Thanks to Whitney Parsons/Gideen Blog for the profile piece.
Los Angeles-based music publisher John Anderson moved to LA from a small town in Wyoming with dreams of becoming a music supervisor. He loved both music and film, and as music supervision works with both mediums, that naturally felt like the right direction to move in. When John started his first internship in the industry, however, he found his true calling; not in music supervision as he had anticipated, but in music publishing. “I realized that in publishing, I could work all aspects instead of just specializing in one or two shows.”
In the 25 years that he’s been in the business, John has worked with a ton of amazing artists that he’s gotten to represent for film and TV, including (but definitely not limited to!) Kings of Leon, The Cramps, Snow Patrol, and The Who.
John spent the first 20 years of his career in the music industry as an integral member of Windswept Music Publishing. He helped take the company from a fledgling start-up to the largest independent Music Publisher in the world, a feat that recently resulted in one of the most lucrative catalogue sales in Music Publishing history. (Hunnypot.com)
In recent years, John has focused all of his efforts on Hunnypot Unlimited, “a multifaceted Music Publishing, Artist Representation, Marketing and Film & Television Placement organization specializing in discovering and cultivating fresh music talent.” Working in a very relationship-driven industry has taught John a lot about where he wants to take his business and how he can get there. He is constantly looking and listening for new, fresh talent. Sometimes he even uses Twitter to reach out to artists he hears potential in. “If I find a track I like, it’s easy to reach out to a band and suggest working together; to help build the team and break the band.”
John works with a lot of already-existing tracks, but there are times that he takes a leap of faith in an artist/band and asks them to create a new, original tune for a placement. “Sometimes we say: “we’re looking for this sound…do you want to take a crack at it?” Then they’ll kick out a song in a 24-hour period and we’ll present it.
I get great joy out of seeing the writers and artists that I work with become successful….to see them rise out of the unknown band world and become a successful touring group with people reacting positively to their music. My advice to the artist is to focus on your fan base and release singles that create real reactions. Past that, it is about participating in the club scene; go out and see other bands, meet other people. This is a natural way to connect and share, as compared to blank e-mails and cold calls. You will be better off in the long run.
As a music publisher, John faces some of the same challenges that music supervisors do, but he faces them with a different stake. Many music supervisors have pointed out the challenge of working with shrinking music budgets in their productions. John’s challenge is to take these shrinking music budgets into consideration and find monetization opportunities for music within them. “The industry has changed considerably over the last 15 – 20 years. Fees are down, which means a lot of micro-licenses. The bigger licenses that we used to negotiate aren’t so easy to come by.”
That isn’t to say that there aren’t ANY big licensing opportunities anymore. Just last month, one of Hunnypot’s most successful singles (Far East Movement’s Like a G6) was licensed for a Carl’s Jr. commercial. In the past four years, it has been placed in multiple television shows, including CSI New York. One great licensed track could mean the world in publishing. “Some other personal placement triumphs for John include Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars” in Grey’s Anatomy, The Who songs featured in the entire CSI franchise, Kings of Leon’s “Molly’s Chamber” for Volkswagon, and The Dollyrots “Because I’m Awesome” for both Hewlitt/Packard and Kohl’s Department Stores (Hunnypot.com)”
The industry is changing and John is changing with it. HunnyPot started out simply as a party, as an industry mixer. But it has grown into something much more, today symbolizing “an electrifying, exhilarating and stimulating experience for the entire creative community.” John started his career as the first employee for a publishing company that grew to be enormously successful. He rose from office runner answering phones and going through boxes of 45s of old songs to Sr. VP of Film & TV Music/Creative to CEO of his very own successful multifaceted music publishing company. He knows the industry inside and out; take his words to heart!
by Whitney Parsons
Thank you John for sharing some great stories and tips with us!
Find John on Twitter @JAHunnypot and at firstname.lastname@example.org