A trusted sync agency representing independent artists

Sync Licensing for TV, film, games & ads

Sync Licensing for TV, film, games & ads

Who we work with

We are an established sync agent working directly with music supervisors, broadcasters, TV production companies, advertising agents and games publishers worldwide licensing music and earning our rights holders revenue.

Netflix logo
BBC logo, BBC is one of the UK's biggest host of multiple radio stations, TV channels and more
ITV logo, ITV is one of the biggest multimedia companies, with radio and TV channels
Dream Works Logo
Disney Logo
Guild of Music Supervisors logo, GMS are well respected in music for sync licensing and music licensing professionals
Sony Pictures Logo
Universal Studios logo
How it works
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Upload your music

Create your account, upload your music and submit your songs to our creative licensing team.

We pitch to clients

Our in-house creative team in London & LA we work directly with music supervisors placing music to media daily.

Film & TV placements
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Music Licensing Showcase

Various

We secure some of the most exciting Sync placements for our talented Artists, Songwriters, Labels, and Publishers. This has been made possible by working with our established and growing network of skilled Music Supervisors within the Film and Entertainment industry.

NCIS: Los Angeles

CBS

American TV Network CBS’ ongoing crime drama “NCIS: Los Angeles” starring LL Cool J, Chris O’Donnell and Daniela Ruah follows the Naval Crime Investigation Services team as they take on the toughest cases in LA.

Souluvmuziq’s multi-genre songwriter and producer MadD3E’s uplifting R&B track “Know Me Better” featuring vocalist Bluesforthehorn secured a seamless sync to begin episode 10 of season 11 on a high.

Bulletproof Season 2

Sky One

Sky One Sky One’s action-drama series “Bulletproof” follows undercover police duo and best friends Bishop played by Noel Clarke (Kidulthood, Adulthood) and Pike played by Ashley Walters (Top Boy) as they pair up to take down criminal gangs across Europe in the pursuit of justice. 5ive 9ine is a genre-bending team comprised of U K Rap pioneer Sway Dasafo and Producer Zagor who landed a Sync for the series’ multiple action-packed promotional trailers with their high-intensity Rap track “Born A King”.

Close

Piccadilly Pictures / Netflix Originals

Actress Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Prometheus) leads the action-packed Netflix thriller “Close” as a deadly bodyguard hired to protect a troubled heiress. Directed & written by Vicky Jewson.

Working with Music Supervisor Claire Freeman we secured two placements with tracks “Kerbela” from artist Orlando Lanzini and “Middle” from JP.

BROS: After the Screaming Stops

Fulwell 73

BAFTA award winning documentary following the reunion of brothers Matt & Luke Goss from the 80s pop band “Bros”. Watch how their journey to resolve past issues & deliver long-awaited shows at sold-out London O2 Arena gigs.

We secured a sync for Jess & James 60’s pop track “Move” through working directly with established Music Supervisor, Michelle De Vries.

The Terror

AMC

Ridley Scott’s “The Terror” airing on AMC is a 10-part horror anthology series based on the bestselling novel by Dan Simmons.

With a catalogue full of nostalgic & vintage tracks suitable for period dramas, working with music supervisor Natasha Duprey we placed “Candy” by Jack Kluger & Jay Clever and his Orchestra.

The Capture

The BBC

The BBC drama “The Capture” was a huge hit. A 6-part mini-series about a persistent young detective who begins to discover a multi-layered conspiracy when handling the case of a British soldier who is charged with murder.

We placed a techno track for a specific club scene through Music Supervisor Michelle De Vries for this brief, which featured producer Politis’ track “Gravity” within the fifth episode.

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Amazon Prime Original

“The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” is an Amazon original comedy/drama set in 1950s Manhattan following the life of Miriam “Midge” Maisel who is refinding purpose through stand up comedy after her husband leaves her for another woman.

We secured a sync for artist Lily Chao, whose track “Picking Tea Leaves and Catching Butterflies” was placed by Reel Music’s Robin Urdang.

