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Music In Advertising: Top Tips from Deutsch’s Dave Rocco

Here’s what we learned in another info-packed session with SVP / Music Director Dave Rocco of Deutsch, a major ad agency, about how to improve placement of music in advertising. Dave works on 10 to 20 commercials at one time.


L-R: Patricia Bahia, Mary Bee, Molly Bohas, Tommy Dearth, Kyle Magner, Dave Rocco, Kat Pawlak, Tess Taylor, Adrian Noriega, Will Ventres, Junhao Cui, Vivaswan Legend. Kneeling: Elliot Jaillet, on screen: Jessica Holmick (from Australia). Not pictured: Cliff Anderson (Boston) — at SAE Institute Los Angeles. © 2015 NARIP, All rights reserved.


1. To work with major ad agencies, composers of original music need Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance. This indemnifies the agency and brand against infringement allegations and legal action (legal action with Marvin Gaye / Robin Thicke / Pharell, Sam Smith). People see brands as a large checkbook, and E&O protects them.

2. “You won’t get onto my search list until I know your stuff,” says Dave. He suggests doing a few things “for free” (you would of course be paid if any music is used). This enables him to see how quickly you respond, how
closely you follow the brief or feedback, and if you’re super easy to work with. This paves the way to getting on his search list and to paid work.

3. Reference “sounds like” is great. Genre is OK, but specific artist / song reference is better.

4. Dave suggests pitching creative directors at ad agencies when a music supervisor there is hard to reach, they get far less music and can be receptive and influential.

We also learned:

1. What to send, what NOT to send
2. How to stay Top of Mind with a busy music supervisor
3. How vocal performances on in music in commercials qualify for royalties
4. Does it matter if a song has been placed in film or TV before pitching
an ad agency for a brand campaign?
5 The structure of music in advertising and the high points to hit.
6. If Dave were a publisher or master owner, this is what he would do to
get his music placed.
7. Favorite thid party licensing houses

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Sources For More Info

Dave Rocco Linkedin Profile