Held over four days, from June 3rd to 6th in Cannes, on the beautiful French Riviera, Midem once again drew music industry leaders, companies, artists and related technology enablers from around the world for its 50th anniversary edition. We were honoured to take part, especially by bringing Mary Ramos, Quentin Tarantino’s music supervisor (top photo), for an insightful keynote session. Midem 2016’s conferences inparticular refelected the trends and challenges that are impacting and changing the global music industry. From these sessions, and from our experience as a leading sync agency at Midem, here our our five top music+image takeaways.
1. Production Quality
Music supervisors are constantly listening to songs and recorded tracks. This is their daily task – to seek out and curate playlists from which they can choose the best and most appropriate songs and music that will enhance and support the director’s vision of the story that appears on screen. They are looking for the right fit. Strict time management is a key tool. When you often have hundreds of songs to evaluate, time becomes a valuable commodity. Supervisors might only have time to listen to 30 seconds of any song. It is important that you ensure that your song has a strong hook, unique vocals and is professionally mixed and mastered. No matter the music genre, there is a quality and style that a song must have that just might convince a music supervisor in deciding your song is a perfect match for their project.
2. Own / Control Your Rights
You may think you have the perfect song or music for use in a film, game or TV show, but who really owns that song? Who really owns the recording? Remember that there are two copyrights that comprise what you may be pitching to a music supervisor: i) the copyright in the song (musical work) and ii) the copyright in the recorded track (master recording). Before you pitch your song, you must be able to confirm that you own or control both of these rights. If you are a single songwriter and you made the recording yourself, then you should have no problem. However, if there are multiple songwriters sharing the song and a production team owning the recording, then before you pitch the song you need to have documentation that confirms that you control all the rights and that the splits are accurate and you are authorised to represent the song. You can’t pitch what you don’t own or control. Music supervisors don’t want to have to chase down several creator owners. If a song appears that it may be hard to clear, a supervisor just might pass and choose another song. A “one-stop” solution (you own or control or represent all the rights and splits) might just give you an advantage. Having the right meta-information embedded in the music file is important, with additional information provided in your communication with the music supervisor. Making it easy for the supervisor, in regard to splits and rights in the song, could influence their choices.
3. Tag Your Music with the Right Meta-Information
We have had many meetings with music publishers, artist managers and independent recording artists who presented their music to us. However, when we were reviewing their catalogues there were many for which we were unable to find the required information about the song. In our case, before we represent a song or a catalogue, we must perform our due diligence to confirm that the copyright ownership, writers and splits are accurate. There were a few catalogues where we couldn’t find the song information. It is imperative that whether you are a songwriter or a publisher that you make sure that the song / track information is embedded in the song file in the “properties” area. The more meta-information you provide the better. At the very least you should provide: song title, artist name, songwriter(s), genre, lyrics, splits / shares, copyright owner and contact information / email / phone number.
4. Working with a Sync Representative
While there are many ways to get your music submitted to music supervisors, it is often the reputable sync agent that is the music supervisor’s trusted collaborator. Artists and their managers don’t have the time to deal with all aspects of business. A sync representative deals directly with music supervisors and receives privileged briefs on a daily basis while making sure that your music is properly tagged and cleared. It is important that you have the right relationship with your sync agent. You want an agent who believes in your music and has an understanding of where in the world of screen-based media your music might fit.
5. Live Performances & Music Festivals
We are lucky that, nowadays we can often find music supervisors attending music conferences and festivals everywhere. By performing at these festivals and related conferences, you are provided with the opportunity to be seen and heard by any supervisors who happen to be onsite. It is in these performance showcases where you might just meet a real live music supervisor and be invited to submit your music. When you are booked at festivals, try to work some promotion strategy in advance. Send out invitations to the conference delegates including music supervisors and let them know that you will have a few treats for them such as free drinks or a special presentation of your music on vinyl. Don’t forget that in the end, it is about how you present and sell your product.