How To Get Songs Placed On TV And In Movies

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Last weekend at the ASCAP Music Expo at the Loews Hollywood Hotel I attended the Music Supervisor panel containing 5 music supervisors who actively place music in film and television.

Over the course of my career, I’ve had about 30 TV placements (20 in the last year from my new record). I’ve gotten songs placed on high profile shows that are known for their music, like One Tree Hill and shows you’ve never heard of, where music is very much “background,” like Friendzone. And everything in between.

And I’ve also been 1 week away from having a song on So You Think You Can Dance. Contracts were signed. The only problem was, the contestant who was going to dance to my song got bumped. Balls.

There is no one way to get music placed on TV (or in film). In addition to how I’ve gone about it, I’ve spoken with many of my musician friends who make livings on song placements about this.

Music Supervisor

According to the Guild of Music Supervisors, the definition/role of a music supervisor is defined as:

“A qualified professional who oversees all music related aspects of film, television, advertising, video games and any other existing or emerging visual media platforms as required.”

Music supervisors are the actual people who take the cues from the producers and director when the “picture is locked” and underscore the picture with songs. The composer underscores the picture with original, scored compositions written specifically for that scene.

Sometimes (most of the time) music supervisors use the instrumental version and most of the time it’s just a small snippet of the song (however, now I have to brag a bit, One Tree Hill used all 3:43 of my song – words and music. But that’s very rare).

On the ASCAP panel sat Rebecca Rienks, who currently places music for E! (you know those promo montage spots that always seem to have Ryan Seacrest looking… Seacresty); Holly Hung, who primarily places music in film trailers; Jeff Gray just finished a feature film; Lindsay Wolfington (who placed me in One Tree Hill), mostly works on TV shows; and the moderator, Jason Kramer, is a music supervisor at Elias Arts, a music production company that specializes in original music composition and sound design for TV, films and commercials. Kramer is also a host on Los Angeles’ KCRW.

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They rapped for just over an hour about what types of music they look for, day to day challenges (mainly dealing with producers who say stuff like “can you make this more purple?”) and showed us some of the spots they’ve placed music in.

“As long as it fits and tonally hits everything that it needs to hit, it doesn’t matter if it’s an indie band, somebody not signed, somebody just dropped, if it works it works.” – Holly Hung, Music Supervisor

Hung told a story about working on a trailer for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  She said they had a Coldplay song as temp music and she spent 3 weeks looking for a replacement for it. She scoured iTunes and found a band who had just gotten dropped by their label and the singer was currently working at Starbucks. She used the song and the band got $80,000 for the placement.

Getting Music To The Music Supervisors

As you can imagine, music supervisors get inundated with emails from people wanting their music placed. Be it musicians, licensing companies, publishing companies, managers or just fans of the supe (that’s short for music supervisor – and yes they have fans), supes can get overwhelmed and are very picky about HOW they will take submissions.


There’s no correct way to get music placed, but there are a few incorrect ways. All supes on the panel said do not attach mp3s to an email. It clutters up their inbox and will go directly to the trash (and your email will probably get blocked).

How To Get Your Email Opened

Hung said to put who you sound like in the subject line. Like “Sounds like Coldplay.” Keep the body short and to the point and only send the songs that make sense for the project that supe is working on. So, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Do not send your tear-jerker ballad to Rienks who needs upbeat, fun, exciting music for her E! spots.

How To Get Your Song Listened To

In the email, include links to where the song can be quickly listened to (without having to be downloaded) where there is ALSO an option to download it if they want to use it. Also, directly below the song, include a link to the instrumental.

Wolfington mentioned that she loves (unlike Dropbox) will open a window with a player and it has a download link in the upper right hand corner. Very convenient.

Do not include links to ALL of your music. Send the best 1-3 songs that will work for that supe’s current project.

If the supe wants more of your music, she’ll ask.

In the email, it may help to list a couple distinctive adjectives below each song or key lyrics. Like:

“Cold Water”
epic, explosion at end,
key lyrics: “I will find the artist inside me”
full wav: link to
instrumental wav: link to

And yes, always upload .wavs. Not mp3s. If the supe wants to experiment with your song in the spot, she isn’t going to want to have to REEDIT in the wav once she realizes it’s a low-quality mp3.

Licensing Companies

If you don’t have a publishing company, there are companies out there who solely pitch music to music supervisors. Unlike publishing companies, they do not own any part of your song. Similarly, though, they will not go hunt down your mechanical royalties around the world for you (like publishing companies will).

Some will take a back-end percentage of your performance royalties (like from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN), and others won’t. Some will work with you non-exclusively and others (the more established ones) will require you to work exclusively with them.

Typically licensing companies will take about 30-50% of the total sync fee and 30-50% of the back-end performance royalties.

Getting Paid

All network TV shows have a budget for music. Most higher profile cable TV shows have a budget for music. Most reality shows have a very tiny budget for music and will not pay you for the placement unless they have to.

Network TV shows will typically pay $3,000+ (depending on the spot and your level of clout). Cable TV shows will typically pay $750+ and reality shows on cable mostly pay indie artists nothing. Movies, trailers and commercials typically pay the most: $20,000+.

But these are very loose numbers. I’ve heard of major label artists getting $30,000 for a cable show and indie bands making $80,000 for a trailer.

Before you breakout the pitchforks for the reality TV show producers, you won’t NOT get paid EVER for these spots, you just won’t get paid up front. Meaning, many of these shows will ask you for the rights to place your music for free, knowing that you’ll make back-end songwriter/publisher performance royalties from your PRO (Performing Rights Organization – ASCAP, BMI, etc). If you get a bunch of these kinds of placements, they can really add up. It just takes about 9-18 months to see that check, though. These shows also (to compensate for their lack of payment) do a decent job of maximizing the band’s exposure. Most shows have an entire music section on their websites that list all music from each episode with links to iTunes and Spotify and to the bands’ websites. The Real World also puts the name of the song and the artist on the screen while the song is playing.

