Kristen Agee - Synch Licensing for TV and Film and Sound Design

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Kristen Agee is a business owner, musician, composer, producer, and all around awesome person with great philosophies on the music business, relationships, kindness, and mentorship. She is the owner of 411 Music Group which focuses on music publishing, licensing, administration, and sound design.  Agee secures global partnerships for 411 and oversees the creative and strategic business, and one of the most impressive about her, is that not only did she started as an artist/writer/composer, but she continues to make music and executive produces a number of the scores and custom work the company does for  their clients in the film, television, and visual media space. 

Kristen is a classically trained violinist and started playing multiple instruments at the age of 7. After high school, she received a certificate in sound engineering at the Los Angeles Recording School and in the mid-200o’s built and opened a studio in Silver Lake, California where she recorded punk bands and wrote music for various artists, all while touring as violinist and bassist - she learned how to play bass from Darryl Jones (of the Rolling Stones), and was his first student - with numerous bands before transitioning into writing full-time.  Her writing led to work with a number of publishers and in 2012 she started 411 Music Group and launched a 200 song catalog just two years later. In addition to running 411, she was asked to run the music department at All3Media America (a production company based in Los Angeles) which she did in the Spring of 2017 to the summer of 2018, all while running her company and continuing to produce music in her impressive home studio. 

In this episode, we discuss synch licensing for TV and Film, what her company looks for in artists she pitches for synch opportunities, sound design and much more. This was such a fun interview full of amazing insight on the music business, and I really loved her philosophies on how we should treat other people. Love what she stands for, and had a great time during this conversation. I hope you all enjoy this episode! Excited to be back with a new season of the podcast!! 

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Quotes from Kristen Agee

“The music is giving you melodic tone and telling you how to feel in a certain moment. Sound design is giving you an atmosphere and soundscape.” 
“Always send streaming links....we don’t like MP3’s as email attachments.” 
“Our job is to understand what type of music people need for this type of media.”
“If you’re signing a writer to a publishing deal, typically that writer is signed to you as the publisher for a term, and everything that is written during that term you control as the publisher.” 
“It’s good to know what each company does and how they differ and what they specialize in, so you can design what works for you.”
“Anything that’s happening that’s Top 40 at the moment, is an ask.” 
 “First of all don’t write a novel [when pitching].”
“The intention of what you’re looking to do, and the breakdown of rights as a basic starting point, and a link is all I want [for a pitch].” 
“Typically we are looking for songs that already exist. If it’s at demo stage it’s ok, but we really want to hear finished songs” 
“We also brief out writes specific for our catalog.” 
“Just getting as much experience as you possibly can is the goal.” 
“It is good to go to school and make friends with all of your peers, because those are going to potentially be the people you work with forever.” 
“Be nice to everyone just on a basic human level. Those are the people you’re going to work with and you never know where they are going to end up.”
“Be nice, learn as much as you can, and talk to everybody.” 
“Being healthy in a mindframe and mindset and being good to yourself and being good to people is really important, and a part of being an artist.” 
“Being conscious and aware and a good human in general, is a starting point to creating better art.” 

Highlights from this Episode
[5:50] Running a Studio and Recording Punk Bands
[7:32] About 411 Music Group 
[10:25] Difference between commercial synch and sound design
[13:00] Sound design project for Game of Thrones
[23:15] Process of getting a song licensed for TV and Film 
[28:28] What it means to clear music for synch 
[32:58] What is a brief? 
[35:00] Sending out playlists to Music Supervisors 
[38:11] Difference between publishing deals and licensing deals and administration 
[42:28] Types of styles, tempo, and lyrics needed for synch for TV, Film, and Video Games
[44:16] What should an email or submission to a Licensing or Publishing company look like? 
[46:58] Resources artists should have available when working with a licensing or publishing company.
[50:50] How do co-writes work? 
[52:58] Songwriting camps 
[56:40] Path to working for a licensing agent or publisher 
[1:01:58] What 411 Music looks for in potential interns
[1:06:04] Getting to know Kristen Agee

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
MIDEM Panel with Kristen Agee
Game of Thrones
Ghost in the Shell 
“The Musician’s Handbook” by Bobby Borg [BOOK]
“All You Need to Know About the Music Business” by Donald Passman [BOOK]
The Smashing Pumpkins
411 Music Submissions 

Kristen Agee’s Definition of Making It:
“As soon as we get sued, we know we made it.” 
“For me, I’ve never made it and I never will, and that’s sort of the journey.” 
“When I’m happy with who I am and where I am at in my life, and totally present in what I’m doing and helping people and giving back.” 

Get in touch with Kristen Agee 
Website | 
Twitter | 
Instagram | 
Facebook | 
YouTube |
Soundcloud |

Keep in touch:

Host: Chris Goyzueta (Chris G.)
Producer: Jason Trosclair
Executive Producer: ONElive Creative Agency  
Music: Emily Kopp