Music supervision is set to take a star turn in New York City.
The venue: Sync Summit NY, a conference taking place at Soho House on June 19-20 that gathers together an A-list of music supervisors from the worlds of TV, film, advertising, video games and interactive media.
In addition to high-level keynote addresses and panels, Sync Summit is there to facilitate first-class networking and deal-making for everyone involved in music licensing.
Speakers include Music Supervisor PJ Bloom (“Glee”), Karl Westman (Ogilvy), Brian Lambert UMG Publishing, Cynthia Sexton (Island Def Jam), and Robert Kraft (Kraftbox). An impressive gathering of highly knowledgeable panelists is on board as well, including Gerald V. Casale (Devo), Anita Chinkes-Ratner (SVP Music and Media Licensing for MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo), Josh Deutsch (Chairman/CEO, Downtown Music), Leigh Henrich (Director, Licensing Razor & Tie), Zach Pollaoff (Music Director, Grey Group) and many more — see the full docket of participants and their bios here.
Created by Mark Frieser, CEO of the NYC-based music rights licensing marketplace Sync Exchange, Sync Summit emphasizes a triumvirate of benefits best attained from attending an industry conference live and in-person: 1) Face time with key business leaders and deal makers, 2) Access to the latest industry intelligence and initiatives, and 3) Access to the latest service providers and technologies.
Visit here to see the full agenda, which promises to make NYC a true music licensing hot spot just in time for summer. The registration rate is $999, but readers of SonicScoop can obtain a special discounted rate of $350-$699 off the full fare by registering at this link.
Bureauexport has partnered with Sync Summit to provide you with a discounted rate of $350 – $650 off the standard $999 rate. To register at the discounted rate, visit here.
Here are the full details, as provided by Sync Summit NY:
If you’re in the business of music licensing, Sync Summit NY is a must-attend event.
Keynotes from top music licensing executives:
- Karl Westman – Executive Music Producer, Ogilvy and Maher
- Cynthia Sexton – EVP Brand Partnerships and Licensing IDJ/Republic Labels Groups
- Brian Lambert – EVP, Head of Film and TV, Universal Music Publishing Group
- Robert Kraft – Founder, Kraftbox Entertainment
- PJ Bloom – Partner, Neophonic
Panels covering vital music licensing issues:
- Branding, advertising and licensing
- Sync and A&R
- Sync, Video Games and Interactive Media
- Best seller practices to ensure successful licensing
- Sync, Video Games and Interactive Media
- Best seller practices to ensure successful licensing
- Sync and artist exposure/revenue
- The Music Licensing Value Chain
- Music Discovery
- The Music Supervisor Perspective on licensing
Visit the Sync Summit NY agenda page for the full agenda.
Music rules this coming Monday in Brooklyn, when New York Sound City (NYSC) will be running a powerful one-day event.
NYSC is being put on by Sound City, the UK-based brand that’s gotten good at holding boutique technology, music and media festivals worldwide.
The central theme of their New York Sound City 2013 conference explores the notion of British Invasion – how the relationship between New York and Liverpool, two accomplished ports and hotbeds of music and creativity have shaped popular music for generations.
Along the way, expect to get caught up on state-of-the-art info on the music biz at Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel (12-6 PM), followed by a smokin’ six-band showcase at The Knitting Factory (starting at 7 PM).
Tickets can be purchased here, at the following prices: Delegate Pass (All access pass to panels, podcast & showcase) – $80; Knitting Factory Showcase + The Anfield Wrap Live Podcast – $30; Knitting Factory Showcase only – $20.
