Posts tagged #Music For Picture

Uncovering the Podcast License Pt II

find-music-for-video.png

Our clients come from all walks of life—and industries—yet they all share a common mission: too find music that serves their content’s purpose.

We’ve spotlighted everyone from independent filmmakers whose work has premiered at Sundance to Tribeca and dug into the stories of music video directors and producers. But what about the non-visual creative projects that also make the world go ‘round?

Kicking off our Uncovering the Podcast License series last week, we looked at the number of ways music and sound can serve a podcast’s narrative and theme—how licensing the right music can intrigue listeners to tune into future episodes, while creating a signature experience for the show’s overall brand.

the-best-undiscovered-songs-for-commercial-use

Audio producer and podcaster, Megan Tan knows a thing or two about licensing music for her esteemed podcast, Millennial—a notable series on growing up and finding a place in the “real world.” While Tan wrapped up the series a couple years back, the show has been recognized by publications like The Atlantic, The Huffington Post and A.V. Club, it remains to be a relatable series that can be applied to today.

Now living in New York City, Tan is still a producer, working on Gimlet Media’s The Habitat, NPR’s Planet Money and on a Pineapple Street Media podcast. Through her podcast and productions, Tan has utilized music and sound design to cultivate an immersive environment strictly through audio.

We sat down with Tan to look back on her arrival in podcasting (when it was still new and expansive territory) and her experience in making the hit podcast, Millennial:


Marmoset: Could you give us a look into what it was like before you made your first podcast

Megan Tan: Basically I wanted to be a radio producer and I had an internship at NYC Radio Lab for a semester but I didn't actually make radio, I didn’t know how to make radio. And my background is in photo journalism—and in photo journalism, what you do is, you go out and you shoot, right?

You Take photos and you create a portfolio and then people can see your work and then they can hire you. So I guess I just took that idea and decided to apply it to this new industry and Millennial started out almost like a portfolio piece; because the closest thing that I had was my life. I just wanted to practice collecting audio, interviewing people, writing scripts, mixing, making episodes and making radio stories.

M: What did it look like leading up the Millennial gaining more momentum and attention?

Tan: The whole idea was that all the work that I was doing would be a portfolio to get me a job in public radio—which is dead. I ended up getting a job at New Hampshire public radio. There I was continuing to make Millennial, I had like almost two full-time jobs. I was making this podcast and then I was working full-time at a public radio station.

And then at one point the podcast started getting more praise and press than the shows at the public radio station. And I just kind of decided to make this leap and dedicate myself to doing it full-time.

M: Did you ever view making Millennial as a way of connecting with other people through your own experiences?

Tan: You know, that wasn’t the goal, because at the time—I don’t know how many podcasts there were, maybe 250,000—I mean, right now the market is really saturated, but even then you’re like ‘who’s going to listen to them?’ Right, so yeah and to be honest, because it was built from the ground up and a lot of the press was organic, I didn’t think anybody was going to listen.

Yeah, so when people were listening, I was like oh shit. A friend of mine just said to me last night, you know, sometimes the best dancers are the people who dance as if no one’s watching. I feel like that’s how Millennial was created. Where it was created in this way where I just spoke into a microphone like no one was listening.

M: Looking back, what did the evolution of Millennial look like from its creator’s standpoint?

Tan: It did evolve because it had to become more sustainable. That’s why there are multiple seasons, if you keep listening, we’re really trying to find our footing after we get past the first season. Instead of it just being a ‘Millennial, a podcast about maneuvering your twenties post-graduation captured in real time,’ it just becomes ‘Millennial, a podcast about coming of age.’

And so that is broader and the purpose was for it to encompass a lot of people’s stories. But the problem with that is, you know, once you give an audience a very specific character to care for—which was me— the less personal you become. It was also the identify that was changing in real-time, as well.

The purpose also changed. It was no longer a portfolio or a personal essay about growing up or a personal documentary. It also has to become a machine, had to be able to live off it full-time and pay people—it became a business. So the mission had to kind of change a little bit. 

M: What did the ‘making of’ such a successful podcast look like story-wise? How did you decide what content to focus on as a millennial yourself?
Tan: We had a bit of a formula but each episode was different, you know? Hopefully the entry was some sort of peg to my life. Whether it was long distance relationships or being Asian in a very white setting.