Moffie

Portobello Productions

“Moffie”, 2019 London Film Festival’s Best Film category nominee is a British South African LGBT biographical war drama written & directed by Oliver Hermanus. The film is based on an autobiographical novel by Andre Carl van der Merwe.

Working with Music Supervisor Jack Sidey led to us securing 4 amazing sync placements by 3 separate artists for this film including artists Denny Leroux, Structure and Steve Swindells.

Bloodline

Sony Pictures / Netflix Originals

Critically acclaimed Netflix Original series “Bloodline” is a drama/thriller based in the Florida Keys following the well-off Rayburn family (Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini) who has a dark past which slowly unravels leading to an uncertain future.

A sync placement was secured for the final season with “Never Been Good at Goodbyes” by Mike Goudreau & The Boppin’ Blues Band by experienced US Music Supervisor Mark Wike.

American Soul

BET

Biographical drama “American Soul” is a series on BET based on the ambitious story of Soul Train show creator and host Don Cornelius. Set in 1970’s Los Angeles, this is a series filled with iconic music, dancing & fashion.

We secured 60s soul group Bud Ross & Pals with their lively track “Do Your Own Thing” working directly with Music Supervisor, Ashley Neumeister.

Ashes In The Snow

Sorrento Productions / Lithuania's Tauras Films

“Ashes In The Snow” is a historical drama film based on true events starring Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl) & Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Set in 1941 during Stalin’s brutal dismantling of the Baltic region, Lina, a young aspiring artist and her family get deported to Siberia.

Our trailer placement was via LA advertising agency Soda Creative syncing independent artist NEVERGONE’s track “Motion”.

Honey

Universal Pictures

Def Jam signed artist & dancer Teyana Taylor stars in Universal Pictures’ “Honey: Rise Up and Dance”. Skyler joins a dance crew to compete for a college scholarship. Discouraged by her family & friends, she tirelessly practices amongst Atlanta’s underground dance scene.

Singer, Songwriter Tyler Shamy scored a major sync with “Work You Out” performed by Spencer Sutherland. Thanks to established Music Supervisor, Adele Ho.

Little Drummer Girl

The BBC

An amazing 6-part BBC mini-series “The Little Drummer Girl” is based on John Le Carre’s best-selling novel. Actress and idealist Charlie gets drawn into high-stakes espionage. Starring Florence Pugh, Alexander Skarsgard & Michael Shannon.

Working with Air-Edel music supervisor Matt Biffa, we secured three sync placements for authentic Greek copyright music productions played during the opening scenes set in Greece.

Private Eyes

ION Television

eOne Entertainment’s “Private Eyes” is a crime-solving comedy/drama TV Series based in Toronto, Canada. It follows an ex-hockey player and private investigator who form an unlikely partnership.

The soulful R&B track “You Wreck Me” by Artists Kaki & Eddy Smith was placed in the opening scene of EP 9,, S3 through Canadian Music Supervisor, Dondrea Erauw.

Girlfriends Guide To Divorce

Bravo / NBC Universal

Produced by NBC Universal “Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce” is a TV series following a self-help book author who is recently separated and is navigating her life in Los Angeles as a single woman in her 40s.

Working with NBC in-house music supervisor Kerri Drootin, we secured a sync licensefor Artist Sounds Like Moving’s track “Away”.

Friends From College

Stoller Global Solutions / Netflix Originals

Netflix original comedy series “Friends From College” stars Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele, Keanu) & Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, Avengers). Experiencing nostalgia from their time at Harvard together, a group of friends try to manage their complicated lives whilst entering their 40s.

Music Supervisor Manish Ravel licensed a selection of Polish club music frok us for a nightclub scene featuring Weekend’s tracks “Ona Tanczy Dla Mnie” & “Dalem Ci Kwiaty”.

Destination Dewsbury

Independent

British Indie comedy film “Destination: Dewsbury” based almost entirely in West Yorkshire, follows 4 old friends on a mission to see their dying friend Frank for the very last time. The BBC reported that this made director Jack Spring the youngest feature film director at the time.