Just announced is the addition of Brooklyn Nets Music Supervisor J. Period to the hip hop panel. The full lineup of topics, moderators, and more follows, as provided by NYSC:
NETWORKING ROUNDTABLE TOPICS AND MODERATORS ANNOUNCED
Music & Brands: Erika Thomas (Cornerstone Promotion)
Labels: From Multinationals To Cottage Industries: Ray Paul (CEO, The Playmaker Group UK)
The Promoter Vs. Venue Dilemma: Dave Pichilingi (CEO, Sound City International)
Music Tech: Roundtable: Seth Hillinger (Organizer, NY MusicTech Meetup)
PLUS KEYNOTE SPEAKER ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM (ROLLING STONES)
& DANNY FIELDS (RAMONES, VELVETS, STOOGES)
MONDAY MARCH 11 AT THE WYTHE HOTEL (12-6PM)
FOLLOWED BY SHOWCASE AT THE KNITTINGFACTORY (7PM)
Delegate Pass (All access pass to panels, podcast & showcase) – $80
Knitting Factory Showcase + The Anfield Wrap Live Podcast – $30
Knitting Factory Showcase only – $20
Music & Brands: How Brands are Using New Music to Reach Consumers, what are they looking for, where do they find it and how do you get your tunes in front of them?
Moderated by Erika Thomas, Cornerstone Promotion
Labels: From multi nationals to cottage industries: Do bands and artists really need record companies anymore? Moderated by Ray Paul, CEO, The Playmaker Group UK
The Promoter Vs. Venue Dilemma: Promoters want to sell great art. Venues want to sell beer. It’s the great Promotor vs. Venue dilemma. Moderated by Dave Pichilingi, CEO,Sound City International
What not to do: For every music industry success story there are many failures. The truth is we can all learn from each other’s mistakes. This discussion is all about getting those stories out in the open. Moderated by Mita Carriman, Entertainment Attorney, Carriman Law Group, Women In Music
Music:Tech – a multi pronged attack! music:tech products currently offer a huge number of solutions and sometimes an even bigger list of problems! What ways do you engage with technology and what would be an ideal solution to your problem?Moderated by Seth Hillinger,
ABOUT J.PERIOD: As Music Supervisor for the Brooklyn Nets’ inaugural season, DJ/Producer J.PERIOD is redefining the role of the remix as the musical meeting point for fans from every corner of the borough’s diverse landscape. Praised as a “music guru” in the latest edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and called one of the “world’s Top DJ’s” by The New York Times, J.PERIOD’s vast musical repertoire bridges cultures, generations and styles, making his signature sound the perfect compliment to the Nets’ new Barclays Center home. A veteran in moving large crowds, J.PERIOD has served as official Tour DJ for artists including Lauryn Hill, Black Thought, Q-Tip and international icon K’NAAN, performing at venues from NYC’s Central Park Summerstage to Johannesburg’s Coca-Cola Dome. In his new role with the Nets, J.PERIOD is both curator and producer, creating an exclusive library of remixes for the team-an NBA first. J.PERIOD’s resume of remix and production credits includes work with Grammy-winners including Kanye West, Joss Stone, John Legend, and Mary J. Blige, and his “audio documentary” mixtapes have won numerous accolades and awards.
There’s no letup in the thickening competition of music publishing.
The latest development comes from Imagem Music, the pop music division of the Imagem Music Group and the world’s largest indie music publisher, which has just expanded with new Los Angeles offices at 9165 West Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.
The West Coast location is strategically located to be close to the heart of the film and TV community, and will be staffed with some serious experience. The Imagem catalog includes works by Elvis Presley and Sammy Cahn, in addition to songwriting talent that includes Ludacris, Phil Collins, Genesis, Anna Nalick, Steve Robson, Jens Gad, Temper Trap, Hesta Prynn, and Bombay Bicycle Club.
Here are additional details on the California crew, as provided by Imagem:
Joining the Imagem Music LA team is Shari Reich, Director of A&R. Shari comes to Imagem from Warner Bros. Records in Burbank where she was Director of A&R. At Warner Bros. Records, Reich contributed to albums from artists such as The Veronicas, Jason Derulo, Cher, and Josh Groban and worked closely with the licensing and sync department for song placement pertaining to Warner Bros. catalog in film, television, advertisement and web content. In her new role at Imagem, Reich will be working on acquisitions and song plugging.
