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What do music supervisors look for?

Obsessive, focussed, passionate and fixated: These are words that best describe most music supervisors.

Musicians go deep; exploring not only what makes them tick as a listener but also how they can express an emotion or message through their instrument or voice. Music supervisors take that messaging and skilfully match it to a scene to complete the director’s vision.

music supervisors looking for production music editing suite
What do music supervisors look for?

To do this they must have a suitably broad selection of music to choose from and therefore constantly search for what may be of use.  Like magpies collecting shiny things for later, music supervisors will draw from charts, playlists, word of mouth, and even live gigs to build their stock.

Influential music supervisors such as Karyn Rachtman, with a history of hugely successful films have repeatedly brought about shifts in public tastes with soundtracks such as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, often igniting a resurgence in an artist’s career, through an instinctive understanding of what a scene needs to deliver greater depth.

And how can we know what these highly skilled professionals are looking for in a piece of music?  We can’t, which is why they are a rarely recognised secret ingredient in the success of modern films.  Their work is not just listening and matching music to visuals but also negotiate and license the rights which is often a complex and delicate task, especially when working with established artists and their labels/publishers.

So let’s raise a glass to these unsung heroes, these breakers of artists, these taste making creatives and the magic that they bring to film and TV by connecting two arts in an often unexpected combination.



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