Music in Films
How Do I Get My Music Into Movies, Television Shows, Commercials and Video Games?
A music supervisor coordinates most of the music used in a production, including music selection, licensing of rights and recording. Click here for a list of Film Music Supervisors on the Texas Music Office Web site. Many of the choices made concerning music are based on the relationship between the studio and a specific record label. For example, if Sony Pictures releases a film, the soundtrack will likely feature music by Sony Music artists. Don't waste valuable time waiting for a major breakthrough. Work on smaller projects first, network in your local area to build up your credits, and in the long run you should have an easier time attracting major projects to your work.
Visit the Job Hotline on our Web site has a list of current projects working in Texas. Send a promo pack with samples of your work to the productions listed. If you are a composer and interested in scoring a film (as opposed to only providing songs for a soundtrack), please call first. Many times a composer has already been selected. Music is often one of the last decisions made by a director, and although they may be filming in Texas, these decisions may be deferred until the production company returns to California. NOTE: Many independent films do not have a budget to pay for the use of popular hits and are often interested in working with someone trying to build up their film music credits for a smaller fee.
Research contacts before you send material. Your chances of success are better if the material is suitable for the film subject and is received by the correct person. Send a cover letter emphasizing two things: who you are and how can you help them. Film crews are very busy so keep your correspondence succinct and to the point. Your packet should include: samples of your work, a bio and a list of credits. Make sure all materials list your contact information. If you have not received a response, you can make a follow-up call within two weeks to make sure the package was received. More than one follow-up call usually moves you from the possible file to the nuisance file. If you are researching a production company and not a particular film, always call before you drop by their office. Make sure they are in pre-production before sending a promo packet, otherwise it will end up in a file cabinet.
Online services can deliver information to publishers and record labels regarding the soundtrack needs of Music Supervisors. You may also use search for sync and master rights for all types of music. Note that they are a working site for publishers, record labels, music supervisors, advertising executives, producers and directors only. This is not a site for individuals or casual users.
Contact the Radio-Television-Film departments at area colleges and universities for information about film students who may need music for their projects. Also consider checking out the Multimedia Department for students that may need video art music. Art Departments may have performance art majors in need of music for dramatic and/or choreographic works. Many programs have bulletin boards posting announcements and services. Call the department office to ask if you can post a flyer that states your desire to work with students. The Texas Music Office can also provide a list of university, college, community and technical music programs. Some local software/game developer companies contract freelancers for background music. Always call the company and speak with the Audio Director prior to sending unsolicited material.
The Texas Music Office can provide a list of advertising agencies, jingles/advertising soundtracks businesses and radio stations in Texas. As with multimedia companies, call first to determine their status on freelance work. For radio stations, contact the Sales Manager in the Advertising Department for any inquiries.
Additional Online Resources
- For more information about your film music needs or for a list of music supervisors, please contact the Texas Music Office at 512-463-6666 and .
- ASCAP's Music, Money, Success and the Movies - A comprehensive guide with legal information on music in films.
- ASCAP's How to Acquire Music For Films - Frequently asked questions for independent and student filmmakers.