Robert Thomas has been named Manager, Creative Services for Imagem’s West Coast office. Previously, Thomas was a Licensing Accounting Manager at Rumblefish. His other work experience includes a Coordinator role in the Film & TV department of BMG/Universal Music Publishing in LA and a Consultant at Creative Control Music Supervision in LA. At Imagem, Thomas will be working in the synch department with a sharp focus on Film & TV.
Steve King, who is based in LA for Imagem Music, has been promoted to Director, Creative Services. He was formerly Manager, Creative Services. Before starting with Imagem, King owned an artists and brand development company. Among many projects, he worked on music for global Coca-Cola campaigns such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, “Open Happiness” song and 2010 South African World Cup. In King’s almost 4 years with Imagem, he has been instrumental in procuring opportunities in film, television and gaming. He will now oversee the U.S. Creative Services team, across all media types for synch.
Imagem has promoted Brian Suh, based in LA, to Director, Business & Legal Affairs. He was formerly Associate Director, Business & Legal Affairs. Suh will continue to handle Business Affairs matters for Imagem Music.
In addition, Lauren Shulkey-Barker will be joining Imagem’s West Coast office and supporting the team as Creative Assistant.
Loyalty is being rewarded at NYC-based Man Made Music (MMM), where Allison Meiresonne has been promoted to the newly created position of President, Brand Partnerships.
Meiresonne, who has worked with MMM for five years, will report directly to company founder Joel Beckerman. Her previous title at MMM was Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships, where she developed and secured partnerships/opportunities with new clients.
Projects that Meiresonne spearheaded include the collaboration with GRAMMY Award-winning artist John Legend for the History Channel’s “King,” a special on Martin Luther King, Jr.; executive production for will.i.am’s new version of the theme song for CBS Syndication’s “Entertainment Tonight”; and MMM’s current Sonic-Agency-of-Record status with AT&T.
In her new position, Meiresonne’s responsibilities will include developing and deepening relationships in both the general market brand and entertainment communities, as well as creatively marketing Man Made Music worldwide. Strategic growth plans, and development of the new business develop team. The management of the company’s marketing and sales budgets will also be within Meiresonne’s remit as she works with MMM’s NYC and LA offices.
If your career touches production music in any way, then an essential event is coming up for all those in the LA area to attend.
“The Future of Production Music: Opportunities, Challenges & Threats” will be presented by the Production Music Association (PMA) on Thursday, Feb. 7th, 6 PM at Sportsmen’s Lodge (full coordinates below).
SonicScoop was in attendance for the NYC meeting, which was an eye-opening encounter with many of the urgent issues facing this sector of the music industry.
Here’s more information from the PMA on what to expect – all musicians, composers, producers, and music library professionals with a stake in production music should consider making the time:
“Join the discussion with representatives from the PMA, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and others as we cover the most pressing issues facing our industry. Learn about the DMX case, the carve-out license, copyright challenges, foreign royalties, direct licensing, and more. We offered this event in New York and, due to the great feedback and many requests, we are bringing it to Los Angeles. This may be the most important meeting you attend all year!”
Thursday, February 7th
12833 Ventura Boulevard
(just east of Coldwater)
Studio City, CA 91604
PMA Members – $10
Non-Members & Guests – $15
RSVP to Debra@pmamusic.com
Have you been eating your Wheaties? Running your wind sprints? Are your composing chops in shape??? They better be if you want to create a massive package of themes for a major new sports TV network.
LA-based composer Noah Lifschey was in top musical condition for one of the most coveted gigs in town when he won the right to write for SportsNet, Time Warner Cable’s network that includes coverage of the NBA’s Lakers and Major League Soccer’s Galaxy, the Deportes Spanish-language channel, and the Access SportsNet nightly show.