So, it’s not completely free. It can be pretty decent exposure.

And hey, if you don’t want to let them use your song for free, there is no one forcing you to.

Also worth noting, you don’t make any performance royalties when the movies are shown in theaters. There’s no legitimate reason why. It’s one of those messed up parts of the music business.

Pay To Submit Companies

There are companies like, and who charge you to submit to music supervisors (oh you also have pay to become a member) for consideration. openly admits that only 6% of their artists get some kind of deal (who knows how many paid submissions they already submitted). But one of the music supervisors on the panel (I’ll withhold who) when asked about these companies, said, “it’s bad business.”

I’ve never actually heard of anyone getting a placement through these services. If you have PLEASE post it in the comments.

You have to see it from the supe’s perspective. They want music from people they trust, like licensing companies, publishing companies and musicians who they have a relationship with. Not some service that pushes out music where the only barrier for entry is a fee.

How To Get In The Door

Now that you know HOW to submit, how do you know WHO to submit to? Well, simple, do your research. The first handful of placements I got were from watching TV shows, noting the kind of music they used, looking at who the music supervisor was (they’re always listed in the ending credits – or on IMDB), Googling a bit to find their email, and cold emailing. Actually, I tweeted Lindsay Wolfington my song for One Tree Hill.

They’re all mostly on Twitter too.

Above all DO NOT SPAM them. This is a quick way to get blacklisted and blocked. Be polite and respectful. Make sure your emails are short and to the point.

If you don’t get a response don’t think they’re not interested. Wolfington mentioned that she puts all of these emails in a folder and when she’s looking for music, she sifts through the folder. So make sure your links don’t expire.

If you want to find a licensing company, there are a ton out there. Google around for a bit. Ask your friends who have gotten placements who they use. Check the credits of films to see who the song is “Courtesy of” – if it’s not a label, it’s most likely the licensing or publishing company.

I get asked all the time who are some good licensing companies out there, and the fact is, I don’t know all of them. I don’t know most of them. I’ve worked with a handful of them and have a few now who pitch me (non-exclusively), but it’s pointless for me to share this information because then the few licensing companies I know would get flooded by your emails. Do your research and find the company that’s the best fit for you.

Getting songs placed on TV shows and in movies is a highly sought after part of the music industry. Some musicians make their entire income off of it. Many companies do exclusively this. Like any avenue in the music industry, if you want to do well, you must put in the time necessary to master it. You can’t blast out 50 emails to 50 music supervisors and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It takes years of building up relationships, networking and trial and error. And again, DO NOT send out music that is not right for the show (or underdeveloped). That gives a bad name to all self-pitching artists. Every time a supe gets an email from an artist with shitty music or music that is completely different from what she places, she is less likely to open another email in the future. Don’t hurt your fellow independent musicians. Be respectful and be professional

70 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    “…you won’t NOT get paid EVER…”


    • DJ

      Makes perfect sense. He’s saying, that you will get paid eventually. It’s a double negative and technically grammatically correct.

      • Anonymous

        Even if it makes technical sense, it is a terribly constructed phrase. Here it is without the contraction and caps: “you will not not get paid ever”.

        • Anonymous

          The whole article was woefully badly-written, but I had no trouble with that particular contraction.

          • Memfis Cee

            it was written in a way that makes a perfect point…. I hope you’re sitting around nitpicking grammar while the rest of us are learning what we can from this extremely informative article and moving ourselves along

          • R.P.

            writing, in all essence, has no rules. your rules and conditions are archaic, and you are nothing to tell anyone any different.

          • Deeznu5z

            STFU! We’re musicians butt chunk. Not english teachers. I understood “won’t not get paid ever” kust damn fine. Your stupid sentence comfused me hahaha

  2. Jeff gray

    Thanks ari. I’ve used you music while I was at mtv as well. As for Taxi, for transparency, I am admittedly a screener for them sometimes and I can say for sure many placements and other successes have come from taxi submissions. There’s hundreds to thousands of submissions for taxi listings so you’ll most likely hear from all of those who don’t get opportunities vs. those who do but they will advertise successes if the member allows disclosure. The people that aren’t getting placements from taxi wouldn’t be getting placements on their own or with someone else pitching them. The biggest advantage is they are getting screened by persons who I know and trust to give good feedback and pitch music that does work, if anything taxi actually is a great middle person to clear some clutter from submissions on my desk etc. basically if your music works and belongs in programming it will most likely get noticed if you use taxi or pushed it on your own etc.

    • Ari Herstand

      Appreciate the comment Jeff! Well, there you have it!

      • Julia Trainor

        Yes, I agree with Jeff regarding Taxi. While I haven’t actually placed any songs from Taxi members, I’ve gotten close twice. Plus I have discovered two awesome composers from the service, and separate work by them has gone to finish.

