Music Supervisors and Crisis Management

When I first entered the music licensing world as a songwriter/producer one of my early ‘new comer’ observations was that the majority of music requests seemed to be in that ‘last minute panic mode”, especially those concerning the US network episodic television placements. There are many reasons for this… tight deadlines, shifting budgets, last minute scene additions or edits and or from failed attempts to clear licenses on time.

Having said that, in any other line of business, one would perhaps call this method of last minutes post-production, crisis management and or bad business. And meanwhile the poor music supervisor lives under the weight of this fractured system, often without enough information, time or money to license the music that best compliments the narrative.

Just because ‘everyone’ does it this way, doesn’t justify the process.

Several years ago, and over a coffee with one of the more successful music supervisors I posed this question.

“Are there any song genres, moods or subject matters that you lack… in other words, what do you need more of? And… if you were willing to tell me… I could pull a team of songwriters together to create a catalog of songs/tracks for these future needs”.

FYI, I had pushed my agent to ask this question on my behalf, but he told me dismissively that it was not how things were done in Hollywood. But I was both too much of a newcomer… and ah… too stubborn to let this be the end of it.

And to my surprise, over a good espresso, the music supervisor talked freely about his work and I discovered that in that particular season, due to both the boom in reality television and the success of many new relational drama series that there was in fact an insatiable need for the ‘make up-break up’ songs.

And with that information.. or should I say ‘insider knowledge’ I headed off to first, round up an eclectic bunch of good songwriters (many of whom were singer/songwriters performing in around LA) and then put them to work. And over the next few years we produced collection after collection of the ‘love and hate or breakup’ song genre with literally hundreds of placements on everything from CSI, Without a Trace, Queer Eye, Meet My Folks, Date my Mom, Punk’d, Ed, One Tree Hill, Las Vegas, Felicity, Angel, Alias, Smallville and other shows that have come and gone and or are now long forgotten.

This was also the birthing of what is now Sounds Dangerous, and we continue to ask our clients what their current needs are and or how we can help them prepare the music, songs and sound design for future productions and events.

We have many, what we would call developing (working) relationships with brands, film makers and story tellers, and the conversations over a coffee or glass of wine helps us to better serve these clients in so many ways. And instead of Sounds Dangerous coming in at the very end of a project, we are often included in the pre-production and even development meetings for feature films, episodic television and branded content.

On occasion, our suggestion for a song, sound, genre specific artist or composer for a particular scene changes the script and or the way the story is told.

More often than not we save our clients money.


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