We had 10 questions for Lifschey on how he landed this enviable project, and the high-level techniques he employed that made his themes fly. And because Noah’s so pro, he had 10 answers ready to go.
What was your edge and unique sound that made you right for what SportsNet was looking for?
I worked on this particular theme with Dylan Berry, fellow owner of our music company Smash Haus. The people who we were hired by to do the Root Sports music for were also in charge of doing the SportsNet promos and graphics and all the rest. They loved the way Root turned out and wanted our fresh approach to the old-hat standby music that you usually hear.
The edge was taking real sounds and manipulating them to create a unique sonic palette — from banging helmets to hitting huge concert bass drums to clacking any number of things lying around my studio to recording a group of people stomping — and melding that with modern instrumentation, a live orchestra, and live vocal chants to create a unique brand.
In all of my music I always try to do something unique while maintaining a big hooky sound and music that isn’t the standard (for example, I almost never use drum loops and prefer to create my own or severely mangle an existing one, combining it with new elements).
Since I come both from the composing and songwriting worlds, it can really help to make a theme feel like a cool song that you’d want to listen to, instead of a typical cheesy old sports theme in this case. And that’s just what they wanted. Also, the ability to move solidly between different styles for the different sports and countries (such as for the Spanish-speaking Deportes version of the channel) was a big point for them.
What tools do you use to arrange/compose/mix – both the expected, and the unexpected?
I use Nuendo exclusively to arrange, compose, and mix; I work fast and need something that can keep up with me. I was on Cubase for a while and last year decided to switch over to Nuendo with its more advanced automation and video handling, and very in-depth post production features. It’s incredibly fast, flexible and reliable — I love it.
I have my studio arranged so everything is close-by and I can grab whatever I need to fit the bill, from an old Juno 60 to a giant Sgt. Pepper’s replica drum to a bunch of guitars and basses to shakers filled with glass shards.
With a big TV job like this I mix entirely in the box due to the convenience, but with songs I often go out to an Aurora Audio GTQ2 then through a Roll Super Stereo Compressor and Drawmer 1968 — that’s my go-to outboard chain for songs. I could nerd out on gear for hours — don’t get me started.
What was the creative spark that gave you a musical direction for the “elongated theme?” And also for the piano piece for the “Lakers First Commercial”?
The first elongated theme was for the Lakers. For the main theme which that was based off of they wanted some hip-hop elements and such, while maintaining the overall new sound of the network.
We started with the primary beat and then began smacking and banging things – the majority of the drum sounds you hear are organic ones that were recorded then mangled. Surrounding all of it with the music just kind of flowed naturally from that.
For the promo commercial they had a reference piece that they liked, which was piano-based. I used that as my inspiration and wrote a new one that matched the feel of what was going on picture-wise, then added a few other subtle elements like the heartbeat — which is actually a filtered and massively compressed large plastic box being hit – and some backwards guitar elements to heighten the emotion that the picture and voiceover have.
Seems like organic is always good. So how did some of the other projects you’ve done, like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” inform the SportsNet project?
“So You Think You Can Dance?” is one of my favorite gigs because I have to write sounds, songs and mixes that sound like another existing song from a variety of decades.
I thrive on that kind of challenge. So many times a client will want music that sounds like something they’ll specifically reference, but with a new and fresh take on it…that definitely came in handy for SportsNet, as I described before. For “America’s Best Dance Crew”, the approach of using real, unique sounds to combine with — in that case — a big modern hip-hop/dance track, was similar to the approach we used for Sportsnet. (Hear Lif’s work for these two shows at this link.)
What’s a technique you’ve learned for making mixes translate to TV?
I use a similar approach that I would for songs, and I make sure to check it on small speakers (I like Avantones) and my crappy laptop speakers — it’s got to translate well on everything.
