CAMPAIGN SCREEN: Music and Sound Design - Production. Getting on creatives' playlist

By PIPPA CONSIDINE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 22 November 2002 12:00AM

A successful ad can make an up-and-coming artist into a hit overnight, and a good track can turn a so-so ad into a dynamite one. So getting the best match between tune and brand is vital, Pippa Considine says.

Would anyone have heard of the Dandy Warhols if it hadn't been for that Vodafone ad? Would that Vodafone ad have been half as powerful without them?

"That's when it all works perfectly," Tracie London-Rowell, the director of film, TV and advertising at Chrysalis Music, which handled the deal, says. "It was the text-book case. It was a minor hit before and then went into the top five."

The more usual scenario is, of course, "big-name advertiser goes for big-name artist". Moby's triple- platinum album Play has had its music licensed an amazing 600 times for ads, TV and film, making the artist an estimated £10 million richer.

Most music publishers have been actively flogging stuff to the ad community for a decade or more, with the now-standard offering of a music research and licensing service or original composition, all delivered to tight deadlines when necessary.

At EMI Music Publishing UK, Steve Hills, the creative licensing manager of film and TV media, stakes his company's claim. "We were the first to set up a separate entity to deal with the licensing of music into films, TV and ads. This department has been running for more than 15 years."

The business clearly matters to the bottom line - enough for EMI Music Publishing to launch a "music spa" in New York. Here, ad men and women are encouraged to lounge around, sip wine and immerse themselves in music.

When they have selected a track, the licensing process begins immediately.

Creatives can bring in scripts and storyboards and leave with an edit that has the track on it.

Steve Levy, the head of film and TV licensing at Universal Music UK, was appointed to his job three years ago and has doubled the turnover in his department in that time. He puts that down to "making it easier for people", and having a catalogue of almost a third of all music.

Levy works closely with publishers including Universal Music Publishing.

Its director of film, TV and news media, Lawrence Kaye, believes it is important to market to creatives in a "sexy, fun way that pushes the boundaries".

This includes using new technology to design attractive packaging, as was the case with its William Orbit sampler.

At BMG, UK and Ireland, the marketing manager for brand partnerships, Adam Bradley, is less convinced that knocking on doors and sending samplers is effective any more. He points the way to BMG's new website, with its virtual studio - "the first of its kind in the world", Bradley claims. The studio has more than 1,500 tracks available to stream and try with uploaded rushes/videos/films.

Over at Warner Music UK, the head of film, TV and advertising, Jane Davies, describes a similar initiative. "The SongShop website provides online access to the vast Warner music catalogue for the first time. It features about 9,000 artists and some 140,000 quality music tracks."

Expressions such as "brand partnership" and "synchronisation" are now common in the music-for-ads business. Record companies work harder to make the music work beyond the 30-second ad. It's no longer just about using a piece of music in a campaign - it's making it integral to the brand.

But, naturally, publishers and record companies, whatever their size, are limited by their catalogue and the artists and composers on their books. Song Seekers, an independent music specialist set up in 1980, can boast both independence and a great deal of experience in the licensing business - unfettered by an in-house catalogue. The managing director, Ruth Simmons, says Song Seekers has recently been looking more broadly at how music can increase the net value of a brand and is launching a new division, called Music Equity.

The area of marketing and brand equity is the focus of a number of the smaller, specialist agencies. At the Music & Media Partnership, the founder, Rick Blaskey, argues for a more integrated communications approach. "Ad agencies have cottoned on to the fact record companies are marketing to consumers. So why don't they work together?"

Blaskey believes not only will the future see more partnerships between music and brands, but that brands will even make signings for themselves.

At Deighton Rowe, business is based on another triangle - advertiser, music specialist and manager. The company has put together music deals for the likes of Coke, Cadbury's and Ford. The company's co-founder Adam Deighton is sceptical about why advertisers should pay through their ad agency, especially when the relationship is going to be with the artist.

By and large, like most things in the media business, people go with who they trust. The music production company Soundtree offers a research and clearance service, but it has close links with top directors such as Tom Carty and Jonathan Glazer, which bring both work and kudos.

The music business is an unstable place at the moment and it makes sense that the big industry names, hit hard by revenue losses (or potential losses), are falling over themselves for the extra money that can come from ads. But they are careful not to give their wares away. Despite all the talk of "brand partnerships" and the frank admissions that ad airtime can favour the artist as much as the ad, it's rare that a track can be had for a knock-down price.

Most will allow for a substantial lee-way with pricing when there's a genuine possibility that an ad might break a band, but they agree that where there's talent and hard work, then it doesn't come for free, however hard an ad agency might argue. As London-Rowell puts it: "You might use an up-and-coming director or you might use Tony Kaye, but you would still pay."

MUSIC SPECIALISTS

Amber Music (020) 7734 0023

Grand Central Sound Recording Studios (0161) 200 1255

Cool Music (020) 7565 2665

Deighton Rowe (020) 7736 5522

Finger Music (020) 7300 1535

Music & Media Partnership (020) 7727 9111

Music Sales (020) 7434 0066

Song Seekers (020) 7724 2420

Soundtree (020) 8968 1449

Ricall (020) 7724 2471

Tuna (020) 8386 5001

Synchronicity (020) 7388 2099

Music Publishers Association

www.mpaonline.org.uk (020) 7839 7779

MUSIC PUBLISHERS

Air-Edel Associates

BMG Music Publishing

Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers

Bucks Music

Chrysalis Music

EMI Music Publishing

Faber Music

MCS Music

Music by Design

Paul Rodriguez Music

Reverb Music

Sony Music Publishing

Universal Music Publishing

Warner Chappell Music

Zomba Music Publishers

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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