In honor of Blackout Wednesday here is the 1 question interview with one of my favorite party people on the planet.
Mike Turner is a music supervisor for film, TV and advertising. He lives in Los Angeles because that is where film, TV and advertising are made. You may have seen his work in the form of commercials for Microsoft, Converse, Brooks Running or films like Ondi Timoner’s “Cool It” or the 3 time Emmy winning “Hold At All Costs.” Watch his new TV series “Bad Sex” on MTVN/Logo that premiered Friday Nov 4th. Follow his various musings on twitter: @mptmusic
Here’s a picture of him with a hot babe.
The Sound Scene:
Is there one piece of advice you would give aspiring musicians to propel their success?
This may sound obvious or at least predictable coming from a guy who makes his living on both sides of licensing music to film TV & advertising but my answer to this question is: Licensing… Get your songs in some productions, make a little money (sometimes a lot) and get people wondering who that awesome song is performed by. But how do you do this? Well, just like any other benchmark in music the basic answer is, make really good music. But we all know that not every song you hear on TV or in a commercial is a masterpiece so there is hope even for you. The key then becomes representation. Not everyone can score a publishing deal with a top music publisher –especially not right out of the gate, but there are actually a lot of resources these days for musicians who want to get sync action on their catalogue. You’ll trade in a pretty high commission rate for that relatively low bar of admission for many of these places but at least it gets your stuff out there and hopefully earning for you.
These businesses are often referred to as music libraries or pitching houses and usually they operate non-exclusively which means they don’t own or control your work. You just give them permission to pitch your material in return for what is typically a 50/50 split. Most of these places are just happy to have more content so it isn’t the same kind of circus to get them to accept you the way it is with established labels and publishers. By traditional standards a 50/50 split on sync fees is terrible deal but the non exclusive nature of these agreements means you can usually take your tunes and walk whenever you want so why not try it until you are so famous that executives are tripping over themselves to woo you into contracts with more favorable terms?
If you strategize the growth stages of your career and use tools like this when they are appropriate for where you are at the time, you don’t run the risk of devaluing or diluting your “brand” as an artist because by the time that issue becomes relevant you should be thinking about working on a bigger level anyway. The idea is to leverage some of that notoriety in the media world that you have hopefully garnered getting exposure on reality shows and taking the last budget scraps offered to nobody artists to get a better deal with someone else who can command higher rates for your music. Think of it a little like an internship that can open some doors maybe. But keep in mind that all of this works in concert (so to speak) with the rest of your career development. At the end of the day nobody pays top dollar for artists they haven’t heard of. So get heard.
Here are a few solid pitching companies who do exactly what I described above: Audiosocket, Music Dealers, Jinglepunx, Pig Factory, Rumble Fish, and um…some others, like dozens –but those are a few that I use.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. Good luck out there, it’s brutal!