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5 takeaways from the LA Sync Mission

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:


Capitol Records Tower, LA- home to the sync mission

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.

Hollywood Bespoke Records
Hollywood BABAY!

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.

Interview with Managing Director Henry Marsden

This article was originally posted by Young Guns Network, here:

Henry Marsden had a career as a touring bass player and producer before setting up Bespoke Records in 2015. Alongside a publishing catalogue of 500+ songs, including The Vamps ‘Cheap Wine‘ (featured on the Gold certified ‘Night and Day’ album)- and trance hit ‘Reckless‘, Bespoke is an independent label releasing music from artists including Lydia Evangeline and ON/OFF/ON, whose latest single was recently added to Spotify’s New Music Friday. We invited him to be one of the guest speakers at our event ‘Inside Music Publishing’ (with PRS for Music) to talk about his transition from musician to music publisher and find out what the first three years of setting up an independent publisher involved.

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There’s a million things to consider and action when preparing for your music releases: in the build up, on the release day and the weeks beyond. Odds are you’ll forget at least a few things, but it’s important to take your time: build a strategy and plan, map out a timeline and prepare assets way in advance of deciding release dates. Why spend so much energy and investment preparing the perfect songs and recordings to then watch as they don’t fully realise their potential? Read more


Recently we’ve had a splurge of music-makers asking for pointers/advice on the mechanics of releasing music- how to capitalise on the all-important release day (…and week… and month…) and maximise the impact of your record. You’ve spent countless hours (and pennies!) perfecting your songs and getting them recorded, mixed and mastered- it’s critical to not lose focus and make sure your release strategy backs up the effort you’ve put into making the music.

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A Man Out Of The Woods?

With critics describing Timberlake’s 5th studio album Man Of The Woods as ‘struggling with its direction’, the Suit and Tie singer seems to have steered away from his usual R&B, silky suave self. Whether an attempt to reinvent himself or simply gather a new plethora of fans, JT is gasping for air in the same stagnant pool that contemporaries Katy Perry and Taylor Swift seem to have found themselves in.

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My 10 Favourite Albums of 2017

I love reflecting back each year on the music that I’ve loved, but I’ve got to be honest, 2017 wasn’t a standout year for music in my opinion, however there were still a few gems released this year. Changes in the way people consume music has meant that more singles and EPs are being released by artists, rather than albums – this is reflected by three EPs (and one “mini” album) making it into my list. Also, this year I’m including a playlist of my 10 favourite songs alongside my favourite albums. My lists seem to be comprised mainly of pop music, which is probably no surprise given that it’s the genre I’m most involved in, and also that the pop label has expanded so much in recent years that so much music fits under it. With that said, in no particular order, here are my favourite albums and songs from 2017:
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The Benefits Of Being Unsigned

Before we begin, I’d like to start off by quickly acknowledging that there are two sides to every coin! In many situations in this music journey there are pros and cons. I suppose this little write-up is simply a bit of insight into my own observations and experience on my journey and how I learnt to focus on the benefits of my situation and all it’s possibilities rather than the opposite.

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Since November – Star System

If there was an award for the most memorable piano part of the year, Finland based Indie-Pop duo Since November would win in a heartbeat with their debut single ‘Star System’ released in late June this year. The riff is wonderfully unique in that it is flashy, sad and uplifting all at the same time- resulting in an effect that is rare, but undeniably effective.

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CHARIOTS – Dreaming As We Go (Remix EP)

Bespoke is excited to announce the release of a new CHARIOTS EP – Dreaming As We Go (Remixes).  Featuring 4 remixers (This., Latchmere, Black Forest and OKO) tackling the same song.  The This. remix has already been featured on several mid-range Spotify playlists- take a listen to this energetic and diverse project and let us know what you think!  Available from all digital outlets– OUT NOW.

