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What's the Difference Between Songs That Get Licensed for TV and Those That Don't? Insider Info From Debra Gussin

Photo courtesy of the artist

Have you ever listened back to one of your songs and thought, "This sounds like it should be on TV"? It's not far off if you have – songwriters are an invaluable asset to television. All of your favorite shows have a particular soundtrack, one that you might feel you could be writing yourself. Well, Debra Gussin has done just that. With an extensive career in television under her belt (ABC's Wide World of Sports, Fox Sports News, Daytime Emmy Awards, National Geographic Channel, Dr. Phil), she's now a full-time songwriter who's won numerous songwriting competitions and has had her tracks featured on 90210, The Event, Kourtney & Kim Take New York, NASCAR Race Hub, and more.

It's safe to say that Gussin knows what makes a song screen-ready. Having insider information on how the television industry works and what music supervisors are really looking for can be the key to getting ahead of the curve on the rest of your competition – and Gussin was kind enough to share her knowledge and journey with us.

Music Supervisor Reveals How Songs Make It Into TV and Film

Image via shortlist.com

A friend of mine and I started a band a few years ago. Think Sufjan Stevens meets Arcade Fire, and you kind of have an idea of what we were shooting for. My friend had spent a lot of time and money getting our album made. We recorded in a nice studio, had the right engineer, and he even got T.W. Walsh, who mixes and masters Sufjan Stevens' albums, to finalize it. But after months of trying to get this album out, we hit a problem: it wasn't catching on, we weren't getting picked up, and our songs weren't ending up on soundtracks for any movies.

With so much music out there for people to listen to, this is a struggle that virtually every unsigned musician and unmanaged artist has had to deal with at some point. So how do you get exposure for your music? One great way is to try to get your songs into the hands and ears of music supervisors.

What Actually Happens After Your Song is Placed in a TV Show? 8 Musicians Weigh In

Chris Arena scored 100,000 views on YouTube from one placement on Pretty Little Liars. (Image via imgbuddy.com)

Songs that are played at key moments during TV shows and movies have always been an important part of both films and music. They set a mood, define a character, and in the case of the artist, showcase a song in front of potentially millions of people.

Websites like TuneFind.com make it easy to search for what you just heard on a show, and MTV routinely lists the artist and song title at the bottom of the screen and points people to a website where they can see full playlists from various shows. Once you know the who and the what, however, what does the song placement really do for the artist?

How to Get Your Music on the Big Screen as an Indie Songwriter: Advice From Angela Predhomme

Photo by Chris Farina

Could you imagine being in a movie theater watching a great film, and all of a sudden, your music comes rushing in to complement the scene? Or imagine you're at home watching one of your favorite TV shows, and there's your voice, your guitar, your song! Angela Predhomme, a folk singer-songwriter from Michigan, has achieved that dream. She not only knows that amazing feeling, but she also knows the feelings of rejection, mistakes, and failure that come as part of the package when you choose to pursue a path in music. Still, she's persevered and successfully submitted her music through Sonicbids for placements on NBC, PBS, and several big-name projects. Recently, we caught up with Predhomme to find out just what it takes to get your music on the big screen.

How to Persuade a Famous Ad Agency to Use Your Track for a National Campaign

Josh Rabinowitz. (Image via the Grey Agency)

"The best part of wakin' up..." We bet you can finish the line yourself. Few brands can boast a ubiquitous a tagline as Folgers coffee, and now, the Grey Agency, a major international advertising firm whose flagship office is in New York City, is offering big bucks (a low five-figure amount) to an independent band or artist who best reimagines the jingle in their own way. Not only that, but Grey is also seeking a killer, 60-second instrumental for LongHorn Steakhouse commercials (which can be something preexisting, as long as it's only a minute long). To find out more, we went right to the source.