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How to get a job doing music for commercials?
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ianvargo
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#1
30th April 2009
Old 30th April 2009
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How to get a job doing music for commercials?

I'm wondering how the business of doing music for television commercials is run... I've been watching commercials for companies such as apple, honda, and several others that have really great music. Are there advertising firms that have a staff songwriter and studio workers that work for the bigger companies that get hired for doing these jobs?

If anyone knows how this business works, even if they can't get me a job haha, let me know, I've been very curious. Is looking for a job at an Ad firm the way to go?
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30th April 2009
Old 30th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianvargo View Post
I'm wondering how the business of doing music for television commercials is run... I've been watching commercials for companies such as apple, honda, and several others that have really great music. Are there advertising firms that have a staff songwriter and studio workers that work for the bigger companies that get hired for doing these jobs?

If anyone knows how this business works, even if they can't get me a job haha, let me know, I've been very curious. Is looking for a job at an Ad firm the way to go?
It all depends on the commercial, but I assume you are talking about the pop songs you hear. Often this music is submitted to ad agencies and their clients by music supervisors or the agency has it's own music supervisor. With the competitive nature of the music business, unless you are a well established artist, you may be paid as little as $100 to license your song, but if you own your own publishing, you can do well on residuals for network play.
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ianvargo
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30th April 2009
Old 30th April 2009
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Great Post

Exactly what I wanted to know. How difficult and expensive would it be to put myself in charge of publishing? Would that involve starting my own LLC? Also, if I wanted to work for one of the Ad agencies, what's the best way to get in contact with them (resume, reel?), and what are these notable agencies and where can I find a directory of some sort? Thanks!
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30th April 2009
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Originally Posted by ianvargo View Post
Exactly what I wanted to know. How difficult and expensive would it be to put myself in charge of publishing? Would that involve starting my own LLC? Also, if I wanted to work for one of the Ad agencies, what's the best way to get in contact with them (resume, reel?), and what are these notable agencies and where can I find a directory of some sort? Thanks!
Not to be discouraging, but getting in touch with a human at an advertising agency takes a lot of persistence. They don't really answer phones anymore, you have to leave voicemail . . . and they don't really return calls. If they do they'll want you to send a reel. This field is full of very big music houses that already have a lengthy track record, especially when it comes to national commercials like the ones you mentioned.

Here's a list of the top US agencies by revenue The Top Advertising Agencies and Media Agencies in the US : advertising and marketing profile at Adbrands.net

If you want to get into the field I'd spend my time contacting established music houses and see if you can get a position there to get some cred.

Hope that isn't too bleak.
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1st May 2009
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Originally Posted by jimlongo View Post
Hope that isn't too bleak.
You were being nice Jim.....

Seriously nice.

A music house is the way to go. With as much money as is riding (and costing_) on commercials, the last thing they will do is hire an unknown. Actually, standard procedure is to hire (or at least put out the call) to several top music houses and then pick and choose from the lot. It's a rough, tough, cuthroat business. But one that still pays well if you can make it in. For some reason, the phrase "sell your soul" keeps poking into my head everytime I think about this....
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1st May 2009
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Cool

Back in the mid-80's I worked for a broadcast music company as a line producer. The practice back then for a commercial or TV show theme was the prospective client would put out a call for a track and give the specifications. We would notify the 20 or so composers in our stable and they would submit their demos. The boss would select the three or four best to submit to the client. If we got the contract my job was to sit in the studio with the composer and engineer. Most of the time all I had to do was nod and say "sounds good", although on occasion I would make suggestions.

The same scenario applied when we did stuff for news programs, but as the line producer I was in charge of producing - off of the original demo - all of the dozens of various intros, bumpers, donuts and other variations on the theme (sports, weather, fluff, news alerts, etc.).

It's been a long time; is it much different now?
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1st May 2009
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thanks!