    • Anonymous

      taxi sucks,.,, they web site is difficult and doesn’t work well. Broadjam is much better and if you submit to taxi months later you get not a match and $5 swindled out of you

  3. Indie dude

    “The people that aren’t getting placements from taxi wouldn’t be getting placements on their own or with someone else pitching them”

    That may be true in some cases but wasn’t in mine..I spent 2 years w/Taxi and had dispatch…I submitted to several opportunities and had 1 forward (no deal came of it) – I went off on my own and submitted to a handful of licensing companies and have almost 40 placements in the past two and a half years…some were reality shows..some major network shows..some indie films..some sports shows and on and on..normally I wouldn’t have posted this but to me the above quoted comment is offensive and very “general”.I know of others that have had the same experience,that’s not to say Taxi is bad…I guess it works for some and you CAN learn some stuff there (and I did) but would’ve learned all that stuff on my own eventually..and no I’m not posting my name,band name,placements but can assure you all of this is true..know that 🙂

    • Jeff Gray

      I didnt mean it to be offensive and it is a generalization that could be better clarified. More than likely if you’re not getting successes or at least getting to get submitted to a specific listing from Taxi (or other paid pitching services) it means you probably won’t have better success without them or with another service. I joined up with Taxi because I trust them and because I’m privy to the operation and it’s potential. I even was an early paid member once (long before they had additional fees for each submission), as a songwriter, just to see what they were about. I’m not even the greatest pitch person for Taxi because I always say if you live in a major city with active music business companies and events where you can network then maybe you don’t have to consider Taxi (or a similar service). For a songwriter who lives outside of major industry markets and doesnt have resources to get to network or attend trade shows etc then Taxi IS a pretty good way to get some feedback or even better get hooked up with some potential deals. I always recommend to people to include line items for paid services in their marketing strategies for themselves. If you don’t use that money for a pay to submit service then allocate it to other networking and pitching opportunities.

      I’m here to help people and if I don’t believe they can benefit from a paid service at the time I do not recommend they waste resources on it. So I’m not defending TAXI blindly or cheerleading; i’m telling you flat out what I think of them personally.

    • Musicmaker83

      Hi, if you have any tips on or care to share how and who you got placements through please respond to this or shoot me an email hope to hear from you soon.

    • mikemic

      my man how did u do this by yourself ? share the knowledge ?

  4. Eric Campbell

    I don’t think it’s fair to include in the list of “pay to submit” companies. While you are paying a little for (an extremely detailed) listing of opportunities (that comes directly from licensing companies, music supervisors and their own very deep relationships), the real value comes the paid A&R’s that screen your music and provide incredibly intelligent feedback. You can’t just pay to have your music submitted – it has to actually be good. Plus your membership includes free admission to one of the best music conferences I’ve ever been to. Most conferences (offering much less) cost up to twice as much as a TAXI membership.

    TAXI’s website is filled with success stories. I’m a member and know many of these successful members so I can attest that they’re authentic. I’ve placed songs with 2 really libraries as a result of TAXI submissions but there are TAXI members who’s successes are much more impressive than mine. I’ll try to get some of them to comment. But in the meanwhile, you can check here –

    • aliengtr

      obviously taxi troll, there s called experts are kids who don’t know sqwat and think justin beiber is cool. I have been doing music licensing for years and the biggest scam going is taxi .these guys are total scum making money off hopeful musicians. my rule is simple:NEVER NEVER NEVER PAY for any kind of review,placement, opportunity, this includes taxi sonic bids, these are vampire scum sucking on the blood of sap musicians who think they are going to make it big by paying.this rule has paid off in spades!!!!!!!!!! its kind of like a pay to play scam,only a fool would do that!!

  5. Anonymous

    How / where can you find contact listings for music supervisors?

    • Jeff Gray

      I’m going to actually defend myself here.

      The difference between me and “anonymous” is I’m not an ignorant chicken shit. If I have an opinion i’m not afraid to claim it and use my name. I’m not scared of repercussion or critique like “anonymous” is. They seem to think they know me / my business intimately and they are obviously frightened of me or how I could easily chew them up and spit them out. That’s why I’m not afraid to challenge morons who hide behind their titles but actual know LITTLE to NOTHING about the music business and insist everything is true because they say so cause they may have a higher title than me. The difference is almost anyone I’ve ever challenged has been “outed” by me as a charlatan or criminal or both and i’m hardly ever afraid to say it to their face or put my name on it. “Anonymous” on the other hand lives in fear and will never be as brave as me. I’m also not afraid to challenge oppression or stick up for myself hence the link to an article about a lawsuit I filed against a former employer. I’m not sure what was meant by posting that article about my lawsuit but it doesnt do anything but make it look like 2 people were working for and with some incompetent, ignorant, petty persons who may have been accurately described in various legal complaints.

      the comment calling me a “desk clerk” and “misrepresenting myself” shows the age and probably identity or associate identity of “anonymous”. Why? because I am smart and perceptive. Why I’m so smart and perceptive that I must have been misrepresenting myself in the music business for almost 15 years (over 30 years as a guitar player alone) and yet people keep asking me back or asking for help or asking my opinion. Obviously a fraud or misrepresented person like myself should have been outed and “found out” by now for sure right? Why doesnt anonymous care to give a detailed description of everything I’ve ever done or been involved with and show how why it’s been fraudulent. Is “anonymous” suggesting that ASCAP, The ASCAP EXPO, The Guild Of Music Supervisors (which one has to be vetted for membership) and even my fellow ASCAP Expo Panelists are unable to identify someone who’s a fraud or are willing to be associated with a fraud? I may not have extensive credits listed as a music supervisor but maybe “Anonymous” is ignorant to what music supervision is or what I’m capable of / have actually accomplished.

      stating that “Mr. Gray floats around ‘D-Level’ L.A. parties/circles with zero substance” is worthless. I ONLY go to parties or events I WANT to go to. So if it’s D level or even lower I don’t care; because I chose it. I don’t need to name drop or defend this statement explicitly. Just know that I get invited to LOTS of parties and industry events as a guest or even to speak and share my knowledge. I also don’t get invited to many events that others do. It doesnt offend me and shitting on something I want to attend or people I choose to associate with just shows how petty, ignorant, and out of touch “anonymous” is with the music business.