And then we would try to branch off, maybe do other people’s stories sometimes—it was still my story. And I would just collect tape all the time. Like if I was still making Millennial, I would say, ‘hey do you mind if I record our conversation?’

M: What’s an episode that stands out in your memory as one of your favorites?

Tan: I really enjoyed making “Brunchies,” which is the third episode, because it’s purely sound. I lavved myself when I was doing a shift one day, so I have sounds basically from an entire work day compressed to like two minutes of audio. It was just kind of fun to create that scene with all of that tape.

M: We know you’re busy plugging away in New York—what kind of projects do you have in the works right now?

Tan: Since wrapping up Millennial, I’ve helped produce Gimlet Media’s The Habitat, then there’s also Pineapple Street, they did Missing Richard Simmons; I helped them produce a couple of those shows. I helped them produce Going Through It with Ann Friedman of Call Your Girlfriend. And then also another show called The Unwinding of a Miracle and worked at NPR’s Planet Money. And just recently reported on a piece for NPR’s All Things Considered.


A big thanks to Megan Tan for taking us behind the scenes in making Millennial—it’s just one example of great podcasts utilizing music and sound to create an immersive audio experiences. Check out the full series here and more of her work here.

Music in Film: StudioFest Filmmakers Make Their First Feature

Souvenirs is StudioFest’s debut feature film that follows a murderabilia shop clerk who discovers her own family’s dark history when asked to sell souvenirs from a crime not yet solved.

Souvenirs is StudioFest’s debut feature film that follows a murderabilia shop clerk who discovers her own family’s dark history when asked to sell souvenirs from a crime not yet solved.

When Jess Jacklin and Charles Beale kicked off StudioFest last year, their mission was to redefine traditional film festival processes—to award the winning filmmakers not just with a temporary status or accolade, but with means of creating their first feature work.

“Independent short filmmakers and screenwriters desire one thing: to make their first feature,” says Beale. “We have aimed to align the skew, bringing talented filmmakers straight to their first feature. The project has grown to include so much talent and enthusiasm and we can’t wait to share the film.”

Winning director, Anna Mikami and winning screenwriter Matthew Sorvillo walked away from the festival experience with a newfound professional partnership. With Mikami in the director chair and Sorvillo spearheading the script, Souvenirs was the product of creative collaboration, perseverance and a tried-and-true indie kind of resourcefulness.

A still from StudioFest production, Souvenirs

A still from StudioFest production, Souvenirs

Produced under a 1M micro-budget, the StudioFest collaborative proved it’s possible to churn out a high quality production even when a big studio isn’t at the helm. Partnering up with Marmoset to equip the production with the music rights for their feature film, a dream soundtrack was no longer out of arm’s reach.

Proving it’s possible to find songs for commercial use on a budget is what Marmoset’s music licensing team does daily. But when partnering up with other community organizations like StudioFest—to help outside projects license music for video—it’s a commitment to our community; to give what we can from our side, while always ensuring our artists receive their share and exposure for their work.

Thanks to the pioneering film festival that’s examining the leaps and hurdles every filmmaker faces, Souvenirs is no longer an aspirational idea—it’s a film slated to premiere in Fall 2019.

“The winners we chose compliment each other in a way we are very excited about. As we get into our second week of filming, there’s an air of enthusiasm shared with everyone involved,” says Jacklin. “Although we’re working with a micro-budget, the caliber of talent from cast, crew and sponsors adds a tremendous amount of value and we couldn’t do it without their dedication and vision.”


Stay tuned as we cover the release of Souvenirs and the making of its soundtrack.

Say Hey to Jené and Diana: Talking Diversity and DJing with Noche Libre

Creative Music Coordinators, Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez — photography by    Kale Chesney

Creative Music Coordinators, Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez — photography by Kale Chesney

Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez are two of Marmoset’s Creative Music Coordinators by day, swooping in to support clients with music searches and clearances for every kind of project under the sun. By night, the two host one of the most buzz-worthy dance nights in Portland —Noche Libre.

Assembled of Jené, Diana and six other DJs, the Latinx collective’s mission challenges Portland’s mainstream nightlife scene, where typically only a small demographic is made to feel seen, welcome and safe. Instead Noche Libre cultivates community, creating space for Black, Brown and Indigenous groups.