A song sync opportunity within the trailer was secured here through Music Supervisor Will Smith using rock band The Great Cynics’ energising track “Whatever You Want”.

Music Licensing

NCIS: Los Angeles

Bulletproof 2

Close

Bros

The Terror

The Capture

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Moffie

Bloodline

American Soul

Ashes In The Snow

Rise Up & Dance

Little Drummer Girl

Private Eyes

Guide To Divorce

Friends From College

Destination Dewsbury

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Rights & fees

Keep 100% of your master and publishing rights. You only authorise us to represent you for synchronization licenses, nothing else.

We provide both non-exclusive and exclusive terms and only take a fee of 25% of the upfront sync fee. You retain all performance and backend royalties.

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Increase your success

Metadata is key when it comes to being successful with music sync licensing. Our system allows you to keep all your mp3 files and ID3 tag metadata up to date and professional so whether you're pitching music or we are on your behalf, you don't miss out on any music industry jobs and creative opportunities.

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High-level licencing opportunities

Get access to daily film tv music licensing opportunities and project briefs. If you have great music, then work with us, one of the best sync licensing companies and music licensing sites in the world. Our mission is finding the perfect music for our clients, let’s work together.

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What our members are saying

“I’m a daily user, whether that’s checking briefs or pitching for sync. I’ve used other systems and I’ve disregarded them all in favour of Music Gateway.”

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Tom Wells

Sync & Licensing manager

“I like the proactive route MG takes, daily opportunities and the way I can pitch specific music instead of just uploading my library.”

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Paul (1812 Music)

Producer / musician

“I've been a member for 2 years. I upgraded to their Influencer tier a year ago and with this one sync alone it's paid for itself many times over.”

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Jackson Snapp

Producer / DJ

"Music Gateway reflects the reality of today, movement, freshness and technology at the same time. I love it."

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Pamela Pagano

Publisher, OML Sync

“Since joining during the early days, it’s rapidly grown into an impressive music licensing hub. Equally, the team hasn't lost their personal touch!”

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Kathy Brown

Singer Songwriter

"The new generation of sync platforms online such as Music Gateway are a really good way to find clients"

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Amanda West

Songwriter

Tom Wells, Head of Sync at Mayfield records using Music Gateway for storing music, managing metadata & sending files.
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Pamela Pagano is a label manager at One More Lab who loves the technology Music Gateway use to empower independent creatives
Kathy Brown is an independent Singer Songwriter who has been using Music Gateway for a number of years
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Our library of music has been curated with passion to help showcase the very best of independent music and we provide worldwide licensing for all types of media. So, no matter how big or small your project, we can help make licensing creative, fun and stress-free.

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Everything You Need to Know About Music Supervisors

Music supervisors are probably responsible for some of your favourite moments in TV and film. Take the iconic end sequence to The Breakfast Club, who do you think scouted Simple Minds for the soundtrack?

Music doesn’t just fall into films or video games; it requires masterful track selection and an array of licensing agreements before it appears on your screen. 

An Introduction to Sync and Music Supervisors

A well-placed sync can change your career; take Simple Minds, it was the mid-80s and they had just released their album ‘Sparkle in the Rain’. Without the digital social channels now available to all artists, you had to work really hard to build a global audience.

For this Scottish group who had made waves at home in the UK, the US market was proving more difficult. Then came along the opportunity to record a track for John Hughes’ new movie, The Breakfast Club, which initially they turned down, as they didn’t want to record music they didn’t write.

Thankfully for Simple Minds, John Hughes and the rest of the world who now love this incredible song, they changed their minds. ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ was a hit worldwide, as was the film, and gave Simple Minds their only No.1 hit in the US throughout their career.

Getting your music / sound recording master placed in TV or film can be ground-breaking for emerging artists. Depending on the placement, the exposure alone can propel your career and sync royalties are a handy bonus. But how can you achieve this? Who do you talk to?

