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GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED (GYML) Facebook Page and Info series announced!

I am really excited to announce that I will be releasing an online info series in the late spring called GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED (nickname GYML).


I created series in response to the unbelievable outpouring of questions and inquiry’s I have received from Artists, Bands and Managers all over the country looking for information on how to get their music to the right people and how to make the right impression.

The GYML FACEBOOK PAGE is up and running and for now is ground zero for GYML.

The FB page is the place for you to post your questions to me, chat with fellow musicians and get my latest free tips and advice. Join the conversation!

Pharrell Williams says"Go chase Ad Agencies before geting a deal" to his audience at Midem

Not a shocking statement to hear coming from one half of the Neptunes. After 10 years working in Music in Advertising, I can tell you just about every creative out there would give their batting arm to work with The Neptunes, and many have.

I could not agree with him more. Checkout the quick article HERE.

It’s great to hear an Artist as well respected as Pharrell talking about the inherent value that Advertisers can bring a budding artist. For The Neptunes, Ad Agencies might as well be Clear Channel radio. They have helped him break records world wide and sell millions of records, for his own music and the music he has produced for others (remember the Producer gets paid mechanical royalties before anyone else gets paid).

Pharrell is giving good advice to up and coming artists – “Chase Ad  Agencies and Brands, ” but remember he has had a team of people there to help him, all he has has to do is make much and show up. But he shows up well.

I remember working on a Cadillac pitch about 8 years ago for Escalade, where the Agency creatives and myself had created a project starring Pharell for the brand. Cadillac was showcasing the new car at at gallery on Rodeo drive and he showed up with his entourage. He was very approachable, very easy to talk to, and VERY willing to work with the brand. The project was a fantastic match for him, but alas it never saw the light of day. His willingness to listen to brands needs, and not just his own is most certainly one of the reasons he has done so well in this space and some may argue as an artist altogether.

A few points I want to make to artists in regards to this fantastic article.

1.) Build your community – I cannot stress it enough – the Agencies and Brands know who he is and go to him, but once he (and his team) learned the power of the brand to broadcast a new single, he came to them.

2.) No matter who you are, your track just may not be right for the Ad and Branding world. Pharrell sent out the first single to his IN MIND record, and it never clicked for him in a major spot. It just wasn’t right. So if Licensing is a major part of your plan. PLAN AHEAD and write songs that make sense for brands.

3.) Build your rolodex. You need to have the contacts to be able to push your music through the channels to even give it a chance. Reps do it, so can you, if you are not ready for a rep or don’t want one. It comes down to time and perseverance. I can tell you this after over 15 years of being an Agent – The client LOVES to hear from an artist directly. Just make sure you know how to represent yourself, both upfront and in the throws of a deal.

The tip of the iceberg, nonetheless. Stay tuned for more……

Should I license my song to a Commerical?

I have been speaking and teaching so much lately on how to GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED; how to get that first call and begin to make money, that I wanted to take a very timely opportunity to blog about about what can happen to even the most accomplished band when you GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED; Franz Ferdinand.

It was just reported yesterday is this Stereogum post that Sony US, via record Label Epic approved the MASTER rights to use the Franz Ferdinand song “Bite Hard” for a McDonald’s advertisement (it was unclear in the article if this was a TV and internet or soley an internet license). Alex Kapranos (@alkapranos), an accomplished foodie himself, was more than bitter about the match as you can see on his Twitter page.

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I could not agree more with Alex, or with the writer of the Stereogum blog. I would be upset to see my music placed somewhere that I did not think represented my music, and yes it is a great way to fall out with your record label.

So let’s stop here and take count of the real issue at hand. The band’s rights. In a standard record contract or music publishing contract, a band signs away their rights to say yes or no to any potential license when they sign a contract. The Label owns the masters. The Music Publisher owns the music. Now, as a Music Supervisor I speak to many labels and music publishers that need to check with the artist before approving a synchronization license, and I have had many licenses refused by the band for artistic reasons.

The message here is, if you choose to sign with a label (and may I say there are still MANY great record labels out there) make sure that you maintain the right to refuse any synchronization use that you do not feel is in line with your band or your image.

Licensing your music is not selling out, but licensing it to the wrong company, for the wrong message, could damage you in the long run.

A good label will care about such matters and want to help you protect your image. But it is up to you  make sure that you have that right. Don’t give it up, or you could very well end up on Twitter having to air your anger and irritation, because you have no legal rights to the claim whatsoever.