I like using serial compression on the master buss to even it out for TV without sounding like its being mashed to death. For TV you generally don’t make it as ear-destroying loud/crushed as a pop music mix, though it definitely has to sound big. I’ve also found that you really need to be careful with how much sub content you have in there — that can kill a mix quickly.
Mixing is something that a lot of people don’t have a great grasp of, and it’s really something that just takes doing a lot of. Us modern composers have it so easy compared to composers and songwriters of the old days, but basic great mixing technique is still a fairly lost art, in my opinion…it’s a great advantage for a composer, to help separate you from the norm.
Amen! Shifting gears, how do you keep inspired as a composer — what do you do to bust out of a writer’s block?
I get asked this question a lot, and I wish I had an answer. Whatever is needed I can almost always just sit down, and out it comes from somewhere; I have no explanation for how it happens!
I do know that I’m subconsciously inspired by things from great works of art and music and architecture, to the mountains, to people’s stories, to other cities in the world that I’ve been to — there’s so much out there to feed the crazy artistic mind.
I’ve also gotta be as present as possible and not let drama/etc. start milling around in the head — that’s what kills creativity for me.
We also try to avoid drama! What’s the latest thing you’ve added to your studio that helps you to make music for picture?
My powered Avantones. Couldn’t live without ‘em now — they’re small speakers that specifically enable you to hear how something will sound on an average/below average system. And they happen to look cool as hell.
Your studio is in Santa Monica: Why is L.A. the right place for you to work out of?
All of the connections I’ve made are here, as is my circle of other musicians and artists. It’s not the place I would want to call home for the rest of my life, but it’s been great for my career and I personally wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve been able to if I hadn’t been here.
Here’s our Baba Wawa impression: If you could be a pro athlete, what sport would you play – and why?
We’ve all been joking about this for the whole SportsNet gig: I know next to nothing about sports. Nothing wrong with sports at all, but I just never watch them…aside from the occasional Lakers game. But I would like to be a pro basketball player — being a short guy, that would be pretty awesome.
Anything else on your horizon that we should know about?
Yeah, this new project that I recently finished writing with/producing, recording and mixing for an incredible artist named Kenny Wesley out of Washington, D.C. is something I’m totally thrilled about. We took what was so cool about older acts like Sly and Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, and even Prince and Seal, and fleshed it out in a totally hip and original modern setting. We have killer guests like Kid Koala, and one of the songs was recently featured on “So You Think You Can Dance?” last season (“Won’t Let It Go”). It’s awesome — keep an eye and ear out for it!
– David Weiss
We’ve covered Brooklyn-based producer/musician/label owner Matty Amendola before in SonicScoop – no one works harder, and his enthusiasm for all things music is palpable.
Now Amendola, who founded the indie label 825 Records, has just rolled out FRODUCTIONS, a music production company that offers “label-like services” for independent artists on a global scale.
Services offered by FRODUCTIONS include music production, artist development. composing and scoring. In addition, Amendola and his team are making these services available not just to artists, but also to other industry professionals including music supervisors, managers and producers.
There are a range of core offerings coming out of FRODUCTIONS, including:
Indie Add-On: Provides efficient and effective marketing and publicity packages for artists. Independent artists are provided with a team of industry professionals to assist them with development, promotion and long-term marketing and digital strategy. The objective is to help to build fan bases, create dynamic campaigns and provide tangible results.
Tracks Via FTP: Allows artists to send their music “via FTP”, after which FRODUCTIONS can add on to it, with everything from a single instrument to full band instrumentation, vocals, mixing and more.
Clients of Indie Add-Ons and/or Tracks Via FTP have included Vinnie Zummo of the Joe Jackson Band, and the Middle Collegiate Church album Welcome composed and produced by stage and screen actor Tituss Burgess.
