Nearly 50 of us trooped out to California (tough life, right?) for the 2019 LA Sync Mission in June, excellently hosted by DIT, BPI and MPA at the legendary Capitol Records tower off Hollywood Boulevard.
The week was split between 3 days of panels with music supervisors and 2 days of site visits. These sandwiched a networking party at the Consul-General’s residence- an annual highlight and phenomenal opportunity to connect directly with American supervisors in a relaxed setting.
The (well organised) trip gave so many killer takeaways, I’ve highlighted 5 practical things that cropped up again and again throughout the 5 days:
The biggest takeaway from the week was that music supervisors love DISCO. It’s simple to use from their end in receiving submissions and is powerful to use from a rights holders end (including tracking specific links- has the supervisor looked at, listened to, or downloaded the playlist?).
The Australian based startup handles catalogue management and pitching- including different file formats and metadata. Supervisors can also hold their catalogue within DISCO, and automatically add submissions that use DISCO to their own catalogue. In panel after panel this cropped up- I could see several people (myself included!) signup to DISCO and start uploading their catalogues during the sessions. It’s built by a supervisor for supervisors- no wonder they love it!
It’s all about relationship
Those that had been multiple years expounded that deals often came after the 2nd or 3rd trip- when genuine relationships had been built with the supervisors, cultivated over years and several Californian jaunts. In what could easily become a cold transactional world, authentic interaction and relationship still wins out. Finding supervisors who like the same music as you (… or what’s in your catalogue!), who you naturally get on with or you’re in a similar demographic with fuels a meaningful connection. It means they’ll naturally think of you when searching for music/people to do deals with- and if you’re a nice person they’ll be willing to come back again and again.
Keep it Simple, Stupid.
Approaching supervisors can seem daunting, especially when there’s nuance as to how they like to be approached, how often, with what material, etc. The overriding theme was to keep in mind how it works from their end. They get submissions A LOT. They’re looking for music constantly and need an easy way to remember what they’ve been sent before. “Make it easy for the supervisor” should be the rights holder’s mantra- don’t write long wordy emails. Don’t attach files, just include a (DISCO preferable) link. Make it clear and obvious what you’re known for (e.g. gritty brit-pop or 80s disco) and get straight to the point. Be a nice person! Developing these relationships takes time, and supervisors will never come back to you if any part of the process was tricky for them- they simply don’t have the time.
Get your metadata right
In the same vein as above- metadata is king. Supervisors (from their own mouths directly) often automatically save music to their own database off the back of an email. At a later date, when looking for music they’ll search through their system with specifics in mind. Metadata needs to be on point here- not only so your music can float to the top during these searches, but also so the licensing process can be straightforward if your track gets picked. Put your email address in the ‘comments’ section of the mp3 data (the data is editable using DISCO or iTunes). State the licensing parties, how much you control, if it’s easy clear or one-stop. The more information the better- and the clearer it’s laid out the more likely the supervisor will be willing to take the next steps in licensing from you. Again, it’s all about keeping it easy for them- and being a nice (and straightforward) party to do deals with.
This was further emphasised in a brilliant seminar by sync legend Simon Pursehouse at the recent BBC Introducing Live event. The importance of meta-data can’t be under-prioritised- it may not make a sync deal, but it will certainly break one.
Sign some hip-hop!
Seems like every supervisor was looking for hip-hop. Family friendly hip-hop cropped up again and again, alongside the timeless “non-romantic love” and “hope/upward/dreaming” briefs. There’s always trends within the supervision world, and urban/hip-hop briefs are the latest.
This blog was originally written for the MPA and appeared HERE.