15 years ago I made a rookie mistake when I received one of my first briefs from a major studio. I essentially didn't answer the brief and sent songs that I thought were great and they should consider because they are well, um…. great and kind of fit what they were looking for.
A few days later I looked at what I had sent and thought Oh Shit I'm never going to hear from that person again. Luckily they left the position a few months later and I started a new relationship but it was a great lesson because from them on I NEVER sent music that didn't match what they were looking for.
The briefs these days can range from 1 sentence to a full essay but regardless of how long and detailed they are if you don't have a song that fits then you simply just don't send music. Even when you feel like you have the perfect track that fits a brief to a T you still need to understand that what you have sent might not necessarily be the right feel they are looking for. And that's what it really comes down to, how is this song going to make the audience feel.
Sometimes you can get sent a storyboard, or even the scene/ad that they are working on and that can make your life a lot easier but at the end of the day these kinds of briefs are few and far between.
If they need mid tempo songs don't send up tempo songs, if they want songs that build then make sure they build, if they need lyrics about 'Loving Life' then make sure the songs theme fits.
Ultimately whether you're dealing with a music supervisor, ad agency creative or producer they don't have time to be sifting through songs that aren't even close to what they have asked for. They get pissed off and eventually just stop sending you briefs.
Large budget briefs will come along every now and then that you JUST have to pitch on but don't be mistaken, if you pitch the wrong music you can kiss goodbye any more briefs from the same person.
Getting into the head of someone who selects music for living can be a challenge. They do their gig because they love music but listening to song after song after song after song can be a pretty tiring job. Even when they have created a playlist of ideal tunes they usually have to pitch them on to other teams of people and then when a final song is selected the clearance process starts.
Keep in mind that you should still pitch your latest and greatest but just don't send it as part of a brief that it doesn't fit.
'If the shoe fits' has always been my motto with sync licensing and if it doesn't fit then forget about it.
There's no doubt that people who find tunes are taste makers, they truly can change the course of an artists career but if you want to keep and build relationships then think very carefully when answering briefs.