Ryan Fitch’s How To Pitch Music Tip Sheet

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Editor’s Note: Ryan will speak to our group in London on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. For more details and to register now, click here.

© 2011 Ryan Fitch for NARIP. All rights reserved.

Pitching music for advertising is like playing the lottery. Here are some tips of things you can do to increase your odds.

General Stuff:

  • Only represent and pitch awesome music. Average, generic, boring tracks are rarely licensed.
  • Advertisers love upbeat, light, quirky, contemporary music that doesn’t take itself too seriously (or come across too self-important). Sad, depressing songs don’t help sell stuff.

Pitching On Briefs

  • Pay close attention to the brief and only pitch songs that are relevant. You are more respected if you don’t have anything to pitch than if you pitch stuff that is off brief.   If we get tracks off brief from people on a regular basis we stop calling them.
  • Make sure to have instrumental versions handy for all your songs and to even have the Pro-tool session files available in case they are needed.
  • When sending multiple tracks, send everything at once. Post your files as a zip folder with your name (or company name) as part of the folder file name.
  • Make sure your contact information can easily be found in the meta-data of the song… and not deep in the meta-data. The more obvious the better.
  • If a rough cut of a spot is available to look at during the briefing stage, try editing your songs to it and include quick-times with the ones you think work best in your pitch. It amazes me how many people don’t do this.  At the end of the day, working to film is what it’s all about.  If you can show somebody how great your track works in context of the film it has a better likelihood of being chosen.
  • If there’s a certain section of your song that you feel works best and really needs to be heard, be sure to make clear reference to it (and include timing).
  • Don’t be offended if you don’t hear back from the person to whom you pitch. Generally, no news means either there’s no news or what you sent doesn’t work.  It’s OK to follow up after a few weeks but don’t be too overzealous with follow up.

No Brief (Unsolicited Pitching)

  • If you pitch a new song or artist and it’s not being sent for a specific brief make sure to keep your email short with one click to hear the music.  Anything that takes longer than :30 seconds to digest will probably be passed on and deleted.
  • Be smart. Be aware of what certain brands are doing. If you notice a certain brand generally using a certain style of music that you think you represent then send your tracks to the appropriate people.
  • It’s OK to email a few times a month to stay on someone’s radar but don’t over email to the point of being annoying.
  • Don’t be offended if supervisors don’t email back. Music supervising / producing is a stressful and busy gig. Not hearing back doesn’t mean we didn’t listen to your music.

 Other music qualities I usually look for:

  • Does the music have the right tonality and feel right against the film?
  • Are there enough sections in the music track to edit appropriately to the film?   Also, is the tempo and pacing right to work with hitting the picture in the right places and to build the right way with the story?
  • What do the lyrics say?  Is it distracting from the announcer and other dialog in the spot?  Would an instrumental be better?
  • Who controls the master and publishing?  How hard would it be to clear for our budget?


About Ryan Fitch

As one of Saatchi & Saatchi’s most seasoned and gifted music producers, Ryan Fitch has spent the last 7 years integrating music into TV, radio and interactive campaigns for top global brands like Procter & Gamble, JCPenney, Miller, General Mills and Cadbury among others. Conservatory-trained and an avid fan of all music genres, Ryan has both the unique ability for finding that “perfect song” for his clients and the business savvy to close deals, whether it’s with a major work, such as John Lennon’s “Real Love” or music from an obscure indie artist. A lifelong musician with more than 16 years of experience in the music industry and an extensive background in audio engineering and digital audio workstations, Ryan understands the creation of music in today’s landscape on every fundamental level. During his tenure, Saatchi New York has earned several distinguished awards, including the prestigious Cannes award for Agency of the Year. Ryan was also named one of the “Top Music Ad Agency Executives” by the National Association of Record Industry Professionals.