When you become an artist the size of Franz Ferdinand and you can actually sell a good amount of records, you can make a stink and they will likely listen to your wishes, just make damn sure you don’t put yourself in that position. NO Record contract is worth giving up your rights as an artist to say no.

Welcome 2010! My Class at UCLA begins this Tuesday!

Happy New Year to everyone!

My second semester of the HOW TO GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED IN A COMMERCIAL class begins this Tuesday. There is still time to register. Our guest speakers have been announced, and so far they are fantastic.

Landis Smither – Director, former Creative Director at Old Navy, and Ogilvy Mather

David Taylor, Music Producer at Media Arts Labs (Agency for Apple)

Dan Wilcox, KCRW DJ and Music Supervisor

Marisa Wasser, Senior Producer at Deutsch Advertising

We will cover alot of new ground this semester, so don’t miss it! The syllabus is posted on the Facebook Fan Page. Feel free to email me if you have specific questions about the class.

Hope to see you all there!


It's the Season

For SUPER BOWL spots .

So, my dear Artists, Bands and Musicians, why are you sending me Christmas Carols on December 9th?

We work on Back to School commercials in June and July. We work on Black Friday spots in August. And finally – we work on Christmas spots in October.

Right now we are working on Super Bowl spots.

That’s the Advertising Season.

Make a note of it.

Best, Sarah

From MIT: You Tube matters to Brands!

To drive the point of my last post home, I want to show you a few sentences (provided by Boards Magazine) spoken by Joshua Green, from MIT regarding You Tube and Brands.

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To view his entire speech at the 2009 BOARDS SUMMIT, you can view it HERE.

I found what he had to say fascinating, yet simple. Listen up brand stewards. Artists, licensing your music to a brand. DEMAND IT. Make it your creed.

Why YouTube Matters in Music Licensing

Thanksgiving weekend, in my house means ALOT of football. And gratefully so, as it gave me the chance to catch up on new commercials.

I decided to conduct a test from my Dad’s couch regarding the connection between Music Licensing in commercials and You Tube. After seeing a spot with music I thought could be licensed, I would go to You Tube and type in “BRAND NAME commercial” to see if the spot comes up.

Most times it does, but not by the brand itself, simply posted by a fan.

Let’s back it up for a minute and talk about a very important issue if you are going to license your music. GET AS MUCH PROMOTION OUT OF IT AS POSSIBLE! I am talking to the music owners as well as the Brands here. If you are a brand that runs national TV spots – you should have your own You Tube channel and be the first one to post your spot. Fans are great, but don’t rely on them, and why miss out on cross-pollination with fans or potential fans of that hard won (and possibly very expensive) track you just licensed?

This is a fundamental theory – ‘You want to license your music to gain exposure and sell records.’ RIGHT?

And Brands, you want as many eyeballs on your brand as possible – RIGHT?

So let’s start making some meaningful connections and make Music Licensing about more than a paycheck. Artists, Bands and Labels, don’t throw away the opportunity of a multi-million dollar ad campaign, this may be the chance that takes your band from obscurity to fame, and it CAN sell records – but you have to drive users and make it easy for them. In case you haven’t noticed…..You Tube is FREE.

When I owned a Music House I was always preaching the gospel of “let the consumer know what the music is by talking about the brand everywhere the fans of the Artist live.” 2 Years ago that was a tall order, today it’s as easy as YOU TUBE TAGGING.

When you upload a video to You Tube you get the opportunity to add a DESCRIPTION and TAGS. Both are golden free opportunities to get your name (brand AND artist) to pop up in the top five when someone Google’s you.

Some examples:

#1) Cadillac 2010 SRX Ad – Song: Phoenix, 1901. The spot was posted on the Cadillac Channel – well done. Take a look at the tagging in the right column (click on MORE INFO to see the TAGS). Nothing about the artist.  Now click on the link to the song I provided just above, it is the video on the Record Label’s site. Cadillac isn’t tagged here either.

By simply adding 11 free keystrokes on both sides and they would have had 60,000 + views cross pollinating from Cadillac to Phoenix and who knows how many from Phoenix to Cadillac. One video post for the song has over a Million hits.

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#3) PALM PIXI Ad Song: Passion Pit “Sleepyhead”.  Now this is a band that is HOT, no doubt they are looking to sell records, as they have not seen the pop radio success of Phoenix yet. Over 2MM hits on the French Kiss Record Label You Tube Channel for this song. Clearly it’s a hot song.  Palm, NO You Tube Channel! Over 60,000 views from multiple postings of this spot – and in every one – the song is mentioned in the comment section. Big opportunity missed for Palm on this one.  I did notice one posting where the fan created a link to the commercial, and then posted the commercial with a link to the spot. That’s a new feature. But again – that’s relying on a fan.

