Ever wonder what it takes to get a song licensed for TV or a commercial? We caught up with Matthew Griswold, ReverbNation artist since 2007, and got a few insights.
Matthew Griswold is an All-American boy. Born and raised in the Midwest, this young musician matches gritty, earthy vocals with anthem-style acoustic guitar jams. Matthew now has an exclusive contract with APM Music, and has seen his songs featured in TV shows, commercials, highlight reels, and more. Just this month, he secured a deal with BMI. Read on to hear his story and how he gained success through licensing opportunities.
Describe your journey as a musician.
Singing is one of the first things I learned to do; I simply hummed along to lullaby songs that my mother would sing to me as a child. She would hold me close to her chest while she sang and I’d match the tone of my voice to those vibrations. That grew into constant humming as I grew older, and then into constant singing. I soon grew obsessed with tinkering out tunes on the family piano, which I never got very good at, and eventually took to the guitar. My father was a small town radio DJ at the time I was born, and he influenced my love for rock and 60s/70s singer-songwriters long before I dreamed of being a musician. It wasn’t until my time fighting in Ramadi Iraq in 2006 that music completely became a source of personal healing and a way to manage a healthy livelihood.
There’s a lot of mystery around licensing for new artists. Tell us how your licensing deal came about.
I was invited to audition a track of mine with APM Music in 2010 and quickly saw the potential of what was being offered. Not only was the track then accepted into their library, but I was also offered the opportunity to continuously submit any or all of my songs from that point on. I now have 10 songs (20 tracks) signed to APM’s library via ReverbNation’s Partnership. APM has really pushed my song “The Fall,” which has been in 3 TV shows and is featured on one of APM’s spotlight playlists. I’ve always been proud of that song and it’s great to see APM so excited about where it could end up.
What’s it like hearing your own songs on TV?
I’ve been able to watch the TV shows, news clips, and sports highlights that my songs have been used in, and it really gets me. It’s incredible to see something so real come of something that was, at one point, just a dream. I’d have to acknowledge that the notoriety that comes with getting songs placed in TV and film can open many doors in other areas. I perform 200 shows a year and have done hundreds of press interviews. That is greatly due to the types of accomplishments that came from signing with APM and using ReverbNation.
How has the licensing deal impacted your career in other areas?
I’ve known from the start that my songs wouldn’t be very suitable for top 40 radio, but I always felt they might work in other formats that allow complexities to be a strength. TV and film licensing have opened that door to the fullest, and it’s been amazing to watch how people respond to the music because of it. It gives fans, and even those who’ve never heard of me, a new way to take in the songs.
What’s your biggest musical accomplishment?
I’ve been VERY proud of how far I’ve been able to go, how many (professional) shows I’ve been able to play, and how much notoriety I’ve even gained without having to be a household name or attain international fame. ReverbNation has given me the tools and resources to use modern marketing formats as way to reach out, sustain, and strengthen my career ambitions without having to compromise my artistic values or financial availability. I truly believe that ReverbNation’s motto should be “If you have what it takes, we have what it takes to get you there!” Nothing about modern music business models have to be a set back. Everything about ReverbNation’s services can give you an advantage while we, the independent artists, strike a musical revolution of our own.