Composer Profile - Dan Mufson

How composer Dan Mufson uses DISCO to save time and land more opportunities

“I found so many gems that I would not have been pitching had it not been for the tagging”

Dan Mufson
Dan Mufson is a Los Angeles-based composer, songwriter, producer, and sound designer. Focusing on storytelling through music and sound, Dan has a number of close relationships in advertising, and his professional projects span from writing original music for brands, TV, and film scoring to producing artists and bands.

In addition to being one half of the indie-pop band Scavenger Hunt, Dan is a producer, collaborating in the studio with artists such as MUNA, Betty Who, Satin Jackets, Rachel Yamagata, Regina Spektor, Clubhouse, Great Good Fine OK, Esthero and Capital Cities.

Dan has also spent the last 20 years composing music for brands such as Nike, Apple, Pinterest, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Maybelline, Google Pixel, Major League Baseball, and more. “As a one-man operation, DISCO saves me time and has allowed me to land so many more opportunities,” Dan says. “My income as a music composer has increased significantly since I started using DISCO.”

“As a one-man operation, DISCO saves me time and has allowed me to land so many more opportunities,”

Keeping Files Organized & Findable With DISCO

As a composer with 20 years’ experience, Dan has seen it all when it comes to file storage, from DVDs to iTunes and beyond. That said, he never felt confident about organization and quickly sending files to music supervisors until he started using DISCO. “There was never a great way I felt I could easily catalog my music and send it at the same time,” he says. “All the different platforms that have existed in the last 10 years or so — none of them have been great.”

When music supervisors started asking Dan for files using DISCO, it was a lightbulb moment for the composer. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, they finally cracked the code.”

A Better Way to Present & See Who’s Listening

Part of the reason Dan immediately took to DISCO was its emphasis on sleek presentation, something lacking in other file-sharing platforms. “Some of the mass data sites that composers and supervisors used to use were fine, but it never looked good,” Dan continues. “When sending a link, it didn’t look like a presentation, and it wasn’t organized.”

Another DISCO game changer for Dan was the ability to see who was listening — and how many times they were listening — to the files he’d share when responding to a sync brief. Not only that, but just by seeing how many streams a file gets, Dan could get a sense of how far along a project is in the approvals process.

“There used to be no way to see who was listening. That’s a quarter of my passion for the platform: how easy it is to know if something’s been listened to,” Dan says. “It’s crazy how many times people listen to one piece of music. I’m talking 99 times — so many people have to approve it. It’s a great way to even know that a project is still alive. I’d say I check my DISCO like I check my bank account, or what’s in my Amazon cart. It’s like a NASDAQ for me, for current projects that are going.”

DISCO’s Year In Wrapped

While Dan can check day-to-day insights on his DISCO tracks, DISCO’s end-of-year Wrapped summary gives him a bird’s eye view of which tracks music supervisors spent the most time with at the year’s end. Understanding which tracks got the most attention over the span of one year helps Dan plan for future projects and briefs.

“As a creator, seeing what my most popular stream through DISCO was allows me to say, ‘Wait, that’s my sweet spot.’ It gave me so much insight as a creator and musician. It was like such an easy, simple way to figure out what people are most drawn to.”

Surfacing Older Tracks For New Projects

With his wealth of experience composing music for TV, film, and advertising, Dan has a music catalog to match, amounting to more than 1000 tracks. Using DISCO’s auto-tagging capabilities, Dan rediscovered older tracks he’d written that happened to be a perfect fit for a current sync project.

“I found so many gems that I would not have been pitching had it not been for the tagging,” Dan says, recalling how, prior to using DISCO, he’d attempt to dig through his own memory or old databases that held much more than just music files. “A lot of stuff would just go by the wayside. Now I’ve been able to place tracks that are sometimes over 10 years old, because they had the proper tagging.”

Using Discovery Suite’s Instant Instrumental, AI & Sections

As any composer will be aware, creating instrumental versions of tracks can be critical to landing a sync. With DISCO Discovery Suite’s Instant Instrumentals, composers can create instrumental tracks without vocals in under a minute. For Dan, using AI-assisted Instant Instrumentals is a real time-saving feature when answering a brief.

“I find the AI Instrumental feature very helpful,” Dan says. “My catalog features a combination of instrumental and music with vocals. If a track in my library features vocals but the client is looking for an instrumental rather than leaving that out of the pitch, with one click I can create an instrumental on the spot. Prior, I’d have to be in my studio, then recall the session and reprint the track. An inconvenience.”

“I also love the section dividers,” Dan continues, describing the ways briefs might include requests for different genres, or “vibes.”

“Let’s say there’s a scene where people are at a sporting event,” Dan outlines. “They’re looking for ‘Vibe A’: a standard hip-hop [track] at a sporting event; ‘Vibe B’: something you wouldn’t typically hear at a sporting event; and ‘C’: throw anything against the wall and see what sticks. It’s great, because rather than bundling that all together, I can label ‘rock’ and ‘hip-hop’ using section dividers, and it’s very clean and easy.”

Sections are especially helpful for musicians like Dan, who in this day and age must wear many creative hats, and must be able to pull up specific files at a moment’s notice. “I think part of what allows me to love DISCO so much and use it as a tool, rather than just a platform, is that there’s so much out there right now,” Dan says. “As a composer, artist, and musician, you have to have your stuff together. You only have so much time to present and pitch to someone. If you have everything really clean, well-titled, and organized, you increase the odds of landing that placement or that position or that job. I love the organizational tools and how easy it is to make categories.”

DISCO’s Similarity Search

Another tool Dan frequently utilizes to save time is Similarity Search. When he receives a brief mentioning a reference track, Dan quickly locates something in his own catalog by popping a YouTube link into the search bar.

“I can’t tell you how many times people will say, ‘Hey, we’re looking for something that feels like this. In the past, I’ve had to go through emails just to see if I’ve worked on something like that in the past. Whereas just to be able to place a reference track into my DISCO and find tracks that are similar — that’s crazy and so helpful.”

Landing More Opportunities With DISCO

With all of the time saved using DISCO, Dan is actually landing more music placements. Part of that has to do with the DISCO mobile app enabling him to answer time-sensitive briefs on the go.

“I’m a one-man operation,” Dan says. “If I’m away from my studio and I get a brief, I can literally go on my phone and submit while I’m at the carwash, or in the doctor’s waiting room.”

He adds, “A lot of time, I get emails reading, ‘Hey, we need this in the next hour.’ Being able to have my entire catalog at my fingertips, that saves me so much time. In the past, I would have had to write a couple emails, let them know I was going to submit, come back home, listen through stuff, create a playlist. It wouldn’t have a cool, sleek background, and I wouldn’t have had any insight into it.

“Before, I was sending off playlists with five to 10 great tracks. Now, I’m sending out playlists with closer to 20 to 40 tracks. That’s crazy. It’s such a numbers game for music supervisors and for brands. So to be able to give as many options as possible, while saving time through DISCO? That’s so valuable. I’ve started telling people: What are you doing? Just get DISCO.”

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