Music Licensing Manager

March 2017
As an LA native and going to many concerts at a young age, music has always been a huge part of Heather Boyd's life. She currently works at INgrooves as their music licensing manager, pitching their global roster of artists to Music Supervisors, Producers, Directors, and Marketing companies for use within commercials, television shows, films, and video games. Heather was exposed to the unncessary pain in which humans inflict on animals very early on, and she hasn't forgotten it since.

“When I was nine years old, my 4th grade teacher decided (without warning or parental consent) that my class was going to dissect baby animals and animal parts as a science project. She was very unprepared and gave us safety scissors as our only tool. It wasn’t long before my friend and I completely freaked out and ran to the nurse's office to call our parents. After that, I decided I no longer wanted to eat animals.” - Heather

"Most children are fed meat by their parents before they even have the choice."

Have you successfully converted any of your friends or family?

Before this year, I never really pushed my views on others, but after years of explaining why I’m vegan to every person who’s ever had a meal with me, I’ve started asking others why they’re not. It’s a conversation that usually ends with the other person saying something like “I don’t want to know.” It has also led to continuous conversations about what kinds of foods I eat, where I buy them, and great restaurant recommendations. My sister and her boyfriend used to eat meat at almost every meal. When we would go out to dinner, and especially over the holidays, I started making comments and sharing knowledge about the food they were eating. At the end of last year, they told me they were going to try to go vegan. It’s been several months, and they now send me pictures of all their vegan meals. Like me, most children are fed meat by their parents before they even have the choice. I think once people realize that they have that choice, it’s easier to make that choice.

Sometimes it seems people are adopting pets as a trend and for something to post on their social media. Do you think the need to seem charitable these days might be sprouting poorly equipped dog owners, and do you think potential adopters should be vetted in more depth? #adoptdontshop

If social media and the need to “seem” more charitable is correlated to more people adopting, I'm all for it. Every day, over 5,000 dogs and cats are killed in America's shelters, just because they don't have safe places to call home. It’s hard to deny someone rescuing animals from that fate. Last year, LA permanently banned the sale of animals from commercial breeders, so unless someone leaves LA county, they’ll likely adopt from a rescue or shelter. There are definitely poorly equipped animal owners, and that’s how a lot of animals end up in shelters. If the demand to adopt animals somehow exceeds the supply, I think a better vetting process would benefit both the animals and the owners. There are also organizations that provide financial aid to animal owners who truly need it.
Do you think it’s morally OK to raise a dog in a city like LA, where most people live in apartments and work abnormal hours?

I think it depends on the breed and personality of the dog, as well as the personality and situation of the owner. There are couch potato dogs that like to just laze around all day and go for a couple walks and play for a bit, so they don’t need a backyard to run around in. Other dogs need to run around and have interaction. I work from 9-6 every day and usually go to a show, the gym, or out to dinner with friends or clients almost every night. I’m rarely home. I don’t think someone who has a similar lifestyle has the time to properly raise and train a puppy. Lots of dogs (not puppies) are in shelters who've been abused or neglected and would be much happier having the little love someone can give instead of sitting in a shelter. For the most part, shelters know the personalities of their animals and should be able to properly match them with the right home.

Tell us a bit about your job as a music licensor. What does it entail? Would it morally irk you to place music in a meat or dairy product commercial? If not, how do you justify/deal with it?

Through a number of different avenues, I pitch our music to clients to potentially place in anything where music syncs to picture. I send out email blasts with our music, including new releases, thematic/genre samplers, or show invites. I also respond to clients' searches or “briefs” for music that they’re specifically looking for. If a client wants to use a song, they’ll send a request, and I’ll negotiate a fee with them to use the song. I see myself as more of a middlewoman in the process. It’s not my music that would be associated with the product or company. It’s ultimately the artist's decision. As long as they are happy with the way their music is being used, I’ve done my job.

"I love the music placement community, and I don’t judge their choices, as I imagine they don’t judge mine."

"I think once you truly examine the emotions and level of consciousness between a dog and a cow, you'll see they are equal."

How is it going to lunch meetings with your clients - do your views come up a lot or do you stay pretty quiet?

I’m usually the first to suggest restaurant spots. I feel like it’s actually part of my job to have good restaurant recommendations. I don’t usually suggest a vegan place, as it’s not hard to find a vegan meal at any restaurant in LA; however, I do browse the menu for something I may want to order. People usually figure out that I’m vegan by what I order. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where it doesn’t come up, but I never delve into my views with clients unless they ask me to.

The music placement community has a networking gathering called BEU (Beef Eaters United), where they travel around LA in search of the “best burger." Have you ever felt the need to attend out of obligation? What do you think of this ritual?

A couple weeks ago, I attended my first BEU event for their annual “Burgy Awards.” I was told they used to have a “least hated vegan” award but not this year. This year it was at Dog Haus, and I had a pretty tasty vegan dog. It does seem contradictory for a vegan to attend an event intended to unite beef eaters, but it’s really a networking event at heart. I love the music placement community, and I don’t judge their choices, as I imagine they don’t judge mine. I’m always happy to share my knowledge with anyone who is interested.
Morrissey demands no meat is sold during his performances. Do you think it’s OK for him to push his beliefs on his audience, and do you think it's a good move for artists to promote themselves as vegan?

He’s an activist and he’s using his celebrity status to make the change he can. Yes, it’s more than what other vegan artists request, but it’s Morrissey. Venues and festivals will oblige. It’s not like his fans don’t know what they’re getting into. Hopefully, he’s inspiring them to look into veganism. Moby just threw the first all-vegan music festival late last year called "Circle V" at the Fonda in Hollywood. Unfortunately, I missed it but I heard great things and all of the proceeds went to the non-profit Mercy for Animals. I think the fact that Circle V happened and it was successful, proves that the fans and sales will be there. More and more people are becoming vegan and vegetarian for a number of reasons. I think the success of an artist is ultimately about the music, but for them to align themselves with a cause like veganism and animal rights may actually be beneficial to their sales. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a band already doing it.

As you know, whatever happens in this country becomes political. Same goes for a vegan diet. In your opinion, why is it that a vegan diet and the idea of not killing or killing less animals is associated much more with liberals and not conservatives?

Carnism is what enables humans to kill and eat certain types of animals and not others. It's a belief that is more commonly unquestioned than not. It's an established social norm. I think once you truly examine the emotions and level of consciousness between a dog and a cow, you'll see they are equal. Liberals believe in equality. I think the liberal view that all people should be given the same opportunity, could easily translate to animals as well.


Best Friends Animal Society is a shelter with locations all over the nation, which operates pet adoption centers, spay/neuter clinics, and no-kill initiatives, as well as a No More Homeless Pets Network of animal rescue groups in every corner of the nation. They have two locations in LA where I’ll be volunteering next week. Also, shout out to Sage in Echo Park for their amazing menu and for letting us have a photoshoot in their restaurant.


I’m always so excited for what’s next from Foreign Family Collective - a small indie label curated by the duo behind ODESZA. Really cool releases from young, up-and-coming electronic musicians including Jai Wolf, Louis Futon, and Big Wild. We’ve been working with them from inception and we’ve had great success in the commercial space and landed commercials with Royal Caribbean, Izze, DSW and Google.

Special Thanks To: Sage Vegan Bistro (Echo Park)
Photography By: Amanda Farmer