I appreciate your guys honesty, although I know I could do great work, I don't expect to get something right out of the gate. I decided to continue schooling so worst case scenario, I could teach audio at an art school or something, but I would love to work on commercials, I think my style would fit right in with what's happening right now. I am going to send out emails, and deliver resumes and reels to as many firms as I can, because it won't hurt right? Thanks again!
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3rd May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
You were being nice Jim.....

Seriously nice.

A music house is the way to go. With as much money as is riding (and costing_) on commercials, the last thing they will do is hire an unknown. Actually, standard procedure is to hire (or at least put out the call) to several top music houses and then pick and choose from the lot. It's a rough, tough, cuthroat business. But one that still pays well if you can make it in. For some reason, the phrase "sell your soul" keeps poking into my head everytime I think about this....
I think you are also being too nice!

Many music houses don't even pay for demo's these days. They have such a glut of music and composers at their disposal, not to mention their back catalog of unused demos to recycle. The "canned" music libraries are getting quite good and are cheap - tuogh for music houses to compete with that. It's also more than likely these days that if you do place a piece of music, you can say goodbye to any rights to it. Unless you're Sting or Feist...

Take a deep breath, check your ego (and soul) at the door, and dive in. Make a reel and start shopping music houses and ad agencies. It doesn't hurt to have drinking buddies at the agencies either.

Oh yeah, join AFM, and AFTRA if you sing (or SAG - can't remember which one), so you can collect your residuals.

Why, here's an opportunity now - don't blink - you might miss it!

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/post-...c-library.html
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8th November 2013
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Many of those companies are just buying music from microstock libraries these days. There really is no money or glamour in having your music in a commercial these days.

The song in this video was licensed for $85 from a microstock (royalty free) site. It was used by Suzuki for a car commercial:

pub Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 2013 [HQ] - Vidéo Dailymotion
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8th November 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Many of those companies are just buying music from microstock libraries these days. There really is no money or glamour in having your music in a commercial these days.

The song in this video was licensed for $85 from a microstock (royalty free) site. It was used by Suzuki for a car commercial:

pub Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 2013 [HQ] - Vidéo Dailymotion
I don't know if there was ever glamour, besides the dog and pony show (exotic mustards, rent-a-chef sushi, Fiji waters all around, etc), but there's still A LOT of money to be made. I fear you generalize, sir. No money? That's ridiculously untrue.
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8th November 2013
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Originally Posted by VitaEtMusica View Post
I don't know if there was ever glamour, besides the dog and pony show (exotic mustards, rent-a-chef sushi, Fiji waters all around, etc), but there's still A LOT of money to be made. I fear you generalize, sir. No money? That's ridiculously untrue.
Sounds good. Thanks.
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8th November 2013
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There's no money in it, if you sell your music for tens of dollars on a royalty free site, that would allow a large corporation to use it that cheap, and also get no backend royalties as well. The person to blame in that scenario is the composer, for agreeing to such a bad deal. I haven't had huge success with commercials, but I have definitely made much more than $85 off of songs that were only used on radio ads.
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8th November 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Many of those companies are just buying music from microstock libraries these days. There really is no money or glamour in having your music in a commercial these days.

The song in this video was licensed for $85 from a microstock (royalty free) site. It was used by Suzuki for a car commercial:

pub Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 2013 [HQ] - Vidéo Dailymotion
Why do you keep jumping into topics related to library music, micro stock libraries and putting out a negative unrealistic idea of things?

You've brought a topic from 2009 back from the dead just to voice your opinion.

There is a lot of money in music for commercials. I've paid my share of rent some months just from a demo fee.
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8th November 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Why do you keep jumping into topics related to library music, micro stock libraries and putting out a negative unrealistic idea of things?

You've brought a topic from 2009 back from the dead just to voice your opinion.

There is a lot of money in music for commercials. I've paid my share of rent some months just from a demo fee.
Sounds good. Thanks.
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8th November 2013
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Until the next 'how do I get into scoring commercials' thread, here's a discussion we had a few weeks ago.

