More Discussion about Film & TV Licensing

Alexandra Patsavas, probably the most influential music supervisor working today, took some time to answer questions at the Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference, along with estate manager Jeffrey Jampol.

It’s interesting to see how that discussion played out. Jampol, whose job is to protect the heritage of his legacy rock estates, cautioned acts against licensing just for a paycheck. Fans might think you’re cheapening your music if you accept the wrong deal.

Patsavas countered, as I would have, that today’s generation of music fans is a little different. After all, Of Montreal has an Outback Steakhouse ad, and they’re doing fine.

With anything you do, it’s important to maintain integrity and credibility. It’s also important to remember that reality shows and other entertainment programming (like the series that license from Pump Audio) have a tendency to come and go, while beloved albums hang around for decades. Nobody’s going to remember if your song was in “The Biggest Loser,” but the check you earned from that placement might have been the cash you needed to convince yourself to keep writing music.

(Remember, David Hooper is still enrolling folks into his new, hybrid tip-sheet/licensing course.)

4 responses

  1. Jeffrey Jampol Avatar
    Jeffrey Jampol


    Jeff Jampol here. Actually, Alex brought up that point to underline what I was saying, not counter it. The panel discussed how much it HARMED “Of Montreal.”

    To clarify my position, I LOVE licensing music to film and TV, and I do it all the time. What I was cautioning the panel audience was that it is important to license to the RIGHT shows/films to extend the brand, vibe, ethos or feel of your particular artist – i.e., Backstreet Boys would be fine on a show like “Living Lohan,” but Led Zeppelin would not. Along those lines, if an artist has any hope of maintaining a cool, credible vibe (which is NOT always necessary or desirable – just an option), they need to carefully consider WHICH shows, films, brands and other BANDS they align themselves with. Remember, the opener for the fist Monkees’ tour was….(gulp)…Jimi Hendrix! He got booed offstage at every show.

  2. Thanks for clarifying, Jeff!

    It seems like many up-and-coming bands leave money on the table by worrying about what their legacy will be when they haven’t yet filled a house concert. Following your gut is always the best way to go.

    Perhaps what frightens me most is the line of folks who can’t wait to get their music on “Living Lohan.” 😉

  3. Jeffrey Jampol Avatar
    Jeffrey Jampol

    Perhaps that is a part of the reason that there has not been a truly BRANDED artist (one whose work will stand the test of time, and mean something artistically/poetically/politically 20-30 years from now) since, arguably, Nirvana – in 1990!

    I mean, Radiohead’s probably close, Bjork’s case can be argued, though I don’t know if her music will stand up to the passage of time….but other than that, who IS there who will truly be important in 2-3 decades?

    I always flash back to my first year working for a major label, back in 1978, when I was a young, dumb, hungry music junkie and it was ALL I lived for.

    In THAT one year alone, though we had many important albums come out, forget about THEM – the DEBUT albums were staggering: The Cars, The Sex Pistols, Dire Straits, Boston, Van Halen, Rickie Lee Jones, and a host of others. A few sophomore albums that year, among others? Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, and The Clash.

    And what did we have THIS year? Or last year? Or 2006? And on, and on, and on…..

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