Kathy Brown Sync Placement For Private Eyes
Recently, we caught up with Music Gateway member and composer Kathy Brown, to learn more about her recent sync placement on the show Canadian comedy-drama television series Private Eyes. Kathy tells us about Kaki Music, a ‘one stop shop’ collaboration between herself and French musician Kiki Aublette. Both are composers and multi-instrumentalists who share a love of music creation, with Kiki’s versatile musical talents also matched by a proficiency with studio technology. Writing and producing in London, Kaki has produced an extensive portfolio of instrumental music and songs across a wide range of genres.
The three cowriters of You Wreck Me are featured below (from the left); Kiki, Colm and Kathy.
Find out how Kathy got started in music, and how she reacted when she heard the great news that the track ‘You Wreck Me‘ had been successfully placed! Read on to discover what Kathy’s top three tips for someone trying to secure a sync placement are, and how she’s coming along with the Music Gateway platform…
Can you tell us a bit about how you got into music and what your experience in the music industry has been so far?
“I went to a music college as a pianist and instead came out as a violinist! I subsequently worked in that capacity as a Classical freelancer. However, I was always a maverick; I played electric violin on the side and adored Jazz. I was offered a post-grad place at Berklee that, unfortunately, due to other commitments I didn’t take up. However, I did go on to become the first female electric violinist to appear at Ronnie Scotts…
After a decade I then had a hiatus from music, so now I am starting over in it from scratch (or from experience, depends on how you see it)! My co-writer Kiki actually trained as an architect, but music was his first love so he quickly made the switch back and became a full-time professional musician. The song we have had synced was co-written with a wonderful musician and sound engineer, Colm Ennis.”
Was this your first sync? If not, what placements have you had before?
“I co-wrote the teaser trailer music for the movie Notting Hill a long time ago. Polygram Films discovered that they didn’t have the rights to use artists on the Polygram label, so they reached out needing 11th-hour help!”
How did you feel when you heard that you got a sync placement?
“Delighted! It’s always amazing to collaborate on something that goes on to live in others’ work too.”
What have you got out of the sync placement so far and what do you hope to get out of it ongoing?
“Currently, we’re waiting to see what happens when the episode goes live. It is a Canadian show but has international syndication, so we’re all shored up to see if the song resonates with the show’s audience. [The song] is available on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify and Deezer (under the artist name Kaki) and is Shazam-able!”
You said you’re currently expanding the roster and adding more to the platform. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
“Yes, we have produced a catalogue of over 80 tracks for licensing purposes that are now sitting in production libraries around the world. Production music is a numbers game. We are always super keen to write bespoke work too, but library music has the evergreen potential to be earning passive income in the background of our other musical pursuits and projects.”
What do the people around you think? I’m sure they must be very proud!
“They are happy for us, which is touching!”
How has your Music Gateway experience been? What three tips would you give to those looking to secure a sync placement?
“It’s been great! It’s been interesting to join it in the early days and watch it rapidly grow into an impressive music licensing hub. Equally, the team haven’t lost their personal touch!”
1. There’s no blueprint!
I’m not sure we are remotely qualified to advise because we are independent composer-producers. We work with session musicians, (like the amazing vocalist Eddy Smith on this track), so we’re not a band or an artist with an established fan base. In a bid to fast-track my understanding of the sync industry I had been to many industry conferences in Europe and The States and this subject matter was raised every time by music supervisor panellists as being a highly favourable component.
We also write in a broad stylistic vein and I thought that this would go against us too. However, it’s also our choice to do the latter. To restrict ourselves musically would be an anathema to our passion and creativity. So I think other lone wolf or collaborating composers should be heartened that there are actually all different kinds of sync opportunities out there. It’s not always about personalities, fan data or business formulas underpinning creative requirements, it can be purely about music!
That said, I would certainly recommend paying attention to industry experts and would recommend that any musician starting out, finds their niche and puts their music out to establish their audience and to open themselves up to opportunities with people who are actively seeking content within that niche too. They can then always expand stylistically from there. Cover songs are a great way to open up and tap into existing audiences and it makes you much easier to discover on Spotify etc, but I would release covers that again align with your niche so that then your original music will also resonate with that audience. Just check rights issues first before you release a cover.”
2. Invest in yourself
Both money and time wherever possible to both upgrade both your equipment and to master your business skills. Learn as much as you can, ask for help and build relationships. An overnight success is never an overnight success, so be patient. The sync industry is not an exact science.”
3. Metadata is very important.
I created a comprehensive spreadsheet to pull that from because the administration side to metadata is the most time consuming and least interesting side of licensing, so I would recommend creating systems to minimise admin. Or hire help!”
Anything else you’d like to add?
“Diversification is key”
“Making a sustainable living as an independent musician is now far more accessible and achievable. More resources have become available to gain exposure and create multiple revenue opportunities. You don’t need a label backing you or indeed fame. In fact, having a smaller audience can be advantageous! Having a smaller fanbase that is committed to spending a small sum per year on your music is worth more than having a huge but disengaged audience…
Additionally, having more than one source of income is vital. This will give you more stability- soliciting syncs should ideally be just one component of an overall business strategy. This can be customised to include other things like digital downloads, touring, merch, subscription or even online educational products. As we don’t have a live component to what we produce, we have diversified by placing music in libraries as I mentioned earlier. We also produced a book too called ‘The song in my head‘, which is now available on Amazon!
We are currently working on our second physical product. Kiki meanwhile is a session musician and part-time drum professor too. Helping grassroots musicians along the way is a vital aspect to sustaining this industry of ours and its future audiences…”
Watch the trailer for Private Eyes here
Enjoy learning about Kathy’s experience? Sign up to our newsletter for all of the latest community news and music industry advice! Want to find out more about finding other creatives to collaborate with? Or perhaps you’re interested in securing your own sync placement?