The 2015 primetime Emmy’s wrapped up last night with over 100 awards recognizing the best in the television industry including those in music, (Outstanding Music Direction, Outstanding Main Title Theme Music, Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, Outstanding Music Composition for a Series and Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special) and it appears there were still none for the under appreciated, Music Supervisor.
Music Supervisors are the folks who oversee all the music-related aspects of a television program. They’re responsible for finding all the musically related content for the show, from hiring and commissioning composers, to finding and clearing the licensing of pre-recorded music. If, for whatever reason, a song doesn’t clear, then a good music supervisor has a good back up plan.
What follows, is our Top 5 Music Supervisors for the 2014/2015 television season (with honourable mentions) . This is our recognition of those who picked great songs, enhanced the mood of scenes, marked the perfect transitions with music or set an unforgettable emotional tone that sometimes catapulted a song to the mainstream.
1. Empire (Season 1) – Timbaland
Timbaland has lent his producing powers in the past to the likes of Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and Jay-Z and he’s brought that magic and hit making touch to Fox’s breakout TV drama Empire this past season.
It’s a music intensive show that not only features pre-recorded music but includes many original songs written in accordance to the story notes or emotions that need to be shared.
Timbaland’s responsibilities go beyond just picking and licensing songs but includes writing and producing. He pulled it off and, for this reason, he stands above the crowd as our #1 Music Supervisor for 2014/2015.
Here’s hoping Timbaland and Empire season 2 collaborator Ne-Yo can pull off the same magic next season.
A few charted on billboard and the Empire soundtrack cracked the Billboard Top 200.
The Cast – You’re So Beautiful
John Legend – Made To Love
Estelle – Conqueror (show version includes Jussie Smollett)
2. Ballers (Season 1) – Scott Vener
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made his small screen debut this past June in HBO’s dramedy Ballers and HBO’s music supervisor Scott Vener (the guy who picked the music for Entourage, How To Make it America and CW’s 90210) was definitely on-point with a blend of hip-hop and old school soul. Not surprising to find that there’s a Spotify playlist.
Rationale – Fast Lane
Darius – Helios
SG Lewis – Warm
The Knocks – Classic
Troy Ave – Your Style
Lapsey – Falling Short
Galantis – Runaway (Uni)
3. Sons of Anarchy (Season 7) – Bob Thiele
Thiele, music supervisor, music director and leader of the show’s house band, the Forest Rangers, is the man responsible for capturing the shows grittiness and the simplicity of life in the small town of Charming.
For Season 7 he was asked to take Queen’s iconic song and rework it for fit the shows finale. It was a juggernaught!
The Forest Rangers feat. The White Buffalo, Billy Valentine & Franky Pere – Bohemian Rhapsody
Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers feat. Billy Valentine – Never My Love
4. Girls (Season 4) – Manish Raval
A show with a big music budget featuring anywhere from 7-9 songs an episode with a variety of stylistic selections from indie rock, hip-hop and club music. From the get-go the show has always garnered great reaction from viewers when it comes to its soundtrack.
For artists, having a song featured on an episode of the series can be a game changer (think Icona Pop’s “I Love It). The show offers new artists to explore and reminds us of old songs we used to love but may have forgotten.
Grimes & Bleachers – Entropy
SBTRKT(feat. Ezra Koenig) – New Dorp. New York
Patsy Cline – She Got You
RAC (feat. Katie Herzig) – We Belong
5. Parenthood (Season 6) – Liza Richardson
Liza, whose work can also be heard on Hawaii 5-0 and Friday Night Lights, has mentioned that one of the fun parts of having worked on Partenthood is that they had a big budget to work with and therefore could feature lots of music on the show.
The series finale included the likes from The Avett Brothers, Vampire Weekend, Wild Cub and Future Islands, with the use of music deliberately punctuating poignant dialogue as a true art form.
Ingrid Michaelson – Always You
Bahamas – Half Mine
Wild Cub – Colour
Future Islands – A Dream of You and Me