Sync Music for a Change:
Activism + Music Licensing Listening Session
Make a donation, share a song
February 26th, 5pm PST
with Nick Maker
February 12th - 16th, 2024
As Head of Music Supervision and Artist Partnerships for The Elements, Nick Maker curates and creates music for some of the world’s biggest brands through licensing, original compositions, artist partnerships, and everything in between.
He brings a decade of music supervision experience, most recently as an award-winning in-house music producer at Energy BBDO, where he shaped the sound of global clients such as Jack Daniels, Starbucks, Wrigley, Champion, SC Johnson, and MillerCoors, among others. Prior to moving stateside, Nick worked in supervision, licensing and A&R in his hometown of Sydney, Australia, sourcing music for a range of agency clients including Leo Burnett, Saatchi&Saatchi, McCann, Ogilvy, and DDB, and brands such as Heineken, McDonalds, Smirnoff, and Lexus.
The Elements Music specialises in original music, music supervision, sonic branding, and sound design, with teams and locations in Los Angeles and London.
WHAT HE'S LOOKING FOR:
Nick predominantly works in the advertising and brand spaces, and touches just about every product category, meaning he’s in search of different music every day. He’s always on the hunt for finished tracks that are dynamic to enough to convey a story arc in the short form - usually 60, 30 or even 15 seconds. Lyrically, tracks that are emotive yet not-tied to a specific storyline/subject matter, and any tracks that feature a call-to-action for listeners tend to be most useful!
How it works
Make a donation related to this month's issue. Take a screenshot/photo of your donation.
Upload the screenshot and the song (ONE SONG ONLY) you want to share here. Please label it 'Feb SM4C [your name]' or something similar and be sure to include your name and email address! Feel free to comment on the FB announcement post to let me know you've submitted, and I'll like your comment within a couple of days to let you know I've received it!
Join our FB group for the zoom link (posted the day of the session) and to keep up-to-date on upcoming listening sessions & announcements.
By submitting your song and/or joining the zoom call, you consent to allowing us to play your song during the listening session, and to have it included in the replay (and show whatever is on your video on zoom during the replay) which will be posted in the FB group.
In the past we did first come first heard but we're getting lots of great submissions and we want to encourage more people to write to their elected representatives and submit their songs so we are changing things up. We will play 15 or so songs during the listening session, time dependant, but rather than songs being played in order of submission, Elaine will review all of the songs submitted before the deadline and the 15 songs that are of the highest quality and/or the best fit for the supervisor's needs will be played. ALL of the songs will be forwarded to the supervisor in a playlist, regardless of whether or not they get played in the listening session.
DEADLINE for submission is FEB 16TH 2024 AT 5PM PDT.
* for more info on knowing about who owns the rights to your song and to learn about the terms 'one-stop' and 'easy-clear', click here.
** to know if your song quality is good enough go to Spotify and look up the soundtrack to a show you like. Ask yourself if your song's sound quality is at the same level as the rest of the songs.
Emergency relief for displaced people in Gaza & refugees in the Middle East
This month, Nick has requested that we make donations to Anera. The organization has no political or religious affiliation, and works with partners in the Middle East to provide emergency to provide emergency relief and long-term solutions to humanitarian crises. Currently their focus is providing healthcare, food and shelter to families in Gaza and those refugees who have been displaced by the ongoing conflict.
ACTION: Make a donation (minimum $10) to Anera: https://www.anera.org/
REMEMBER that you need to take a screenshot of your donation receipt and upload that with your song. If you have a DISCO account you can upload the receipt to your playlist on DISCO (please read that last sentence again! DISCO accepts ALL file types).
If you don’t live in the United States, you can still make a donation to the organization.
1. We are not looking for songs about the issue we're raising money for/supporting. This is an opportunity to share your music while supporting a good cause but the two are not otherwise connected. You may only submit ONE SONG. If you submit multiple songs I'll listen to the first and ignore/delete the rest.
2. Please include your name and email in your metadata. Look up how to add metadata to a song (more info here: https://youtu.be/gnt-UzfTXUA?t=892) if you don't know how to do this. Wav files do not store metadata. AIF files do. AIFs are the preferred option if you don't have DISCO (DISCO will hold metadata even if you uploaded wav files as they generate an mp3 for each track), otherwise mp3s are fine.
3. Please share how much you donated (please donate a minimum of $10), either in the screenshot or in the submission message box when you upload. How much you donate has nothing to do with whether or not your song will be played in the listening session and while of course generosity is encouraged, I understand that as a musician/human in this economy, you may be tight on cash. You will not be penalized for donating a smaller amount. It's just nice to be able to tell the music supervisor how much we all raised.
4. If you have a DISCO account, you can upload your screenshot into the playlist you make on DISCO (DISCO accepts all file types, not just music files). Otherwise just upload your song and screenshot to the upload box.
5. I won't be responding to emailed questions, FB messages or comments if the answer to the question is already available on this webpage or on the FB page. Other members of the FB group are a good resource if you have questions. This is a volunteer initiative; thanks for being considerate!
1.. Will my song get played in the session for sure?
- We will have the music supervisor listen to as many songs as possible but not every song will get played. However the music supervisor will be sent a playlist of all the submissions.
2. Can I send a demo or worktape?
- No. Please only send songs that a music supervisor would be able to use immediately. Songs should be mastered and radio-ready. Send your best song!
3. Can I submit multiple songs?
- No. ONLY ONE SONG per submission, meaning only one song per listening session. Multiple submissions not allowed.
“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal... To hope is to give yourself to the future - and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.”
Why Write Emails & Letters?
Do they even work?
Most months we're focused on raising funds, but some months we write letters to our reps. Here's some info on the effectiveness of letter-writing.
From the ACLU website:
"Letters and faxes are an extremely effective way of communicating with your elected officials. Many legislators believe that a letter represents not only the position of the writer but also many other constituents who did not take the time to write."
We chose writing emails because they are a straightforward and easy. You can also choose to do a hand-written letter for even greater impact. If you want an activism nudge that could also further your music career, this is a way to start.
You are totally welcome to call your elected official, or donate money to a cause or campaign you believe in. The important thing is to try to get involved in democracy and social justice in some form on a regular basis.
Respecting the Music Supervisors
We're not cool, but we try to be
Music supervisors are regular people with jobs to do who get flooded with email submissions on a regular basis. Of course it's cool to follow them on social media but please be discerning about reaching out directly. It's a great idea to research the projects they work on before contacting them. IMDB.com, Tunefind.com and ispot.tv are great resources. They may not respond to messages or emails and that's nothing personal. Consider looking into getting a sync agent to represent your music. If you're looking for more information on sync licensing, sync agents etc. we highly recommend checking out our friends' club Ctrl Camp and their bi-weekly meetings on Clubhouse!
Who runs this thing?
I'm Elaine Ryan, an activist, musician, sync agent with Unicorn Sync. During the pandemic I noticed that some of the most progressive people I saw on social media were music supervisors and figured why not harness that for good? I decided to see if music supervisors would share their time and expertise around music licensing in exchange for musicians helping moving progressive causes forward. It's been an incredible couple of years of activism, fundraising and connecting!
Contact Sync Music for a Change
You can reach us at email@example.com
We don't accept submissions of any kind outside of the listening sessions or unless specifically solicited. There's always another listening session in the works so the best way to share your music is to join the FB group (details above) and submit to a free listening session!
Sign up as a Music Supervisor
If you're a music supervisor, music coordinator or sync agent who'd like to support this initiative, let's connect! Send up an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in being the featured guest on a future listening session.