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By working with the brand to create more connection, you can drive users to buying the record. Go to iTunes and look up the record. Do you see Palm Pixi mentioned? NOT ONCE. Free connections. You Tube Tagging could have changed this situation in less than 3 minutes.

#4) JC PENNEY Ad Song: Rosi Golan and Human “Follow the Arrow.” The brand posted the track on their channel, but not mention of Rosi Golan or Human in the tags. Then you find Rosi Golan’s Channel, and she has posted the same ad on her channel and gotten 5 TIMES more hits! JC Penney – you missed out on that one.

JC Penney’s Post

Picture 10Rosi Golan’s Post

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Now lets talk about someone that did it right.

#3) DAYS INN Ad Song: Jess Penner “Here Comes the Sunshine”. If you Google DAYS INN COMMERICAL, this post is right at the top. Days Inn has a You Tube Channel and they have tagged the Artist Jess Penner (might I add they even gave Production credits – kudos on that one).  They made her track available on the website for free and she is for sale on iTunes. Total connectivity.

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Now Jess Penner didn’t have the groundswell to begin with that Phoenix and Passion Pit did, but it shows you how easy it is to connect the dots.

As Artists, ASK the brands if they are posting the spot on You Tube when they license your spot. You have the right. As Brands, why not ride the wave of connection if you are choosing to license music?

I look forward to the results.

Boards Summit 09 – Music Licensing and Negotiations MASTER CLASS

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On Tuesday, Oct. 27th I will join the ranks of Advertising Industry experts and colleagues at the Boards Summit in New York City.

I will be giving one of several MASTER CLASS talks relating to each person’s expertise; mine, naturally, is Music Licensing and Negotiations.

In my 15 years in advertising I have been to countless conferences, but I can say that already, this one feels different. The state of Advertising as we know it is in a period of great renaissance. People’s roles are changing, new skills are becoming required, and most importantly accountability to the brands we represent is not only asked for, but demanded.

My Master Class is meant to educate those working in the Advertising Production community about a world that can be very convoluted: Synchronization Music Licensing.

Agency Producers are the Grand Masters of the Circus. They balance 100 balls while running 200 miles an hour. It’s extraordinary to watch when it’s done well, and dizzying to be on the sidelines when it’s not done well. So Producers young and old, this class is for you. More information in a time where more is required of us all.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the CMJ Panel on Tuesdayion

Josh Rabinowitz, our panelist put together a great group for the panel. A big thanks to my fellow panelists, Peter Nashel, Visili Gavre, and Chris Langrill.

The room was packed and we had a very engaged audience.  Now more then ever it is clear that Sync Music Licensing is one of the most important sources of revenue and marketing a music company or Artist can have.

How music is chosen for an ad, is an unanswerable question, but how to get your music to the community, and professionals in the Film, TV and Ad community is not information that is easy to find.

Many of you asked me where you could get more information. For those of you who do not live in LA , or cannot make it to my class at UCLA Extension, standby. I have decided to take my “How to Get Your Music Licensed” book and create it into an online series that will be packed with the information you all seek. “How do I find Music Supervisors and how do I get my Music to them!”

Stop by this blog every now and again, or visit my YouTube channel: sarahgavigan for bi-weekly tips.

Thanks again to you all for coming out to CMJ and to the panel!

Speaking at CMJ – Tuesday Oct. 20th

I am headed to NY for CMJ. Admittedly it’s been a few years, but I am really looking forward to it. To kick it off I will be speaking on a panel – see info below…

Music and Advertising: A Subconscious Cognitive Impulse Explosion
The cognitive process happening when you visualize an advertisement coupled with music is powerful. It is proven through empirically tested heuristics that when these two components come together correctly, the outcome is VERY effective.  CMJ Badge-holder Opp: Submit your music here to be heard by ad executives and possibly be included for discussion during this panel.

So if you are attending the event – give me a shout out, there is a lot to learn here about how Music Producers such as myself and Josh Rabinowitz, the moderator of the panel and the Director of Music at Grey Advertising. This man has made A LOT of music for A LOT of commercials.

So after the formal sitting and note taking we will all head out to the clubs to get pushed,  sweat before we freeze outside (can you tell I’m from LA) and hear some great music. Let me know if there is a band I should not miss!

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