“My label, 825 Records, is still moving strong and we already have scheduled releases for early 2013,” says Amendola, “but FRODUCTIONS is now allowing me to work and help more independent artists on a grander scale. I am not only helping them with their development of their sound as an artist, but I am utilizing all of my knowledge as a label owner to consult with them on everything from sending press kits to media to licensing placements.”
Need more info — in living, moving color? Let Matty Amendola give it to you straight:
In the media world, production music is a vital component of sound-for-picture. These sonic libraries – which can range from specialized boutiques to all-encompassing collections numbering in the thousands – provide music supervisors, music editors, producers, and other media pros with a ready-to-go availability that composers and licensed artist tracks are hard-pressed to match.
Last month, Randy Thornton was named Chairman of the Production Music Association (PMA), the non-profit organization which promotes and protects the rights and interests of publishers and composers of music for use in film, television, radio and new media. But Thornton, who is also CEO of Warner/Chappell Production Music – a versatile conglomerate of multiple independent libraries – knew that being the Big Cheese wouldn’t be a cakewalk.
Put simply, the pressure has been turned up in production music, a sector which had enjoyed relative stability for years even as the rest of the music industry turned chaotic around it. Just as the number of production music catalogs and creators are proliferating, their customers have less to spend. Meanwhile, the retitling of tracks – a legal technique that allows rights holders to place the same song in multiple non-exclusive libraries – often creates confusion in step with revenue.
Thornton spoke with SonicScoop on the eve of the PMA’s NYC meeting taking place on Thursday, October 11th (open to members and non-members alike, see the full details here). Entitled “The Future of Production Music: Opportunities, Challenges & Threats,” the event will pull no punches regarding the current crossroads for the organization and its members – in this interview, the Chairman clarified what’s on the table for the PMA today.
It’s one thing to be a dues-paying member of an organization, but another to take part in its leadership: What first made you decide to take an executive role in the PMA, starting as a board member?
I have always felt that the PMA was a much-needed organization, and since the early days of its inception have been a huge supporter of its initiatives.
Over the past 4+ years, having served as a member of the board of directors, I feel even more strongly that the PMA is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the needs of our industry and our clients. When the board of directors asked me to step up and accept the position of Chairman, I was happy to do so knowing that I would be able to continue to work closely with our membership and board of directors.
Taking that one step further, what will having the position of chairman allow you to do for the organization and its membership?
I feel that the biggest challenge currently facing the production music industry is that of maintaining the value of our music in the marketplace. If I can contribute to that goal in some small way, I feel that I will have successfully served our membership!
Looking at the landscape right now, how would you describe the current professional environment that production music professionals work in?
The current environment is one of increasing competition for ever-dwindling budgets. The upside is that there are more potential clients than ever. The downside is that many clients are being squeezed financially and are therefore pressured to look for “alternative sources/practices” for production music, many of which are detrimental to the sustainability of the industry as a whole.
And how is that different from the way things worked five or ten years ago?
The PMA now represents over 450 catalogs, representing a 10-fold expansion of our industry from just 10-12 years ago. Financial pressures brought about by fragmented TV, film and New Media industry segments have caused an environment where both music suppliers and consumers are struggling to understand consequences of differing licensing models while trying to analyze the cost/benefit advantages of each.
You said in your press statement upon being named Chairman, “I look forward to working with our membership to help bring about positive change”. Can you elaborate on what some of these positive changes would be?
I feel that it is critical that we strive to maintain or elevate the value of our music, thus enabling a viable financial future for our industry as a whole.
The PMA works to accomplish this through education of our membership, our clients, and the next generation of production music professionals looking to make their mark in the marketplace. Education and a commitment to understand current needs on both sides of the fence are crucial to ensuring real progress for our industry.
You also advocated “awareness of critical issues impacting our industry’s long-term sustainability.” Can you please elaborate on what the most pressing issues are in this respect?
The PMA has been very active in working with the performing rights organizations to adopt digital recognition software in order to more accurately identify broadcast performances as well as insuring the fair distribution of performance royalties.
