Review of NARIP’s Music Supervisor Session with VH1’s Paul Logan.
Okay, so you want to place music on TV shows such as Basketball Wives, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Couples Therapy, and Single Ladies. But you don’t know how. What do you do?
Come to a NARIP Music Supervisor Session (MSS)!
A NARIP MSS is a unique opportunity to pitch music to the people responsible for the use of music in television, film, and other commercial programming. Increasingly, placement is how creators and publisher earn income from music as CD sales decrease and digital piracy robs them of fair pay.
These small sessions—limited to 16 people—guarantee your music will be heard, receive valuable feedback, and possibly get placed on the spot. These sessions also enable you to develop a direct connection and personal relationship with the music supervisor. Having a relationship of trust is an open door for many years to come.
Each session may be a little different based on the music supervisor’s needs and preferences but here are some of the highlights I observed when artists and publishers pitched to Paul Logan of VH1:
- Multiple Placement Opportunities. Since VH1 and MTV are sister channels, owned by Viacom, music supervisors from each channel exchange information… and music. Paul was so impressed by the preparation and production quality of the songs submitted that he decided to share all of them with all the music supervisors at VH1 *AND* those working at MTV. Think of the increased opportunity to be heard and licensed out of just one session!
- Songs Placed and Feedback. Paul was able to decide within seconds that many songs would work well for the upcoming seasons of Hit the Floor (previously named Bounce), Couples Therapy, Mafia Wives, Single Ladies, and Basketball Wives. Many tracks that didn’t fit needed minor tweaks and if the writers or producers are willing to take ten minutes in a studio to change what is needed, Paul said he could most likely find a place for them. People who did not appear to have the right songs were told why, what makes the song more or less useable, and how they could get another chance to pitch to him.
- VH1’s Preferences. VH1 wants music with strong lyrics, choruses and hooks that can be featured. Paul encouraged people to get to the lyrics and the chorus fast (short intros are preferred). For featured placement VH1 wants clear vocals, and he suggested to several participants to cut back on vocal effects. Instrumentals are welcome too. VH1 wants to increase the number of cues in the underscore beds.
- Relevance is Important. Sometimes we just need reminders about timeliness, audience, and lyric subject matter. MTV is a bit more relaxed about when a song was released, but Paul says that for featured uses VH1 prefers music that is less than one year old (release dates don’t matter with instrumentals, however). Lyrically, when words are more general, then the possibilities for placement increase. If lyrics are too literal, sometimes this is awkward and doesn’t resonate as well. For placement purposes, being literal is always a good idea but artists shouldn’t shy away from this for their own purposes. Additionally, knowing the show content, the audience demographics, and the music used in past episodes will help determine if your material is a relevant to their shows. You can research shows, credits and music from previous seasons and episodes on the Web sites of most major networks.
- Lastly, on how to reach out to Paul or VH1. Respect and building a relationship is key. Email is best to submit songs (he likes a “paper trail”) but please don’t email too often. No attachments please (“we have limited server space!”). Non-expiring links are preferred that have a preview function before downloading. Paul likes box.com and enjoys CDs—he has an affinity for album art and likes to be able to read credits and liner notes.Sometimes he won’t use music for many months. Ideally, after sending music he will reach out to you. Occasional check-ins are fine (every 2-3 months) to ask what his current music needs are and send links to new music you have that might fit his needs.
These are just a few tips from NARIP’s Music Supervisor Session with Paul Logan at VH1 and each supervisor session will be a little different—but not much. Listen to the entire pitch session to better understand how to get your music placed in TV and film to make money. To download the recording of NARIP’s session in its entirety at NARIP.com, just click here.
Be sure to check back to NARIP.com to read about more upcoming NARIP events and NARIP Music Supervisor Sessions!
About Paul Logan
Paul Logan has 7 years across VH1 and MTV in both the Los Angeles and New York offices. He is currently a Creative Music Integration Manager at VH1 in Santa Monica, implementing featured music placements for a wide range of programming. Current projects include Basketball Wives, Black Ink Crew, and the upcoming scripted series, Hit the Floor. Other credits include the Single Ladies movie and series, Couples Therapy, Basketball Wives LA, Chrissy & Mr. Jones, Styled By June, Baseball Wives, Saddle Ranch, Beverly Hills Fabulous, Audrina, and others. Paul’s previous experience includes Music & Talent Relations at MTV and Music Marketing at VH1.
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Written by Jonathan Roberts for NARIP.com, © NARIP 2013
About the Author
Jonathan Roberts is a music blogger, vocal industry personality, entertainment event host, and insatiable singer. Through his Web site ILoveToSing.com, he has set out to explore every corner of the singing world.