Suzanne Metrick, Vice President Music Publishing
EHC: What is your daily schedule like?
Suzanne: On an average day I am on the phone with and emailing creatives who are working on film and TV shows, helping them get rights to our music and sometimes helping them find a good song that fits what they need. I interact a lot with the company’s attorney as well as the Copyright Department, it can be a group effort.
EHC: What is your favorite part of your job?
Suzanne: The music that I work with is my favorite. I love finding uses for songs that no one else has unearthed. I love the freedom that I have to take care of my family but still have a great career where I get to make people happy – creatives get to use our music, the song owners get royalties, and I help my company.
EHC: What steps did you take to get your job?
Suzanne: I interned A LOT at advertising firms and a few times at Rolling Stone magazine. When I was looking for a permanent job, I interviewed at the same kinds of places, I really put myself out there.
EHC: What is your best piece of advice for girls interested in this field?
Suzanne: The music industry isn’t as wild and crazy as you might think but you need to know your stuff and be really invested in the music, which means going out to see bands as often as you can. When you’re at a venue or a club you need to be vigilant – watch your drink or even stay totally sober. Don’t go out alone. All the same cautions that you should be aware of when you’re going out for fun, keep those in mind when you’re scouting bands.
EHC: What inspired you to pursue this career?
Suzanne: I’ve always really loved music. Growing up I was a bit of a Dead Head (I am still a huge fan of the Grateful Dead!), and I wanted to be part of that world.
Suzanne is the vice president of the Licensing Department at Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc. which is an independent music publisher in New York. Music publishing sounds like a place where sheet music is printed, but it’s involved in every aspect of the songwriting industry. In general, when a composer writes a song, they own the copyright to that piece of music and if they are signed to a music publisher that company will help them by collecting performance royalties, generate licensing fees, and lots of other services for the songwriter. Suzanne’s job is to know what songs are represented by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc. so that she can help people find the right music for their TV shows and movies. She then negotiates with the people who want to license the music to help come to a licensing fee that both parties find agreeable. Completing a licensing deal is a great feeling and hearing the music on screen is really rewarding. One of Suzanne’s favorite examples of this is when she helped negotiate the use of the song Non Je Ne Regrette Rien for the film Inception. Initially, the film producers wanted to feature the song for only a few minutes, but Suzanne worked with them to develop the melody into the score of the whole movie.
From Intern to Vice President:
Suzanne was happy in school and valued spending time with friends. By the time she got to college, she knew she wanted to find a career that allowed her to continue being social and would let her enjoy life. She interned at places like Rolling Stone magazine which showed her that a strong work ethic and interest in what you’re doing will help you succeed. She went on to work in sales at Polygram Label Group before moving on to record labels like Island, Def Jam, and Mercury before moving into publishing at Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc. At Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc. she started as the assistant to the president before finding herself in the copyright department and later the licensing department where she found the right fit.
There is a lot that can be said for a genuine interest in your work. In the music industry, there are a lot of people who will be happy to take any job just to be part of pop culture, and you need to be genuinely invested in the music if you want to create a successful career. Suzanne got to where she is by always putting her hand in the air whenever someone needed something. There was nothing that she wasn’t interested in or that she wouldn’t take the time to learn and this lead to a ton of opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have existed. If you want to find success, you need to be willing and interested. Be open to every opportunity to learn something, meet someone, or hear something new.