      I was at an A+ level event last night; I volunteered to help out the production and of course stayed after I finished my duties to attend as if I’m a paying/invited guest. I’ve been donating my time for this event and other events of this company for just over a decade. They treat me like a GUEST and always make sure I am welcome regardless if I volunteer or not. I’m valued for my past service and I value providing service to them for as long as I can. I personally measure my substance in the the people whom ask for my help, whom help me and whom specifically seek me out because they were told to or wanted to. When people I only have heard about or people I look up to come to me for help, allow me to ask them for help or want to know me it makes me feel good to know I’ve done something well. It’s a massive list of past, present, and future industry professionals and talent. My resume even includes a personal and professional reference from a multiple grammy winning american icon songwriter.

      I’m not above pushing papers, being a clerk and making spreadsheets; that’s part of the business. “Anonymous” sounds exactly like a specific individual I’ve had the displeasure of dealing with many times over the years. I can say for sure that person can barely operate a computer much less even attempt to navigate or understand the mundane process of paperwork involved in music licensing. They couldn’t even do the jobs I’ve done or am not above doing. The irony would be if that person called anyone a fraud.

      My credibility and character have been attacked for as long as I’ve been working in music professionally. I’ve been called a terrible songwriter/musician, dumb, stupid, ignorant, idealistic, not a “company man”, too much of a “company man”, a “know-it-all”, a “shit stirrer”, troublemaker, fraud, joke, complainer, liar, thief, cheater, creep, agitator, “thorn-in-the-side”, “bane of existence” etc. Every single person who’s ever called me any of these has done so because I stood my ground, defended myself or others, called out bullshit, bluffs, scams and serious mistakes, asked them to fix a problem they created, told them the truth or even tried to actually help them. You can probably assume “Anonymous” may fall in to one or more of the categories I listed.

      I don’t currently work on a hit TV show or have any credits in any films that have made over a million dollars (I think) but there’s good reasons I get asked to participate and bestow my knowledge, opinions and experiences to and for others. If you think I’m a fraud that’s ok; I wouldnt want you to work or deal with someone who obviously cannot be beneficial to you.

      • Lucas Crain

        Mr. Gray,
        I understand your frustration but this post seems a little defensive in my humblest of opinions. I don’t mean to criticize, in fact I applaud you for sticking up for yourself. However, In my experience, it has been better to let the cynical jealous folks talk all they want. Eventually, if you give them enough rope, they will hang themselves. Honestly, no one cares about what “anonymous’ says. Keep on doing what you do and let the chaff fall from the wheat.

      • Clout

        “I was at an A+ level event last night”

        Don’t be a twat

  6. ComposerGuy

    I’ve had LOTS of good success with Taxi… meaning that I’ve been forwarded to various music libraries, signed deals with those libraries and have received (and continue to receive) placements ranging from unscripted reality cable television to scripted major network programming from those libraries. I’ve had a few good results from Film Music Network… music library deals which ultimately resulted in placements and continuing placements. I’ve never done MusicXRay or Sonic Bids or Hit License.

    To me, the “red flag” companies are the ones that share their submission fees with the listing companies. Obvious huge conflict of interest and begging for corruption. Taxi doesn’t (I know for a fact), FMN doesn’t (as far as I’m aware), Hit License doesn’t (as far as I’m aware). I don’t know about MusicXRay or Sonic Bids. As an aside, limited, targeted submissions is the key. Submitting to tons of listings like a mass broadcast usually only results in a lot of submission fees.

    I’ve made the lions share of contacts through Taxi but that’s not only because of their listings but also because their forum and Taxi Rally (music conference). As far as I’m aware, they’re the only ones that put on a conference. It’s not on the scale of ASCAP but goes for three days, has 2000+ attendees and panelists like Diane Warren, Kara Dioguardi (or however its spelled), Jeff Steele, major label execs and reps/owners from some of the major libraries like 5-Alarm, Crucial, Megatrax, etc.

    The difference between submitting to some of these companies and just sending in music directly is the targeting. A library may indeed directly accept 40 tracks but if you’re submitting for a specific listing, a deal won’t be had if it doesn’t meet the (mostly) narrow, targeted requirements that the client set forth in the listing. And if a library is looking for something specific, you’d just have to luck out by randomly sending what they just happen to need. It can work both ways where a person gets in one way but not the other. Some of these companies serve a good purpose… to get the right music in for a specific need.

    Anyway, just saying they’re all “bad” is, well… a bit general and rather uninformed on the whole.

  7. Indie dude

    “How / where can you find contact listings for music supervisors?”
    you can try twitter…I haven’t had any luck finding direct email addresses…maybe someone else has?

  8. FauxMusicSupe

    So many wrongs here. Why are you telling people to upload WAVs instead of AIFs? WAVs don’t hold metadata when the data is edited in iTunes, which is what most musicians use to embed, so the Supe will have a hard time remembering who sent the song if it’s a WAV because the metadata will be wiped out. I think that’s something you should know if you’re writing articles to people as a trusted voice in music licensing.

  9. Anonymous

    @ reference to this –

    Mr. Gray floats around ‘D-Level’ L.A. parties/circles with zero substance. I highly doubt he’s Music Supervising anything. He’s a desk clerk at best – creating/examining excel sheets all day. His continuous misrepresentation of himself doesn’t surprise me a bit.

    I went to the link and read a bit about that network…you seem to have some info there…could you tell me if they file cue sheets? I had some good placements (that I heard) on that network and never saw a cue sheet or any $ – it’s possible a cue sheet will show up but after reading the article I’m starting to doubt it..has anyone else had any cue sheets filed by that network?

  10. Indie dude

    there it is under Anonymous (@ Anonymous) thanks..

