COVID-19: A Discussion with our Members

Here at The UK & European Guild of Music Supervisors, we understand that COVID-19 has been an extraordinary issue for the music industry. Live music events are being postponed and cancelled, aspiring musicians are unable to locally perform, and film and tv productions are being put on hold for the unforeseeable future. 

(And that’s only a few)! 

This makes it all the more difficult for music supervisors to continue to work at this point in time.

So we spoke to you, our GMS members to get a better understanding of the following:

  • How have you been working around the challenges of ongoing or halted projects during self-isolation?
  • How have you been using this time to get creative in both your work and personal lives?
  • Do you have any work/non-work tips and activities you can share with others to help them get creative and motivated during self-isolation?

One of our first discussions comes from one of our own board members, Jacquie Perryman of Periscope Music & Media Ltd.

She shares with us how she is getting stuck into research into the deep catalogue I work with at MPL, as well as making folders of upbeat, uplifting songs. (Which we can all agree is the type of music we all need right now)!

Jacquie has also been making lists of their catalogue songs that are easier to clear (100% owned, sometimes with the masters owned too).

She tells us how it is challenging, creatively, because all production is shut down, and only a few post-production projects are still going ahead in editing.

“I miss meeting with people and discussing projects, ideas, but at least the frequent Zoom meetings allow us to see each other and talk. The countless humorous videos and posts get me through each day. There are some amazingly creative (and twisted!) minds out there.”

Jacquie was happy to share with us some useful tips to help those in the same position:

The no.1 priority to get through this is to set a schedule. If you are at home, get up at a certain time, shower, get dressed, breakfast and then get to work, whatever that is.

  1. Take breaks, get outside if you can, do some exercise at a set time of day as it is all too easy to find yourself still in pyjamas at your laptop at 4 in the afternoon!
  2. Do research, tidy up your online files, make lists of what you need to do, do your taxes…
  3. Watch old movies to enhance your knowledge of classic filmmakers.
  4. Write, draw, paint, learn an instrument, a new language – whatever you always wanted to do and now have the time to start.
  5. Don’t forget to admire and enjoy the sunshine and blue skies, and Spring bursting out, and smile to be alive. (Of course, I feel deeply for those who are/have been ill with this virus, and for those who have suffered a loss of any loved ones from it).
  6. Be positive that there will be an end. There ARE people recovering from this virus. My niece in Lanzarote is a Covid-19 ward nurse. There are everyday heroes everywhere.

Thank you, Jacquie, for sharing this with us, I’m sure it will help many of our members who are in a similar position.

We have also had some of our members who have shared their new work experiences and routines.

Allison Gruner was due to start an Assistant Music Supervisor job on a Netflix show at the beginning of April when suddenly, filming on the production completely stopped.  It was only two weeks away from completing so she had thought they might have her work from home.  Unfortunately, this was not the case and her contract was delayed.

She tells us how she found it difficult at first to avoid diving into actual work as she knew the gist of what the job was going to require (and she REALLY needed something to do at home).  I knew it was cool to prepare but also didn’t want to do too much before I’m officially on the payroll. With this in mind, she has been trying to keep to general research that could be used in future jobs as well. 

“I’m also very happy that the ‘release’ emails from publishers, labels, and libraries have kept coming as well, which is nice for a feeling of normalcy and provides escape into new music.”

In terms of creativity in her work and personal life, she shares with GMS the following: 

“Workwise, mainly putting together new playlists and organizing the old ones.  I have been meaning to practice editing to screen on Logic Pro X, but truthfully, I’ve been struggling with motivation there.  Today is the day, though, I swear… 

Personally, I’ve been focusing on the (budget-friendly) hobbies.  Playing music, baking, crafting, drawing, home DIY all with varying degrees of success… but it’s been fun.”

Allison happily shares some tips which could help you at this time…

  1. It is Easier said than done but exercise as soon as you get up!  If I do it first thing, I’ve found I’m a lot more motivated to get on projects during the day.  If I leave it till later, I tend to turn into streaming service binge mush.  
  2. Attempt not to fall into the rabbit hole of unhelpful parts of the internet and keep positive(ish). I’ve been leaving my phone in rooms that I need to clean. If I want to look at it, I have to clean the room first.  Success, however, depends on your ability to police yourself and how much you hate cleaning. 
  3. Funnily enough, dancing.  When I’m in a rut, close the drapes, throw on some Chaka Khan, embarrass the husband and I’m back on track. 

Thank you, Allison, for sharing these useful tips with us!

Next, Oliver Way, Director of Publishing and Licensing for EPM Music was happy to share with us his own tips and tricks for working from home during this time.

When discussing the challenges of working in self-isolation, he tells us that everyone in his team are all working from home without any major difficulties.  They catch up regularly for Skype meetings.  There are some projects that are taking longer to complete due to outside restrictions, and that most people are understandably working with reduced services.

He has also been catching up on tasks that have been put on the back burner or hasn’t had the time to dive into, and updating their databases.

“I have been watching a lot of music-related tutorials (production, Masterclass, etc), which besides learning something new it also inspires to get creative in all aspects of the music business.”

Thank you, Oliver, for sharing this with us and our members!

Lastly, we also had some responses from some companies which we have collaborated with before, as well as being Sync related.

Firstly, Imogen from Concord Music Publishing let us know what their Sync team have been getting up to during this time.

“Something we’ve been up to on the Concord sync team is writing a weekly blog for LBB. Taking it turns between us on the team, each person has made a playlist and written something about a song/songs from our catalogue that has struck a particular chord with us recently. It’s been a good way to stay creative and use the time to get stuck further into our catalogue!”

Here are some examples of these playlists:

This Calming Playlist Will Get You Through Isolation

You’ll Never Walk Alone: A Song For The Times

Unsent Love Letters

Reimagined: A Concord Series

Thank you for sharing these with us here at GMS, I’m sure our members look forward to listening to these curated playlists!

We also heard from Emma Griffiths who was delighted to share with us a 2-part blog article on the following:

Mercy Mercy Me: Assessing the Impact of Covid-19 on the Music Industry and Sync Community

We Built This City: How are the Music Industry and Sync Community Mobilising to Combat Coronavirus?

These blog articles discover just how disruptive the pandemic has already been to businesses and individuals, as well as investigating various ways to tackle this and support each other in this area of the music industry.

Thank you, Emma, for reaching out and sharing this with GMS!


We would also like to share some other tips and activities sent in by our members to help you get creative and motivated during self-isolation:

  • Don’t feel guilty for not doing anything – you can’t control what’s happening right now.
  • Start an online course in something you’re keen to learn.
  • Use this time to go through the deep catalogues of music at work.
  • Take time to catch up with family and friends, a video call, a text message, make sure check in every few days.
  • Learn a new hobby – bake, craft, design, learn a language, dance! You finally have the time to start, use it!
  • Take this time to organise your space, if you have nowhere to go, you don’t want to be surrounded by clutter. 
  • Quiz nights are a fun way to spend time with your family and friends.
  • Unplug from your phone – it’s easy to get trapped in social media all-day.
  • Focus on what you can control: what you eat, your productivity, your physical fitness and your routines and habits.
  • Finish that book you’ve been reading for the last year.
  • There are many online virtual tours for museums and national parks for free, explore!
  • If you have a garden, take advantage of the sun!
  • Create upbeat and happy music playlists.
  • Some days are going to be worse than others, but remember we’re always one day closer to this all being over.

We would like to thank everyone who reached out and we hope you are all staying safe, indoors and keeping well during this strange and challenging time.

– The GMS Team.

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