Following on our industry-focussed blog space grabbing the sage thoughts and artist advice from a few distinct music pros, we speak to Liam Reay in charge of Sync Management at Wipe Out Music.
So Liam, what’s your story?
My so far short (but manic!) career journey started really in my third year of university studying popular music, when I interned at Wipe Out Music Publishing and gelled so well with the company that I was offered a full-time job in “sync” (seeking out placements in Film, TV, Ads etc) at the end of it. During my studies I had such an interest in the music business and there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to be involved in some way by the time I graduated, and a job in music publishing certainly gave me that opportunity…
Over the 2 years I have worked here at Wipe Out, I’ve been involved in so many incredible projects, everyone different to the last. We’ve had music placements in credit card ads, car commercials, the end credits of Hollywood films and countless more. I’ve taken great pleasure in seeing many local artists have success and grow because of what we do.
We’ve got really big things planned for the future, with new exciting talent coming in all the time and big projects from some fantastic local acts such as Holy Moly & The Crackers, Avalanche Party (pictured) and The Lucid Dream.
What does your day to day work look like?
I get into the office, make a coffee and get ready for the day ahead. I normally have a list of tasks that I need to complete that day, however those tasks are never the same from one day to the next! Here’s a brief overview of what I can get up to…
I spend a lot of time talking to others in the music industry. I have a list of music supervisors, playlist creators, audio programmers, film companies, ad companies and many more that I know inside-out. As with any business, getting success in music is about knowing the right people and being able to facilitate their needs. I spend a fair amount of time in London getting to know people better and finding out what they need and the best way to get it to them.
Our release schedule is always full and most people we send music too like to get things a month in advance so they can plan to put it into their projects, so we send out new music weekly and have a monthly mailout which details all our successes that month.
We receive a fair few “briefs” which describe what a music supervisor is looking for and we have to look through our catalogue and see if we have any music that fits.
I also manage several different projects including; putting music onto various music libraries (including Sky, BBC and others that host music for placements on YouTube, sports events and more), sourcing “library music” and sending to our production music affiliate and creating playlists that are featured on airlines.
How do you generally discover new music?
Spotify is a big one nowadays, I follow loads of “emerging talent” playlists. Gigs are still massively important though. I always rock up for the support acts at shows and try to catch as many local gigs as I can. People from all over send music to us too which is cool.
What advice would you give to artists just starting out?
Firstly, find YOUR sound! I’ve seen artists take off because they found the sound that makes them instantly recognisable. However, I’ve also seen it go the other way where artists just fizzle out because they constantly change direction. You know when Royal Blood are playing because of their riffs. You can tell Jack White apart because of his guitar tone. Find something that makes someone say, “man, I want to listen to that again”.
Lastly, your image is equally as important as your music. We get hundreds of people a year email in wanting to get their music published and if we think an artist sounds good, we head straight over to their social media and check their followers, their post rate, if their gigs are listed, what music videos they have, their Spotify plays etc. Your experience increases how much you are worth, so make sure to detail everything you are doing.
You could have great music, but if you can’t prove you are ready to get up and go and are hungry for success, a lot of people won’t be interested. For instance, it’s often a big deal for music supervisors to pick music for their projects that people are buzzing about, so if you aren’t getting your music noticed, the likelihood is it won’t be used.
When would you look to take on an act? What do you look for? How do you know they are ready?
We take on acts of all levels. As I mentioned above, if an artist can show drive and determination to succeed, we’re interested. We look for:
- Gigging experience
- An active presence on social media
- An interesting sound
- Previous accomplishments (radio play, press reviews etc)
Finally mate, what track do you have on repeat at the moment?
There’s a couple!
I can’t get enough of this band. This track in particular: ST. MARTiiNS – ur so pretty
And this absolute banger. Holy Moly & The Crackers – All I Got Is You