4 Reasons To Join Your Composers In The Studio: how to make the most of your original music budget

Original music can be one of the most memorable elements of an advertisement, but crafting it to be a cohesive part of the spot’s aesthetic while keeping within time and budget constraints is undoubtedly a challenge.

For that reason, we want to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your original music budget, and If you’re not spending time in the studio, you might not be. Here are four reasons why joining your composers for the creation process is the best way to get the most bang for your buck:

1. Be the voice of creative continuity

Briefs and conference calls are great, but nothing can replace having a representative from the creative team involved in the music creation process. You and your crew have been crafting every detail of this story for more time than a half-hour call could possibly sum up, so why let it? When you are in the studio, you facilitate creative continuity. Your guidance helps the composing staff to have the clearest understanding of the story you are telling, and the aesthetic through which you are telling it.

2. Insure your client’s investment

You’re always there for the shoot. Those days on set represent hundreds of hours of your team’s labor and likely a majority of your client’s production budget. What happens there determines what your client’s audience will see; half of the sensory engagement of multimedia advertising. What they hear is the other half, and while it may not represent the same amount of the production budget (we can talk about that later  ), to understate it’s value would be a disservice to the audience. That’s why your involvement with the music creation process is essential. In our experience, the best way to be involved is to join your hired music creators for the session.

3. Utilize scheduled revision time more effectively

I would venture to say that about a third of the revisions we execute go through a second or third round of revising. Most of the time the particularly tedious revisions could be avoided if a representative from the creative team had been a part of the music creation process. This is not to say that tweaks can be all-together eliminated! Being there for the session, however, means that someone on the team knows the music intimately enough to pinpoint the elements that are causing friction. “That chime-y thing that goes ting ting ting” becomes “you remember when we added marimba yesterday afternoon?” That stops us from toying with a myriad of other elements we might have assumed were the issue. Having that insight can literally save you days of revisions! We have clients from Ogilvy, Havas, Digitas, Saatchi, Droga, and beyond that have joined us for sessions, and can vouch for that!

4. Recording studios are inherently cool

I’ve heard many an advertising producer say that going to recording studios is the reason they got into this kind of work. Hell, it’s the reason I got into this kind of work! Recording studios are inherently cool. Musician or not, everyone can appreciate the peek behind the curtain that is sitting in on a recording session. In New York it’s a special treat because the musicians you work with are absolutely top notch. You’re probably working with players that are in between sessions with A-list artists, and club dates in your favorite NYC venues. When you go to the studio to be a part of the original music creation process, you become a part of that world, and a pretty important part at that!

Original music comes with a unique set of challenges, but the possibilities are nearly limitless. When you hire a music house, you’re not only hiring the music creators, you’re hiring a staff that is there to assist you in overcoming the challenges and delivering the best music for your content to your team and your client. In our experience the greatest results come from having you here with us.

And if we’re being completely honest, work aside, we just like having you around!

Musical Stalemate : how to break the deadlock on music selection for media

“We can’t come to a decision. It’s not just Storefront, it’s the other music houses too. The creatives have been sitting with the tracks for days and we just don’t know what to do.”

My client’s frustration and feelings of defeat were palpable as I got off the phone. She had budgeted $6,000.00 in demo fees for three different vendors to compose original music for a sixty second commercial. Now with thirty tracks in her hands, she can’t unite her team behind any of the submissions. I picture a room full of otherwise high-energy, innovative people, sitting with their faces in their hands while they numbly cycle through tracks and argue over the merits of a handful of selections. This is musical stalemate.

For the four years I have been in the business of music for advertising, this has been a frequent scenario. Sometimes it results in six rounds of original music, costing a client thousands in demo fees. You may find it amusing to learn that in that case, the clients almost always revert to one of the tracks from the original dispatch. Other times a few tracks are sent into test for months on end. Occasionally a music direction is scrapped entirely and we all start again from square one. The reality is that when a team has to arrive at a consensus on something as subjective as music, the risk of a stalemate is inherent.

…Or is it?

The purpose of music in a commercial is to convey the emotion of a story. Using sound, our job is to make an audience feel a certain way about a product, brand, or idea. While opinion’s about music are subjective, the impact it has on a target audience is measurable!

Enter Scott Simonelli. A little over a year ago I had dinner with Scott, who described to me an idea he had for taking the guesswork out of music selection. The concept was to send a few tracks to hundreds of listeners in a targeted audience. They would test the music’s ability to achieve the intended impact using an easy-to-use interface with a number of categories by which to evaluate the music. With the results, a music purchaser could compare quantifiable data about music selections side by side. When a few pieces of music left a creative team in stalemate, this solution would allow the purchaser to make a selection based on the real impact the music would have on their target market. GENIUS.

Today, that solution is called Veritonic. Scott Simonelli and Andrew Eisner have made their music analytics concept a reality, and as a Music Producer for advertising I couldn’t be more excited about it. Finally, instead of engaging in the same conversation about music that landed my client in the deadlock, I can offer the light at the end of the tunnel!

veritonic logo



Back to my client’s creative team, stuck at a draw over music selection. I would love to tell you that I offered Veritonic and they decided to use this powerful 21st century music analytics tool to provide statistical insight on the decision. The truth is that they had already taken more traditional steps to fix the problem. I can tell you that my client was eager to give it a try in future scenarios. Who wouldn’t be!

The takeaway is this:
It’s 2016. Your creative team doesn’t need to be gridlocked on a music decision. The tool exists to get the data on the impact of music selections for your media. Those weeks of indecision, and all of the frustrating and expensive steps you are forced to take because of it, can be skipped entirely.

For more information check out www.veritonic.com, and if you do end up trying it out on your project, come back and tell us about it!

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