Music supervisors with a twist

Ruth Simmons
October 15, 2019

I am literally in the middle of writing a job spec for a new Music Supervisor. My last supervisor (who was, BTW, brilliant) recently got head hunted by a major music publisher. She is not the first of my staff to be enticed away after a lengthy education process. We have had many star pupils, some of whom are now Heads of Sync. So we are always excited to look for new talent.

Looking back at previous ads for Music Supervisors, I read: ‘must have deep music knowledge and an ability to build a relationship with the rights holders’. This description simply does not cut it today.

In times gone by rights holders (RH) relied on music supervisors for their sales pipe. Today, they have set up their own ‘Music Supervision’ departments – read ‘sales and marketing’ – that offer music from their own catalogues and supply it as free research. Worse still is that some RH are trying to cut out the middle man who made them aware of the campaign activity in the first place. Not nice – you know who you are!

There are also TV producers who used to have favourite music suppliers and briefed accordingly. Today they are spread betting the same enquiry across as many music supervisors as they have in their contacts. It can get a bit cut throat when music supervisors discover they are competing with each other after they have sent in their ideas or, worse, have been led to believe they have been contracted to negotiate a license.

But this isn’t a blog about what is wrong. It’s a blog about opportunity. None of the above “developments” alters what is still inherently weak in the current system. And when things get broken you look at the ‘blue ocean’ and see where to do something new.

Disturbing trends in the Cannes Effectiveness Lions

So I was delighted when Simon Cook, Managing Director of Cannes Lions, said this year that “Cannes Effectiveness Lions are a striking correlation between world class creatives and commercial”. My sense is that this introduction of a new award is not a coincidence. Brands are now discovering that a campaign may be visually brilliant but simply doesn’t work commercially and doesn’t sell product.

We all recognise that music can change everything that we see and understand in a visual.  But because of the way music has historically fitted into campaign production schedules as a last-minute consideration, ads are rarely tested with consumers until six months after the first airdate. This is a long time to wait to discover the music isn’t resonating with the customer. In this day and age this is ridiculous. You should – and can – know which tracks will actually resonate with your target market and why before you go to air.

As part of our music supervision process we can now provide comprehensive scores, generated by our AI platforms, for marketers and others to understand how their audio creative choices stack-up and make fast, informed decisions from the get go. Then we can explore availability and costs. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

My Job Spec now reads:

soundlounge are looking for a bright person who loves their music to join our new Neuro-Music Supervision Team. Applicants should have an eclectic knowledge of music, but are also curious to understand trends, why music works and how. And we will still teach you how to license music. Interested? Then give me a call. It’s the future of music supervision.

All enquiries to Ruth Simmons –