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Quick note on that — we get a lot of complaints about delayed comments, but honestly it’s a necessary screening evil against spam. A huge percentage of spam comments have spam, so we just automatically hold comments with links in a review bay. Actually, usually they are pre-sorted and all we have to do is give a green light to legit comments, but everyone’s doing a million things.

      Anyway, at this point we have a pretty kick ass system against spam, which includes the simple math puzzle you see when entering a comment. I’d say we’ve eliminated 99.9% of spam that we were experiencing previously.

      So, in conclusion, thanks for the patience !

  11. Matt Harvey

    I’ve been with taxi for coming up 3 years, had a ton of forwards and signed numerous deals with publishers as a result. These have led directly to placements on MTV, European television, countless web uses for advertising and a regular pay check for wedding videos/corporate uses/videographers and the like, all of which now makes up a substantial part of my working life. Not to mention the knowledgable environment provided by the staff and other members. Maybe it doesn’t work for some, but it’s really worked for me so far and there are plenty of others who feel the same. Go to the road rally in November and find out the truth for yourself.

  12. CK Barlow

    I’ll chime in on the TAXI topic too. If I sound like an ad, sorry (I know all those folks – Matt, Barry, Jacqueline, Dave, Keith – and yeah, they’re real).

    I’m approaching something like 2,000 TV plays and a handful of ads, all due either to TAXI or people I’ve met through TAXI. Bear in mind that membership renewal is $300 for two years, so $150/yr – and two conf tickets come with that. From a business perspective, that’s a fairly small marketing spend. I rarely have time to submit at this point (b/c I’m writing for the opps I already have) unless I see a perfect match for an existing piece or a direct-to-supe listing, but I maintain my membership for the conference, the community and various other member perks.

    Their forum ( is for anybody, not just members, and it’s great. I had dinner with one of my publishers at NAB last month and he commented that he’s consistently impressed by the generosity of spirit that he finds unique to the TAXI community, and that from what he can tell, it ups everyone’s game.

    But ComputerGuy makes the best point re: the “sham” factor: If a company is splitting your submission fee with the listing client, ick. Run the other direction. It’s pretty simple logic that they’re putting the incentive in the wrong place.

  13. Indie dude

    Way too many taxi cheerleaders here…it’s starting to look fake guys..this seems to happen anywhere taxi is mentioned in a less than favorable light 🙁 it’s funny how the other companies mentioned aren’t sending in the troops…just saying…

  14. not a taxi fan

    fyi tried many times to comment and the captcha kept saying it was wrong so gave up. had some good info.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I haven’t seen this problem. Try checking your math? I don’t mean this insultingly, just sometimes people rush though and think ‘+’ is a ‘x’, etc. I’d be interested in knowing if there’s some bug that we’re not aware of, though.

  15. Eric Campbell

    Well, as far as fake goes, I think it says something that the “taxi cheerleaders” are not afraid to use their real names “indie dude” 🙂

    And yeah, I had the same issue yesterday with captcha saying I had the wrong result. I refreshed a couple of times and then tried again later.

    • Indie dude

      I’m not going to get into it with you “dude” but using your name and attaching yourself to Taxi isn’t the wisest thing to do IMHO…why would you pay someone to do something you can do on your own for free..and in my case a lot better…I know of one library (and a good one) that works w/taxi…i’m sure there’s a few more BUT every time I hear a MS interviewed about companies like taxi I hear the same thing mentioned in Ari’s article…and as far as my name goes? I’m too busy writing/recording and getting placements to post it and tangle with message board cowboys….I also have a rep to protect…I can speak the truth (as I see it) anonymously and that works for me…you might consider doing things that way as well if you’re in this for the long run 🙂

      • Me

        “…and as far as my name goes? I’m too busy writing/recording and getting placements to post it and tangle with message board cowboys”

        hahahahaha….yeah right. smoke another one.

  16. Me

    I can guarantee Indie dude is nowhere near making a living off of licensing. And it’s better to let the haters hate and let the others reap the benefits.

  17. Mike McCready - CEO Music Xray

    Hi Ari. Congratulations on your 30 placements. In order to have done that your music must be pretty good. I respect that you’re trying to impart some good “how to’s” and that you’re heart is in the right place.

    In 2013, over 4700 songs and bands were selected for opportunities on Music Xray. That included major label signings, many publishing deals, and many TV, film, and advertising placements. To not know of people who were placed through our company is to not click the “Success Stories” link on the site. In 2014 the site is averaging over 500 selections per month. That’s about 1 every hour and a half. Those a real opportunities. Ask some of these people:

    Music supervisors use Music Xray avidly. The site’s underlying technology such as music analysis software that automatically matches songs to opportunities, and our Needlestack Music Search, that harnesses the collective filtering power of over 1200 industry professionals is unprecedented. See how that works here:

    Citing a percentage of users that are successful on Music Xray (or any site) isn’t a valid statistic. It’s never a game of chance. Just like in the traditional method of getting placements, it’s about how good your music is and how appropriate it is for the opportunity at hand. What Music Xray does is guarantee your music is heard and considered by the people you submit to. No need for advice on how to increase the odds your email to a supervisor is opened. If your music is good and fits the opportunity, your chances are pretty good – but it’s still a competitive landscape. And even if your music is rejected for one opportunity, if it’s good music, the chances are pretty high it will be seen by other supervisors on Xray too.

    Additionally on Music Xray, even if your music isn’t selected, we’re still providing you with valuable feedback and a data-rich tracking page that is a first of it’s kind. See how that works here:

    Following your advice only feels free. You prescribe a lot of work that takes a lot of time and while musicians take that time they have to feed themselves and pay rent. It only feels free. Music Xray is less expensive and gets you to the ears of the people you submit to every time. Guaranteed. You can hit up 50 industry professionals before you go to bed tonight.

