From the very beginning the music industry has produced countless anomalies. It has ushered in everything from bebop to hair metal bands. The public has been introduced to tormented songwriters, slick producers, moguls and svengali’s.
Do we have room for one more oddity? Sure.
Enter Linnette Harrigan, an African American woman who is the head of her own music licensing company which bears her name. To say her presence in the sector of the music industry where she conducts her business is a rarity is definitely a blaring understatement. For starters she is one of the few African American women in the business of music licensing; a trade which is often dominated by men. And being successful in this business has so far caused her to standout from the rest in the crowd.
But her entry in to this side of the music game didn’t come as a stroke of luck. She was already involved in music from a business standpoint – starting out as a singer/songwriter. Linnette even provided background vocals for rock legends Tears for Fears and served as a demo singer for R&B diva Mary J. Blige. Yet on top of these things she immersed herself deeper into the business side of things by working closely with record labels, music publishers and entertainment attorneys. Plus she studied music supervision at the Berklee School of Music. She also didn’t limit her taste in music kept an open mind to all genres. With all this preparation and hard work it looks like a total recipe for success. Not quite as one key ingredient needed to be perfected.
“If you don’t know how the industry works it’s going to be impossible to place songs. That was the hardest part because there are different parts to it. You have to learn how these people work”, Harrigan shared with regard to honing in on her craft. “Every department works differently. They all have different schedules. They all have different roles. I had to learn their agendas are and what their schedules are. It’s a cutthroat business. You have to get people to trust you. That was probably my biggest challenge in the very beginning. Nobody would talk to me in the beginning. So I had to gain the trust. I had to show them. I had to prove to them not only that I was trustworthy to work with. But that I had a cycle of material that they could use.”
And proof of her knowledge of the business and ability to gain trust is evident in the work output of her company. Linnette Harrigan Media now boasts a catalog of more than 5,000 original songs to use for licensing purposes. This is a far cry from the 250 she started with when she launched the company in 2009. In addition to this catalog she represents over 10,000 cover songs which span from the 1940s era to today. They can range from Frank Sinatra to Lady Gaga. The latter is a part of LHM’s arsenal which Harrigan feels separates her outfit from the rest in the pack.
Her first placement as the head of her company was for The Scooter Store where she provided a classical instrumental background for an online commercial dubbed “Medicare & America At It’s Best”. Linnette didn’t stop with this placement and she continued to expand the company’s repertoire. She took in an international client when the Japanese based beverage brand KIRIN approached her for business. The end result was a commercial for the KIRIN’s Fire Neo Coffee product. The ad featured an Ethel Merman sound-a-like belting a remake of “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. The commercial is still in heavy rotation on Japanese airwaves.
This kind of work gave Linnette another avenue of business as she is now consistently contacted to provide sound-a-likes for remakes of famous songs. Clients such as MTV and Oxygen regularly request songs from her catalog and more often than not television networks like these have an array of choices when it comes to sound-a-likes. Some of these songs can be similar in style to such superstars as Beyonce and Kanye West. The aforementioned Oxygen network has recently struck a deal with LHM for music to be used in the upcoming season of Bad Girls Club.
Harrigan has managed to foster a client roster list which includes well over 100 music supervisors, producers and directors from television and film. One such composer who is in demand is Tony Finno. Television viewers across the country should be familiar with the work of Finno as they took it in this past May during the season finale of American Idol. The composer created new arrangement of Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable”. The stunning re-make was performed as a duet between Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Idol winner Candice Glover. Finno has been on the LHM team since 2010.
However, the hot streak of deals and collaborative efforts do not look like they’ll come to a screeching halt. That’s because Linnette adds to her network on a daily basis. She created “NYC Music For Film/TV & Commercials” – a group which meets regularly in New York City to help educate and enlighten independent music creators’ who strive to have their music heard in movies, television and other media. The group is free to join – it offers classes, networking, workshops and such events as, showcases and pitch-a-thons. All artists’ types and genres of music are accepted. LHM also has accounts with Facebook and Twitter which are used to keep potential clients abreast of things going on with the company.
“My team and I recently had the opportunity to work with the music supervisor for the movie The Butler which is the film that’s number one! So we got the opportunity and she contacted us. She needed a cover song for a Mexican film she’s doing. She wanted something that was acoustic that would’ve been used in the 1980s. We were actually able to present to her a cover song for her movie. Hopefully it will be used when it comes out in another two or three months. The song is ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ by INXS”, Harrigan beamed with regard to her latest project. This could be a film that turns into promising venture which could land her in the much coveted Latin market.