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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : July August 2007
S OUND +MU SI C take off in Australia. “It’s a very exp ensive a nd time consuming side of the business and the TVC sync licensing opportuni- ties in Australia are just not there to justify it.” Whether musicians are part of the coalition of the willing often comes down to how their ca reer is going, sug gests Sta cey Wa h, pro ducer/ managing partner of Ne w Zeal and based music and audio productio n company Soundtrax. “If they want the money and they are not averse to having their song on an ad then yes, they’ll be willing, but I think th ere are still a lo t of ar tists out t here who take th eir career a li ttle more seriou sly an d want to be known more as an artist and not as someone who would sell their songs for ads. You hardly ever hear a Rolling Stones track on tele- vision do you?” Wah also doe sn’t se e music and sound pro duction c ompanies di s- covering ar tists and making th em famous t hrough ads: “The sin gers and pe rforme rs we u se most ly already hav e their own re cording careers and that’s through the hard slog of them starting off as a singe r in a band, writing their own music then getti ng a deal. Bu t ob viously it’s hard to make money in music so every now and then they want to do a s ession. I do n’t of ten se e peo ple making a br eak through si nging in ads, it’s e asy to hear an al ready famous v oice on an ad, b ut i f you haven’t h eard them, I d on’t th ink anyone would pay that much atten- tion to it.” May sees size as a barrier to local agencies taking the music func tion in-hous e: “We are such a small market c ompared to the UK, i t’s the sam e as havi ng dir ectors i n- house, it nev er really worked, some agenci es d o it , there’s the whole Plush thing going on. But t he idea that you h ave full time in- house sound mixers means when it comes to composers they tend to be stuck with that one person,” May says. The other t rend that’s rolling out in the US, s ays Ma y is that mus ic companies and film comp anies a re getting together to work, b ypassing agencies: “There are a lot of strange things going on because of the way people are bypassing things but that hasn ’t h appened with me a nd I don’t think it will. I’m not trying to set myself up as a re cord company. And i t hasn’t be en hugely succ ess- ful except maybe the stuff that has been discovered through the Levi’s brand where they’ve launched new music.” The curr ent buzz word in a dver- ti sing is branded con ten t. I n February, the UK’s Leap Mu sic launched a dedicated branded con- tent consultancy to help brands and agencies source music for emerging platforms s uch as podcasts, vod - casts, mobile gaming, vi ral market- ing and virtual worlds. “Within thre e to fi ve ye ars, TV spot advertising won’t exis t in the way in does today and those com- panies that successfully embrace the new s pace will adapt the ir de al 58 CAM PA I GN B RIE F Rafael May agrees that the barriers between musicians and the commercials’ world have disappeared: “That whole Indie spirit of not doing anything for commercials has totally gone, the first opportunity they have to get involved, they will. It’s not just as far as a band licensing a track, it’s even them singing in commercials – something that used to be hard to get them to do.” Whether musicians are part of the coalition of the willing often comes down to how their career is going, suggests Stacey Wah: “If they want the money and they are not averse to having their song on an ad then yes, they’ll be willing, but I think there are still a lot of artists out there who take their career a little more seriously and want to be known more as an artist and not as someone who would sell their songs for ads. You hardly ever hear a Rolling Stones track on television do you?” Samba spot and a Nokia spot, both of which became dance hits. Now we are being approached to write the full length track to be made available well in advance of the commercial airing.” Lew: “Previously the three minute tracks arose out of the TVC music striking a chord with the public and us re-acting to that demand. We have previously released full length versio structures accordingly,” said Le ap Music managing director R ichard Kirstein in a statement announcing the new venture. “Branded content is becoming so much more th an just adver tiser -funded program - ming . Before long, the bo undary between advertising and ed itor ial will be almost indistinguishable and music is likely to play a c entral part in brands’ multi-platform mar ket- ing activity. This will enable flexible rights owners t o c reate a ho st o f new opp or tuni ties for em erg ing music talent.” Lew is seei ng the infl uence o f branded content and the closer ties between the advertising and music industries with clients re questing full leng th tracks to sup port the music used in the 30-second TVC: “Previously