    Anyone who tells you that “It’s bad business” to deal with Music Xray is still uninformed. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the reality that other companies have muddied the waters because they often can’t (and in some cases never intended to) fulfill their promises. Musicians are understandably jaded and not all supervisors have keyed into us yet. It takes time but we’re adding about 30 per month. We’re selective. In April, like most months, we had over 200 industry professional account applications. We denied most of them. If we can’t verify their identity, their track record, and the authenticity of their opportunities we don’t let them in.

    Music Xray doesn’t compete with pay-to-submit websites. We compete with old school thinking, like this:


  18. ann

    I have a song I think would be great as a backing track in a movie who do i send it to . Any help would be great thanks

  19. Jeff Roe

    I noticed that Broadjam is not mentioned anywhere in this article or in the comments. Any thoughts on this licensing service?

  20. Michael Laskow

    There will always be music supervisors on every panel who have not used TAXI, and don’t really know what we do or how we do it. Because there are so many scammers and companies that claim to do what TAXI does, unfortunately, the supes who haven’t used TAXI yet may not know the difference.

    Guild of Music Supervisors founder and long time president, Maureen Crowe has used music she found through TAXI. So has John Houlihan, the current president of the Guild of Music Supervisors. TAXI has a one year, money back guarantee. We can’t perform miracles with music that isn’t strong enough yet or targeted at the right pitches, but we DO deliver the most ethical service of our type in the industry.

    I often wonder why people still publish stories questioning TAXI’s capabilities when there is so much credible and easy-to-find evidence out there. Ari, why don’t you come to the TAXI office and find out for yourself? And while you’re here, let’s have you as a guest on an episode TAXI TV!

    In the meantime, click these links to see what kind of success our members enjoy: Six Figure TAXI Members Unedited in our members’ own posts

    We guarantee these people (no interns or 2nd stringers) listen to all submissions:

    Thanks for reading,
    Michael Laskow

  21. Mike

    Very good article Ari !
    Lots of practical advice and you tell it like it is. I have been licensing my songs to TV & Film for 7 years via licensing companies for the most part ( very hard to connect to music supervisors directly …But I’m working on it ) ….I have had hundreds of song placements on Network and cable TV shows and a few film trailers. Some more glamourous than others. But it does add up to have many songs spread out and the many small placements do add up to be considerable…The key is patience, persistance and hard work….It’s NOT a overnight success thing…at least not for me. Licensing revenu is now exceeding my gig revenu, so I’m getting there step by step and this is my plan for my future .

    BTW, is a great way to start making connections for Film/TV. I made my 1st connections through them and they are legit I assure you ! I am no longer a member, and yes, there are some frustrating moments when your songs don’t get forwarded or the reviewer gives a negative review when you thought your song was on target for a certain pitch, but, if you don’t know where to start TAXI is definitely worth trying for at least a year. Plus dealing with rejection ( even if your music is very good ) is part of the biz…So you just gotta suck it up….I’m speaking to myself here LOl ! 🙂
    Continued success !

  22. Maisie berry

    I came across this forum while looking for a way to submit my songs somewhere, being new and Young to this game it’s so baffling trying to find somewhere to start is mind blowing so any comments on a good publicist or someone other than taxi or music clout who’s independant and might give me some help or ideas of how to place my songs would be good

    • Ron Thadison

      Hello, i’ve been with TAXI for almost five years. No forwards, no connections. I have no way of getting my music to someone who can call me or tell me what I should do with my music. I’m going to call it quits with them for now and try other avenues. I went from getting 2’s and 3’s on critiques to 8’s. So I have improved a great deal according to them. They gave me good hopes for my goals. I put all my eggs in one basket is the issue. I have heard from just friends and family that my music needs to be discovered. In my opinion Taxi was good for starters but after 4 years of nothing it is a waste of my money that I don’t make enough of and trying to go some where as a struggling artist. Giving out free cd’s is hard, flying to CA for a non garanteed future placement is hard. Maybe TAXI isn’t for me. But I know my music is better than what they say it is.
      I bought a computer program to make music with and each year the owner personally calls me and ask’s me When’s that new album droppin, and how can my business better serve You?Wow!

  23. Ron Thadison

    Hello, i’ve been with TAXI for almost five years. No forwards, no connections. I have no way of getting my music to someone who can call me or tell me what I should do with my music. I’m going to call it quits with them for now and try other avenues. I went from getting 2’s and 3’s on critiques to 8’s. So I have improved a great deal according to them. They gave me good hopes for my goals. I put all my eggs in one basket is the issue. I have heard from just friends and family that my music needs to be discovered. In my opinion Taxi was good for starters but after 4 years of nothing it is a waste of my money that I don’t make enough of and trying to go some where as a struggling artist. Giving out free cd’s is hard, flying to CA for a non garanteed future placement is hard. Maybe TAXI isn’t for me. But I know my music is better than what they say it is.
    I bought a computer program to make music with and each year the owner personally calls me and ask’s me When’s that new album droppin, and how can my business better serve You?Wow!

  24. Mike Barnhill

    Fantastic article, and resulting discussion. Thanks so much for sharing.

  25. Mike W

    Hey Ari,

    TAXI is absolutely a legit company. And yes, I have had placements on tv shows as a result of their services. They charge fees for several reasons:

    1. They are not only screening for music supes, publishers, etc, they are also screening for the member. Meaning, they are making sure only legit people are running listings so members don’t get scammed.
    2. Lots of people will shotgun material to music supes, even if it isn’t what the supe asked for. By charging a modest submission fee, they ensure people won’t throw anything and everything they have at a supe.

    Some libraries, supes, etc will allow you to submit to them. But a lot will not. TAXI is a way for people without connections to gain access to those people.

