Event Recap: Marketing Your Music

July 22nd, 2011

Last night I attended a seminar at the Gibson Showroom (former location of The Hit Factory studios) entitled “Marketing Your Music: Opportunities in Films, Television and Other Media.”  Although the topic is similar to a panel I co-organized for Women in Music last month, the seminar was pretty different.  It was not a panel, per se, but rather a presentation conducted by Dave Hnatiuk (pronounced Narek with a rolled r) and David Weiss, co-authors of the book Music Supervision.

In assessing this event, I’m going to be brutally honest.  That said, I completely understand how hard it is to put on an event like this, but today I get to wear the audience hat, rather than the event planner.

The event was set to start at 6 pm.  The coordinator of the event did not show up until around 6:45, so we were all waiting around the lobby aimlessly for almost an hour.  The set up was strange with limited seating.  The refreshments were appreciated, but the wine was so warm it was being referred to as “mulled.” There were technical difficulties; the video projector wasn’t working so we watched video examples on a laptop computer held up by David Weiss (who had a great sense of humor about the glitch, which made the experience much less awkward than it could have been).  The presentation itself (including the question and answer period) was no more than an hour, yet the event was advertised as taking place from 6 – 9 pm.  The seminar portion was seemingly cut short by the need for two performance, which took place following the presentation.  I’m not sure I can speak for others in attendance, but I did not attend this event to see a concert. “Live Music” was nowhere in the title of this seminar, and any mention of live performances I assumed would be as background or entrance music.  Those of us meeting each other outside of the room and exchanging information were constantly shushed and told to reenter the studio to see the performance.  The tickets for the event were $40, in my opinion steep for the hour of information.

The presentation itself was useful.  Dave Hnatiuk knows his way around the music industry.  He is a music supervisor, sound designer, engineer and musician.  He can communicate his experiences and advice thoughtfully and effectively to both industry professionals as well as artists.  He described specific examples of launch campaigns, ads, and shows that he music supervised, detailing the process. A number of online resources were thrown out, and I appreciated his honesty in criticizing many popular resources.  Surprisingly, when asked how he finds music, the first answers were Pandora and iTunes.  These may seem obvious, but with nonexclusive music libraries popping up all over the internet and claiming to be the direct link to music supervisors, I was surprised that supervisors stick to basic music providers.  In discussing these online libraries that license music, Hnatiuk said he doesn’t use them much, only when on a very limited budget.  He did praise them for having “authentic sounds.”

Tips for getting your songs placed?  Hnatiuk mentioned a few that I found particularly useful:

  • Make sure you have stems of your music.  Oftentimes the placement will require remixing or taking out certain parts of the song.
  • A direct pipeline to the music supervisor is great, but don’t stalk them!  Email once a month and if they aren’t writing back, take an honest look at your music and ask if it’s good and/or if it’s appropriate for the placement.
  • Send what the supervisors need; don’t force your music upon them if it’s not right.
  • Be specific in your emails about what you’re sending. Describe the music in the subject line of the email.

I’m sure Hnatiuk had much more wisdom to share, but unfortunately was cut short.

Aside from the presentation itself, the audience was a varied group and engaged in the presentation.  People were eager to network following the presentation but conversations were stopped by the live performances.  Some of us managed, however, and I was able to get to know a number of talented new people.  Overall, I can’t say I would spend another $40 on an event like this, especially when through Women in Music, I get to attend similar ones for free.  I did learn more about the current landscape of music supervision, and would be very interested to see the Daves on another panel again soon.