TV because it kills brain cells? Well, that might be true for the average person, but maybe not for musicians who want to know what Film and TV Music Supervisors are looking for. It might even be, well… downright educational.
There’s no better way to figure out what kind of music the supervisors need than to watch and hear what kind of music they actually use! I’ve been preaching this for years, but very few people seem to have listened. The success of those who have listened has been obvious.
The road maps are out there, and there are clearly different maps for different destinations. Reality TV tends to have its own sound, dramas have another, comedies another and so on. All you really have to do is turn up the volume a bit, listen past the dialog and take notes. Yes, I said take notes!
I know, I know… you thought you had finished school. Well, I promise you this education will be more fun than high school even was, and I guarantee there aren’t any bullies in the hallways waiting to stuff you in a locker.
Set aside just one hour per night to do your “homework.” Make sure you watch at least two of each type of show or movie and write your research down.
How many instrumental cues overall? Did any similarities pop out? Which genres? Instrumentation?
How many tracks were songs with lyrics? What subjects were the lyrics about? Which genres? Male or female vocals predominant?
What types of scenes did each play in? How long did each piece run?
Was the music in the clear or under dialog? Was it a background piece, did it appear to come from a source (like a jukebox in a bar scene), or was it featured performance (like a band playing in a bar) with no dialog over it?
Was the music current sounding or did it sound like it came from a particular time period like the 70s?
After doing this for a couple of weeks, you’ll have enough data build a spreadsheet and probably start to see some patterns forming. The trick is to find the patterns and types of music that best match your skill set. In other words, if you’re a little weak at writing lyrics, then maybe you’d be better off concentrating on instrumentals.
Common sense, right? Sometimes those things are easier to see when somebody else points them out. The next time you wonder what Film and TV Music Supervisors are looking for all you need to do is go watch some TV to figure it out.
You can also sign up to get FREE updates of TAXI’s Industry Listings so you can see exactly what TV and Film Music Supervisors are looking for every two weeks.