Music Supervisors: The Sound Storytellers of Hollywood

2018-07-01 12:00:00

News Image

Music supervisors are an integral powerful behind-the-scenes creative musical storytellers.

Hollywood, California

In September 2017, the first-ever "Outstanding Music Supervision" Emmy Award win represented not only a major triumph for Susan Jacobs, a veteran TV music supervisor, but a significant milestone for the music supervision industry as a whole. Often forgotten, music supervisors are instrumental in shaping all of Hollywood's most memorable television and film scenes. Well-placed music on the screen has the ability to amplify the emotional intensity of a moment for its viewers. In a nutshell, Vox explains the job of the music supervisor: "And while a perfect pairing of scene and soundtrack can feel perfectly serendipitous, these moments are almost always the result of someone poring through thousands of tracks and spending hours working with the show’s creative team to find exactly the right tune, to say nothing of securing permission to use it."

At the end of June 2018, the Grammys announced that they would be following in the Emmy's footsteps with a significant category expansion. Music supervisors would now be considered in the Best Compilation Soundtrack Album category. In less than a decade, the Guild of Music Supervisors founded in 2010, has made it their mission to be both a resource for working music supervisors across different visual mediums, including television and film, coupled with raising awareness for the profession amongst other groups within the entertainment industry as a whole.

When all of the moving parts of a storytelling organism are equipped with publicists such as directors, actors, composers and so forth, why are they so few and far between for music supervisions? While these new award campaign categories in the Emmy's and Grammy's are a major step toward music supervisors receiving the recognition they deserve, Dani Miller from The Epoch Advisory explains why publicists will help music supervisors receive the same level of credit and exposure as other behind-the-scenes creative players: “The goal of PR for music supervisors is to leverage interest into recognition. Then transform that into exposure for music supervisor who are the people spending the long grueling hours finding the perfect songs, hunting down their rights and assisting them to the screen... the people occupying our favorite character’s state of mind, the people crafting a musical palette by relying on a heightening sense of emotion - the music supervisors.”

After her historic win, Susan Jacobs told Variety, “We’re sort of like the bastard children” of the TV and film world. Dani responds: “This makes me sad. Music supervisors are far from bastard children. They’re powerful musical storytellers.” The Epoch Advisory’s goals are to bring the much-needed recognition of the importance of music supervisors and their vital creative role in one part of a larger storytelling organism.

In an effort to show you how important music supervisors are, Dani urges you to recall your all-time favorite soundtrack. Her’s is Zach Braff’s Garden State: "For me, this soundtrack is compiled of a collection that perfectly complimented the awkward, self-conscious, romance chipped away at in the film. Mostly indie rock from today and yesteryear - The Shins, Simon & Garfunkel - in 2005, the soundtrack was so good it snagged a Grammy. I would bet money on the fact that no matter how “mature” your tastes have become since your younger years, the opening guitar riff of a pop-punk song still has the power to transport you back in time. Suddenly, you’re wondering what your crush from high school has been up to lately, and whether anything will ever be as good as Gossip Girl and Tast-I D-Lite again. Don’t be ashamed: some Seth Cohen-approved song from The OC soundtrack will do that to anyone."