Before streaming services, music supervisors and producers would go to retailers likes Tower Records, spend hours, days and a lot of cash buying vinyl records, tapes, CDs, etc.; collect what they thought they’d need for an exhaustive search and submit their choices to their client. Obviously, this took time with multiple trips to music stores, as well as asking labels to send submissions.
Song searches are fun when you have good people that like doing them and are really good at it. Now, whenever we do song searches, we simultaneously pick the best songs creatively, but also research songs for any anticipated problems – anything from conflicts with other brands and products, to knowing that the lead singer, for example, might ask for a fortune in talent fees, etc. Part of our research is conducting a thorough history of advertising uses of whatever song is in consideration – finding out who used it and when and for how long; also to see if there are any current uses that would immediately take it off the table.
We never would submit a song to a client, knowing that there could be licensing problems, no matter how creatively perfect it was for the campaign. It’s a balancing act of wanting to please the creative director, finding that killer song, but also finding that that killer song can be licensed within the client’s budget and within the given time restrictions.
The licenses will need to send the quote requests out to their approval parties: writers, artists, lawyers, Estates, managers, etc., while at the same time, the guild of music supervisors is beginning talks with the singer’s reps regarding negotiation of talent fees.
The advertising song search is technically easier these days. There are indeed infinite choices and resources to find music for your project today. In addition to the major labels, Independent labels are everywhere and have so much great material available. This is all good for the creative side.
Generally, music streaming services are a great tool for both producers, creative teams and music supervisors. There is now so much music at our fingertips. The challenge still, is finding the right song and artist that’s fits your target audience and is curable, in budget, and all that rights can be secured within your time line.
Michael Welsh is the founder/CEO of Michael Welsh Productions, Inc. - a company specializing in music licensing and supervision for advertising only, for over 30 years. You can send your questions on related issues to email@example.com. www.michaelwelshprods.com.
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