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How to Become a Music Supervisor | Music Supervisor Jobs (Fully Explained)

Updated: Mar 24


How to Become a Music Supervisor | Music Supervisor Jobs (Music Supervision Fully Explained) | Create Job Alert Music Licensing Practices

Are you fascinated by music and its role in our culture?


Have you always wanted to become a Music Supervisor but weren’t sure how to go about it?


This blog post will provide an in-depth look into what it takes to become a successful Music Supervisor, including the skills needed, ways to break into the industry, and potential job opportunities.


Here is everything you need to know if you are considering becoming a Music Supervisor!

 

Table of Contents:

  1. What is a music supervisor and what do they do

  2. Understanding the music licensing process

  3. How to become a music supervisor

  4. The skills you need to be successful as a music supervisor

  5. What to expect in the music supervision industry

  6. Pros & Cons of a music supervisor's job

  7. Salary and career outlook for music supervisors

  8. Where to find music supervisor jobs

  9. The future of the music supervision & music licensing

 

1. What is a music supervisor and what do they do?

Put simply, a music supervisor is essentially a music coordinator for movies, television shows, and commercials. They are responsible for handpicking the perfect songs that fit the tone of a show and create an authentic atmosphere of emotion or energy. In other words, they provide the soundtrack to our lives!

A good music supervisor can license music, even pre-existing music, to improve current independent films, a tv show, or other forms of media

Music supervisors have their work cut out for them as they need to curate through thousands of potential options to find just the right tracks. After all, it's their job to make sure everyone will be enjoying the audio and while watching their favorite show!


2. What is the Music Licensing Process?

The music licensing process is a crucial aspect of a Music Supervisor's job. They are responsible for obtaining the necessary licenses to use music in films, television shows, commercials and other forms of media. To do this, Music Supervisors must work closely with music publishers, musicians, and other relevant parties to ensure that the proper licenses are obtained.


Sync licensing is the term used when music is licensed for use in a visual media production. This process requires the Music Supervisor to have a deep understanding of music copyright laws and the process of obtaining permissions to use a particular song in a production.


The most common relationship between music supervisors and musicians can be seen below.

a music publishing or production company and a record labels music department in Los Angeles or elsewhere are vital to the music licensing process

Notably, however, a Music Publisher can also play a crucial role in the licensing process. Often with bigger artists, music publishing companies hold the rights to certain songs, and help to coordinate the licensing process. This is more common with industry artists that are signed to a record label. Meanwhile, most independent musicians will not involve a music publisher, and can also offer music clearance at lower rates.


Overall, the music licensing process is complex, and typically a huge part of music supervisors work. It requires a deep understanding of music copyright laws, the ability to negotiate and secure licenses, and a great deal of attention to detail to ensure that everything runs smoothly.


3. How can you become a music supervisor yourself?

Music supervision is a unique and exciting career opportunity for people who love music and feel comfortable navigating the entertainment industry. Here are three things you should prioritize in your path to becoming a music supervisor.


Build Connections

To become a music supervisor, you'll need to work hard, get connected with the right people, and form professional relationships.


You should expand your network by attending online and in-person events like seminars or conferences where you can meet producers, studio heads, composers, artists, publishers, and record labels.


This will give you the opportunity to showcase your skillset and keep up with what's trending in the music world.


Join Music Supervision Guilds

If possible, join guilds related to music supervision such as The Guild of Music Supervisors so that recruiters can view your credentials more easily. Joining will also allow you to access social gatherings and other potentially valuable events.


Build your own Brand

Lastly, you'll also want to create a portfolio website featuring audio or video clips of your best work and any press clippings or awards received in regards to past projects - this will make it easy for potential employers to see how you meet their requirements.


We recommend trying Wix, as it was the website builder that allowed us to establish an online presence for our own music business.


We'll later touch on the best way to find open music supervisor jobs, so stay tuned.


4. What skills and experience are necessary for the job?

As a music supervisor, you will have the opportunity to work with artists, labels, and production companies to select appropriate songs for use in films, television shows, video games, commercials and more.


This job requires both creative skills, communication skills, and of course, a great taste for music and what's trending. Music supervisors work technically even when they aren't on the clock to constantly keep their pulse on the music industry, or larger cultural trends.

Music supervisor jobs include not just punching it at a production company or showing up to various record labels, but also being aware of relevant music history and trends

5. What kind of work does a music supervisor typically do on a day-to-day basis?

On a typical day, a Music Supervisor is both...

  • a part-time A&R agent: sourcing music from labels and artists, picking out the perfect song for a commercial or movie

  • a part-time musical curator: pairing a film's story with music that works in just the right way.

A music supervision company like ispytunes in the entertainment industry must work to secure the best background music from music publishers without breaking any laws

You can go from discovering obscure singers in smoky, questionable-smelling bars to working with the biggest names in music. Everyday is different but the overall goal each day remains — make sure there is the perfect mix of songs to bring the director's vision and story alive!


