If you watched any of CBC’s Summer Olympics coverage this year from Rio, you may have encountered a special opening montage set to The Strumbellas’ song “We Don’t Know.”
While the high-profile song placement was undoubtedly a welcome reward for The Strumbellas, they weren’t the only ones celebrating their golden musical moment. Much like the crack coaching staff that shapes elite athletes, the JUNO Award-winning six-piece band have the team at Six Shooter Records – including Kim Temple, its new head of licensing and publishing – helping the band reach that musical podium.
Temple, who’s the first person to hold the title of “head of licensing and publishing” at the Six Shooter empire, ranges far and wide to find opportunities for the acts she represents.
“I’ve written songs, received royalty cheques, and asked questions about publishing as an artist. I know how important it is to get paid for the work you do.”
“I’m very film and TV-centric, because I used to work with composers and I hear music in a cinematic way. I think a lot of our artists do as well,” says Temple, explaining how she finds publishing placements for Six Shooter acts. “So I’m always looking for those types of opportunities, as well as commercials, but only if it’s a good fit for the band. Special events, live broadcasts, and internet uses are also areas that I deal with.”
Other recent Six Shooter wins include getting The Strumbellas international hit “Spirits” into the season finale of Saving Hope, Sam Outlaw into an episode of Nashville, Amelia Curran into CBC’s Hello Goodbye and Tanya Tagaq to compose the original soundtrack for The Searchers, the new movie by Zacharias Kunuk. With a roster that also includes Whitehorse, The Rheostatics, Hawksley Workman, Jenn Grant, Danny Michel and more, there are undoubtedly other opportunities on the way.
Temple is particularly well suited to managing the catalogue of songs Six Shooter’s founder Shauna de Cartier and president Helen Britton have amassed over the last 16 years. A professional drummer who was on the ground floor during the great Canadian indie-rock breakout of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Temple performed with the likes of Bodega, Nerdy Girl and on her own as Temple Threat. Her day job at the time was working for composer Marty Simon (the owner/operator of Music Revenue Data) on the sci-fi television series Lexx (“I learned everything I know about publishing and royalty collection from Marty”). That eventually led to a run at Insight Productions to work on Canadian Idol (“A lot of my indie-rock friends scoffed at this show, but it taught me that a good song is timeless”). Temple has even been on the other side of the camera, blowing the minds of some suburban garage-band kids with her drum skills in a recent Toyota Camry ad (“When I dropped my kids off at school their friends thought I was a movie star, so I got my 15 minutes of fame”).
A typical day for Temple includes receiving queries from people who want to use Six Shooter music, putting together pitches for music supervisors, producers, directors, editors, special events promoters, gaming and ad agencies, listening to new music from acts she reps, doing all the related administrative paperwork around these tasks. It means a busy daily to-do list for Temple, but the artists’ rewards can sometimes be substantial.
“The money varies, depending on the budget of the project,” says Temple. “The commercial industry has the most money in their budget to find the perfect song. Documentaries tend to have the least, but I’m a fan of that medium. In my experience working with artists and film composers, I’ve seen songs placed in TV shows, movies, trailers, internet and radio commercials, for anywhere between $2,000 to $100,000. My dream is to place a Tanya Tagaq song in Game of Thrones.”
It sounds counter-intuitive, but Temple says one of the reasons why Six Shooter acts are successful is because they aren’t trying to write songs for a specific show, but are instead encouraged to simply write good songs. Those songs give her something worth pitching.
“There are shows out there that revolve around specific genres or themes — tear-jerkers and break-up songs,” says Temple. “One way to build a catalogue would be to stock up on sad songs and songs about farewells, pick-me-up feel-good songs, and Christmas songs. But Six Shooter’s catalogue has been created so organically, with no genre requirements. Our approach has always been focused on authenticity and craft.
“We’ll never be a jingle shop and hit-making has never been our measuring stick. Hopefully, that’s what makes Six Shooter stand apart and that’s why music supervisors and producers are starting to come to us more frequently – because they like what we stand for and who we choose to represent.”
When it comes down to it, Temple’s been there, too. So she understands how important it is – especially in a world of diminishing album sales and modest streaming revenues – for artists to earn much-needed money from song placements.
“I’ve written songs, received royalty cheques, and asked questions about publishing as an artist,” says Temple. “I know how important it is to get paid for the work you do. I know what [our artists] are sacrificing to live on the road and keep creating. It makes me want to fight for them. And I’m passionate about getting their music out there.”