Hassle free music solution for advertising agencies

We all know the stresses involved in getting the perfect song to add that extra special effect when creating an unforgettable advert. Why settle for good when it could be great?

Music in TV commercials, radio adverts and other mediums may be challenging and very stressful to agencies and companies who aren’t experienced in this discipline, therefore services provided by music supervisors like independent music/license clearances and possible music replacement are available to assist music users throughout the entire complicated and often confusing process of music licensing.

With the tough economic climate South Africa is currently experiencing, advertising agencies and their clients may find themselves facing deadline and budget challenges when licensing music, even more so when licensing international songs. The nature of licensing any piece of music is that the user requires approval from the all original copyright holders, which, depending on the songs originating territory and the number of copyright holders, may take some time which could possibly delay any pre-planned flighting schedules. As a music user, there are a number  of factors to consider when sourcing your  ideal song.

One of the biggest factors to consider when licensing a piece of music is the music’s origin. Is it a big international song, or is it a continental/local song? The territory will provide an indication of possible cost estimates, turnaround times and the number of people you may need to deal with on a license. The nature of licensing an international song is one that requires slightly more time in comparison to a local track, as approval is required of the all the original copyright holders and their representation. This may be a challenge depending on who currently represents the rights and how active they are. In some instances you may even find yourself liaising directly with the artist/composer, as they have no representation. Also potential time delays with the Americas who only respond next day. This becomes slightly more challenging for an individual without any past experience in the field, especially when dealing with ‘classic’ (very dated) tunes, as it may become harder to locate the rights holders. Depending on the number of copyright holders involved in the music, you may find yourself liaising with 2 all the way to +7 people in attaining the necessary clearance, namely from the Record label and Publisher. “This can be scaled all the way down to one person when utilising the supervisory service of Sheer Publishing,” says Brett Vorster the Production Music Licensor at Sheer Publishing. “This is a great service for Advertising agencies and Productions Houses as it becomes one less thing to worry about in the midst of everything else that’s being prepared for the production,” he continues.

Due to the ever-fluctuating exchange rate, licensing an international song may cost you an ‘arm and a leg’ as quotes and costs will be set out in dollars/pounds. Using African compositions are ever so advantageous in scenarios like this. The communication with rights holders may also be speedier and far more direct. It’s important to know that a clearance may take anything from a week to a year due the complex nature of budgets, licensing terms, medium and term requested, and the overall negotiation, which makes it very important to plan ahead of time.

When deciding on a potential piece of music to accompany a visual image, a client needs to consider whether the campaign is creative or budget driven. This will provide the music supervisor with a clear cut an indication of which strategy needs to taken when procuring the music at the outset, better yet, the most cost effective and timeous solution. In many instances, a client may find themselves creatively drawn to a piece of music because of its audio visual synergy and how the emotional feel of the music works perfectly within the advert, only to find that they can’t afford the “fees for that piece” of music. “When faced with a such a problem, replacement options are a viable alternative in conveying the message,” says Mandrew Mnguni, the Creative Head at Sheer Publishing. “This enables a client to keep the music at a consistent level with the visual, at a more affordable price,” he continues. “We also know how sensitive time is in the advertising industry thus we pride ourselves on quick turnaround time, from sourcing replacement options, to procuring cost/quoting estimates, receiving approval, all the way down to the final stage of facilitating license agreements,” he adds. Replacement options are generally easier to clear as the Music Supervisor would ideally curate 100% owned/represented pieces of music to avoid the clearance involvement of other rights holders, thus make the process quicker and smoother. Replacements can be approached in a number of ways depending on which characteristic within a song you are looking to find a replacement for. This ranges from Live to electronically composed music, the overall feel of the music, the genre, the message being conveyed, and most commonly the lyrical content of the music. Thus the replacement options will strongly depend on which traits within the music are driving the creative message/goal in  the advert.

Should it come to light that the music’s involvement in the campaign/advert is budget driven, options such as Commissioned music and Library/Production music are often the way to go. Commissioning is a great option as the final piece of music is user defined, thus the commissioner can prescribe guidelines for the composers to work from. It is also advantageous to commission music as this allows you to pre-clear the proposed fee with composers pitching for the job. “We represent a variety of composers ranging from the world renowned film scorer Phillip Miller, to the super hit producer of singles such as AKA’s Baddest and All Eyes on Me, Tweezy,” says Mandrew. “This allows Sheer Publishing to cater to any and all musical genres by so making us a one stop shop in commissioning music,”  he continues.

But what if I don’t like the end product? Well – it has a lot to do with the initial information and reference music provided. Firstly it is very important to word the brief in a specific manner to get to the correct and expected final outcome. When all’s said and done, music can tweaked, and adapted where it is deemed necessary, without forgetting to mention that until a clients happy, the job is not done. Commissioning may be more effective when experiencing deadline constraints as it’s generally more time efficient than the nail-biting wait when requesting clearance for a commercial piece of the music.

