I did an "ask me anything" session on www.reddit.com yesterday, and one of the most popular questions from music producers was "How do I get more placements?".
A "placement" (in the music production world) is when you create a beat and then sell it to another party for exclusive rights (like selling the piece of music to Taylor Swift, she records a song to it and decides to use it on her up-coming album). Or, maybe it's sold to MTV to be used as background music on a reality show. If you made it and sold it, it's considered a "placement".
Here are some helpful hints and concepts to keep in mind, based on my own personal experience of course:
- Create high quality music. This is first and foremost. It's like any product in the marketplace. Your product must be good. Very good. There will always be a higher demand for higher quality. So, how do you get good? Practice. Many hours must be spent on your craft. Study. Learn. Try things. Collaborate with people. Get feedback from those you trust (I also recommend joining www.beatthread.biz for this very purpose.) Youtube is your best friend. It's free, and there is a plethora of information. Make sure your mixes are up to par. If you don't know how to mix your audio properly, practice. Or, find someone who can and take initiative to make that happen.
- Do your research. Are you trying to sell a beat to Jay-Z with hopes that he'll use it on his new album? Do what it takes (by any means necessary) to find out how to get one step closer to making this a reality. Find out who the proper people are to help you get there. What channels can you explore to get you closer to someone who can potentially show your music to him? Are you looking to place your beats on TV and Film? It's the same concept. Find out who the "music supervisor" is for these companies and figure out a way to get to him/her. It doesn't matter if you're an up coming producer or a Grammy winning one. The process is the same for EVERYBODY (including me). Find the right people, and attack with tact. Waiting around will never work.
- Get to know as many people as possible. The more people you know, the better your odds of getting a placement. Again, the concept of "by any means necessary" plays an important role here. Yes, utilize your channels on the internet. Yes, find out where the industry events are and go to them (seminars, writing camps, local beat battles, etc). Every single placement you get will be a result of someone you know. It's always been that way, and it's never going to change.
- Visit major cities as often as possible. If you already live in one, awesome! The action happens in major cities. New York. Los Angeles. Miami. Atlanta. Toronto. Berlin. Sydney. Wherever it is you are located, flock toward your major city. You have a better chance at meeting the right people. More people. More environments conducive to helping you reach your goals. Take initiative here and make that happen for yourself. The internet is great, but nothing compares to actual human to human interaction.
- Visit recording studios as often as possible. You never know who you will run into. For example, if you're in Los Angeles, book some studio time at Record Plant. It's one of the few studios where major label artists record in. You have a better chance at running into someone you should probably get to know. So how do you get to know them? Well, that's a whole other conversation. It's like trying to find a girlfriend. I can't tell you what to do, you just need to go and do it. Which brings me to my next bullet point.
- Be confident. I wrote an entire blog about this (which you can read here). Confidence is key. It will help in every single aspect of reaching your goals. Plus, people enjoy being around confident energy.
- Stay active on all of your social media channels. The first thing people are going to do to find out more about you is search you on Google. Hopefully, your SEO (search engine optimization) is up to par to direct them to your social media channels, websites, etc. Your stuff has got to look clean and professional. This is a HUGE issue in our community. Lack of knowledge and not enough energy put into your branding is a huge no no. Take matters into your own hands. Dedicate some time to maintain your social media visibility. You can have the most amazing music in the world, but if it isn't presented properly, you're shooting yourself in the foot. You should have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Soundcloud, Audiomack, and personal website at the very least.
- Don't wait around. There is no magic person that's going to swoop down and start getting you placements. Sorry. It never did happen, and it never will happen. Of course, you've got managers, attorneys and various people that you will work with along the course of your career. These people can help, but the best thing you can do is take matters into your own hands, whether you have a hundred people working for you, or working by yourself. Your chances of success are just greater that way.
- Don't get discouraged. There's more than enough opportunity and money to go around for everyone, believe it or not. If you miss an opportunity for placement, don't worry. Just know that for every door that closes, 2 more open up somewhere else.
- Surround yourself by people who are smarter than you. It's the best way to learn and grow.
There's obviously so much more that goes into this stuff, but these are your basic concepts that I'm confident will help you along your way. The underlying concept here is to always "take matters into your own hands". That is absolutely crucial to gain more placements as a music producer.
What is your biggest challenge in hopes of getting more record placements? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below.