Music plays a pivotal role in movies, TV shows and even video games. It heightens tension, exaggerates emotions and communicates messages to the audience. Music sets the tone, mood and even the era, and that is why video productions use music supervisors. Let’s take a look at what a music supervisor is, what they do and how you can get involved in music supervision!
What Is A Music Supervisor?
Music supervisors are in charge of the music for projects such as TV shows, movies and video games. They can either work on a project-by-project basis, or can be employed by a production or music supervision company. Their job centres around finding the best music for the project, and handling the process of securing or creating the music.
What Do Music Supervisors Do?
A music supervisor’s duties include:
- Discussions with directors and producers to discuss how music fits with their vision for the production.
- Figure out music placement by watching a rough cut and noting what scenes require music. It also includes discussions of theme songs, original soundtracks, pre-existing music and more.
- Negotiating and licensing the music. At this stage, the music supervisor chooses the music or secures the artists who will create it. This involves navigating rights holders, intellectual property law, music licensing and the public domain.
- Keeping within the production’s budget when negotiating rights
- Ensuring the distribution of royalties. This is tracked via cue sheets. These are lists of the songs used in a production, and the music supervisor maintains these to ensure artists are credited and receive royalties.
I’m Interested In Becoming A Music Supervisor – What Skills Do I Need?
To become a music supervisor in the music industry, you need to have a certain set of skills. Firstly, you should have a wide knowledge of music and music history. This will give you a vast database to work with when suggesting tracks. Next, you will need to understand music licensing and creative rights, which can get a little complicated. Knowing the legalities of music such as royalties, rights holders and so on is key.
Also, a music supervisor needs to be a great communicator with strong people skills. This is because they spend a lot of time negotiating with artists, labels and so on. The role includes working with a lot of different people. This can include composers, producers, production directors, music editors and music directors to ensure the music is perfect. Having top-notch networking skills and contacts within the industry is extremely helpful, too.
How Can I Become A Music Supervisor?
Getting started is the best way! Ask around for any filmmakers that may need help, get some credits on IMDB and work your way up. Befriend directors and producers and get your name out there by working on indie films and so on. As with most jobs in the music industry, working your way up and gaining traction is the best way to get involved. You could also look for internships or work with a publisher or record label to get your foot in the door!
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