Illustration by Noche Libre collective member,    Yuriko Xolotl

Illustration by Noche Libre collective member, Yuriko Xolotl

Spinning everything from cumbia and quebradita to dancehall and perreo, the inclusivity starts with the collective’s music selection. “We’re not super genre specific,” says Jené. “We definitely have a vibe but we’ll still play hip hop and a lot of different genres, there’s really something for everyone.”

It’s a reflection of their own musical tastes, everything they enjoy jamming to while also encompassing and honoring their Latin heritage and upbringings.

“I think what's really cool about something like Noche Libre is it’s just part of Latin culture — to get together and listen to music with your family and friends,” says Diana. “I really feel like it just feels like family get-togethers, everybody's just here for each other and here for a good time.”

The importance of Noche Libre’s presence — other than hearing mixes en fuego — is its movement toward building opportunities and spaces for artists of color within the music industry. With Jené leading Marmoset’s internal Diversity & Inclusion Team and Diana supporting the team’s overarching initiatives, their mission is to disrupt problematic systems to pave way for new processes.

From redefining how composers are brought onto creative projects to integrating diversity focused mixers into marketing trips — the team leads objectives that not merely benefit the underrepresented, but the entire company. It’s endless work, but indicative of genuine desire for positive change within an industry that upholds barriers for those who are non-binary or people of color.

Jené and Diana daily facilitate interpersonal conversations with other teams, including music producers and members of leadership (among community leaders). There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s mindful development toward progression.

A floral shrine created by Diana (IG photo credit: @    stoneanvil     )

A floral shrine created by Diana (IG photo credit: @stoneanvil)

When not attending workshops and programs like Partners in Diversity’s Say Hey night or DJing around town as Noche Libre, Jené and Diana keep busy with their side creative missions. Diana being an experienced florist, she’s responsible for cultivating Y La Bamba and Sávila’s dreamy stage designs — the floral arrangements while laborious, only add to the feat of strength that both Latin American musical groups deliver through their performances. You can also catch Jené co-hosting Everyday Mixtapes on XRAY.FM every Saturday night from 5:00-6:00PM (PDT) — listeners will be pulled in with a mix of throwbacks from R&B, hip hop to funk and vintage gems.

So if passing through Portland and catching Noche Libre in action, what can one expect when out on the dance floor?

“We find a way to fit it altogether. Like I’ll play an Asian psych song and then a chicha song, which leads to a cumbia song,” says Diana. “Because we’re all so different and made up of so many different experiences, that’s what makes it interesting.”

Part of Noche Libre’s mission statement is “to celebrate our family’s roots and rituals by carrying on the tradition of puro pinche pari” — it’s an embodiment of finding strength in identity and to not only live in it, but to celebrate it.

The Music Behind Givenchy's Spring Summer Campaign

Marmoset-music-licensing-music-copyright-license-film-compose-score-soundtrack-youtube-vimeo-filmmaker.jpg

Givenchy’s Spring + Summer 2019 Campaign is a blend of avant-garde and retro culture — a crisp black and white landscape, where the characters look as though they were plucked out of Andy Warhol’s studio, the Factory.

Alongside the androgynous collective, Givenchy features Marmoset artist, Damon Boucher’sK I N” as its musical backdrop. Electronic synth beats, the music ensures the seasonal campaign reaches full circle. To learn more about Boucher’s musical journey, the fashion undercurrent of his LP — N K I and where he’s headed, we connected with the artist earlier this month.


Marmoset-music-licensing-music-copyright-license-film-compose-score-soundtrack-youtube-vimeo-filmmaker-copyright-music.jpg

Marmoset: Could you tell us a little bit how you first got into making music?

Boucher: I grew up taking classical lessons, and performing contemporary music in a Pentecostal Christian church. In church, I learned to improvise pop music, although church also kept me closeted. But, I’ve been writing music since that time. I played and wrote music all throughout college; then began to produce music after I graduated in 2008.

M: Listening through NKI, your music has such a dreamy kind of presence along with an energetic pulse to it. How would you describe your music to listeners? What kind of visuals come to mind?

B: I try to make it watery, but clean. Clean can sometimes mean dry and airy which plays off the watery thing. Visually, I always think of clean, stark contrasts; light and dark meeting in balance. I think of an ocean horizon, fashion runways or queer nightlife culture.