the three minute tracks arose out of the TVC music striking a chord with the public and us re- acting to that demand. We ha ve previously released full length ver - sions of a Pepsi Samba spot and a Nokia spot, both of which became dance hi ts. Now we ar e bein g approached to write the full length track to be made a vailable we ll in advance of the commercial airing,” he says. For example, the mu sic fo r th e recent Optus Turbo s pot had Song Zu’s Nathan Cavaleri write a three minute hip-hop track which accom- panied a Penguin Danceoff video clip, all released u nder t he n ame ‘Recharger feat. MADDN8TIVE’. Lew says: “This took on a l ife of its own by initial ly b eing a Y ou Tube hit, then being picked up by various video hit shows on TV and final ly be ing ad ded t o video playlists in b ars and clubs through- out Australia. It was als o put up on MADDN8TIVE’s MyS pace page and the track and video were avail- able on Optus’ site as a fre e down- load and ring-tone. This is befo re the TVC had even ai red. B y th e time of its first airing the track had already reached a significant chunk of Optus’ target market lending an authenticity to the commercial and its sound-track that could not have been achieved by the television spot and its sound-track alone.” For a Lynx You Tub e pr ojec t ns of a Pepsi Song Zu and agency Lowe Hu nt, Sydney went one s tep further, c re- at ing a fake Japanes e g ir l b and called Dizzy Banana, including a music video for their ‘fir st sing le’ called ‘Spin Spin S pin’. To ca ter for this trend, Song Zu ha s ta ken on a team of composers who are all heavily involved in the music indus- try as both artists and producers. Ramesh Sathiah produced the lat- est Gri nspoon album, Al ibi s & Other Lies, Eden was c omposer on the Pepsi Samba r elease an d ha s worked with music st ars including Puff Daddy, Tricky , Kelis and Bjor k, and Nathan Cav aleri ha s been involved in t he industry since he was e ight an d is cu rr ently involved in a number of p rojects including his band, Dirty Skanks and an up-coming hip-hop album release. “Clients more and more are look- ing for tra cks that sound like com- merci al relea ses and the mus ic hous es sta ffe d entirel y by pur e advertising composers will get left behind. With You Tube etc it’s a differen t landscape now and the TVC music nee ds to be able to stand on its own away from the 30- second visuals,” says Lew. As well as breaking down the bar- riers between the commercial and music world, technology is also breaking down the barriers of dis- tance. Dan Higson, producer at Pyrmont-based Noise International, which s tarted a year ago and now has two c omposers Bruce Heald and Kylie Burtland, says technology is making distances seem shorter, saying in terms of communication and liaison they wouldn’t know the difference between working with an agency down the street to working with one in San Francisco. “In one week we were working with TBWA Sydney, whose offices are a stone’s throw from ours, a nd BBH in L ondon. Everything was done by phone, email and the net with both clients. Neither stepped foot into our studio at any point and the result on both jobs was fan- tastic. I guess you can never replace a face-to-face, especially if there is an established relationship, but the internet can really help busy people get the same stu ff done in less time,” he says. Higson says the music and audio industry is f ightin g fit : “Re gul ar check- ups and a healt hy diet of good briefs and world class com- posers and performers have made sure that Australian music is alive and well and competing on the world stage. Luckily music is one of the cheapest things to replace in an overseas ad, so in a way deregula- tion can be a good thing. Licensing a track that was done in the UK or USA i s often more expensive than comp osing a new piece here in Australia. Hopefully TV producers have work ed th is out for them- selves,” he says. May agrees that technology is also making i t easier to work on the global stage, saying that the internet is finally working fast enough for people to send fi les quickly. It is also extending the working day. “We ar e wor king on Ni ke for China and they will send up pic- tures at 11pm at night and expect to get a new mix back at 11.30. Everything is starting to become instant and that is just going to con- tinue. The only difference between us and other markets is the time difference, otherwise you would be working in t hei r markets al l the time,” he says. About 20% of Rafael May’s work is for the international market, but this figure has been much higher in year s past: “ It used to be higher when the Austral ian d ollar was much lower, but we are no longer Mexicans, we are Canadians. So we are not quite as boundlessly cheap and reasonable,” he says. “I spent a long time going over- seas and ignor ed Austra lia and Austr alia h as act ually been a ( JU L Y /AU GUST 2007
September October 2007
May June 2007