Music Supervisor Sessions: Texas Terri Interviews Tess Taylor of NARIP

October 30, 2012 | 0

Tess Taylor

Ever wonder how to get your music to and meet music supervisors, the people that place music in film/tv/ads/trailers/games/all things media? Well, look no further. Tess Taylor, founder and president of NARIP (National Association of Record Industry Professionals), the biggest music network in the world, has come up with the answer. Tess saw the need to connect the artists, labels, managers, publishers with the music supervisors….the NARIP Music Supervisor Sessions were born. So far they have been held in Los Angeles, New York City, London and Berlin. 

I have attended several of these sessions in London and Berlin. I can honestly say, this is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It’s so much fun to meet the supervisors face to face and play your music for them. There are 16 participants at each session, so you get to hear others’ music and hear what the music supervisor thinks about it. You learn what each music supervisor’s needs are and how their side of the business works. And the best part is that most of these music supervisors know each other so if you get in one of their ears, you get in many ears. 

Tess Taylor’s keynote speech and the NARIP Music Supervisor Sessions were such a hit last year at Berlin Music Week, she was invited back this year where I was fortunate enough to catch Tess’ keynote speech, attend the NARIP Music Supervisor sessions, and catch up with Tess for a little interview.

I felt so comfortable meeting music business people at your sessions.

I owe it my father. He’s my favorite guy in the world. He just had a knack. When he walked into a room he’d put everyone at ease. I’m half the master he was. I love to connect people. I have an unnatural ability to remember little things about people. That enables me to say things like, “Hey Texas Terri, you have to meet Sergio. He’s really gonna need your music and this is what he does,” and then introduce you.

The only place I feel comfortable in my world is onstage. You seem to feel comfortable wherever you are.

Making people feel comfortable is key, because when you can begin to feel comfortable, that’s when you can begin to produce great things, grow as a person and as a professional. It’s an important quality. I love connecting people. It’s practically involuntary for me.

Which brings us to the Music Supervisor Sessions. How long ago did you come up with this concept?

We started in April of 2011. P. J. Bloom was the first music supervisor to participate. I’d been doing panel discussions with music supervisors for years. I developed this format because I know what music supervison is all about and I know how difficult it is to deal with mass emails and mass marketing and the fact that they get billions of emails of music. A lot of it is from people they don’t know and [that makes] their jobs intensely difficult. I know how hard people like you work to get music to the right people but you’re never quite sure who the right person is, what they’re working on, or how to do this. There is a need there for buyers and sellers to have some form of exchange or interaction that’s meaningful. So I had this idea to make a small, creative environment that’s very intimate where we limit the number of participants to 16.

Why did you limit the number?

Partially practical and partially because the ticket price is not small. I needed to have some sort of balance. I thought about making it as small as ten, but there are some financial and economic factors. It depends on what the music supervisor is working on and what the market is and those sorts of things. This is not the type of conference where we are selling as many tickets as we can. There’s a limit. In London, more than half of the people that were there at our sessions are repeats. In Berlin, we had at least a half a dozen folks return from last year. In Los Angeles and New York, we have people sign up for the entire series, which is not cheap, but they see the value of it. It’s the opposite of mass marketing. It’s personal, it’s direct, and we get the briefs in advance, what the supervisor is working on right now, today. So you can pitch and not just wildly and randomly send stuff that’s not going to be appropriate. That’s extremely valuable to everybody. It helps the supervisor too. They don’t have to sift through a bin of music to find one piece of music that they need for a project.

I know a lot of people are skeptical.

I don’t blame them. There are a lot of things out there that purport to be like this or to connect you. That’s why musicians and artists, rightfully, are extremely skeptical and suspicious. There’s so much out there that seeks to separate them from their money and doesn’t really produce or provide any real and meaningful value. There are a lot of promises made and dashed. You pay your money, take your chances and you get nothing. I would be skeptical too.

Another positive point is that you get to learn about the music supervisor’s job, all of the hoops they have to jump through and how we can make each others jobs easier. For instance, I never knew about metadata. I don’t like doing all that grunt work but now I see the value of it because a music supervisor is going to be a lot more receptive to my songs if all the details are there and they know how to find me.

Andrea (von Foerster) says she gets literally over 1,000 emails a day, and that’s not an exaggeration. A well organized songwriter or publisher increases their chance of getting a placement by 50%. Another thing the supervisors mention is how nice it is for them to get to interact with everyone attending the sessions. It’s fun for them also. When they get to know you as a person, they are even more willing to try to help you succeed. It’s about forming relationships. It puts you ahead of the pack.

Any last words?

Be kind to people and to yourself. Work like hell. Have some focus and a plan. Surround yourself with winners. Enjoy life. There’s no reason you should not be doing exactly what you want to be doing. There are no boundaries.


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