M: Do you collaborate with your work or do you tend to flourish more as a solo creator? Yes! Most of my work is collaborative. My main project for the past few years has been producing music for Chanti Darling. I’ve also worked with The Last Artful, Dodgr, Maarquii, Natasha Kmeto, Nafisaria, The Portland Cello Project, Ripley Snell, Neill Von Tally, DJ Sappho, Pocket Rock-it and many more. (Click here to listen).

I’ve also had a chance to teach and collaborate with several of my students over the years. I’ve taught piano and composition at School of Rock since 2010 and have directed over 40 shows there; and since they let me keep my studio inside their building, all of my projects are made out of there. I call that studio Zip Zap Studios.

I’m super proud of the work I’ve done with others. However, even though I’m often in collaborative environments, I find that I work best alone. When producing music with others, I oftentimes meet to record, then polish the songs when I’m by myself. There’s less pressure when I’m alone so I find those times to be more experimental and fruitful.

M: Who are some artists you've been listening to this year?

Current new stuff from: The Internet, Roisin Murphy, Against All Logic, Travis Scott.

Older stuff from: Missy Elliott, Gary Numan, Four Tet

M: What went through your head when you heard your music being featured on the Givenchy Spring/Summer campaign?

I sincerely wanted that music to be used for fashion so I was excited to see it used in that capacity! A lot of the track names on N K I have fashion related titles, all for the reason that I imagined this record being used just as you now see it.

M: What inspires you about the Portland music scene?

Someone once described Portland to me as a great “incubator” for creative ideas, which I think is both bizarre and accurate. It rains forever so I want to stay inside and work on music until the weather’s good. I am completely privileged to be able to work on music with the setup I have in Portland and I am forever grateful for that. I would not be able to do that in a variety of other places or lives.

Givenchy-campaign-music-marmoset-licensing-music-license.png

The Spring Summer 2019 Campaign

Spotlighting Music Licensing Creative, Marissa Hernandez

Marmoset-Music-licensing-copyright-score-soundtrack-filmmaker-licensing-music-filmmaking.jpg

A tried-and-true commitment toward community betterment and keen ear for awesome music, Marissa Hernandez is the kind of woman anyone would be lucky enough to have on their team — or grab a coffee with (one of her favorite things to do).

Having a natural instinct toward music and being able to “feel” what works with a creative project isn’t something that can necessarily be taught. But it’s something that Marissa one of Marmoset’s Music Licensing Creatives has a serious knack for and a skill she exercises every day for clients.

Music is in Marissa’s blood — her father being a self-taught musician who plays numerous instruments and her mother, who plays both the piano and guitar; her childhood inarguably ran deep with positive music reinforcement. Such an underlying presence prompted Marissa to expand her own music preferences and taste, using the music her parents played for as a child as the springboard for discovering her individualistic musical tastes.

“I've kind of found that I don't really like being told what to like. There's a lot of music that my parents would listen to and make me listen to when I was younger. But now that I’ve come back to it on my own, I'm like, oh, I love this! So it's almost like I needed that sort of freedom to make that decision on my own.”

Naturally the arts and music were a driving force in Marissa’s life and underlying motivator in college. Inspired by The Current, a public community-focused radio station in Minneapolis, Marissa set her initial sights on music as her career path.

“They play a lot of independent bands and artists, which really helped facilitate my love for indie music,” says Marissa. “There's not really a strong equivalent to that here in Oregon. And so I went to school thinking, I'm going to start a radio station. And then I thought, well, radio's a dying industry so I probably shouldn’t — that's probably not a great business decision.”

Marmoset-Music-licensing-copyright-score-soundtrack-filmmaker-licensing-music.jpg

With other interests in writing and graphic design, Marissa began scouring how music would fit into her professional pursuits. It was when she discovered her niche in music supervision that she secured her dream job overseeing music to picture — her very first sync and catapulting moment when she pitched a Santigold song, successfully landing it on a Summer Olympics commercial.

Aiming to provide exposure to talented, lesser mainstream artists and helping them advance in the music licensing world, Marissa focuses on the bigger picture when pitching music for ad campaigns, films, TV shows and other visual media.