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The Legend of XERO – Zombies

The Legend of XERO is certainly a distinctive and interesting individual. Producing a unique brand of dark, Industrial-Goth, Pop and Hip-Hop for several years now- The Legend of XERO (his real name unknown) has already released multiple albums, his most recent being Ascension: The Creative Power of the Imagination, released earlier this year. This album features XERO’s most popular track to date, titled ‘Zombies’. Much like the majority of XERO’s music, ‘Zombies’ features influences spanning an array of different styles including EDM, Rock and Industrial with a contemporary pop sensibility in the songs structure, lyrics and vocal melodies.

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Despite residing in L.A, one of the world’s most prominent hubs of music and pop culture, PLEXXAGLASS have faced little trouble standing out as of late. Consisting of members Alexa Joan Rae (vocals, keys), Lauren Stockner (bass, guitar), Ken Oak (Cello) and Sarah Luffred (drums), the bands unique brand of emotive songwriting initially captured a more widespread audience through their single ‘Lament en Route’ released five months ago, gaining critical acclaim from independent bloggers across the globe. It was a powerful, emotive and commercial release, but how does their newest single shape up in comparison?

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Paramore – A New Album, A New Sound

Anybody growing up as an awkward teenager in the mid-late 2000’s will remember with fond nostalgia the music of Paramore and the way they tapped into a MySpace culture of emotional angst at just the right time. Lead singer Hayley Williams’ dramatically razor-sharp bangs (with appropriately violent bursts of red, pink and orange) jumping around in front of her band mates (who for the most part just seemed like they were in it for the ride). Fast paced, mind numbingly catchy emo-rock-pop, albeit without the shrill whininess one often associates with the genre. Thinking about how much of a different time this was really does make one feel old.

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Of Songs and Spreadsheets

Writing a song is still one of the things I love to do most in life, but it’s also become something that I monitor and assess more intentionally than before.

I’ve recently stepped up how much effort I give to my songwriting. I don’t mean simply giving more hours to writing, although that has been true. I also mean a mental shift from treating it like a glorified hobby to treating it more seriously.

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Billie Marten headlines first BESPOKE PRESENTS

What a night we had!!  Thanks to everyone that came down to the Green Door Store, our secret headliner was… DUN DUN DUUUNNN… none other than the amazing Billie Marten! Thanks to the other amazing artists too- Lydia Evangeline, Anna Pancaldi and Jacko Hooper. Check out our playlist of these guys and let us know who you’d like to see at the next one:



Stand Up and Speak Out: 5 Political Albums you need to listen to

Last year was full of controversy for many. Brexit divided the nation and Trump unexpectedly won the US Election. Since the inauguration on January 20th, his controversial agendas have dramatically unravelled before our eyes as he has tried to enforce bans on immigration and to build segregating walls. However amidst all the chaos he has united millions of people globally- mobilising them on to the streets in protest. Ranging from the Women’s March on Washington to the emergency demonstrations at American airports and outside Downing Street- to say no to racism and no to divisive politics.

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Business X Personal

Have you had a working relationship grow into a friendship but found it difficult to differentiate the two?

If your answer is YES, well you’re not alone. ME TOO. I admit it can be a challenging dynamic to figure out. I think being able to have a healthy working relationship and friendship is an incredible thing and I do encourage it always.  You might be thinking that I’m about to give you some answers…maybe not. I certainly do however have 3 keys that I hold dear when trying to maintain a healthy business + personal relationship.
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PRS basics, the PRS world

As a Member Services Representative at PRS for Music for nearly 10 years (in May) my field and my experience is advising, assisting and steering people through the world of songwriting royalties (both published and unpublished). In that time, I have spoken to people at all different levels of the Industry with varying degrees of success. I have also been exposed to a world that is as confusing as it is deep, insightful, sad and sometimes amazing. I have witnessed success stories, failures and those who flourish or falter at the gate of songwriting royalties. Read more

Praying For Time (RIP George)

