Getting your music a coveted sync placement on a TV can often feel like a massive career breakthrough, but it's also one which you need to plan for. Here we look at some of the best ways an artist can prepare for their 'big moment' if they know their music will soon be featured on a show.
Guest Post by Aron Wright
Finding out that your music will be featured on a TV show can feel like a huge career breakthrough. It’s a major opportunity; one you need to plan for. “Every single week we see artists missing out on this chance to connect with new fans,” says TuneFind’s Amanda Byers.“Those potential fans aren’t going to come back later.”
There are simple things you can do to maximize your placement’s impact on your career, and easy ways to get your music and information out to potential fans.
Get your music online (and in online stores)
This sounds like a no-brainer, but many songs wind up on a show--and nowhere else. Setting up distribution can take time and require some diligence. To make sure you’re not shortchanging yourself by signing a contract that doesn’t serve your best interests on the publishing side, it’s best to start early. “I’ve waited until the last minute before, and it cost me thousands of dollars,” notes singer-songwriter Aron Wright, whose music has appeared on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Empire, and The Vampire Diaries.
“A digital/indie distributor is ideal so you can sell your track across multiple platforms, but even Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or your own website is better than nothing,” agrees Byers. “Engage your new fans, make sure they know who you are. Get them to follow you on social media or get their email addresses. Get them to listen to your other songs. It all helps build your audience.”
Get your music on Shazam
“Shazam isn’t perfect--it can’t identify well if the clip is too short or if there’s dialog or background noise --but it’s an important channel for discovery,” Byers says.
Promote your placement on social media
Post about it. Tweet about it. Instagram it. Tag your friends. Ask friends and fans to share the news explicitly. Thank the Music Supervisor (using their Twitter handle) for the placement when you post there, and be sure to research and use the correct show hashtags.
You might also want to consider buying ads, but be strategic here. You can specifically target the show’s fans. Social media ads let you specifically target fans of the show, certain geographies, and audience demographics that match your typical fan base.. Think carefully about how to slice and dice your potential fans, and target who you’re most likely to appeal to with that track.
Says Wright, “Do A/B testing with multiple ads and track conversions so you know what’s effective. You don’t want to spend $2 to make $.99. Think about where your ads are directing people who click, based on your goals.” Wright recommends advertising merchandise like t-shirts, not just mp3 downloads, to get more bang for your ad buck.
Look for and reach out to show fans
“You often don’t know exactly how the song will be used until the show airs. If you know it’s going to be at an important moment, get on Twitter,” Byers suggests. “Some shows also have fansites, forums, and message boards, too. These can be another venue to raise awareness.”
However, artists need to tread lightly with show fans: “If it’s just a few seconds in the background of a transitional scene and you’re making a big deal about it, you’ll get flamed,” warns Byers. “If your music is part of a major scene, or related to a specific character, you’ve got a good chance to interest a lot more fans.”
Interact with users on TuneFind
Going to places where people specifically look for the music they hear on screen will help your efforts to connect with new fans. Make sure to submit your sync placement on TuneFind, and check out fan activity on the site after the episode airs. “TuneFind has seen lots of indie artists with sync placements come to the site and find passionate listeners who are excited about their music,” Byers says. “The back-and-forth between musicians and new fans is really great.”
“I’ve had so many people find me and my music via TuneFind over the years,” adds Wright. “Thousands of people may be looking for your song after a placement. TuneFind usually pops up first on a Google search because it’s the best organized website for TV and film placements.”
Put together a lyric (or other very simple) video and post it
Another platform viewers are likely to search: YouTube. Posting a well-annotated and tagged video there will help them find you.
“A lyric video is a great, simple way to get your track up,” Byers suggests. “It’s better to have something straightforward up there - that references your placement - than nothing at all.”
Wright agrees. For one of his first placements on Grey’s Anatomy, he spent several thousand dollars on a produced video, only to find that a far simpler video--a still photo with the song title, show name, season, and episode numbers--got far more views. “You want to put up a link bubble or other way to grab attention in the video, that sends people to iTunes. Put in as many relevant tags as possible, and give it the same title as the text you use in the video itself. That makes it highly searchable for people who know the episode, but not who you are.”
Talk to the music supervisor
When you’re coming up with your sync promotion plan, don’t forget the people who got you the placement in the first place: the music supervisor who chose your track.
Many music supervisors reach out to followers and show fans directly via social media. You can encourage them to talk about your track when they do. “You can ping a supe - politely! - and ask if they are going to mention your track and your Twitter handle,” Byers recommends. “If a supe tweets songs during a broadcast, make sure you’re included there.”
Make sure your team is making some noise
And don’t forget the sync agent who got you the placement. They may be happy to shout out the success, too. “We’ll sometimes see sync agencies or management posting about a placement,” Byers remarks. “If you’ve used an agent or have a team, make sure they are making noise, too.”
Reach out to the media
Sometimes you can get a little more press love thanks to a sync. It never hurts to reach out to journalists you admire and who cover your genre or scene and let them know. You may hear nothing back, but your sync may be just the nudge they need to cover your music.
“I got a song reviewed in USA Today, alongside Kelly Clarkson, by writing the journalist and saying the song was going to be on Grey’s Anatomy,” Wright recounts. He also advises patience and persistence, sound advice for any promotional or marketing effort. “Keep asking. You may only get one good thing out of a hundred, but that one good thing or connection with a person might be what changes everything for you. That’s how it was for me.”
The leading site to find music that’s been featured in TV shows and movies, TuneFind has music listings for over 780 TV shows and another 780+ movies. Working directly with the Music Supervisors who select the music, composers, and our community of over 2 million super-fans each month, TuneFind compiles all the songs featured, including unreleased tracks, original score, and other hard-to-identify music. With over 10 years in the business, TuneFind is the top destination for fans, music licensors, artists, and labels interested in sync and soundtracks.
About Aron Wright:
Nashville-based artist Aron Wright spends his days in a 100 year-old church-turned recording studio that is on the same street as his home. Rarely performing live these days, Aron’s focus has turned to what he is most passionate about: crafting songs and recording them. Aron has had success in the TV/Film world with placements on shows such as Finding Carter, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Vampire Diaries, Hart of Dixie, and Pretty Little Liars. Aron co-wrote the song "Hallelujah" by Panic at the Disco, featured on their album Death of A Bachelor, which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. A song that he wrote with Sean Van Vleet (lead sing of the band, Empire) entitled, “Walk Out On Me” was featured on the FOX television show Empire, performed by rock legend/actor Courtney Love. “Walk Out On Me” was also featured on the show’s soundtrack which was a Billboard #1 album.