In search of great music

First. A bit of a ramble.
The 80s did buttons right. Hairdryers, car consoles, telephones, remote controls and the likes were littered with a symphony of buttons. It was almost art. Someone decided that nine settings on a hair dryer was a great idea. Clearly somebody forgot to ask anybody that used a hairdryer. The button glory lasted roughly a decade (OK, two decades, if you include the button on the motoriZed swirling ice-cream cone and most of the products in the SkyMall catalogue).

Digital Product and service designers emerged from this gross button abuse by righteously owning the concept of building things with a user’s actual NEED in mind. Yeah, we all know that many other industries innately use this concept. Architects and Engineers rightfully loose their crackers if you tell them that user-centred design is a new concept. Aside from the mechanical swirling ice-cream cone, you’ll find that good service and product designers constantly fight the unnecessary button and look to understand and solve the central need.

Second. The actual point.
Here at Hookline Headquarters we’re constantly conducting user research to check that we’re delivering the NEEDed thing in a compelling and immersive way. That’s how we roll. Ultimately, we’re building a marketplace to surface brilliant, authentic, independent music for Sync. That means we’ve got to consider the potential needs and challenges for music buyers and music makers.

As part of our regular research, we recently reached out to some heavy-duty music supervisors to discuss how they find great music. We thought we’d share our favourite gems in case you’re wondering if your music might be suitable for Sync placement. As always, chuck an email over to Rachel(at)hookline.tv and she’ll let you know if your music fits the Hookline bill.

duncan

Interview #1: Duncan Smith
Duncan is Senior Music Supervisor at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

These days, I’m loving tunes made by…
Goat, Kindness, We Are Shining, Lone, Real Estate, Young Fathers, Timber Timbre, New Build.

I think Creative are using way too much…
When it comes to music Creatives tend to be far too influenced by what competitors are doing & would benefit from innovating more, following less.

The most difficult aspect of my job is…
Getting clients to value music enough to build it into their plans early & assign enough budget to get the best results

Hookline would be extremely awesome if it…
Can go the extra mile to help find creative solutions to challenging briefs

How important is it to propose brand-spanking-new music to your clients?
Very important. If we can partner with the right new artist/work with new material it adds value to the project & perception of the brand. If we can help introduce a new or leftfield artist to a new audience the benefits for both parties far outweigh the initial fee.

james

Interview #2: James Bellamy
James is a Music Editor for Feature Films
James tweets @jbellamy1978

I’ve been noticing that I need more access to music that sounds like…
Unequivocally “happy” pop music seems to be difficult to come by, surprisingly.

I think there’s a great opportunity for people, projects and/or productions to sync more…
I’d like to hear more…guitar music, on film as in life!

These days, I’m loving tunes made by…
Lianne La Havas.

I think ‘Creatives’ are using way too much…
Music which doesn’t fit the picture. My job is in the service of the film, not the soundtrack album. It’s nice when the music supervisor is of the same opinion.

The most difficult aspect of my job is…
Trying to edit pop music after the picture has been locked. Pop songs are nowhere near as flexible as score. You can often only really edit them in blocks of half a verse or more so if your hands are tied by picture considerations drastic measures are sometimes necessary.

Hookline would be extremely awesome if it…
This sounds very prosaic, but I’d say NEVER deliver any music to anybody on a production in mp3 (or any compressed) format. The internet is now quick enough and hard drives are big enough that anything short of a full resolution WAV is unnecessary. I spend 2 days per film swapping out mp3s that the editor has put in early on in post for the full resolution alternatives (which half the time, no-one can find).

The sexyist part of my job is…
Recording a big orchestra in the Hall at Air Studios.

How important is it to propose brand-spanking-new music to your clients?
There’s no simple answer to this. However, personally, I feel that film can be a great showcase for new music, and from an editing point of view, it’s usually much easier to edit an unknown song, than to get stuck in to an established classic track.

How important is territorial accuracy to your work? Have you got any examples?
To me, pretty important. It’s very easy to spot faked or sampled non-western music (or at least, the non-western music that is available in abundance in music libraries doesn’t seem to be very well done).

How important is historical accuracy? Again, any examples?
In near-contemporary films, very important (like if the film is set in the late 60s and you put in something from the early 70s that always seems to get flagged). Actually, thanks to the internet, someone tends to notice in any era of film if you put in something out of its time, so on the whole I try to avoid making that mistake.

julz

Interview #3: Julz Balwin
Julz is a Music Supervisor at The Most Radicalist Black Sheep Music
Julz tweets @tmradicalist

I’ve been noticing that I need more access to music that sounds like…
Everything – We never know what we’ll need to find.

There’s a great opportunity for people, projects and productions to sync more…
It depends on what we’re working on in the ad world. I’d love to hear more, quality global music that has a story behind it. It’s easy to pitch a UK or US indie band and find a PR angle, but sometimes I’d like to be able to find something from further afield that’s even more unexpected than ‘up and coming Western blog music’.

These days, I’m loving tunes made by…
People from Sweden, and anything on Warp.

I think ‘Creatives’ are using way too much…
John-Lewis-style-re-records.

The most difficult aspect of my job is…
Getting Creatives to stop thinking about John Lewis, and getting clients to do something really daring.

Hookline would be extremely awesome if it…
Could sort out rights disputes for publishing on old hip hop tracks, or provide quality-sounding authentic hip hop and beats without the licensing nightmare!

The sexyist part of my job is…
Hearing pre-release material and going to gigs (and getting merch. I LOVE MERCH).

How important is it to propose brand-spanking-new music to your clients?
Very – the dream is to put something pre-release on an ad, and work on cross-promotional opportunities.

How important is territorial accuracy to your work? Have you got any examples?
If we’ve got an ad that’s going out in a specific territory targeting a specific market it really matters, or if we’re helping an agency pitch for a client that’s going to be targeting a specific territory we need to find proper authentic music from that place. We also work with BBH Singapore, BBH NY & BBH Brazil, and need to be able to help them out with confidence on music searches for relevant new music. We love to discover new music from around the world but there are very few UK-based reps who have access to good stuff.

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