Archive - News RSS Feed

Shazam I love you

I personally want to thank Shazam for making me a better, more well informed
Music Supervisor. See, I am not the kind of Sup that can tell you the name to
every song I hear….I don’t need to, I have Shazam.

I look totally and completely annoying…..anywhere I might be, I keep my Shazam
ready to go so that at a moments notice, I can find out what is playing around me.

Have you ever been in a movie and someone randomly holds up their iPhone above
their head in the dark, blocking your view of the screen? That was most likely me.

Out to a nice dinner with my man……..I hear a good song….I hold my phone up.

The playoffs with a house full of friends…I run up to the TV and hold that phone

I NEED TO KNOW….it’s my job…..right?

It seems silly…but imagine how many people are just as ridiculous as I am? This
is great news for you when you get your song licensed. It is another direct way for
a fan to identify with, connect with and purchase your music. IN LESS THAN 5 SECONDS.

You can also use Spotify to play the song you just tagged. I haven’t figured that out
yet, but guaranteed I will! Shazam has something like 150 million users globally.
BANANAS. And it is only getting bigger.

Twentieth Century Fox announced last month that they will be integrating it into TV
programming, allowing viewers to unlock additional content.

Hold on, did you hear that? CONTENT……you music is CONTENT, valuable content.

I am going to make a prediction right now. In less then 3 years advertisers and
entertainment companies will be giving away MUSIC CONTENT as a reward for engagement
through Shazam.

Know what that means? That on top of the license fee you will get, they will be serving
up a fee for pre-purchased downloads.

I love me some Shazam….so should you.


I, like many of you work from home. I have had the office filled with people, video games, and scooters….it’s fun to be around other people and to feel that collective energy…it can drive you…it can also bring a lot of un-needed drama and overhead into your life.

Working from home on the other hand presents it’s own set of challenges. It’s wonderful because it allows me more actual time at my desk, and I get to throw a load of laundry in here and there….but I also find that it presents as many diversions as a big office full of people without giving back all the great collective creative energy that a work community provides.

And lets face it….it’s a lot easier to get in a rut if you have no one looking over your shoulder. It happens to me ALL the time. Creative sluggishness combined with my phenomenal talent for finding excuses NOT to go the gym and you have a serious case of the “uninspired.”

So what do you do?

As I write this, I am sitting on an airplane with more thoughts moving quicker then my fingers can move…..all because I changed my perspective.

I actually find that I think REALLY well when I am in the car. I LOVE my iPhone for occasions, I use a the voice note in EVERNOTE or iTALK and I record my ideas while I drive, email them to myself and transcribe them later.

So, get out there….a coffee shop, a walk, even invite a friend over to work in your space….but change your perspective and you will find that your ideas for songwriting or organizing or marketing will flow much freer.




This song hits a couple major notes that make it HIGHLY LICENSABLE.

Young – about youth
Set the World on Fire – inspriation
Carry you home tonite – great way to end a scene
Acoustic performance – simple ande clean to allow for plenty of room for what happens in the film
Duo vocals, male/female – makes for a nice mix

This is a song that breaks boundaries. It is simple. I can see this song being a triple threat. Film – TV Show – Ads.


I just wrapped up a nice little project for Elle Magazine. I was really pumped that I got to use this track on the project. Active Child had me at hello. This is the first of a new weekly series I am going to do called HIGHLY LICENSABLE where I am going to highlight a track that I think has great licensing potential and why.

This track is emotional….but when put to picture……it’s incredible. The vocals are strong without being overpowering and the angelic sound of the music itself is transporting. It’s dreamy without being sleepy and it has this slight touch of Vangelis to it that really rings the memory bell for me (if you never heard the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire…..go listen to it – the link to the YouTube vid is above – it’s classic). I bet we hear this Active Child song in ALOT of feature films. Enjoy.

Music Libraries… Stock Music… Online Music Supervisors… Needledrop… what does it all mean?

I would say that I get asked this question (or a version of this question) more then anything else.

The music industry was, not so long ago, exclusive….for the elite. In order to get your music heard, you had to be accepted by one of a small group of tastemakers. The gatekeepers. If they saw promise in you or your music, they would build your career, promote your records and move your career along. Parallel to that, Composers would be hired by Directors to create the scores to films. Sometimes, the Producers of the films would use a song that had been written by a Record Company.

It was pretty simple.

Now, the music industry is the great democratizer. It’s anyone’s game. Fantastic if you have talent and the smarts to move yourself along….because you no longer need a gatekeeper to get your music heard. Media is (almost) free. Difficult for others who need to be made and not born.

So what has this seismic shift done to the “other” music industry. The industry of creating music for films, tv shows and Advertisements? It used to be 100% mutually exclusive the “record making business”, but now, as we have seen, music placement fees are the ONLY steady steam of revenue left in the music business.

So everybody wants in.

Everyday (literally) I hear about another “Online Music Library” that is announcing itself to the community. The one thing I do find very interesting are the adjectives they use to describe themselves. Here are just a few;

Music Production Library
Online Music Library
Online Music Supervisor
Online Music Catalog
Pre-Cleared Library
Pre-Cleared Music
Catalog Music
Needledrop Music
Stock Music
Stock Music Libraries

….and the list goes on. But you can see the key words here: Library, Catalog, Pre-Cleared, Stock. These words don’t inspire one to think of the potential music as having great value. The words themselves devalue the music before a buyer has even heard it. Those words spell; CHEAP.

So no matter what the business model each of these companies may have; re-titling, taking publishing, etc. – if they use these words to describe their business, they are going to be PERCEIVED as having cheap, low quality music. One thing I can tell you for sure, is that music is all about PERCEPTION. Where is comes from matters. People’s opinion’s matter.

