Media: Double Standards - Unsigned bands versus stars of the hit parade

Two people who appreciate the difference a good tune can make to an ad tell us why music is worth taking seriously.

RICHARD KIRSTEIN - MANAGING DIRECTOR, LEAP MUSIC

- Are agencies right to set up music publishing arms?

Yes, it's a natural extension of music intellectual property acquisition. The model was taken from the film and TV industries and adapted to the advertising sector. Leap has operated this system for more than three years.

- What effect are agency music divisions having on the advertising creative product?

We offer agencies and their clients greater choice by introducing composer talent outside the usual suspects of Soho-based music production companies, and fresh, unsigned bands. The effect on creative product is therefore positive, due to a new and more flexible supply chain.

- Does the ad industry take music seriously enough?

Indeed it does, though we should never forget that music is used by agencies to drive awareness of the advertised brand - not the other way round, as the music industry might wish.

- Explain the culture clash between adland and the music industry

Labels' and publishers' income streams are reducing due to the continual decline in physical sales by value. While digital and mobile are beginning to close the gap, these channels have yet to reach their full potential. The music industry craves the return of the good old days - late 90s/early noughties - when synch fees were at a premium. Those days are gone and won't return. The balance of power has shifted away from the music industry.

- Does the music industry need advertising more now than advertising needs music?

Absolutely, though they would never admit this.

- What's the all-time best example of music and an ad working in harmony?

Levis "launderette" and I Heard It Through The Grapevine - this started the UK market for existing tracks in commercials.

- Who's the best unsigned artist around?

Artisan.

- Who's the biggest star in your mobile phone book?

Ayla Master.

- How did you get to be doing your current job?

Music degree. Playing in bands. Running a music production company. Nine years at Zomba Music Publishers. Almost two years of discussions and business-plan development. The support of Bartle Bogle Hegarty's group chief financial officer, Nigel Maile, and head of TV, Frances Royle, who backed the idea.

- What are your favourite five tracks on your iPod/MP3?

Leaving on a Jet Plane - Sophie Barker. My Thief - Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach. O Magnum Mysterium - Morten Lauridsen. Super Natural Love - John Thwaites. The Birds and The Bees - Patrick & Eugene.

TRACIE LONDON-ROWELL - DIRECTOR OF FILM, TV AND ADVERTISING, UNIVERSAL MUSIC

- Are agencies right to set up music publishing arms?

Personally, I think it's unnecessary. I believe in playing to your strengths. There's something less than altruistic about getting unsigned artists to give up their publishing rights for the possibility of a use in an ad. It very rarely leads to anything else for them. It is also a way of avoiding paying fees for signed publishing and recording artists. The music may end up costing a fraction of the price, but may equally have a fraction of the quality and impact.

- What effect are agency music divisions having on the advertising creative product?

Stream is a positive addition, as it values music and is very proactive with its work with the music industry. And it pays reasonable fees for music. I find it almost impossible to work with music divisions in agencies who do not see the value of the right music in an ad and expect us to work with hugely restrictive music budgets.

- Does the ad industry take music seriously enough?

I think most realise the importance of having a great track to highlight their visuals and the impact the right track and artist can bring to an ad. However, I don't think that they totally realise that it doesn't have to stop there. There is no end to the amount of cross-promotion we can do.

- Explain the culture clash between adland and the music industry

It can limit an agency's options if they think of the music towards the end of the schedule, when time and money are running out. If they involved us sooner, we could work together, suggesting tracks they could afford and that we could clear, rather than falling in love with a piece of music only to find they cannot afford it or the artist will not approve the usage.

- Does the music industry need advertising more now than advertising needs music?

No, it always has and always will be of mutual benefit to both parties. The right track adds impact to an ad; the right ad can be of promotional value to an artist and track. This does not necessarily equate to record sales; usage on a commercial is a useful piece of promotion for an artist but - with one or two exceptions - rarely much more than that.

- What's the all-time best example of music and an ad working in harmony?

It has to be Guinness "surfer" featuring the Leftfield track Phat Planet. A hugely successful campaign for the client and a number-one album for the band. I can't tell you how many people have taken the credit for placing the music in this ad over the years, but to put the record straight, it was Peter Raeburn at Soundtree Music and myself.

- Who's the best unsigned artist around?

I just don't deal in those circles, but among newly signed acts, I'd pick Mr Hudson - on Mercury.

- Who's the biggest star in your mobile phone book?

Elton, Zoe Lucker, Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and a couple of Girls Aloud!

- How did you get to be doing your current job?

I had been working at Chrysalis Music for ten years, running the TV/film department when Lucian Grainge, undoubtedly the most powerful man in the music industry, made me the offer of a lifetime.

- What are your favourite five tracks on your iPod/MP3?

Up All Night - Matt Willis. Apple Cart - The Boy Least Likely To. Fill My Little World - The Feeling. Tu Sei - Vittorio Grigolo. Don't Rain on my Parade - Barbra Streisand.

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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).