How To Get Songs Placed On TV & In Movies: The Ultimate Guide

How To Get Songs Placed On TV & In Movies: The Ultimate Guide

Written by Jaron Lewis

To get your music on TV you need both hard work and part luck. Funnily enough the type of music that gets accepted varies on quality, certain phrases being used, and the genre of music. For instance, most songs you’d hear in the background of well-known TV shows and movies are from demos and independent releases from artists and songwriters.

Source Music

Source music is music that comes from somewhere in a scene in a TV show or movie. If the protagonist turns on a boombox or plays a song on his phone, that is source music. It could also be a live performance, like a wedding singer or a band playing in a club. This is where you want to aim as it is the easiest way to break into the industry. Think of it like this, it’s much easier to get your song to play for 10 or 20 seconds than it is to pay for Celine Dion to record it.

Avoid Slow And Sad Music

You want to avoid writing anything slow or sad, like a ballad. Music supervisors, the people who choose what music goes into a project, get enough songs that are about someone’s heart breaking, or being in a dark place or just in general sounding like the singer’s dog just died. Most supervisors are looking for music that can be substituted for a more popular song.

For instance, since the late 2000s pop has been the latest music trend. Most songs that come out have a fast tempo, has a bit of synthesization (at the very least) and is about friends, lovers and good times. Even the song is about betrayal, the song can typically still be played at a party. Most music supervisors want to hear songs that are like songs that are already popular as more people will enjoy it.

However, sounding exactly like Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You or Bruno Mars’ That’s What I Like, won’t get you anywhere near a deal. Yes, supervisors want songs that have the popular sound of the day, but they still want something original.

Impressing Music Supervisors

To get your music in front of a supervisor, submit your music to them, either by email or via the company’s site. Be mindful of their methods, as if they prefer CDs, don’t send an .mp3.

Lastly, you want to make sure you are getting paid if a supervisor likes your work. Well, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as licenses and royalties. There are two types of licenses, synchronization and master. Synchronization licenses give permission to use the song, by the song’s publisher. Master licenses gives permission to use that specific recording of the song and is granted by the recording owner. Depending on how much of the will be used, how important it is, and how the song will be used your licensing fee may be a lot or a little.

Because music supervisors are exposed to hundreds of songs a day, it may seem hopeless that your project will be chosen. Never fret as there are always plenty of music placement opportunities, not just on TV or in movies, but also in other forms of media such as video games.



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