Placements in TV, film, and digital projects can be a lucrative source of income for songwriters and recording artists, not to mention a great outlet to reach new fans. But how can you be successful in having your songs signed by music publishers, heard by music supervisors, and used in media placements? In our next MusicWorks session on DIY Series: Publishing & Licensing April 6, we'll be joined by music publisher Emily Haffenden of Red Brick Songs and music supervisor Heather Guibert of Francium Enterprises to learn about strategies to access the world of music publishing and sync licensing and share success stories of some of North America's leading industry pros.
After obtaining her BA in Communication Studies and Sound from Concordia University in 2012, Emily Haffenden interned for an array of Montreal and Toronto-based music houses and record labels, where she acted as music coordinator. Through the internships she was given the opportunity to assist music aupervisors and publishers alike. Years of apprenticeship lead to four years as synchronization rep at Aporia Records, a Toronto-based publisher and record label. This past January Haffenden took on the role of synchronization manager at Red Brick Songs, the largest Canadian independent music publisher.
Upon choosing to forego a career in engineering to pursue her dream of working in music, Heather Guibert left her South Florida roots for the bright lights of Hollywood. A graduate of the University of Southern California‘s Music Industry program, Guilbert spent nine years as part of the team of music supervisors at Neophonic, Inc., where she worked on such diverse television projects as Glee, CSI: Miami, American Horror Story, The Americans, United States of Tara, and films including Eat Pray Love and The Normal Heart. Since embarking out on her own, Guilbert has music supervised the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards nominee Spettacolo along with television series Lost in Space, Rosewood, Witches of East End, Stitchers, and the Emmy Award winning HBO series, Veep. To date, she has worked on more than 600 episodes of television and over a dozen films, in addition to her freelance work in trailers, promos, and advertising. Guilbert is a four-time Guild of Music Supervisors Awards nominee, a member of the Television Academy, Women in Film, and currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Guild of Music Supervisors. She also teaches the music aupervision course at Loyola Marymount University.
Get to know them better with our little Q+A...
Q: What is your favourite material object that you own and why is it special?
Emily: Weirdly enough, now at the tender age of 29, I sleep with a stuffed animal. I’m not afraid to admit it–he’s a huge stuffed shark from Ikea, I need him to sleep, his name is Shimmy, he’s the light of my life. Him and like, obviously my entire record collection… and my flask (self-explanatory).
Heather: My grandmother in France would write personalized, hand-written letters to everyone in our large family. They meant so much to me growing up that I always saved them. Since she passed years ago, I’m grateful I still have the letters and can hear her voice whenever I want.
Q: Who are your top three favourite artists to listen to at the moment?
Emily: That changes almost minutely! Right at this moment, I’m into:
- Otoboke Beaver, a totally kick-ass, all female, Japanese punk band that I had the pleasure of seeing during SXSW. They put on an incredible live show!
- Skinshape, an incredible artist from the UK who utilizes a wide variety of samples and analogue equipment in the most creative ways. This is great music to listen to while diving into some work – very chill, very funky, and beautifully executed.
- Molly Nilsson, a Germany based Electro/Synch Pop queen who founded her own label. It’s nostalgic, stylish and caters to an array of moods.
Heather: Lizzo, Sharon Van Etten, and boygenius
Q: When you were six, what did you say you wanted to be when you grow up?
Emily: I wanted to play piano in a department store for the customers’ enjoyment.
Heather: A veterinarian
Q: What is one aspect of your work that you wish more people understood?
Emily: Landing sync placements takes time – it’s a process. It’s not necessarily about pitching what’s “new” but rather pitching what’s most suitable for the spot.
Heather: My role as a music supervisor is to serve the story, the characters, and the filmmakers. I am there to help them execute their vision. Yes, we work together, but ultimately it’s not about me, my taste, or what I want. It’s entirely about how to best use music to elicit audience response and support the story.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your career in music?
Emily: As cliché as it sounds, it’s what resonates for many; never ever give up and try your best to be kind to yourself during times where you’re feeling the most stagnant
Heather: It’s a little harsh, but it is a necessary dose of reality: "Nothing’s going to be handed to you, you have to go out there and get it."