Additionally, we have worked to support the PRO model for the licensing of performing rights. We have been very vocal about the destructive nature of “retitling” of musical works, and have worked tirelessly to uphold the integrity and value of copyrights. We look forward to working more closely with our international counterparts to help ensure the viability of our industry on a worldwide basis.
Lastly, aesthetically, how do you feel production music is evolving? In other words, in what ways is production music sounding better/worse/more creative/more diverse in 2012?
The production music industry has consistently grown in both size and quality over the past 10 years: Long gone are the days of clients bemoaning the fact that they “had to use a library cue”. The creative and production values of current production music works are leading the world in many segments of the market, including the work of many GRAMMY and Emmy award-winning composers and producers.
Clients have a huge choice these days when it comes to choosing music, and their choice more often than not centers around creativity and production values — both of which are good news for our industry!
– David Weiss is the Founder/Editor of SonicScoop, and co-author of the book Music Supervision: Selecting Music for Movies, TV, Games & New Media.
WEST SIDE, MANHATTAN: In the NFL, 65 preseason games are played, followed by 256 regular season matches, then 10 post season games plus the Super Bowl. A healthy percentage of those are carried on CBS.
And America officially goes nuts about pro football this Sunday.
Robert Rudkin is Manager, Music for CBS Sports. As you’d expect about a man who’s about to tie the 2012 NFL season and Super Bowl XLVII together, sonically – for millions of viewers every week – he’s got his game face on right now.
Rudkin called a timeout to tell us everything that goes into being a network sports music supervisor. Here’s how he selects the sounds – original music, licensed tracks, and production music libraries – for what is arguably America’s most popular sport.
The NFL Season is about to kick in. Is this a particularly busy time for you?
It absolutely is. We have seven crews out on the road covering the NFL, each of them asking for different packages. Every one of them has their own producer, with their own personalities and different tastes in music. So it’s definitely a busy time.
What are the different musical components that they need for the show on Sunday?
They’ll ask for highlight packages. And they’ll be looking for tease music, which comes at the start of the game, where there’ll be a one-minute or so tease to set the scene. Also re-tease packages, an hour into the game, where they do a little recap of the action from that game. That could be orchestral music, popular music, or it could be bed music. All different kinds get used.
Right around now, we’re refining the music packages to give out to all of our different crews, and as the season progresses they’ll be looking for different things, like the genres I just mentioned.
When they have a specific request, can you accommodate them up to a point? What determines if you say yes or no to a producer’s music need?
If it’s something that needs to be cleared, I can get people on there to accomplish that. If I can save the money, I will find a soundalike, or a better alternative from the many catalogs that we subscribe to.
I can usually satisfy the guys. They know there’s only so much time and budget to fulfill a request. Especially with live TV, and they’re asking for it two days before air.
What do you think is specific to being a music supervisor for a TV sports division, as opposed to another genre of entertainment?
It would probably be the time constraints, and the vast quantity of music that is actually used. In any particular NFL game, you will hear – whether it’s bed music, theme music, popular commercial music – you’ll hear 80 or 90 cuts. That’s including halftime and the post-game show.
There’s a million different highlights reels, all of which may differ in length. And between the early and late games, there could be seven to eight games in a day, all airing on different parts of the country.
What do you do on Sundays during the season?
I’ll be working in the studio on the pre-game show, picking all the music for the pre-game, halftime report, and post-game shows. So not only am I equipping the crews on the road, but the studios here in NYC.
That sounds like a lot of pressure!
I’m just going to try very much to be prepared. That means having anything that can be imagined available to them at the drop of a hat.
If we’re at Segment One and at commercial break, the producer says, “At Segment Five we’ll be doing this type of sequence, can you get this music?” I’ll do my best.
That would give me up to half an hour to give me what I need. If they want popular music that has to be cleared, it may be of the question. But if I can scavenge our online libraries, or run back to the office and find a CD, sure I’ll do it.