So to circle back to the original question, “Sarah what do you think of music production libraries?” Well, I think they are important and necessary, but I also strongly believe that if the companies want to be seen as trusted resources for finding great music, they are going to have to use different words to describe themselves and bank their success a little bit more on the most important quality that built music industry to begin with; CACHET. Just because you have music that is affordable, doesn’t mean it has to be seen as CHEAP. No body wins in this case, and I fear if the business continues down this trajectory, that the value of Production Music will truly be lost altogether.

So what does all of this mean? It all comes down to a matter of taste. Always has, always will.

So when looking to place your music with a rep or a company that has a “library” or “catalog” of some sort – make sure that you agree with not only their business model, but their taste level.

Hip-Hop music for UGG

I found this spot today on ADFREAK. It’s postable for several reason (ahhem), but most of all because it shows a GREAST use of Hip-Hop music in a TV commercial…..something you don’t see too often outside of sports….this is on the line fr sure, but a great use none-the-less. MOS DEF gets the love for his song Twilite Speedball.

Goodbye Mr. Jobs, you changed my life forever

Every site you go to this morning is lit up with anecdotes on Steve Jobs. He has changed our culture forever, and it got me thinking…..he changed MY life forever.

In 2000, right after I had started my Music House, Ten Music……I met some very cool people who worked for Apple’s ad agency TBWA/Chiat Day. This chance meeting led to job opportunity (no pun intended) that was simply one of the coolest I may ever have as a Music Supervisor. Steve Jobs was a music fan, but circa 1970 was about where it stopped for him. Apple was on the rise. I lived in the electronic music scene, which meant that when I went to see music live, I stood in a room with a few hundred people and stared at a guy on his apple computer bobbing his head. Mr. Jobs was all but completely unaware of the impact his products had had on music.

Now remember, this is JUST after the birth of iTunes and before Garage Band or millions of Apps that help you to be a DJ.

So, hired by the Agency to introduce Steve Jobs to electronic music, my company a series of CD’s, each dedicated to ONE genre of electronic music. It was amazing. A notebook tour of the electronic music scene from the warehouses of Detroit to the stadium clubs of London and Ibiza and everywhere in between. He loved it.

And he chose a song for his Titanium Laptop commercial from a little known electronic artist from Germany (signed to Compost Records) called MINUS 8. What an amazing experience. What a game changer, for me as a Music Supervisor, for the Artist and for the world of electronic music.

I tip my hat and courtsey to you Mr. Jobs. You changed my life forever.

"When I write for Ads, should I create cues that are :30 and :60 seconds long?"

So much MUSIC ……so little time. How a Music Sup listens Music. Part 1

I have been “busier than a one arm paper hanger” lately wearing my MUSIC SUPERVISOR hat.  Each job is so vastly different, and the needs and styles of the music change as the job moves forward, but it is my job to move with the flow of the job wether it is a slow moving creek or white water rapids.

So it got me to thinking that I should let you guys in on how a Music Sup really listens to music. It’s not the same as how you listen to music as a consumer.

I would say that about 50% of the music I hear is sent to me, the other 50% I seek out myself. From up and comers, to legacy catalog and everything in between. But HOW does a Music Sup keep up with it all?


I don’t think anyone takes time to imagine what is it like to manage a 300,000 plus track catalog…..and that is only a fraction of what I am sent and what I actually work with!

I interact with music in two distinct ways……general listening….and specific listening.

First, let me talk about GENERAL LISTENING.

I take time every week to see what’s new out there, and despite the fact that I get hundreds of emails a week – a good portion of what is new out there never reaches me unless I look for it. I use an RSS reader to keep up with music blogs, writers and playlists at great college radio stations across the country like KCRW. I also get music handed to me – at shows, or recommended to me by a friend (my favorite way to get music….more on this later).

I listen for a few key things in a song (now remember, I am only talking about ads here)

- does it “go somewhere” – an by this I mean does it take me on a journey or is it a bunch of sameness

- positivity or quirkiness without a negative or uncertain emotion (minor keys and chords tend to evoke negative emotions – no good for ads, but can be great for film & tv)

- lyrics that are very general in theme – the chorus could be applies  to a multitude of situations

So if I hear something I like….THEN I open it in iTunes. This is when I rely on the owners of the track to supply me with some basic metadata on the track (Label, Publisher, contact info)….but I also ADD my own rating and categories to help me find it in my system when I do a search.

I also keep a number of folders in my iTunes like, LOVE, EMPOWERMENT, or HOLIDAY, VALENTINES DAY, AUTOMOTIVE  that I will add tracks to. These are general themes that I see over and over so it makes sense for me to file the song in different ways to make it easy to find when the right job appears.

I also have a litany of filters that I use; Reps, Labels, Publishers, KCRW, college radio, but I also invest a good portion of my time to research, which is where I become a consumer of music with just a more specific ear.

My point is this; as an artist trying to get your music licensed, don’t forget that the more bandwidth you have in massive stream of music consumption, the greater chance that I will find you.

As  non-touring musician who is dedicated soley to making music for sync licensing, then you need to reach out to Music Sups directly. Getting a fancy website and hits on MySpace – it’s just not important. Save your money and use Soundcloud or I love those programs (as most Music Sups do) and prefer them over an individual website.

The last item to remember about how we listen to music is this; YOU MUST HOOK US. Many of the musicians that I talk to and the students in the GYML Workshops get hung up on trying to send what is “right” for a specific ad or show that a Music Sup might be working on. Know this: IT”S BETTER TO BE GOOD THEN RIGHT. There is simply not way for you as an outsider to know what would be right – so don’t guess. Just send us your very best track and make your email short and clever. If you show me in 10 seconds of a song that you have great taste in music and can create a track that is engaging, then you have me at hello.


Page 1 of 1112345»10...Last »
© Sarah Gavigan