The Rock 'n Roll Dream: Soap Opera Soundtracks?

His New York-based rock act recorded the title song for "School of Rock" after first being featured in Nike ads and on television shows and he believes those opportunities ultimately helped them land a contract with Columbia Records and reach potential music buyers.

"Most kids these days are, I'm sure, turned on to more bands by a commercial … than they were by the cool kid who works at a record shop," said James.

For other struggling musicians, getting their music placed in a television series is just as coveted as landing that record deal.

"It's amazing how that's not the first thought anymore," said singer-songwriter Philip Watts. "The first thought is to try and … get it placed somewhere, that can really do a lot of good things."

The 34-year-old artist is convinced that for his new band Overnight Music to succeed, it will have to get media savvy.

"I'm just trying to connect with as many people as possible and I think that is key, as much as I'm an introspective, inward musician -- those days are over -- you have to reach out and you have to connect with people," said Watts.

Pitching the Pitch Men

For emerging acts looking to film, television and advertising as an outlet for their music, getting their tracks noticed by music supervisors may take as much creativity as the songwriting.

While there are clearly more opportunities right now for new acts, it will still take some work to get that opportunity.

"You really need to highlight why you are different. Is it your music, is it your lyrics, your look? … Do you sell out all the shows you go to?" said Tom Eaton, senior director of music for advertising, film and TV at Universal Music Publishing. He receives dozens of CDs from aspiring musicians weekly, and described his experiences at an industry panel during the recent College Music Journal Festival in New York City.

Eaton and the other panelists encouraged unsigned acts to send in their samples, but stressed the importance of personalizing those packages so they stand out.

"Even if you have the best music in the world … if I've never heard about you it's going to be hard for me to pick up that CD as opposed to the 50 CDs that are sitting there," said Eaton.

Panelist Jay Sweet, an advertising music supervisor in New York, said he has six interns that do nothing but listen to submissions and catalogue them.

While he admitted the chance of him hearing any of those discs is "negligible," it's worth that chance. "If four or five of them think its viable … it will end up on my desk," said Sweet.

Watts said he's going to give it a shot, and will print an extra batch of CDs for his band's new recording to send to music supervisors. "For some bands, it's really worked out very well for them, so it's certainly a very good thing that this revenue stream is here," said Watts.

"An emerging band, no matter how much buzz and hype they have, I think it's a mistake not to be open to the right film and TV," said Griffith. "Not only is that good income but it is the modern equivalent of performing on 'Top of the Pops.'"

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