Over and above than commission works will deem you the copyright holder of the master recording of the commissioned music, making it more effective should you plan on reusing the commissioned piece for other campaigns or renewing for subsequent years. Is there a solution that may be cheaper than commissioning? Well – Yes. Production Music is one of the best options when working with a concise budget. Production/ Library music is an inordinately great source of music. “With amazing rates and an abundance of music to choose from, Production music is a music user’s dream,” says Brett Vorster, the Production Music Licensor at Sheer Publishing. For more information regarding Production/ Library Music please see the article below.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a large shift in the consumption and licensing of African Music over the continent and it’s usage over various mediums. Most recently we’ve seen a change in South Africa with a shift to the 90% play-listing mandate of local content. As a result of this, we’ll soon be seeing a positive and strong shift in the licensing of Local content for Advertising Agencies and like music users.

With a reservoir of authentically brewed African music, free music searches and some serious bang for your buck, look no further than Sheer Publishing for all your music needs. – Zwelibanzi Sisilana

When it comes to advertising, music plays a vital role in bringing the visuals to life. Therefore it is imperative to find the perfect music to carry out your vision. Having said that, the topic of the budget for your advert and in particular, the music budget for your advert, is a topic that needs to be well evaluated and assessed in order to ascertain what music you can use, and at the what price.

Finding the right piece of music at the right price can be a challenging task, especially when hindered by budget constraints. It is important to remember that there are four main music categories to take into consideration that affect your music budget differently. These four categories, in order from most expensive to most cost effective are as follows: international commercial music, local commercial music, commissioned music, and production library music.

There are two broad areas in advertising that help you ascertain which of the above four music categories you will be able to acquire. The first are creative driven advertising campaigns whereby budget is less of a factor. Popular commercial songs come into contention in order to wow clients by making a bold statement, which is usually an approach undertaken by big brands.

The second are budget driven campaigns where the cost surrounding the advert as a whole, is everything. The message being conveyed within these particular ads is more important than the ‘wow’ factor and therefore budget driven campaigns will lean more towards commissioned music/production library music centric in order to remain within the  budget constraints.

International commercial music comes with a hefty licensing fee for two main reasons. Firstly, the popularity of the song in question sets a precedent for the price and secondly, the originating territory of the song. License fees applicable are often charged in USD and regularly exceed amounts of $50 000 depending on which rights you seek to attain (TV, radio, cinema, internet/online). These licensing fees become particularly daunting as we as South Africans currently face very tough economic condition, rendering this option unattainable in instances when your advert has budget constraints. Local commercial music is much the same as Internationally composed music, however, with the exception that the fees applicable are charged in Rands. Commissioned music, which is music specifically composed according to a brief, can also come in at a hefty fee, should you wish to acquire a high calibre composer to create a piece of music for your advert.

The great news is that production library music comes in as a very cost effective alternative for adverts on a tight budget. Further to production music being cost effective, it requires no clearance, therefore when working on time constrained projects; production music can be supplied in a hassle free nature with very quick turnaround times. The outdated notion that production music is low quality music has become somewhat a fallacy in recent years.

“Today, top commercial composers and film scorers are creating music libraries of their own. Recording with full orchestras and live instruments, often creating cinematic quality content,” says Skumba Music Director, Mandrew Mnguni. The Skumba Music Library offer top compositions by renowned composers such as two-time Grammy nominated Cedric Samson, the Emmy award nominated Philip Miller, who has also worked on the Canadian Screen Award winning series Book of Negroes and Wawela Award Winning Brendan Jury who has worked with the likes of The Parlotones, Vusi Mahlasela, Miriam Makeba and Johnny Clegg.

The team at Skumba Music is dedicated to finding the balance between the perfect compositions for your advert at a price that fits within your budget. So whether you require music for a TV commercial, radio spot or an advert for cinema, Skumba Music has an all-encompassing production music library backed by a musically creative team, ready to facilitate music searches according to your specific needs, to satisfy your adverts every musical demand. The broadcast mechanical rates associated with production music are fees payable for the usage of the piece of music you wish to acquire and are subject to the CAPASSO rate card. The fees applicable vary in accordance with the following parameters on the rate card: Broadcast Medium (TV, radio, cinema, public location, internet etc.), Territory (In which country/countries will your advert flight?) and duration (how many seconds or minutes of music will be used?). It is handy to have all of this information available to you when looking to acquire a rate for your required piece of production music. The CAPASSO rate card is attainable on their website (www.capasso.co.za), alternatively, contact the team at Sheer Publishing/Skumba Music (www.skumbamusic. co.za/library2@sheer.co.za) to assist in obtaining the applicable rates, whilst supplying you with the perfect piece of music to bring your advert to life! – Brett Vorster

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