6. What are some of the Pros & Cons of being a Music Supervisor?

Being a music supervisor is an exciting job! It combines both music, which is great if you’re passionate about it, and film or video productions, which can be quite interesting too.


Of course, there are challenges that come with the job...

  • Finding the right songs or artists that suit the tone and context of a scene

  • Fielding plenty of music submissions, constantly exploring new sub-genres and artists

  • Balancing budgets and handling license negations

  • Ensuring proper licensing processes are followed

  • Various other administrative duties

Music supervisors are background music directors that provide the best possible original music for the visual media at hand

Thankfully, there are some pretty awesome rewards.


For starters, music supervisors work with amazing musicians who appreciate your work!


Plus, being able to help create great movie and TV scenes with some amazing, well-fitting tunes truly make this job one worth doing despite all its challenges!


7. How much money can you make as a music supervisor?

Music supervisors don't just have a great and exciting role in the entertainment industry, but they are also well compensated. It’s been reported that at the highest end of the scale, a music supervisor can make anywhere from $75,000-$200,000 in one year.


But as with so many other things, earning top dollar means doing top-notch work (not an excuse to slack off and jam out on the job!) It requires hard work, dedication and dedication – but hey, who said following your passion would be easy?


8. Where do you look to find a music supervisor job?

Ok, so now that we've discussed the ins-and-outs of the role, where is the best place to locate music supervisor jobs?


Well first off, before beginning your entire job search, we may be hiring!


Our music supervisor department is new, however, we plan to expand it over the coming months and years. Check our LinkedIn page to see if their are any open full-time, part-time, or intern positions available.


If we are not currently looking for help, fear not! There are plenty of other places to look. Also, be sure to follow our LinkedIn page to stay up-to-date the next time there is an opening!


5 Best Websites to find a Music Supervisor job

As a last resource, don't forget to talk within your own community - start asking around and do some research! By not relying solely on job boards and websites, and instead utilizing more traditional job searching methods, you will greatly increase your chances of both finding and landing an open music supervisor's job.


What if I have no experience?

Let's say you have no experience in the music industry. Zero. Zilch. Goose.


Then, what is the best course of action to get your foot in the door and land a job at a music supervision company?


First of all, be prepared to take an internship. In such a competitive space like the music industry, there is often more talent than jobs. Begin from the ground up and establish connections to increase your likelihood of success.


Next, be prepared to get any job in the entertainment industry you can find. If your first role is not working for/as a music supervisor, then ideally try to land a role in an office environment or administrative capacity.


Additionally, leverage the internet to the best of your abilities. Take online courses and workshops to gain skills and knowledge in the field. Then, be sure to wear your certificates and awards like a badge of honor. For example, showcasing these achievements on a personal website/bio dedicated to your music supervision experience is a great strategy. This will help to show your dedication to get into the music licensing business.


Finally, if all else fails, don't be afraid to reach out to music supervisors for informational interviews or mentorship opportunities. Building relationships, even with music publishers or others the music department, can go a long way in securing your future career as a music supervisor.


What is the best degree for a music supervisor?

Although there is no specific degree required to become a music supervisor, a background in music, business, or entertainment law may be advantageous. It's also important to have a passion for music and an understanding of the industry, as well as strong communication and negotiation skills.


9. What is the future of the Music Supervision industry?

The future of music supervision and music licensing is rapidly changing with the rise of social media. The increasing popularity of user-generated content and self-publishing platforms have given more power to creators to make their own music choices.


As a result, the role of a music supervisor is becoming more limited to traditional forms of media such as TV, film, and advertising, where the music selection process is still largely managed by professionals.


With the growth of digital platforms, it is becoming easier for content creators to find and license music for their projects easily with a sync licensing library, containing a collection of pre-licensed music.


Therefore although the demand for music supervision and licensing services will continue in traditional media, the industry is likely to see a shift towards a more decentralized model as content creators gain more control over their music choices.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the career of a Music Supervisor is one that requires passion for music, the ability to form connections and relationships, and an understanding of the music licensing process.


As discussed, Music Supervisors are responsible for handpicking the perfect songs for movies, TV shows, and commercials, as well as obtaining necessary licenses to use music in media.


In order to become a successful Music Supervisor, it is necessary to build your own brand and network by attending events, joining music supervision guilds, and creating a portfolio website.


The job requires most music supervisors have both creative and communication skills, as well as a deep understanding of the music industry. If you feel ready to put your musical knowledge on full display and pursue a job as a music supervisor, we wish you all the best!


Or, if you are content with remaining a hardcore music fan, and not pursuing the role, we hope you will subscribe to this blog to stay up-to-date with the latest in music and trends.


Until next time!



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