This is where Music Supervisors come in; they manage the competitive and confusing world of sync licensing. Sync, in a nutshell, is the pairing of music to visuals. Whether it’s an advert, film, TV show or any other piece of media, someone is out there looking for the right piece of music for the job. It’s also their responsibility to manage the various licenses that exist in order to compensate the rights holders for the use of their work.

Usually, with a background either in music (such as working at a publisher or label) or in film, they are always people with a deep passion for both. Most find themselves falling into the role, none are there by chance but out of a love for the work they do. You’ll probably never be rich as a supervisor, but the fulfilment is in abundance. Music supervisors are employed by the media creator, maybe a director, producer or advertising agent, to source and license the music for a project.

If sync sounds like a good option for you and your band or you’re interested in potentially becoming a music supervisor, keep reading as we dissect the role and practises below…

Education and Training

For anyone starting out in the world of sync, a clear understanding of the legal, clearance and licensing process is vital. For UK students, finding a specific music supervision course might be tricky. A music business degree can provide an overview of which rights exist and where. If you’re studying in the US, look into the courses run in the music school of your college. If you’re not one for conventional education however, there is no shortage of resources from other sources. Books are readily available, podcasts such as Setlist by CMU’s Andy Malt and Chris Cooke, and online resources.

While a deep understanding of every element of intellectual property law is not necessary from day one, it is a music supervisor’s responsibility to make sure that everything is licensed appropriately and every rightsholder is paid their fair share. Sharing the wealth is their mantra. Therefore, understanding the difference between mechanical, performance and synchronisation rights is crucial to complete the job. 

A good overview of how labels and music publishers work is also advantageous, as this will aid your approach to rights negotiations and fees with them. 

Licenses and Rights Holders

Let’s dive into the legality of sync licensing, as it can be a bit to get your head around. There are the rights that you need to be aware of:

Master and composition rights – This is for the benefit of artists and applies to the song itself. The master right is owned by the individual(s) who recorded the track, and the composition belongs to the owner of the lyrics/musical composition. How these are split is decided between the parties involved in a song’s production. If an indie artist both wrote and recorded the track then they own 100% of the rights. If you’re signed to a label, the label may possess the master rights. Once a song is created it is protected by copyright. Many artists publish their music with a rights organisation in order to protect it.

Publishing rights – Usually an artist will use a rights organisation to publish their music. It’s publishers who, as a supervisor, you will have the most interaction with regarding music. You ask to use a track by an artist under their representation, they talk to the artist, and the two of you negotiate the sync license and a one-off sync fee. Sync royalties are earned when your track is used alongside a visual, these are then paid to the artist via the publisher.

Mechanical rights – This is the right to copy music onto a CD, DVD, record or tape granted to an organisation by the copyright holder (normally a record label). When a song is sold or streamed as part of a soundtrack, physical or digital, the publisher will collect the mechanical royalty and pay the artist their split, usually 50%. Unfortunately, due to digital distribution and streaming services, not as many soundtracks are being printed as CDs. This has had a big impact as artists are not collecting the same royalties they used to on their synced tracks. 

Performing rights – These are owned by the copyright holder. Whenever your music is performed publicly you should be paid performing royalties. This can be a part of TV, radio, film, or on the internet. It’s your publisher’s job to pay you the performance royalty, as they are the ones who grant the license to use or perform your music publically. 

As a music supervisor, you will mainly deal with the publishing rights, mechanical rights and performing rights. When it comes to sync licensing, each case is different. As you do more work and start to get provisional quotes from rights holders you’ll learn how much a song costs, however at first it may seem a bit murky. There are a few key elements that will influence the cost, such as:

  • How you’ll be using the track – a focal track on an advert will be more expensive than a song barely audible on the radio in a short film.
  • How it will be distributed – cinema release? film festivals? SVoD?
  • If there are samples on the track or is it a cover – more samples mean more rights to clear.

The best way to learn these are to get cracking and start those negotiations with the rights holders. At the end of the day, they’re people too – just talk to them about what you need.

