Hit Parade

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The Bridge: Sync Is Both Stranger and Shameless

Publishing exec and TV-sync expert Mara Kuge says placing a song on a show is a songwriter’s jackpot.

Episode Notes

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy welcomes Mara Kuge, President of Superior Music Corporation, who has placed hundreds of songs in various media—including the High Strung’s “The Luck You Got” as the theme to Showtime’s Shameless and shows like Killing Eve and Succession. Mara says that, in the era of peak TV, there are more opportunities than ever to place her clients’ music. But the job means “running a gauntlet” of music supervisors, showrunners, producers and networks—and a song isn’t guaranteed to make the final cut until the show airs. When it works, the rewards are great: After Shameless, the songwriter for the High Strung gained the financial freedom to pursue his passion as an author.

Next, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia and gives him a chance to turn the tables with a question of his own. Plus, this month, Chris explains why the latest full-length Hit Parade topic changed at the last minute (thanks to a name that rhymes with “late mush”). Slate Plus members can sign up for a chance to be our trivia contestant on a future episode here.

Podcast production by Kevin Bendis.

About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.