U2 are going on tour this summer. Nothing new in that as a statement but this tour is a bit different. The run of shows celebrates the 30th anniversary of the release of their iconic album The Joshua Tree which they’ll be playing in full every night. Why was that record so significant for them? Well, it was the album that propelled them to their long-held status of biggest-band-in-the-world, a place from which they’ve built the rest of their career as a band. Read more


If you’re an artist, music publisher, record label or manager (or anyone involved with music and music business!) you should be roughly aware of these terms and what they mean. We’ve highlighted who should be particularly aware of each term, or handle each term on a daily basis: Artist (A ), Songwriter (S ), Publisher (P ), Record Label (R ). Managers need to be fluent in them all to protect their clients!
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My 10 Favourite Albums of 2016

In the digital era we have access to more music than ever before. Spotify and Apple Music have given us the ability to listen to virtually any song ever released at the click of a button. With so much music available to us, how do we find music that we like? Playlists and algorithms have become the new mixtape and one of the best ways to find new music, but my favourite way to discover new music is still by recommendations from other people. So in light of that, here are my 10 favourite albums/EPs from 2016, complete with a Spotify playlist (at the bottom). Leave a comment and let us know your favourites!
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This all may sound a little harsh, but the number of simple mistakes artists make while trying to make it in the music industry are astounding. Here are a few of the classics we come across almost every day and how to combat them- the likelihood is if you’re an artist you’ve already learnt from a few of them. There are very few shortcuts in this business – you’ll need to graft whatever happens!

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Most general Joe Bloggs people-on-yer-street aren’t sure what record labels do – other than notoriously take advantage of, and screw over, artists. Music is a complex industry, but the very core is record labels. The original labels (of which the original original is Columbia) began as gramophone manufacturers – selling the accompanying vinyl and distributing throughout America before growing into Europe. For the nerdier among you, we’ll do a history of the recording industry in another blog, but for now here’s what all record labels (major and independent) do as part of their day-to-day in the modern industry.
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“Any old Monkey can use social media to tell people about their next gig”

We were invited to speak at a ‘Music and Media’ conference this weekend in central London, hosted by Step FWD.  It was a great event, with a lot of discussion around how up-and-coming and established independent artists can use media tools to market their music and develop their careers – we’ve summarised a few of the thoughts we shared.
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Bespoke gets a lot of emails every week enquiring about publishing – some with specific questions on what publishing is, others asking to meet to chat through publishing, some asking to be published by Bespoke. We love to empower the songwriter… so much so that they might not even need us for any of these! Do you even need a publishing deal? Here are a few things you can do to get off the ground without one and hopefully put a bit more money back in your pocket.
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“Passion before profit. People before product.”

This blog is just a tool in gathering like-minded people together. The vision of Bespoke is to create a revolution in the music industry through killer music and through integrity. The best art going around – purveyed with trust, love and through placing value on the artists who make it.
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6 Building Blocks Of The Industry

“What the flip actually is a publisher? What the heck is a record label?”

It’s pretty surprising how often I’ve found these two questions crop up – even from experienced songwriters and artists who’ve had dealings with both entities and been left non-plussed. Bear with me and prepare for a sore brain.

The music industry is all about copyright control and how to earn money from exploiting copyrights – putting them to work, selling them, licensing them. It’s all pretty confusing – mainly because the industry has reacted to new technologies, precedents set by legal wrangling and large swings in music consumption (both in quantity and medium) over nearly a century.
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Why Start A Blog?

“We’re on a crusade to change the music industry. We want our artists, writers and consumers to change it with us.  A music revolution.”

Bespoke Records is not just out to sell music. We want to revolutionise the entire industry – we’re on a crusade to fundamentally change the way artists and consumers interface with one another through the industry (the go-between) and put creativity back at the fore. We certainly don’t want to do it by hoodwinking consumers and artists – screwing music lovers and music makers alike, laughing ourselves to sleep on mounds and mounds of cash. Our vision is to do it by finding a way to honour and incentivise creativity while providing a fair deal for consumers. The key building blocks of this are education and community- the reasons for this blog.

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