Who remembers the Lacoste commercial with the remix of Disclosure by Flume? Or the soundtrack to SKINS? Or the scene with Celine Dion in Mommy? There are endless examples that show how well music can pair with visuals.
Placement in media is thus an excellent promotional tool, a significant source of revenue, and a medium for new artistic content. Similarly, composing original music for a film or documentary is often a long-term career goal for composers.
All genres of music can be placed.
But how to get music placements?
1. The Most Important Thing: Your Music
We often hear that this or that artist was unknown before their music appeared in the background on Netflix. But for a music supervisor to take the risk of putting your music behind two whole minutes of film, it can take a lot of work. The most important component is your pre-existing composition. There is no need to try to make music specifically for film, since any genre of music can be placed. It seems obvious, but compose what you like. What a music supervisor is looking for in placements is authenticity. Music that evokes your world, your image, and does not make concessions.
You should protect your music as a songwriter by registering with an organization like SACEM in France or similar organizations in your region. For example, SACEM will take care of paying you for your music’s appearances in film, on TV, or in a radio broadcast. In short, it’s like your publisher. Pay attention to the spelling of your band or artist name, especially if it’s relatively common. The same goes for your songs. It really can have an impact on the bottom line, and the claim process will only be made easier.
| See also: How to Get Your Song on the Radio
2. Getting Noticed: Promoting your Music
Next comes promotion, in the broadest sense of the term. Music supervisors have to strike a balance between budget (often tight) and recommendations (often many). That’s why they’re on the lookout for the next big thing for background tracks: an emerging, but not unknown artist, who has a distinct style, ready to blow up, but still not too expensive. In order to be on the radar of these trend-setters and land a placement, it’s a question of already being present in your scene (pop, rock, electro, folk, rap, etc.). There’s no secret formula—this takes hard work on the music promotion side.
You’ve got to consider press relations (partners specialized in emerging artists include: Shaker!, Lola Audebaud, Loud Vibes Agency, Dirty Boots Promotion, and many others. Cécile Legros, Maud Scandal, Mélissa Phulpin, and Sarah Ababsa are some of the biggest names, but there’s also Groover if you want to do it yourself on a low budget and have the guarantee that your music will be listened to), which are crucial for establishing the image of your music group.
Get in touch with professionals who will help get your music
in movies, TV shows, and commercials 👇
How Groover can help? On Groover you can filter by Curator Types > “Sync Supervisors” & “Publishers” to focus on the industry professionals who are helping with these actions.
3. And Finally: How Do I Land a Placement?
You’re making good music, you’re established, you’ve been discovered, now what?
To get your music used, you have to find these music supervisors. To do that, you can choose between scanning the credits of films and series, finding their names, and adding them on LinkedIn; or, working with a publisher whose role is to help you promote your music, through placements as well as other avenues. Among the big publishers, we think in particular of Alter K, 22D, Gum, and Creaminal, but there are also a myriad of small, sometimes more proactive publishers. Similarly, many labels manage publishing themselves, and therefore also placements. There’s no value judgment here; everything depends on what you expect: organic development, or advances (i.e. repayment).
If you’re interested in being promoted abroad, you can also go through an agent who represents artists in a given territory, such as Friendly Fire, Bellemeute, Soar Music Group, Hyper Extension, Midnight Choir and many others. Be careful to have a good legal basis (or even a lawyer) if you decide to sell your music for placement yourself.
One day, you might land a dream placement that’s both artistically fulfilling and pays a lot, but that is very rare. It is also possible for you to chain together several small placements, and that’s nice too. Then again, it’s also possible that you won’t get any hits. The decision-making chain can be long and opaque, and maybe it’ll just come down to another artist sounding like you but being cheaper, or any other unfathomable reason.
In any case, don’t bet everything on placements. Make good music, work hard, and above all, surround yourself with the right people.