A song search needs to happen for your approaching ad campaign. Who will do it? What is the creative brief? Who has the final say about the song choice? It is the client, the in-house marketing department, or the Creative Director? What is the budget? When does that choice need to be made? And, when does it need to be cleared by?
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.
After studying the creative briefs and coming to an understanding about what the Creative Director was looking for. Because people listen differently, depending on their mood and level of concentration, there were times when we’d re-submit a song from a previous playlist, hoping that someone with fresh ears would really HEAR it and hear why we thought it was so good for the project. Sneaky, but many times it did pay off.
Doing song searches is a thankless job. No matter what, the creative director invariably, will only want to pursue a song that she/he/they found - not some music super. This is the well-documented, huge ego of the advertising executive. Not to say that this was always the scenario. Depending on the client – many were more open to suggestions than others. As the music supervisor, I just wanted a decision to be made because the clock was ticking and I knew how long a clearance could take, especially for complex copyrights and tricky talent negotiations, (for example, doing the time-intensive work of dealing with Estates of dead singer/artists).
The advertising song search is technically easier these days and of course, the easy availability to every kind of music imaginable, (or not imaginable), makes for a lot of very rich listening and thousands of choices. 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.The challenge still, is finding the right song and artist that’s fits your target audience and is clearable, in budget, and all that rights can be secured within your time line.
Michael Welsh is founder/CEO of Michael Welsh Productions, Inc. - a company specializing in music licensing and supervision for advertising only, for over 30 years.
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