How music supervisors create iconic TV moments
Updated by Grant Rindner l Sep 15, 2017
When Susan Jacobs took home the first-ever Outstanding Music Supervision Emmy Award at the Creative Arts Emmys on September 10 for her work on the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies, her win represented not only a triumph for the veteran TV music supervisor but a major milestone for an industry that has been instrumental in shaping some of television’s most memorable scenes.
Whether it was Sia’s “Breathe Me” on Six Feet Under, or “Zou Bisou Bisou” on Mad Men, or that infamous OC scene with Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” a well-placed song can amplify the emotional intensity and resonance of a moment, elevating it to fame. And while a flawless pairing of scene and soundtrack can feel perfectly serendipitous, these moments are almost always the result of someone poring through thousands of tracks and spending hours working with the show’s creative team to find exactly the right tune, to say nothing of securing permission to use it. That’s the job of the music supervisor, in a nutshell.
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