  26. Matt

    Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on “Beatpick” music licensing?
    I went to their website and under “why use Beatpick” this is what it said:

    Your music will be licensed for film, tv, advertising and many other commercial uses. You then have a chance to earn good money and gain a lot of exposure.
    Your music will appear on our website and professionals can license it automatically on any day and at any time of the week from anywhere in the world.
    Your music will be regularly pitched by our music licensing managers to hundreds of music supervisors who work in film, tv and advertising.
    We will press promo CDs and DVDs with your music and send them to professionals in film, tv and advertising for perusal.
    Your music may be used for In-stores streaming gaining you a chance to earn money and be promoted to the public.
    We also sell digital downloadable versions of your album / EP.
    Your music may be used for podcasts, webradios and non commercial projects, helping you to gaining notoriety.
    You have the chance to become part of a highly selected yet diverse music catalogue.

    Seemed a little too good to be true but I’d love to get your opinion. Thanks, Matt M

  27. dan e

    being in this business 24 yrs now and written 400 songs i have seen and heard it all and been scammed a number of times, i know for a fact 99% of the music online companies are scams and not real and have no real connections to the industry at all. they are like a company called broad freaking jam , what a damn joke from wisconson righhhhht. how about music x ray another puke of a company. people can call in aor write and make a listing who knows if the effing thing is for real. hit license is problee a punzi deal to many listings and not enuff reality in them same ebb and flow of the listings every month music isn’t that way?? mostly not. i have had a good response form some supervisors in music circles but they are few to be strong. do your homework and things can happen but it is a hard road and the companies that do legit business are hard to get a hold of and they like it that way. another one to watch out for is a company called canadian american and tate total bull shit. also mike from ikonic artists is a scam who deals with chinese booleggers watch out for this puke is where im at. if there are any real people out there who need music i am for real.

  28. BrenB

    I’ve read through quite a few comments below, including a bit of the “FEUD” going on between two people, one who won’t name him/herself…can we just move on, please??

    My SERIOUS question is about TAXI vs FMN vs Hit License vs MusicXray. It seems that TAXI seems to be the most revered. Am I correct? Is there a little bit more feedback anyone can give about MusicXray? I’ve been in the music industry, having made a living in it for many years. That means, I don’t do anything else for a living. I’m one of the more fortunate ones, and I do mean that humbly. As the producer/manager/musical director of an oldies act, I’ve not done any serious recording with this group until recent months. An independent songwriter approached me about a year ago, and I finally agreed to produce the tune as long as I was given free creative control, as the lyrics work for us and the format of our show. I wrote the music that works for us, and I own the sound recording, legally copyrighted.

    I’m now embarking on a new aspect (to me). The tune is gaining ground, on iTunes, Amazon and 34 online music stores worldwide, as well as at the website I created for this project, possibly even having started a “label” by accident (?)…we’ll see what the future holds. Although I do appreciate the info on TAXI, I found myself drawn to MusicXray. I’ve not signed with anyone yet, so a bit more info on MusicXray would be appreciated, if anyone can share, please?

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been using Music Xray for a while now and have spent over 600 on the site and I’m still not really sure on the site. I’ve had a few selections, one for a song on the radio and another for a review on a website. With the review one I ended up having to spend more outside of the site to get what i was expecting and it took them months to post it with them sending me emails several times a week with promotions on more promo to pay for when I hadn’t gotten the I was selected for yet. There are others like being selected to by one company to be shopped to other companies. I’ve also been on hold for several months on different opportunities some of them for more than 8 months. Some of the MIPs that have stuff on hold have requested that I send the track as a mp3 with written permission for them to use it. after I’ve done that I haven’t heard back from a few since then despite following up with them a few times in the past few months. I’ve also had about 6 now that were never listened to at all. I was given a refund, not to my card or paypal account, but to my xray account so when i submitted again the credit would go toward the new submission. The last 7 opps that I’ve submitted were 20 days ago and only one of them has been listened to.

      I’ve been ok with waiting and submitting more, but recently I found a page with screenshots showing that one of the Industry Professionals that was taking submissions was a fake. The person was pretending to be Illmind the producer looking for beats for labels. The person was charging a fee of $12, with the total fee coming to $17 after the Music Xray transaction fee($27 if it’s a track you haven’t submitted to any other opp yet due to the required $10 Music Xray Diagnostics fee) It was found to be fake when someone tweeted Illmind asking about the legitimacy of the opp and Illmind himself said it was not legit. I’ve added the links to the screenshots that were posted on it.

      I’m not going to say that all of the Opportunities on the site are fake. Like I said I’ve been selected on a few, but they feel like the smaller one that do things like reviews. But with the situation above I’m more cautious of the site now. I plan to try to find out how many of the others I’ve submitted to are fake.

  29. Denis

    When I was with Taxi, 2008-2010, I submitted to many listings and got some critiques. Through these submissions, I connected with a couple of the libraries from whom I’m still getting placements today. Taxi taught me a lot. They’ve been around since 1992 which pre-dates any other internet music library I’m sure. There’s a lot of good information there, but yes, it costs money to be a member. Once I’d signed with one library, I started finding others with varying degrees of success. Still can’t quit my day job, but I can tell people my music is used in TV shows.

    I do submit to Hit License though. I’ve gotten a few $ from them, much more than I’ve spent so…maybe I’m lucky?

  30. Patty Shukla

    Very insightful article! Thank you for sharing what you learned. You’ve inspired me to use our 200 million views on YouTube and try to reach out to licensing companies, publishers and music supervisors. No spamming, of course. Just going to do some research and see what happens! Thank you! 😉
    Children’s Music

  31. Anonymous Artist

    Hi Ari! I was wondering how to managed to get the emails of the various music supervisors you emailed. I’m a fairly new artist and was looking to send my song to some supervisors. Your article was very helpful! The only thing was that I have no idea how to get the emails of the people I want to email. Could you give me some advice?

