"It's easy to find the sound of a brand; Nike has one, Crayola has one, people don't think Tide has a sound, but it does," said JT Griffith, music supervisor for Nike, at the "Cash for Songs: Insider Secrets of Music Placement" panel at South by Southwest on Thursday. The trick for artists to get their songs licensed, he said, was to submit tracks that fit with the brand.
The panel was moderated by Sherry Orson (owner of MCM Songs USA) and composed of Griffith, Amy Rosen (GREY NYC), John Anderson (director of film/tv/media at ole Songs/Honeypot) and Ryan Fitch (music producer at Saatchi & Saatchi), and focused largely on how artists can send concise, targeted pitches to music supervisors without getting lost in the clutter.
"You have to look to see what we're working on and be smart about how you send stuff," said Fitch. "See what brands we represent, look at our ads on YouTube. Most brands have a vibe that sticks."
The panelists mostly addressed the age-old question of how to pitch a person who receives countless submissions per day -- with the answer falling somewhere between conciseness, pop-culture buzz words, sass, and personalization. Name-dropping other musicians an artist may have worked with -- whether on tour or on record -- also turns heads, while simple practices such as putting contact information into the metadata of an .mp3 are hugely important but often overlooked ("a five-year-old can do it, but somebody who is trying to make money won't," said Griffith).
Ultimately, music producers are just looking for the right fit for a brand, usually with an upbeat or positive track, whether with lyrics or not. "Advertising is all about the creation of feeling," said Rosen. "Advertisers are frequently trying to make people feel good about themselves subliminally."