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Andrea Canter Matos On Getting Music Licensed [INTERVIEW]

1In this insightful interview, Andrea Canter Matos of Castle Peak Music discusses her background in synch licensing, the sort of music she looks for when placing it in either film, television, or an ad spot, as well as some of the more common mistakes and oversights she sees from artists who send in their music hoping for placement.

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Guest post by Rick Goetz of MusicConsultant

Andrea Canter Matos is the owner of Castle Peak Music, a licensing agency that places songs from independent artists in films, television shows, ads, trailers and promos. Andrea has extensive experience in the Film & TV licensing world and has held positions with major companies such as Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and EMI Music North America. From 2002-2007 she produced and hosted a music show on Santa Monica public radio station 89.9 KCRW. Considered a tastemaker, she was the first to play songs by Jose Gonzales, Angus & Julia Stone, and the Airborne Toxic Event. Andrea founded Castle Peak Music in 2010 with a handful of artists. Today’s roster includes a range of artists from San Francisco, Nashville, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles and Copenhagen.

Andrea talked about her background in sync licensing and what grabs her attention when looking for music to place in films, television and commercial spots. She also shared the biggest mistakes she sees artists make when sending their music to industry gatekeepers and delivered some advice for those who want to get their music licensed.

Music Consultant:

Thanks so much for taking some time to chat, Andrea. How did you get started in the music business?

AM:

 I grew up in a musical home. My mom was a songwriter who had a publishing deal with a major Hollywood producer named Glen Larson. One of her songs was performed on camera in a show called The Fall Guy, and I got to visit the set the day it was recorded. Basically I was destined to end up in the music licensing world.

I got my professional start in the music business at 89.9 KCRW in Santa Monica. I worked my way up from phone drive volunteer, to office volunteer, to music show volunteer, assisting Anne Litt on “Weekend Becomes Eclectic” every Sunday for two years.

During that time I made a demo, and Nic Harcourt gave me my first DJ gig online for one hour per week. I had been temping at music companies like Maverick Records and Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). When a position opened up at UMPG in the licensing department, I took that full-time gig and worked at KCRW on the side. Even though I don’t DJ anymore, I still get the similar experience of exposing independent artists to a broader audience.

MC:

How did you select the current artists on your roster?  Is there a quality that you can point to that makes something more “synchable” than others?

AM:

 2First of all, I have to love the music before I sign an artist or band. Second, I want to feel like I can be successful with placing the music, meaning that I think the sound will fit the music search briefs that have been coming across my desk, or the shows that are currently on the air. I also try to keep a diverse roster by not signing a ton of artists from one particular genre. There are definite trends in the industry, and songs with universal appeal will have good licensing potential, but at the end of the day, I’m just hoping to be wowed by what I hear.

Music Consultant:

How much does an artist’s current track record determine your interest or the interest of a music supervisor in any given artist?

AM:

I prefer to be the first one to pitch an artist’s music to the music supervision community, so it doesn’t matter to me if s/he has had any previous licensing experience. When all’s said and done, it’s the quality of the songs that matters.

Music Consultant:

Does your roster consist purely of people with original music looking to get it licensed, or do you also work with people who create custom pieces of music to fit a spot – or a show, movie, etc.?

AM:

 I like working with artists and bands that tour and record albums. Some of my artists are also producers and I go to them with custom music needs. I’m not currently looking to sign composers or instrumental-only artists.

Music Consultant:

 I’m told that a great deal of music that gets placed is purely instrumental or TV tracks. Is this the case in your experience?

AM:

Most of the instrumental music I’ve placed has been in ads. Placements in other media (television series, promos, trailers, film) have primarily been songs with vocals.

Music Consultant:

As someone who runs a company that provides a service artists are in dire need of, you must get approached all the time. Other than links to their music, what is the best way someone should approach you?  What facts and figures really grab your attention?

AM:

 Short and sweet is key: just a one paragraph introduction, and a streaming link to an artist’s latest project. And the newer, the better. I’m not really interested in music older than one or two years unless it’s part of someone’s back catalog. I also like to know upfront if someone controls their masters and the publishing rights to the material. Emails with attachments, such as mp3s, EPKs or bios will be immediately deleted, because they clog up my inbox. This also goes for emails that are not personally addressed to me (because I know it’s just a copy and paste situation).

Music Consultant:

 What are some of the biggest mistakes you see artists making when it comes to trying to license their music?

AM:

  1.  Not having instrumentals (preferably mastered).
  2. Not having clean edits of any songs that have explicit language.
  3. Not having splits worked out in advance if there are other parties involved.
  4. Signing with multiple agencies for representation.

Music Consultant:

 Any parting words of advice for musicians of music business executives who are looking to be successful at getting their music placed?

AM:

Watch television shows. movies, trailers and commercials to get an idea of what songs are being licensed. I don’t have time to watch everything, which is why a site like Tunefind has become a great resource. Also, make sure your music sounds as good as possible. First impressions are really important. If you’re submitting your music to an agency, check out the other artists on the roster. If your music sounds as good as what you hear, then you’re on the right track. If not, you’ve got more work to do.

For more information about Andrea Matos and the work she does, visit the Castle Peak Music website.

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