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View Full Version : Dear Buyer of Advertising Music: I'm willing to go to prison.


dwoz
May 23rd, 2011, 04:55 AM
If any of you ever buy another royalty-free :30 of a fucking ukelele playing I-IV with a rhythm reminiscent of "hey soul sister"...


...I'm going to use the self-defense defense.


please, just.....no.

G. Hoffman
May 23rd, 2011, 06:23 AM
See, I knew there was an advantage to never watching commercial television. I have no idea what you are talking about, and so I don't have to risk a long prison sentence.


Gabriel

dwoz
May 23rd, 2011, 02:41 PM
being in a house with a bunch of kids, and being given the choice by Comcast to either buy broadband cable internet alone for $100/month OR a bundle that includes broadband cable internet AND basic tv cable for $85/month, I chose the latter.

So the television is on in my house now-and-again.

I'm noticing that across the board, the music used in advertising has completely dumbed down, and all seems to come from the same royalty-free DVD.

It's all generic, where in the past it was at least occasionally treated as a music score, where the music accentuated and punctuated the visuals and voice-over.

I'm sure it's not just me.

Why do I bring this up in a music forum? Because producing music for advertising is probably the last bastion of paid work for musicians and music production facilities. If that's going to be gone, then we all may as well hang our vintage guitars inside class display cabinets, and take up gardening.

Fulcrum
May 23rd, 2011, 04:28 PM
There's also the question of composing specifically for the sort of DVD you mention—when Anthony Phillips left Genesis that's what he went into—but as always, the breaks come to those who make them, and figuring out how to make them is the challenge.

Goes211
May 23rd, 2011, 05:45 PM
Basically, every agency creative dork wants "a hit" for his beloved commercial. They recognize the added value of a hit. They just don't want to pay for it.
Thing is, more often than not costumers can't afford hits anymore.
So the viable financial option is the "soundalike". Been guilty of a truckload of these myself. It sucked but it payed the rent.
I have been in countless briefings where we tried to sell the notion of having something new and original. "Why risk that? The hit works better."
A few years ago the copyright laws changed in Europe, as even the "intention" to sound like another song can be considered an infringement. I won't bore you with the technicalities involved but you can easily imagine the kind of grey areas you're bound to encounter with that kind of law.

Worst ever case I witnessed : a famous french car company whose name starts with an R and finishes with ENAULT :grin: wanted to use a hit by a famous american soul lady famous for her "R.E.S.P.E.C.T."
They couldn't afford to use the original hit, so we made a cover version, but the rights still amounted to 90K Euros over 2 years for Belgium alone, which they agreed to.
When time came to pay the licensing fee, they said "we're not paying".
The agency freaked out, we freaked out, and they said "Leave it to us, we take full responsibilty and we'll wait for the court case"...
The ad was already on air...
...and sadly, they were right. They ended up paying a lot less after a negotiation with the local publisher. I wasn't privvy to the negotiations, but the bill ended up to be about half the original amount. The power of an army of lawyers against a possibly weak local publisher weighing the options. I realize it's still a lot of money, but to me that's like signing the order form for buying a Maserati at a given price, driving out of the lot and then trying to get a lower price.
It's a disgusting mindset, but the bean counters won.
And as I say, they know full well the power of using a hit on a commercial.

From what I hear, these days, they pretend they can't even afford the soundalikes.

I'm glad I jumped ship in time.

dwoz
May 23rd, 2011, 08:06 PM
I knew a fellow here in the US, down in the Stanford Ct. area, that did soundalikes. Don't know if he's still in business...but he would produce remakes as close as humanly possible to the originals, that on casual listen from across the room, you'd often have trouble making out as copies. Definitely, buried under SFX and dialog in a movie/commercial, you'd never know.

And it was as you say, a direct scam to provide royalty free versions of tunes so advertisers and film producers wouldn't have to pay the original artists. I'm not sure what the status is of soundalikes these days...but I distanced myself from this guy just on general principles.

What we have over here these days, is music that is apparently chosen specifically to be bland, generic, and vaguely reminiscent of recent hits, as much by instrumentation as anything.

Think, "give me something that sort of sounds as if Jason Mraz teamed up with Weezer to do an unplugged exploration of the vagueness of the I-IV tonality, but with ukelele because it sounds more cheerful. It should be like oatmeal so we don't have to worry about how it paces with the voice over or if it matches up to the editor's cuts."

Now, I am not thinking that every ad agency should be commissioning a new work from Mozart-undiscovered. But gosh, ad guys...have some self respect?

nobby
May 23rd, 2011, 10:53 PM
Now, I am not thinking that every ad agency should be commissioning a new work from Mozart-undiscovered. But gosh, ad guys...have some self respect?

Just a little bit!

When I'm home I'll record an hour or 2 of tv and watch it when I get a chance which might not be for days. And I fast forward through the commercials.

If I'm at my mother's house, she doesn't have a recorder so I either mute the set or go to another channel.

I hate "Lawyer Music" :p

samc
May 24th, 2011, 08:53 AM
So the television is on in my house now-and-again.
Nothing's wrong with television dude, you (and your kids) can learn all kinds of interesting, informative and educational stuff, nobody is obliged (or forced) to watch the crappy, useless shit on some channels. People who want to make some kind of political statement by not watching television are only depriving themselves, plus it's a rather silly stance if they're on the internet, read newspapers and/or listen to the radio.


