SynchAudio is proud to be the partner of Midem 2017’s Global Sync & Brands Summit, and to bring you this series of interviews. We believe this partnership works because it brings together the best elements of both sides: the global music industry platform that is Midem, with exclusive curated knowledge around the licensing of music for screen based media. A marriage of excellence!
In this interview series with renowned music supervisors specialised in licensing music for film, TV, games and advertising, each supervisor will reveal their approach to their work, and maybe even unveil what projects they are currently working on. So if you are interested in sync licensing and pitching music for screen-based media, be sure to check back to see what each music supervisor reveals.
For our second interview in our music supervisor series, we are excited to introduce you to multi-award winning supervisor Nora Felder. Based in Hollywood, Nora has been working on back to back hit series for the last ten years. You will find Nora’s music fingerprint on the scores of such hit Showtime series as Californication, Ray Donovan, Roadies and The Night Shift for NBC, Powers for Sony Playstation, and Unforgettable for A&E. But the big buzz right now for Nora is for her work on the smash Netflix series Stranger Things starring Winona Rider. Nora is also nominated for a 7th annual Guild of Music Supervisors Award for Best Music Supervision in a Television Drama for Stranger Things Season One. She is currently deep in the trenches working on the music for the second season of Stranger Things.
Farinoush Mostaghimi (SynchAudio): What makes a track ‘sync-able’? How can you tweak a track to improve its chances of getting synced?
Nora Felder: The most important reason that deems a song “synchable” is that it has the ability to accent another story other than the one it was written for.
> What recent sync projects are you the most proud of, and why?
Ray Donovan, The OA, and Stranger Things.
> What are the best ways people should pitch songs to you?
As we get hundreds of submissions on a daily basis, I always recommend indie artist to have a synch rep like Synch Audio.
> What are the worst ways/tactics to avoid?
Reaching out directly and hounding us. LOL. Probably not a good idea.
> Targeting is key when pitching your song. What are the key specifics to bear in mind when pitching for TV ads, TV shows, films, video games?
For any all these projects, try and do research to see what the buy is looking for with the projects they might be working on. Then try and pitch accordingly.
> Netflix and Amazon in particular are producing more and more creatively different shows right now. Does this bring a whole new set of opportunities and challenges for music supervisors?
It provides more opportunities for producers that have strong artistic opinions, due to the nature of their project/s, as opposed to those that want the latest or greatest or up and coming artist. The reasoning behind the song is different as its purely for art sake-to drive the scene.
> What can labels do to improve their chance of achieving sync licenses for their artists?
Problem that many labels and publishers have a lot of great artists however they are short staffed and can’t keep up with the demands the music synch buyers have. I think that if labels build their pitch staff with great creative people, their income stream could improve greatly.
> What sort of deal conditions should artists/rights holders expect to obtain?
It’s the wild west out there with budgets. With that in mind, rights holders should not expect anything and just focus on trying to see what the client has and if that works for them.
> How has your working process with the music industry evolved in recent years? Do labels, for example, now understand your needs better?
Financial needs most of the people I deal with know me to be a pretty straight shooter. Having that relationship helps in leaps and bounds as we work together to come to deal. As far a creative needs go everyone does the best they can to get me their releases as I do tend to find the tracks on my own.
> How do you decide whether a project requires original or pre-recorded music? How do you find the right composer for a given project?
Making a decision to have an original track created can stem from many reasons but mainly when the producer feels there is a particular vision in mind with that track that would be better to have created than to try and find. Also makes it more precious to the project. When I’m involved with searching for composers we go after composers who’s tone feels like it could be right for the story. Usually in the meeting, one can tell if the composer envisions the music in a way that works for the producers.
> How have recent technological evolutions changed the way you work? Does streaming, for example, make it easier than ever for you to discover new artists?
Streaming is amazing for me personally. I can stream instantly without having to download if I’m not feeling the music which saves valuable time.
Meet Nora Felder and countless other world-class music supervisors at Midem 2017 this June; and in the meantime, check back soon for our next interview!