Cathy Heller - Building a Career with Sync Licensing And Teaching Musicians How They Can Too

Cathy Heller, Sync Licensing Agent, Entrepreneur, Podcaster

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One of the most frequent types of questions I get from musicians and music business students are related to sync licensing, and when receiving these questions, I had the perfect person in mind to answer them. It’s been a few years since I’ve talked to Cathy Heller, but I knew she was the one I absolutely had to get on the show to speak about sync licensing. From when we first met, she has always been very passionate about coaching songwriters about the types of songs that get placed, and always had amazing resources and information available to help guide them. It was so wonderful reconnecting with Cathy and having her as a guest on the show to help answer some of those common questions. However, it is also an amazing gift to our listeners to have such an incredibly passionate, positive, and motivational mentor and teacher sharing an inspirational message that a successful and fulfilling career in music is possible, even without a record deal.

Cathy Heller has built a career in the Sync Licensing world after building a career with placements in TV Shows, Movies, and Commercials. After her success, she started her own company, Catch The Moon Music, where she represents and helps other musicians with sync licensing success. She’s an incredible teacher and mentor, offering consultations, and courses for musicians. One of her newest passions as a teacher includes being the host of her own podcast, Don’t Keep Your Day Job. In this conversation, you’ll learn what types of songs have the most success in sync licensing, common themes and genres that have the most success, how to get a sync licensing agent, and much more. In this episode, she also shares her meticulous researching and note-taking skills, that have helped develop her wisdom and understanding of what works best in the world of sync licensing.

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Highlights from this Episode
[4:08] Meeting Michael Jordan
[9:30] Journey of starting her own podcast - Don’t Keep Your Day Job
[13:49] Cathy Heller’s story
[29:30] Common misconceptions and mistakes musicians make with sync licensing
[38:04] The process of a song being chosen for sync placement by a Music Supervisor
[44:45] Common themes that get placed for commercials
[47:47] Resources where people can learn about what type of music is getting licensed
[50:12] Process of clearing songs
[54:38] Types of producer arrangements
[1:00:02] How to find a licensing agent
[1:01:44] Getting to know Cathy Heller
[1:05:33] Cathy Heller’s Hollywood Vampires

Quotes from Cathy Heller
“If you have the persistence if you have the grit, and you have the passion for something, it doesn’t matter if you’re the first draft pick, or you’re the 150th draft pick, you’ll become the one that everyone is talking about.”
“All you can do in life is know what your effort is. You don’t really know what’s going to be on the other side of that.”
“To find out that something that you do can change the life for someone else, that’s the ultimate sweetness.”
“How do you be an artist if you don’t get a record deal? That’s the question.”
“There are so many ways to make a living doing what you love.”
“The intersection of you doing something you love, to create, that somebody else goes I find that’s beautiful or I need that, and then they are going to pay you for that. That’s actually not just a way to make money, but maybe even finding your bigger purpose in life.”
“My goal here is to do something authentic, that also tells the stories of other people’s souls.”  
“We lost the respect for discipline.”
“You have to make music that they need.”
“In life, being uncomfortable doesn’t always mean don’t do it.”
“Be resourceful! Your number one resource is not your time, money or connections. It’s you!”
“I purposely make it my choice and my priority to be inspired and happy.”
“It is our responsibility to make sure we have a good day.”

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
Michael Jordan
Don’t Keep Your Day Job [Podcast]
Ron Fair
Jimmy Iovine
Interscope Records
Craig Kallman
Atlantic Records
Ingrid Michaelson
Regina Spektor
Snow Patrol
Grey’s Anatomy  
Ed Sheeran “Castle On The Hill”
This American Life [Podcast]
Ira Glass  
The Access Course
Huck Ingram (Entertainment Attorney)
David Sacks
Billy Joel
Wayne's World Soundtrack  
Amy Porterfield  
Jasmine Star  

Cathy’s Definition of Making It
“Realizing what you have inside of you that really contributes to the world.”