Why do I bring this up in a music forum? Because producing music for advertising is probably the last bastion of paid work for musicians and music production facilities.
How did you arrive at this conclusion pray tell?

paulie
May 24th, 2011, 11:52 AM
Lots of agencies look at existing music catalogues for something in the ballpark first rather than take the more expensive route of commissioning music. It's just economics, nothing more sinister. Everybody's looking at the bottom line and sometimes quality suffers.

Unfortunately, as far as innovation, I have the same experience as Goes. Alot of the ad guys want music to reflect a "lifestyle" rather than be a score that punctuates visuals. Aping commercial music is a simple get out as it already has so many real world connotations. For ads, it doesn't matter what brief I'm given, I always get a list of reference tracks which are 9 times out of 10, commercial releases.

Fortunately I've never had to do sound-a-likes. Although I've been a victim of that - where basically a track I wrote for a brief was given to somebody else to copy - obviously the music supervisor's buddy - who basically took my treatment (mexican hip hop with spanish beastie boy vocals - pretty niche) and made it just about legal.

Either way, the people with the chequebooks are only interested in selling their product and not adding to the canon of great music and fostering musicians.

Funny you mention ukelele's. They are the no.1 tool which earth-raping energy conglomerates use to say "we're just harmless! - look we actually HELP nature!"

Sad but true.

radiationroom
May 24th, 2011, 02:02 PM
Nothing's wrong with television dude, you (and your kids) can learn all kinds of interesting, informative and educational stuff, nobody is obliged (or forced) to watch the crappy, useless shit on some channels.

:headpalm: :lol: :lol: :lol: :headpalm:

Obviously you are not married and there are no women living in the house with you. Contrary to popular myth, it is the wife and not the husband who controls the TV remote in the typical American household. And unless you are married to one of the rare women who enjoy "Nova" or "This Old House", you will find your TV tuned to either Lifetime or The Soap Network and be expected to watch painfully depressing shows such as "One Tree Hill" or "Grey's Anatomy". And you will do it because you want to keep your marriage intact. Personally the programs that interest me are all available over-the-air and if it wasn't for my wife's insistence on having cable I'd stick a big-assed Yagi style antenna on a 60-foot tower aimed at the WHP-21/WITF-33 tower in Harrisburg PA and tell Comcast to shove it. (Comcast can't even get the picture and sound to sync up right on about half of the channels - they do NOT deserve my money.)

samc
May 24th, 2011, 03:44 PM
Obviously you are not married and there are no women living in the house with you. Contrary to popular myth, it is the wife and not the husband who controls the TV remote in the typical American household.
No, this is not a typical American household; my wife is French, Hates soaps, and likes National Geographic and the history channels. She also has her own television.

dwoz
May 25th, 2011, 02:15 AM
:headpalm: :lol: :lol: :lol: :headpalm:

Obviously you are not married and there are no women living in the house with you. Contrary to popular myth, it is the wife and not the husband who controls the TV remote in the typical American household.

word.


(Comcast can't even get the picture and sound to sync up right on about half of the channels - they do NOT deserve my money.)

NO SHIT. The audio synch is PROFOUNDLY off. Like more than a syllable.

Not caring.

Comcast runs an ad about how fucking apeshit they are about being totally HOT and impeccable. They are the exact opposite.

Bivouac
May 29th, 2011, 12:22 AM
Comcast runs an ad about how fucking apeshit they are about being totally HOT and impeccable. They are the exact opposite.

Direct TV is worse...AND then you have to surf through dozens of infomercial stations immersed in between all the real stations. Lame -- way lame. Good thing I'm not a television watcher, myself, except for sporting events.

But moving on...

I was having a good conversation with some friends of mine who work in the game entertainment division for a major professional sports franchise. They're the people who do all the in-house contests, half-time entertainment, and mascot stuff.

Anyway, the team is going through a youth movement and, in turn, the entertainment staff is wanting to change up a lot of the music that is used in the arena to signify certain events (player announcements, start of play, etc). Apparently, the team is so reticent to change the house music because the publishing was negotiated at a bargain rate 15 years ago, and any new music would have to have a new deal in place. And that's simply not an option -- apparently -- during a much more dire time for the music industry.

So, I guess it's still Gary Glitter.

dwoz
May 29th, 2011, 02:31 AM
That's interesting...


...I'll bet you didn't know that one of our own regular posters was a major innovator in the realm of game-time entertainment for major sports franchises. A lot of what happens today in the NBA and NFL is directly from his efforts.

Bivouac
May 29th, 2011, 02:44 AM
That's interesting...


...I'll bet you didn't know that one of our own regular posters was a major innovator in the realm of game-time entertainment for major sports franchises. A lot of what happens today in the NBA and NFL is directly from his efforts.

It's an interesting business, one I've gotten to see quite a bit behind-the-scenes of over the years. I've gotten to participate in a lot of stunts and contests, meet some players, and even exchange some phone numbers with dancers.

From a technical standpoint, it's fun seeing how the audio and video is run in house. Those are BIG operations -- huge.