Music for commercials
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8th November 2013
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Originally Posted by 007 View Post
Until the next 'how do I get into scoring commercials' thread, here's a discussion we had a few weeks ago.

Music for commercials
Isn't that the same thread where the guy asked for advice and people ostracized him for trying to steal work from them?
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8th November 2013
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Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Isn't that the same thread where the guy asked for advice and people ostracized him for trying to steal work from them?
I don't know, is it?
I'm just providing another source of info for the guy.
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8th November 2013
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I'm just providing another source of info for the guy.
Good deal.
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7th December 2013
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Good stuff and my god I do hate it when you ask a simple question and it blows up to something nothing of which you asked lol. Thankfully someone was nice enough to explain in detail of how they made it not come in and say "YOU CANT, YOU CANT YOU CANT YOU CANT, IT HARD YOU WONT MAKE IT, NOPE NO NO NO"

I would've shut the thread down instantly with all the negativity lol.
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8th December 2013
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It's a rapidly dwindling money making business unfortunately. Used to be able to get 6 figure fees for large campaigns, now you are luck to get 7k for HUGE spot… not to mention demo fees have shrunk to the price of a carton of smokes….
A lot of these music houses have killed the art form and composer, providing a one-stop shopping place for a lot of agencies, or tv producers, (the elias's etc…), which is why we hear a lot of the same dribble over and over, and the composer probably gets 7$. you CAN make money, it's just a lot different now then it was even 5-8 years ago. It's bleak, takes perseverance, and you have to be good… It can be a fun art form to work on.
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8th December 2013
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Originally Posted by ianvargo View Post
I appreciate your guys honesty, although I know I could do great work, I don't expect to get something right out of the gate. I decided to continue schooling so worst case scenario, I could teach audio at an art school or something, but I would love to work on commercials, I think my style would fit right in with what's happening right now. I am going to send out emails, and deliver resumes and reels to as many firms as I can, because it won't hurt right? Thanks again!
That's the spirit! You could teach, if learning is not your thing, right?
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8th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sanchez View Post
It all depends on the commercial, but I assume you are talking about the pop songs you hear. Often this music is submitted to ad agencies and their clients by music supervisors or the agency has it's own music supervisor. With the competitive nature of the music business, unless you are a well established artist, you may be paid as little as $100 to license your song, but if you own your own publishing, you can do well on residuals for network play.
Are Post Haste Media and Post Haste Music the same company?
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9th December 2013
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Most music that is placed in commercials, TV Ads, Movie Trailers, and just about any other advertising campaign isn't by a house composer or anybody at an advertising firm. In fact the ad agencies pretty much jut cut the picture. Most music comes from "Production Music Companies" specializing in this type of music. Whether it be Orchestra, Hip Hop, Pop or any other genre.

To answer the other question about being in charge of your own or whatever, it can be very difficult at first. Most of these Advertisement Agencies already have to much music at their disposal and really don't accept new music unless it's certain times of the year, and if you miss it it's gone. If you're music is really good however it'll eventually be used, if it can sell.

The best way to get your music placed however is to have a distributor do it. There are several companies that take the music production music companies do and distribute it to these ad agencies. That's how my company works. The more distributors the better.

So, it's not hard it's just long and tedious. Hope this helps!

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9th December 2013
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Whatever music you do, try to become friends of producers or directors. Wether they do music videos or short films, some of them will do TV commercials in some time. it happened to me, i was friend of a director of photography for music videos (Madonna, Peter Gabriel etc...) who became director of Tv Commercials and won a few times BEST DIRECTOR in Europe and US. I did the music for his early TV ads and it kick started my career, and with word of mouth, different producers and production companies asked me to work for them. I did about 70 TV ADS in seven years and none because of an agency.
In the meantime I kept on sending my CV and showreel to a few music agencies, TV AD agencies, Composers agencies, but none would reply. Many of them have 10-20 in-house composers and in total less credits than me... but the downside of all that is that every month i still have to wait for that phone call and there is no certainty. It's not a steady monthly income...
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