“It’s always really rewarding whenever we can help an artist continue to work and do what they love for a living,” Marissa says. “I feel like it's more direct here [at Marmoset], it's clear to me when we’ve had an influence on someone’s career.”

After acquiring a wealth of experience in music supervision, Marissa began searching for a place where she could share her passion for community alongside music, eventually making her home at Marmoset as a Music Licensing Creative.

“I feel really good about the fact that we have initiatives to help the community here because that was something I really struggled with working in advertising — the question being, am I really making the world a better place? That's something that's really important to me overall in my life.”

Leading her team in internal searches through Marmoset’s catalog of artists for creative projects, Marissa expertly navigates external searches too — a muscle she flexes when a client has ultra specifications for a song they want to license but can’t find it on the Marmoset music roster. Using her knowledge of the music industry and with wide range of resources, Marissa scours and obtains songs that others may not have the same access to or perhaps a lack of insight to inquire about.

With her involvement on Marmoset’s Eagle Scout Team — a group dedicated to discovering and recruiting more obscure artists — Marissa also invests her time and leadership on Marmoset’s Greater Good Team, an internal group focusing on community partnership.

Her wealth of industry knowledge makes Marissa a force to be reckoned with, being able to interpret a client’s asks and vision, offering up her creativity, guidance and expertise in the most genuine of fashions. At the end of the day there’s no question about it, Marissa makes Marmoset and her community a better place.


Listen and play through Marissa’s “All Time Faves” playlist on Spotify.

Artist Spotlight: Zach Marsh

Composing music for clients can be a balance of humility and knowing when to speak up. Get to know Zach Marsh and how he manages this seemingly daunting task.

First things first, Zach Marsh has a lot on his plate, and he makes it look easy. Not only is he a full-time composer for clients including VeggieTales, Netflix's Daredevil and Fiat, but he also teaches piano through his YouTube channel (we highly recommend his insane "Coffee Covers" series), and directs an original musical starring children with autism. For him, music lives, breathes and grows and it's critical to grow along with it as it transcends to different mediums.

Marsh's music is beautiful. His cinematic and often grandoise songs, spark an emotional potency in every project. When approaching music as a full-time career, Marsh has developed his life in a diversified way. Whether he's writing music for a TV show, or teaching students, he navigates and cultivates an "emotional intelligence" when collaborating with others. Each project is balance between the natural push and pull between following the vision of the director and imparting your own creative voice into the mix. We chatted with Marsh about his respected career and how he's able to navigate the varied life of a working musician. Enjoy.


Marmoset: What makes a good composer?

Zach Marsh: Good composers are good psychologists because they get into the head of the director and the viewer. Music in media is all about hitting the emotional nail on the head, so composers have to be really psychologically in tune with the story. If you can tell a good story, if you read a lot, and if you can quickly hone in on the emotions of a scene, you’re halfway there. Basically when you’re writing music for TV or film, music is the given. It’s the rest of it — the technology, the business, the relationships, the emotional intelligence — that’s what takes a lot of time to develop.

M: What is your favorite instrument to compose with?

ZM: I started piano and it’s always been my go-to for performing and composing. I write with other instruments like guitar and drums every once in a while, but when I’m working on tight deadlines it’s easier for me to quickly get my ideas down at the keyboard.

M: When starting off in your profession, what instrument would you suggest one learn to play first? Why?

ZM: I’m biased, but I always point people toward the piano. Not only does it give you a really clear visual reference when learning music theory, but it’s also the most common way to input MIDI info into your computer. The better pianist you are, the easier any type of production work will be. It’s like getting good at typing.

M: When and how did you start composing music for Veggie Tales

ZM: Ironically, most of my best music projects have come from people outside the entertainment industry. I was volunteering at a homeless ministry in Pasadena, where “networking” was the last thing on my mind, and one of the other volunteers mentioned her husband was the composer for Veggie Tales. A few months later I told her if he ever needed help, please let me know, and she said he needed lots of help, please help. So, I started working for him and writing additional music for the show as a ghost writer. All that to say, you never know where you’ll find music projects, so I think getting out there, being really active, and doing a lot of different things (especially if you live in LA because everyone's a filmmaker) is a great way to meet people. Another example: I work out at a gym, I met another composer there, one time he called me because he couldn’t take an orchestration job... fast forward a few months and I’ve done two projects with the theater company he referred me to and I’m now their resident orchestrator. When I started out pursuing a career as a composer professionally, I was looking for any type of road map or path that most people took to become a composer, and now that I’ve been doing this for a while, I’ve realized there’s no one path to making it happen. If you want to be a composer, and you’re resilient, you can make a living at it. It’s also easier than ever to be a full-time composer because we all have access to the same technology. I’ve sat in with some of the biggest composers, and besides maybe some external gear, the majority of the tech they’re using is the same stuff I use in my home studio. Twenty years ago it was a job reserved for the elite, but now it’s more of a working class job: no one’s getting filthy rich, but there are a lot of hard-working people out there providing for their families as full time composers. That’s what’s important to me. 

