Example: Scott Vener, Music Supervisor at HBO
What people think he does: Find songs to be used in movies/TV shows, write songs for movies/TV shows, scour music blogs for songs
What he really does: A music supervisor is responsible for selecting, negotiating, and placing appropriate songs into different types of visual media. Their job is a marriage between creativity and business, they need to have a good ear for music in addition to good business sense in order to negotiate the proper clearance and price for the songs that they want to use. Certain songs are more difficult to incorporate into shows or movies due to mistakes the artists may have made when creating it, such as uncleared samples in rap tracks.
"A lot of the time I’ll hear a song that I really like that has a strong energy, and I’ll try to find the right scene to place it, and sometimes it’s just one part of a song that’s perfect as a transitional piece of music. It really depends. Picking the right song can really change the mood of a scene, so sometimes I’ll try out a few different songs and see how it feels." - Scott Vener as told to Complex Magazine