My internship experience at ASCAP is truly amazing. I’m gaining insight into different careers in the music industry. Several weeks ago I was invited to attend the Billboard Film & TV Music Conference in Century City / Beverly Hills. Here’s a play by play of my day:
Left around 9am and began my drive over to Century City. Took me about 30 minutes to go 5 miles and find the parking structure. Very confusing parking.
Arrive at the Hyatt Regency. Picked up my guest pass and walked into a large room with hundreds of chairs and panelists on a stage.
Caught the tail end of the first panel discussing a company who creates jingles for advertisements. Shoot Magazine Presents: Music for Commercials & Branded Content
The 2nd panel I caught had Matthew Weiner (creator) and David Carbonara (composer) from the series Mad Men on AMC. They took us through their process of creating the musical soundscape for Mad Men. It was valuable to hear their discussion and learn how they really interact during the making of the series. Mad About Mad Men
Next, Carson Daly came on with Davis Powers (Last Call’s music booker) to decide which acts are featured on the Last Call with Carson Daly show. I haven’t been following Carson Daly for a while but his show is now completely music-oriented, featuring band performances on the show and footage from live performances at venues. It was cool to see Carson, as I used to watch TRL way back, but I didn’t gain much more insight. Case Study: Last Call with Carson Daly
During the lunch break I was able to get a seat close to the stage.
The next set of panelists was a group of people who each worked at a different production library. Production libraries are collections of pre-cleared music (in terms of synch licenses) for music supervisors to use in films. The production libraries divide their collections of music into specific genres, making it easier for music supervisors to find the best music for their project. They covered the basic process of how to submit songs to libraries. For a songwriter, you submit two songs and if they are accepted into the library, you can submit as many more songs as you want. This is a prime opportunity for songwriters to gain exposure. Many film producers and music supervisors go directly to production libraries to find their music. Interestingly, Gnarles Barkley’s song “Crazy” was featured in a production library first, which helped their career take off. The Basics of Production Music
The creators of the children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba” hosted the next panel. They were an entertaining bunch as a group of friends who created this show that features talented artists singing children’s songs. I didn’t gain much insight from the panelists but it inspired me to continue creating ideas, both on musically and entrepreneurial levels. Case Study: “Yo Gabba Gabba!”
The next panel was a Q & A with Dr. Luke, the award winning songwriter-producer who produced countless songs for artists such as Katy Perry, Kesha, and Flo-rida. Being that I am aiming to enter the field of pop production, I was very excited to see him speak, as his is the master of current pop music. He was interviewed by Randy Grimmett (ASCAP). I was able to gain some insight from Dr. Luke on the process of production. We heard the demo version of the song “Behind These Hazel Eyes” from when he pitched it to Kelly Clarkson. We also heard the demo version of “Tik Tok” with a few melodies from Kesha. Comparing these demos with my own demo versions gives me confidence. Before the millions of dollars that go into final production, I’m not that far off from his demo versions. Q&A With Dr. Luke
Wrapping up the day was a group of film composers who discussed their start in the music business. How did they get their foot in the door? Hearing all the different ways and strategies these composers used to enter the industry was invaluable for me to hear. One of the composers, Daniel Indart (’84) was from Berklee as well, and I talked to him briefly after the panel and took down his information. My First Job: How I Landed My First Gig in Film/TV Music
It was a long day at the Billboard Conference. Cramming all of that information into my mind was exhausting. As I mentioned, I think now I have a really good idea of what is out there and what kinds of jobs are available. Now, I just have to figure out which direction I want to head in and work hard at it until I can get there.
Kenny Grimm, a Music Business major, participated in the LA Internship Program for Fall 2010, interning at ASCAP. You can read another of his blog posts here.
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