M: How do you feel that composing music for the show shaped your career?

ZM: It’s definitely still shaping my career. Producing music for TV/Film/Web is difficult to learn in the classroom. There are some really great computer music academic programs, but for me, I’ve learned the most from working in the field. Robert Watson, the main composer for Veggie Tales, started out assisting on Pokemon and other animated series from the 90’s, so he’s been working specifically with animation for a long time. Having someone who’s both a veteran of the trade and invested in the quality of my music has helped me a lot. Since I’m ghostwriting for him, he’s always making sure the music I write for him doesn’t suck, so that's pushed me to keep getting better. Aside from writing for the show, just having a household name like Veggie Tales in my portfolio has provided a lot of other writing opportunities for me. One of the catch 22’s of composing is that people won’t give you big projects unless you’ve already done big projects. So working as a ghostwriter in some ways is like a backdoor in to getting those bigger projects. The Veggie Tales reel I sent to Marmoset was also the only music of mine they said they could use, so it also helped me get in there. 

M: In your opinion, what role does music play in film?

ZM: When you’re a songwriter or composer for the concert hall, you’re writing music for you. When you’re a composer for film and TV, you’re always writing music for someone else. In most cases, you’re coming on to someone else’s creative vision and you’re trying to write something that you can be proud of and that everyone else likes as well. That can be really tricky sometimes. I’ve often showed a new cue to a director that I’m really passionate about and they don’t like it because it’s saying too much in the moment, or it’s being too important. Even though I’d love to flex my compositional craft more in film scoring, sometimes a single note works best for the scene, or just one instrument instead of the whole orchestra. That’s part of getting more projects and working with lots of different types of directors; you gain that restraint that says, "this job isn’t about me and showing everyone my cool music chops, it’s about writing something that helps tell the story."

M: When you are first brought onto a composition project, what questions do you tend to ask? What information about the project do you prefer to know?

ZM: I always like to listen to references they send -- that’s a good starting point. A lot of filmmakers want to use musical lingo to communicate things, which can be kind of rough sometimes, so I usually start by asking them to talk in terms of emotion instead of musical styles. I think it’s easier to find a starting point if you’re thinking emotionally, since saying something like “rock feel” can mean a lot of different things musically, but saying “somber feel” immediately limits you into a specific tempo, chord structure, timbre, etc. 

M: Are there any changes you’ve made to you approach to creating music over the years?

ZM: My goal has always been to make a living making music. I haven’t had a job outside of music since freshman year of college and for me that’s success. When I was studying composition in school, everything was from a theoretical perspective. I was entering into a grand tradition of great composers, trying to learn everything I could by studying their works and all that. As soon as I left school, it was all about business and technology. Like I said before, music is the given. I still work on developing my compositional craft, but the majority of my time is spent figuring out how to use the technology to my advantage and help me be more efficient, and then the rest of the time is spent building relationships with people and building up my business as a composer. I’d say the biggest change has been being okay with writing simple music, learning how to say more with less elements, and shifting my mentality to understand the music I write is for someone else.

I used to be more concerned with the fact that I don’t use a lot of live instruments. I’d be really self conscious when I saw other composers tracking a bunch of string parts or guitar on their cues and I’d wish I could play other instruments well enough to do that quickly. What I’ve been learning more recently is that almost all TV shows are using exclusively fake instruments. I wrote a few jazz cues for season 2 of Daredevil, and originally I just sent them demos that we all decided would be re-recorded with live instruments in a big studio, but they ended up liking the demos so much they just used them in the episode. So I’m more comfortable now, especially for TV work, using sampled instruments for cues.