Guilds and Trade Associations

Guilds exist to unite and protect practitioners of any kind of trade, it’s no different for music supervisors. The UK and European Guild of Music Supervisors seek to raise awareness for their profession within the entertainment industry. They work to promote fair practices and educate as to the business of music licensing. In the US, The Guild of Music Supervisors will support and protect you in your profession. 

We’ve talked about rights organisations and music publishers, so who are they? PRS for Music is the biggest rights organisation in the UK, and consists of two societies; PRS (Performing Rights Society) and MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society). In the US, BMI is the biggest rights organisation and grants licenses to perform, use or broadcast their member’s music.

The Job: Music

Now we’ll look at the fun bit; the musical side of the role. Knowing what music works alongside what visual is the fun part and therefore an innate knowledge of what music exists is vital. Creating and maintaining a catalogue of songs to draw upon takes up a huge swathe of a supervisors time. It is not, however, crucial to have expertise in music theory – as someone once said, supervisors need to be the music geek amongst filmmakers, not amongst musicians.

How do you know what music will work for certain projects? Of course you need to have an element of talent, like in any job, to know when you have a good piece of music that could work. This doesn’t mean that you can not learn which music is best suited to certain projects. Just watching films can give you a certain amount of intuition. It is the same with anything, the more practice you get, the more natural it will become for you.

In order to be the geek and get on with the filmmakers, you need to be into films! Watch as many films as you can; from popular blockbusters to small independent films, watch them all! It is important to get to grips with the industry in which you will be working and this is a great starting point. Make sure to watch other content and pay attention to adverts as you could just as likely be employed by an advertising agency.

You’ve got the knowledge, you’ve found a filmmaker who is looking for a piece of existing music, so where do you find these songs that you know are perfect? 

Your music library or stock music is usually a great starting place. However, it may be that your back catalogue of Beyoncé may not be immediately licensable for your friend’s £2,000 budget short film. If you were looking to use a song by a well-known recording artist signed to one of the major labels, they may be reluctant to involve that artist’s song in your project. Strategize appropriately for the budget and scale of the project.

As a lover of music and an aspiring music supervisor, collect a large music library with something from just about every genre. Your clients could be worlds apart and budgets apart, look out for new artists and new genres that could suit a project you might work on three years from now. 

An easy and cheaper way to source music is to start going to gigs. If you already go to gigs, go to more gigs. Your local dark and dingy gig space will be full of talented, cash-strapped musicians who’d love an extra bit of money in their pockets. 

With any pre-existing track that has been released for commercial sale, you must obtain the correct licensing from the rights owners. As we’ve mentioned, you will most likely go through the artist’s publisher and they will be your liaison. It benefits both music supervisors and music publishers to make each other’s connections. Publishers might submit music to you with based on your current project, or you might approach them looking for a track based on their artist roster. The two of you deal with the legal work so that your director is saved from the task and so is their artist.

Another place you could source music is from a production library. If you’re looking for a piece of instrumental music rather than a song, you might turn to a production library which has a wide selection of pre-licensed tracks. The production library will have a price for the track, and all the licenses already set up. This allows for quick and easy musical placement.

Of course, it’s not just pre-existing tracks that you could be in charge of. Often it is the music supervisor’s job to commission a composer for a project. In this case, it’s the supervisor’s role to make sure that the director’s vision for the visuals is enforced and translated by the music. Make sure you’re definitely on the same page as the director; ask what they want to achieve with the scene/project (their area of expertise), then find the right composer (your area of expertise).

Why would you compose opposed to using a pre-existing track? Well it usually comes down to a couple of reasons: either no track can be found that fits the budget or creative need, or the media creator wants something unique to their project. When sourcing a score rather than a soundtrack you might be more likely to use a composer instead of a pre-existing track. 

Either way, it’s vital to make sure that the right composer is chosen, so building up a roster of composers is important, including understanding their strengths, experience etc. There’s a big difference between a highly tonal, sweeping-scores, orchestral composer and one that specialised in electronically altered atonal compositions.

