Advertising Music Assistant
Entertainment companies such as motion picture studios, television networks, and game development studios often hire third-party advertising agencies to put together ad packages including trailers, websites, and viral video campaigns to promote the release of a new product. Within these agencies, the advertising music assistant supports the larger staff of the music supervision department in administrative tasks.
The music supervision department is responsible for selecting and securing rights for songs to be incorporated into theatrical trailers, television and radio commercials, or web ads. The advertising music assistant is responsible for the administrative tasks of the department, as well as considerable research and reporting. Among his or her primary tasks is writing music cue sheets; this is a spreadsheet that details information on the music and songs used in any kind of filmed production. The cue sheet must include the name of the composer, publisher, length of the music clip, song title, and other pertinent information used for securing licenses and calculating royalties. To prepare the cue sheet, the advertising music assistant is responsible for researching ownership of the selected songs by contacting the appropriate publisher, record label, and/or performing rights organization such as BMI or ASCAP. The completed cue sheets are then approved by the music supervisor and delivered to the copyright owners. Additional tasks may include collecting and delivering contract forms, rolling calls for senior staff, and maintaining the department’s computer database.
Skills & Education
A college degree in music business is encouraged, and coursework should include study of advertising principles, copyright law, and marketing. The advertising music assistant should be familiar with the practices of music publishers and PROs, as well as have considerable knowledge of deep catalog. An internship with one of these music-related entities is of great benefit in starting your career. The ins and outs of the industry can be gained on the job, but a love of music is a basic necessity. Further, the assistant must be proficient in the use of standard office applications like Word, Excel, Pages, and Numbers, and be able to easily pick up proprietary database software.
What to Expect
This is an entry-level position for an individual with appropriate education and can be a stepping stone toward a career as an A&R administrator, music supervisor, song plugger, or a related role. The most significant benefit of employment as an advertising music assistant is the opportunity to develop the necessary contacts within record labels and publishers to advance to a more lucrative and exciting career in the music industry. Networking is the key to building a positive reputation. Your success in this endeavor will hinge on your ability to learn quickly, a knack for navigating the complicated terrain of music licensing, and an ability to glean as much knowledge as possible from the veteran professionals around you.
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