  32. The Xube

    This is a really great article. Thanks Ari for being so candid and honest. In terms of the pay for placements services, the only one I would recommend is Taxi. They operate with a certain level of integrity in that even if you play they may not submit your song if they they it’s not appropriate. This means that they have good relationships with supervisors. Anybody looking for how to get in contact with supervisors should check the directory in this article;

  33. Michael

    Great article, thanks! My main question is in regards to giving them the music that is ‘right’ for the project. In any given show, especially something like a Dramedy, there are up beat moments, lows, climaxes, and everything in between. So how to know what music to pitch them? Could genre style and mood variety be good because of the range a show will most likely have?

    Or are you talking more broad stroke in general like, ‘know that this shows needs are not for death metal, ect?’

    – Thanks

  34. Michael

    Great article, thanks! My main question is in regards to giving them the music that is ‘right’ for the project. In any given show, especially something like a Dramedy, there are up beat moments, lows, climaxes, and everything in between. So how to know what music to pitch them? Could genre style and mood variety be good because of the range a show will most likely have?

    Or are you talking more broad stroke in general like, ‘know that this shows needs are not for death metal, ect.’

    – Thanks

  35. 1st world view

    Netflix true crime series Narcos spurs huge demand for Colombian women.

    Produced by Netflix, the show “Narcos” takes on the infamous Medellin drug cartel which follows the rise and fall of Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar and the Drug Enforcement Agency agents hunting him. The story is told largely from the points of view of Escobar (Brazilian actor Wagner Moura) and U.S. DEA Agent Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook), on opposite sides of what would become an all-out war.

    Many critics of true crime dramas have always complained they are promoting crime and violence by glorification, an unintended consequence of American entertainment industries. These shows can have other interesting consequences. The Foreign Bride industry has seen a huge spike in demand for Colombian women. This can be viewed as positive or negative, depending on social perspective.

    Foreign Brides, sometimes referred to as “mail order brides”, a term the industry completely rejects, have become a billion dollar a year business. According to industry leaders, Colombia represented only about 3% of the market three years ago. Since the popularity of Narcos, many companies have seen near tenfold increases in men seeking Colombian wives.

    A Foreign Affair (AFA), a company that helps men find women through international tours, says tours to Colombia are now selling out. AFA arranges group tours where 10 to 20 men travel together to Medellin, Cartagena or Barranquilla. During the tour, they attend arranged Social events where the men meet hundreds of beautiful Colombian women looking for marriage. Women can also place their profiles on the AFA web site, in the hopes of finding a husband.

    Kenneth Agee, the marketing director for AFA says, “Because of the show we are doubling our tours to Medellin for next year. Narcos has brought a lot of attention to the intense beauty of Colombian women. Although the show is often very violent, the women of Colombia come across as very family oriented and loyal. These values seem harder and harder to find in this world. I would have to agree, because of the interest in Narcos, we even added an excursion to where Pablo’s self-built prison was located, in the hills overlooking Medellin.

    The crowning of 2015 Miss Universe Paulina Vega put Barranquilla, Colombia on the map. Barranquilla now has recognition for being home to some of the most beautiful and talented women in the world. Not only is Miss Universe from here, Grammy Award winning pop singer Shakira, and actress Sofia Vergara also call Barranquilla home. Vergara stars on the ABC series Modern Family as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. She’s been nominated for 4 Golden Globe Awards, 4 Prime time Emmy Awards, and 7 Screen Actors Guild Awards, all stemming from this role. In 2014, she was ranked as the 32nd Most Powerful Woman in the world by Forbes.

    David from Mesa AZ says he met more qualified women in one week than he has during the last 10 years. In 2010, Lisa Ling and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) filmed a one hour show on the AFA tour called “Online Brides – Our America with Lisa Ling.” Even Lisa Ling was surprised by the beauty and sincerity of the women from Barranquilla.

    Janet Davis, head of a women’s rights group says “AFA is just taking advantage of women from these third world countries. This is no different than Pablo trafficking in narcotics, but these companies traffic women.” Proponents refer to a Report (INTERNATIONAL MATCHMAKING ORGANIZATIONS: A REPORT TO CONGRESS) that these marriages have much lower divorce rates and abuse rates compared to traditional domestic marriages. This data makes international dating similar to a woman in the US joining eHarmony to look for a husband.

    23-year-old Viviana, from Cartagena, says “I come to these events because I know the men attending are serious about marriage, they are faithful and are good to family. For Colombian women, it is the most important thing, good husband and good family.

    Kenneth says, “It has not been all rosy. Narcos has brought us some problems. In Cartagena, we have several Penthouses we rent out. One was originally owned by “Don Diego” head of the Norte Del Velle Drug Cartel, the other by Pablo’s people. Over the past year, the properties have been tracked down by individuals thinking they will find large qualities of cash hidden, thus we sometimes find holes all over the walls after a tenant leaves.

    For Narcos fans, those who love the gangster genre, or just those who just like seeing beautiful Latin women, there’s good news; Netflix’s has confirmed Season 3 and 4.

  36. Gary Scott Beatty

    An update, CD Baby is NOT involved with Rumblefish anymore and, apparently, hasn’t been for several years. I learned this after paying to be a part of CD Baby in order to be a part of Rumblefish. CD Baby’s articles to this day state, “…we’ll make sure your music is added to…a website where video creators can purchase micro-sync licenses to use your music in their videos.” Either they’re extremely bad communicators or are purposely trying to confuse musicians.