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Music Supervisor

Music Supervisors act as mediators between Production teams and Composers and their teams, which may include Orchestrators, Engineers, Copyists, Musician's Contractors, etc. They also suggest ideas, and research and obtain rights to source music for films. Music Supervisors oversee spotting sessions (deciding on where the Director wants music, and why), recruit and contract musicians, book recording studios and attend sessions, ensuring that delivery requirements are fulfilled. If the music is to be published, they ensure that it is registered properly, and that cue sheets are despatched. Music Supervisors are usually employed at the post production stage, but they are occasionally required earlier in the production process, e.g., to source tracks for on camera dancing, or to organise an on camera concert, involving musicians and singers miming to pre-recorded tracks. In this case, music must be arranged, pre-recorded versions must be produced for playback during mimed performances, and clearances and licences must be acquired. Music Supervisors organise and arrange the budgets for music requirements, liaise with the Set Designer, the Sound Team, and the Playback Operator, and ensure that the Sound Team has the pre-record in the correct format. They also check synchronisation issues during on camera performances.


Music Supervisors negotiate deal points and contracts, prepare budgets, and attend scheduling meetings and spotting sessions. They oversee the compositional process, ensuring that the required music is being written, listened to, and reported upon. They organise music orchestration and copying. When larger sessions are required, e.g., involving an orchestra, they liaise with the Musician's Contractor about rates, line up, and invoicing. They also check Engineer and Studio availability and, when necessary, hire a Conductor. When organising source music, Music Supervisors prepare source music schedules, and keep everyone informed and updated, e.g., about deviations from allocated budgets. Music Supervisors check licences, and forward them to the Production company, highlighting any possible issues, and act as the liaison between the Record Companies, the Publishers, and the Production Company. They produce the music cue sheet for final delivery, ensuring that the duration of the music used conforms to the terms of the negotiated contract.


Excellent communication and people skills are vital. Music Supervisors must be able to deal with a wide range of people, and make decisions concerning all the parties involved. Diplomacy and good negotiation skills are essential, as is the ability to develop and maintain good working relationships. Musical skills are useful, in order to understand the creative and practical needs of Composers and Musicians, or to read scores during recording sessions. Music Supervisors need a comprehensive knowledge of music, its history, genres, and styles, and must keep up to date with current developments. Some legal knowledge is also required, e.g., in order to understand contracts and copyright clearances. Music Supervisors must be alert, and able to identify problems quickly. They should be very well organised, able to remain calm in stressful situations, and able to work to deadlines.


Industry experience and knowledge is essential to the role. Music Supervisors need a wide range of good contacts, and the ability to develop and maintain good relationships with a variety of people. Business and proactive organisational experience is also useful. Musical training is not essential to the role, but may be advantageous.

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