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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Video helped the radio star

    Most people have a tendency to turn off their favorite TV shows once the credits start rolling. But if you actually watch the credits, some unfamiliar titles may come up. Best boy grip? What does he do? Foley artist?

    Music supervisor may seem slightly more straightforward.

    “”I had no idea what a music supervisor was until I came to L.A.,”” said David Sibley, music supervisor for “”Desperate Housewives.””

    Both Sibley and Jon Ernst, music supervisor for the shows “”Laguna Beach”” and “”The Hills,”” worked with composing music before they became music supervisors. Sibley had written and played music all along, working his way through college on a music scholarship before eventually getting an internship with the Television Academy, which led to the profession of music supervisor. Ernst spent quite a few years working as a composer for television and found there was a natural progression to coming on board to work with shows like “”Laguna Beach”” that are scored by songs rather than instrumental score.

    On a day-to-day basis, the job of music supervisor entails a lot of listening to music and getting the rights to the songs, Ernst said. The job requires more technical parts as well, Sibley said, such as producing any live music required for playback, troubleshooting possible issues that may arise during shoot days that utilize music and advising budgets for requested music uses, among many other tasks.

    Being a music supervisor is not just about getting the opportunity to give your favorite bands some promotion through your job.

    “”The scene is paramount. It’s about which song best compliments the story. I try not to let my personal taste in the music I would listen to at home affect my job,”” Sibley said.

    Lyrics can often at times be distracting and take away from a scene. Some of the worries of a music supervisor are whether the lyrics will get in the way of the dialogue or if the song has a foreign sound that will distract from the ongoing events. Finding the right balance is a delicate task.

    “”A lot of times, the story is told in the song itself,”” Ernst said. “”Especially in the scene where perhaps the people in the scene aren’t saying much, so the songs, in a lot of ways, need to tell that story to the audience.””

    Bands that are featured on a hit show can feel an effect in record sales and fan adoration. The Fray, who recently played Centennial Hall, received a boost in their fanbase from the show “”Grey’s Anatomy,”” which used their song “”How to Save a Life”” in promotion for the new season. Music soundtracks, in fact, helped Joshua Radin establish a music career.

    Radin had only written one song and played one open mic night before his song was used on the show “”Scrubs.”” He played the song in his living room for friend Zach Braff, who loved the song and encouraged him to send it to producers. Radin recorded the song in a friend’s bedroom, sent it to producer Bill Lawrence, and three weeks later, the song was on the show.

    “”I had such an amazing response from that song being on the show that people kept writing me and writing me, saying, ‘Please write more music,’ and so I kind of fell into this career,”” Radin said. “”Ever since that day, I’ve had a career as a musician, so it’s been amazing.””

    Two of Radin’s songs also appeared on “”Grey’s Anatomy”” after the music supervisor attended one of his shows. After they used his song “”Closer”” in an episode, his independently released record shot up to the top 25 albums on iTunes.

    “”That’s when all the labels got interested,”” Radin said. “”There was this bidding war, and I ended up signing with Columbia.””

    A close friend of Radin’s, Schuyler Fisk, had a similar experience. Fisk is still working on her first record, but she had a duet with Radin included on the soundtrack for the movie “”The Last Kiss”” before a recent touring jaunt on the Hotel CafǸ Tour.

    “”She had never toured or anything. It was just incredible to see all these fans she had gotten already just by being on that soundtrack,”” Radin said.

    Radin said any chance at exposure is a great opportunity when you’re an independent artist, or even a signed artist. Radin said he is open to any kind of exposure, even letting students who wrote or called use his songs for their films.

    “”I don’t know how it all works. I just see an immediate response from people once a song is on a show or in a movie,”” Radin said. “”It’s kind of like film and TV is really the new radio.””

    Ernst had similar thoughts, saying that he’s received a great response from some of the indie artists he’s included, who have gotten great PR from the usage. Even major labels see the benefits, Ernst said. Labels have to come to rely on shows like “”Laguna Beach”” as a way to get their music out there.

    “”It’s probably one of the most important exposure vehicles for music these days,”” Ernst said.

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