NARIP Music Sup Session Monday Sept 3: Interview, Sharon Dean
NARIP hosts its next Music Supervisor Session in London this Monday September 3. In honour of the occasion, we talked with Sharon Dean (Director of NARIP’s London chapter and as well as founder/director of Respect Music and ex Director of Licensing, PRS) about the publisher’s role, sync placements and co-writes.
TMV: Tell us about NARIP and this Monday’s Music Supervisor Session. What is the purpose of the event?
Sharon: The National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP) is the biggest music business network in the world, with an emphasis on becoming better informed and more effective. NARIP offers professional development opportunities, educational programs and seminars, the opportunity to meet and interact with peers, a job bank, a member resume database for employers and a mentor network. I met Tess Taylor a few years back when I was on a trip to LA to meet music supervisors. We talked a lot about ‘synchronisation” and the increased importance of music placement for publishers. labels, writers, composers and artists as a revenue stream. Tess offered me the position of Director of NARIP London – a position that sits nicely with my role as Director of Respect Music. We now have an established programme of bringing ‘A’ list US TV/Film/Trailer/Ad/Games music supervisors to London on a monthly basis. The September session features Heather Kreamer who is Director of Music for Create Advertising. Some recent campaigns include The Amazing Spiderman, Frankenweenie, The Campaign and Total Recall. We also have Angela Leus, Director of Film Music for Universal Pictures. Her previous projects include The Fighter, True Grit and The Social Network.
TMV: From your vantage point, how has the decline of physical album sales affected the music publishing sector, its revenue streams and business model?
Sharon: There is a lot of talk about the decline of physical album sales and I don’t like to get dragged down by that. There are more opportunities than ever to place music and increase revenue streams. Publishers are striding out and making new opportunities for themselves. It’s not a case of ’just being a publisher ‘ anymore. Many of the independent publishers are offering writers and composers value added services -in assisting them securing an agent for live, in some instances they are also becoming labels in their own right. Respect Music had its first worldwide release in May. Not too long ago the idea of music placement in adverts was frowned upon and it was seen as ‘selling out or dumbing down the music’. Many within the music industry were anti brand linking – not anymore. Sync is now king and publishers,labels,managers are all aggressively pitching their music world wide to Film, TV, Ad, Games and Trailer music supervisors.
TMV: What do you look for when deciding to represent a composer?
Sharon: For me I have to be able to visualise as well as hear that their compositions are strong, well recorded and that the musicianship is first class. Secondly, they have to be flexible, patient and ambitious. Thirdly – we have to like each other.
TMV: What are the key differences in your approach when representing a pop songwriter versus a composer who primarily writes original music for film, TV or advertising? Is one easier to market than the other?
Sharon: The two tend to be different animals, but in both instances it is all about networking. I like to work with writers/composers who are also prepared to network for themselves too. Publishers and their writer/composers should work with each other as both have the same goal – music placement. I spend a lot of time networking to meet and maintain relationships with A&R’s, Managers, Music Supervisors, Ad Agencies, Editors, Producers and Directors. The music industry is a people and right time /right place industry so it is imperative that I am out there constantly.
TMV: How important is it career-wise for a songwriter to co-write? How are these collaborations arranged, what is your role?
Sharon: Co-writing is a must for the majority of songwriters. It’s difficult to name 10 great hits just written by one writer (unless of course that writer is a performing artist too-Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen etc). Song composition has many parts, and it is important that a writer recognises his/her strengths and weaknesses and fills the gap with great writing partnerships . Co-writing is like dating – it could just last for one song or it could be a long term marriage of musical collaboration. Writers need to gel on a business and a personal level. My role as a publisher is to meet other publishers, A&R’S at labels and managers to get the matchmaking process working. Last but not least we have to get the song finished and cut so the royalties can flow. NARIP sync sessions are also a must for us. Respect Music’s last placement came out of a great NARIP London sync session with Madonna Wade Reed. Our writer Antony Salari had his song placed in the Disney show ‘Jane by Design’ – he even got to go to the wrap party!
Sharon Dean is a Board Member of the Association for Independent Music (AIM) and is Director of the London chapter of the Los Angeles-based National Association of Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP). Sharon also personally represents Chris Elliott, musical arranger and composer (Moulin Rouge, Amy Winehouse -’Back to Black’, Adele ‘Turning Tables’) and also manages songwriter/artist Goran Kay.
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