What’s distinct about music supervision for football, than from the other sports you work with?
The sounds of the NFL might be a little more hard-hitting. The hard rock highlights will be harder – heavy guitars, faster pace, big theme music, orchestral. But it’s like the basketball tournament, in that there are multiple games going on at the same time all over the country.
Do you try to not repeat cues across the different games?
I tend not to mind. I would like to differentiate the studio show – the pre-game and post-game – from the NFL game.
Do you have an idea of how you’ll do that?
Not a different tempo. I want to keep a unity of sound, I want it to sound fluid. But as far as actually physically different cuts, I’ll try and separate any elements of the experience.
Any licensed tracks you’re particularly excited about that they’ll be using this season?
I don’t know if I can say!
Do you try and evolve the music you pick from season to season? If so, how will you be shifting the CBS Sports sound of football in 2012, as opposed to last year?
We have a lot of songwriters and composers that write for us from around the country, and I challenge them by sending them contemporary commercial music that I like – the hard rocks bands of now, our Muses and Foo Fighters. I try to have them send back bed music inspired by contemporary sounds.
It’s the same thing with dance and pop music. I’ll send them tracks like Calvin Harris, and all the new stuff going on, and challenge them to send me back music in that vein. That keeps our package sounding new and fresh.
That sounds like a solid strategy.
I hope it works. It’s a new process. It may not always register with the general listener, but I want our music to come off as well thought-out, modern, and just sounding good.
Do things change again when you hit the playoffs? And do you know what you’ll be looking for come Super Bowl time?
We will definitely refresh the playoffs music package, and I will always refresh a producer’s package when they ask for it.
As for the Super Bowl – oh boy! A lot of the sounds of New Orleans. That’s still very far away.
Switching gears, how are you finding new music? What are the latest/newest tools you’ve added to your toolkit for searches?
In terms of licensing tracks and commercial music, Spotify has been huge. It has been gigantic in listening to new music and hearing sounds. Having that at our fingertips is terrific. I want to make sure road crews have their own Spotify accounts to stay up on new trends.
When it comes to production music and beds, how do new libraries get onto your radar?
I’ll get recommendations for a new library from the CBS entertainment division in LA. I make sure that it works for our medium, and if it does, I’ll reach out and go to them.
Sounds like an intense job. Are you having fun?
Right now, I’m definitely having fun! I’m excited for the new season, I’m excited for the rush. But I’m really sad the summer is over.
– David Weiss is the Founder/Editor of SonicScoop, and co-author of the book Music Supervision: Selecting Music for Movies, TV, Games & New Media.
NARIP, the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals, will presents its next NARIP Music Supervisor Session on Wedensday, July 18th. The featured music supervisor will be Kevin Wilson of ESPN.
The event will be held at SAE NY in Herald Square. Cost is $249 for NARIP members, $329 for non-members, and group size is limited to 16 people.
Wilson oversees Sound Design for many of ESPN’s shows including “Sportscenter,” “ESPNews” and “Monday Night NFL.” He also commissions original music cues for a wide variety of uses on the ESPN network, secures pre-recorded music, negotiates licenses and oversees all clearances.
Get more info, briefs of Wilson’s current music needs (available a week prior to the session) and register at this link. or call 818-769-7007 for details.
Those who can’t attend in person can pitch via Skype. Call 818-769-7007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, the next NARIP NYC Brunch has been announced. It will take place on Saturday, July 21, 11:00 AM, at Music Works NYC, The Desoto Bldg., 215 West 91st Street.
The NARIP Brunches are a great opportunity to eat, meet and greet other New York-area music biz professionals. Music Works NYC, founded by Chris Theberge, is one of the Upper West Side’s premier audio facilities
Register at this link, or call 818-769-7007. Cost is $10 for NARIP members, $20 for non-NARIP members.
You never know who’ll you meet over a muffin!