Newhouse alumna wins Legacy Award for her career in music supervision

Maureen Crowe ’79 founded a guild to promote the recognition of music supervisors in film and television.

Maureen Crowe
Maureen Crowe

When Maureen Crowe ’79 went to California after graduating from the Newhouse School, she wasn’t planning on a career in music.

“I was going to learn film techniques to make important documentaries to save the world, [but] I ended up on the television show ‘Fame,'” she says. She nabbed a job as a production assistant in the music department for the show, and her career in music supervision was launched.

That career honored earlier this year when Crowe was recognized with the Guild of Music Supervisors‘s Legacy Award.

Crowe, founder of the guild, describes music supervision as “doing anything and everything” that has to do with music on a film or show.

“The music supervisor, just like anyone else on the film or set, serves the story,” Crowe says.

Crowe notes that the contributions of music supervisors have been widely overlooked, which is why she has worked to get the field the recognition it deserves. That includes the work she did to get music supervisors voting rights for the Grammy and the Emmy Awards. She is also very active in student outreach.

“Maureen has come in many times to talk with our students who are studying for careers in film and television,” says Syracuse University Los Angeles Semester director Robin Howard. “Visiting with Maureen, our students begin to really understand how the music they listen to can help them to be more impactful storytellers.”

Bill Werde, director of the Bandier Program, says Crowe is a visionary and leader when it comes to helping the industry better understand music supervision.

“I don’t think I’m overstating things to say that music might be the single most important aspect of delivering the emotional quotient of a scene. One could argue that she helped to create two of the most iconic film music collaborations in history,” Werde says, referring to Whitney Houston’s hit take on “I Will Always Love You” from “The Bodyguard,” and the classic moment in “Wayne’s World” during which stars Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey sing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in their car.

For students interested in getting involved with music supervision, Crowe’s advice is not to wait.

“Start where you are,” she says. “You don’t have to move to LA or New York.”

Crowe advises that students reach out to music supervisors and get their names out there. “Let them know you’ve followed their career and mention something specific about it. If you’re consistent with your efforts and respectful of their time, they’ll remember your name.”

Adrianne Morales ’21 is an alumna of the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.