Seven Streets Surgery: Sentric Music
The world is full of experts these days isn't it? Well, no. But, every week, we'll bring you a bona fide expert from the city to share their wisdom. This week, Sentric's Simon Pursehouse, on how to get your music played on Skins. Or anywhere, really.
So you’ve written a ditty? That’s nice. Now all you need is people to hear it so they fall in love with it and spend all their disposable income on buying your music so you can live the rockstar dream.
Landing your song on a TV programme, advert, movie or computer game (known as ‘synching’) can result in both good exposure and a lovely bit of income for an artist. It’s muggins here’s job at Sentric Music to do this for our bands. In the meantime, here are my seven tips on how to increase your chances of getting your music synced…
1) Make sure the production quality is up to scratch
If your track hasn’t got strong production quality, then quite simply it’s going to be instantly rejected. A common mistake for artists to make is to try for too much too soon and consequently this can burn bridges as once a sync agent has given your music one chance, convincing them to give you a second is a difficult trick to pull off. May sound harsh, but consider the hundreds of emails they receive on a daily basis from eager musicians wanting their music to be synced, if you don’t impress them on first listen then don’t expect a second. You may very well have a quality song demoed, but hold off pitching it until you’ve had it properly recorded. Slowly, slowly catchy monkey… and all that.
2) Get instrumental versions of your tracks sorted
This is really important – 8 out of 10 syncs we land here at Sentric are the instrumental version of the track and we’ve had artists miss out on syncs worth thousands of pounds because they didn’t have an instrumental version available. Get them sorted and I’ll love you a little bit forever (I’m very easily pleased).
3) Target the right people and approach them correctly
Are you in a death metal band? Then don’t pitch your music to Hollyoaks. If you’re one of those people who emails hundreds of contacts at once, sometimes not even putting them in the BCC field, with some generic hyperbolic guff about your new record then you’re one of the many contributing factors to my high blood pressure. This approach NEVER works and not only does it not work, but it actually damages your reputation, so avoid at all costs. Read this handy blog I did about email etiquette for musicians to help.
4) Make sure your online profile is up to scratch
When I’m pushing our artists’ music for sync, it’s not just a case of “here’s a bunch of tracks, hopefully one of them works”, I’ve also got to effectively ‘sell’ the artist to the sync agent. Things that turn them on include; high profile radio play, noteworthy gigs/supports, key blog exposure and traditional press quotes. If you’re an artist who is receiving any of the above then be sure to have all that info on your Facebook profiles/websites. It could be the difference between landing a sync and missing out to someone who has done all that over you.
5) Have WAVs, AIFFs, MP3s etc available with correct metadata ready to stream & download
Metadata is the bane of my life. If I was married then I’m pretty sure my wife would have left me by now due to my constant babbling about bad metadata and how it constantly brings me to lose faith in humanity. If you send me a song and open it up in iTunes to listen and the track appears as ‘TRACK 001′ by ‘UNKNOWN ARTIST’ then all you’ve succeeded in doing is hurting my feelings. Do you want to hurt my feelings?
Read 7 Steps To Metadata Utopia here so you never hurt my feelings ever again. Once you’ve done that, utilise something like www.dropbox.com to have all your music in all formats ready to download with in just a simple click. Different sync agents prefer music delivered in different formats, so spending an hour getting it all right for the first time will save you faffing about in the future. Further reading on ‘How To Use SoundCloud & Dropbox To Send Music To Industry’.
6) Be patient and be able to handle rejection
Be aware that *a lot* of the music industry are fighting to land these sync placements and competition is huge. A good example of this is our artist Kowalski (pic) - we were working with these cheeky Northern Irish chappies for three years with no notable sync success (not without me trying I should stress) and then within the space of six weeks landed them three, all worth substantial amounts of money. If your music is truly good enough, then the opportunities will come given time. If you don’t land anything and handle that rejection like a six year old being told he can’t have anymore Sunny Delight then you’ll ever-so-quickly discover no one will reply to your emails any more. Further reading: Learn To Cope With Rejection.
7) If you do land a sync make it work for you
If you think landing the sync is the end of the journey then you’re being shortsighted. We’ve had artists at Sentric who’ve had several high profile US TV syncs under their belt and due to a combination of lethargy and poor management didn’t reap any of the other benefits apart from the initial up front fee. A good example of how to do it properly can be seen with Ian Britt; we landed his track ‘The Shape Of Us’ on US TV show ‘Parenthood’ and before the episode was aired he made sure that the track was visible online when people searched for the key words he imagined they were going to use.
For example if someone watching the show Googled ‘parenthood the shape of us’ (as that was the lyric most likely they’d use) then that track would be at the top of the results. This tiny bit of SEO meant in the following two weeks after the initial broadcast he sold 9k copies of that track on iTunes. Quids in.
So there you go! Follow those easy tips and you’ll be head and shoulders above a hell of a lot of other musicians trying to get their music synced.