YouTube, iTunes transform music supervision

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The most crucial tool for a music supervisor is still a good pair of ears. But running a close second these days is an Internet browser with iTunes and MySpace flagged as favorite pages. While neither service offers any professional-level insider access to working supervisors, both have become nearly indispensable tools, not only as vehicles for keeping up with new music but as a way of linking up with artists and fans.

"Both sites are a huge part of my day-to-day scouring for artists," says Chris Douridas, a consummate "tastemaker" DJ at KCRW who also has established himself as a top music supervisor for film and television (1999's "American Beauty," 2004's "Shrek 2," 2006's "Bobby"). "I think MySpace and iTunes are crucial parts of launching a career now -- the same way having a video on MTV used to be crucial. Especially in the indie world, if artists are going to release records on their own, they've got to have a MySpace page, and they've got to have something up on iTunes. If one of those elements is missing, an artist is missing a key piece of the puzzle. I've got a 13-year-old son, and if he hears about an artist but doesn't find anything on MySpace or iTunes, they just don't exist. Whether they have a record deal or not doesn't even enter into it."

Douridas has had an official relationship with iTunes -- he developed and launched the iTunes Essentials and iTunes Originals music series for the site. But in his capacity as a DJ and supervisor, he's found both iTunes and MySpace to be unofficial but effective facilitators for getting his work done.

"A while back, I was going through iTunes, and I saw this artist named (Joshua) Radin popping up in top 10 lists," he explains. "We get new music all the time at KCRW, but I hadn't heard of him. I came to find out that the reason he was in the top 10 was that he'd just had a song on (NBC's) 'Scrubs.' I went straight to MySpace, found his page and wrote him. Within a couple of hours, I got a response from his manager, and I booked him on my radio show for the following week. He was on a top 10 list at iTunes because of a television show, I was working the Web sites for my radio show, and it all came together in a day. It's a backward way of going, but it's very indicative of how the playing field has changed."
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