Who Hires You

Broadcaster vs Independent

The main difference between working for broadcasters and working on independent projects is the general size and scale. The budget will tend to be bigger for a project with a broadcaster. This may impact what you get paid and what music you’re able to use. However, working on an independent project can be very rewarding as you’re working alongside very passionate people who are really enthusiastic about their own project. There are positives and negatives to both so it really is a matter of personal preference. It’s best to give both a go and see which environment you prefer working in. 

When working for advertising agencies, you’ll have to consider the client as much as you would a producer. What’s the message with this advert? Do they want something big and catchy saying ‘buy our product, it’s cool and modern’ or do they want something more emotive? The advertising agency has hired you because you’re the expert on music, if their product is really cutting edge, give them a track from an upcoming artist or genre.

The video game industry has continued to grow over the past few years; in 2017, 64% of the general population of the US were gamers. This opens up a huge opportunity for musicians looking to gain exposure and for freelance music supervisors looking for work.

Games designers will be looking for music supervisors who can supply them with music that their players want to listen to. Think about the genre, the gamers who play it, the narrative and the budget.

Budgets, Fees and Getting Paid

These elements are all going to tie in together. Like with many careers in the music industry and in the arts, you’ve got to start small and work your way up. Start by offering your services to low budget films and take any and all jobs you can get, even if they’re poles apart as it will broaden your portfolio. A connection made early on in your career with an unknown director could defy all expectations and project you both into the limelight. 

Budgets on small productions will be small or maybe non-existent; the music budget will likely be proportionate to the music supervisor’s salary. As you get more experience under your belt you can reasonably start charging more for your services.

Film budgets have rocketed in recent years, for big motion pictures the music usually only makes up 2% of the total budget. Of course, if you successfully make you way up the ranks in a director’s phonebook and the budget for their latest film is $100 million, the music budget may then be around $2 million, which includes your salary. These will of course be offered to the top music supervisors, you will have to work to get to this level.

The television industry is once again on the rise after the success of SVoD services like Netflix and consumer demand for drama. The TV industry is mainly run by big production companies, while independents make films they don’t usually make TV shows. The nature of TV and long-running series may suggest more stable employment and with decent budgets, more pay.

Stock & Free Music

There are some services online that offer free music, royalty free music also known as stock library. Some examples are scout music, getty images, pump audio and pond 5.

Whilst these are cheap options, the quality of the music does vary alot and as you can appreciate, the licensing rights are quite restricted. These sites are more designed for people creating YouTube videos and want something quick and easy to use that doesn’t cost the earth.

E & O Insurance

This stands for ‘Errors and Omissions Insurance’ and is a form of professional liability insurance. It protects professionals from claims made against them by clients for negligence and saves them facing lawsuit costs. These potential threats to your business won’t be covered in by general liability insurance and so it’s a good idea to take out E&O insurance as well. If you’re working in a service-providing role, such as  this could be the most important thing you can do to protect your company.

Tips: Music Supervisor Skills

A key trait to have as a music supervisor is to be organised. You will be in charge of a lot of paperwork and music scores which are likely to go missing. Under the pressure, it is so easy to misplace important paperwork so make sure you are able to stay organised and keep everything where it is meant to be so it can be easily found if you suddenly need it.

It is also a good idea to practise your social skills. Just like any other job, networking is going to be a big part of furthering your career. It is really important that you are able to talk comfortably and build relationships with rights holders, artist managers and the clearance people at major labels. Make sure you do some research into their job roles so that you can engage with them and you will come across as being far more interested and clued up. 

The best piece of advice we can give is just to start. Being a freelance music supervisor allows you to network, find the projects that interest you and will push you forward. A seemingly unrelated conversation could take you somewhere you never expected.

Some recommend seeking a music supervisor internship or starting as an assistant. The next step would be to rise to coordinator and then to the role of supervisor. If you’d rather work for yourself, set up your own company. As we said before, many fall into it as your career progresses, in this kind of role you have freedom. 

If you’re a music supervisor looking for tracks for a current project, or a music hoping to submit music for upcoming projects, check out our Global Creative Marketplace to view potential projects and make connections.

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