Is old music ‘killing’ new music..? And if so, what does that mean for music in media and advertising?
Last month, author Ted Gioia wrote a blog post titled ‘Is Old Music Killing New Music?’ in which he states that old songs now represent 70% of the (US) music market. The main point of his argument was that this is really bad news for the development of new music and new artists. He argues that “never before in history have new songs attained hit status while generating so little cultural impact.” and that “success was always short-lived in the music business, but now it hardly makes a ripple on the attention spans of the mass market.” The reason for this is claimed to be a lack of nurturing of new artists by record labels and publishers, due to the favoring of massive investments that are being made in music rights of established artists and composers.
Gioia’s article directly relates to an interesting development in the music industry that has become a steady headline-generator in the past years. It’s all about the selling of entire music catalogs by major artists. Every week, there are new reports of artists who made their way to fame a long time ago and are now choosing to sell the rights to their catalog to major publishers like Sony, Warner Chappell, Universal, and new players like Hipgnosis. This week it was Neil Diamond who chose to sell the publishing and master rights, but many have gone before him; artists like Sting, Bob Dylan, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, all decided to sell the rights to their music in recent years.
Quoted in this response article, music strategist Dan Fowler further elaborates: “Proactively investing in new talent may make less and less sense from a pure short-medium term business perspective, but this will also have a chilling effect on the overall development of our industry. Unfortunately it is somewhat of a free-rider market failure in that new talent is of course essential for the development of the industry but investment in emerging artists at an individual level is likely seeing decreasing returns within the streaming paradigm.”
Basically, in today’s music streaming ecosystem, investing in new artists doesn’t make much financial sense anymore.
So What Does This Mean For Music in Sync?
For music companies that operate in sync, there are different reasons for choosing an old or a new song. When it comes to their effectiveness and impact in media, both have their own strengths and weaknesses. One of the key functions of music in media is to trigger a certain emotion, which is often established by recognition. Because of the factor of audience-familiarity, older, famous songs are popular with advertisers, brands, film companies and trailer makers. A positive emotion being linked to a product through a song that their customer base already knows and loves, is a very valuable factor for an advertiser. Who doesn’t remember this commercial for Bavaria, for example.
And the same goes for a film producer using a well known song in an important scene of a film. It triggers recognition and nostalgia, while also giving an opportunity to match lyrics to the narrative on screen. Because of this effect, it’s become an unwritten rule that film scenes about flying a helicopter in the Vietnam War must always be accompanied by ‘Fortunate Son’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Where these two categories collide is in film marketing. Well known songs have become a staple in trailers and teasers for feature films to persuade global audiences into going to the movie theater. Like when Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ was used in the theatrical marketing for The Matrix Resurrections last year.
At the same time, there is tremendous value for new music in film and advertising. For an advertiser, working with an artist on brand new music ensures that there will forever exist a unique connection between the piece of music and the product or brand. Something that is more difficult to accomplish with older music. When a piece of music is irreversibly linked to a product, that product will be in people’s thoughts any time they hear that piece of music, as a new song can be customized to fit the exact parameters and personality of that brand.
And at the same time, working with a ‘relatively’ unknown artist can be a way for a production company to reduce costs, because licensing a well known hit song can be relatively costly. Plus, it is often a really great opportunity for an artist to expose a bigger audience to their art when their music is played in an ad, feature film or VOD series. Many new artists have a sync placement to thank for a gigantic career boost. Back in 2003, this Apple Ipod add ensured that everyone around the world had ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ by Jet imprinted in their minds for a long time.
Everyone who is active in the music industry benefits from a rich, dynamic, and sustainable music ecosystem. If the development of new artists and music isn’t properly supported, we’ll still be listening to the same songs fifty years from now.
The role that music supervisors play in this game is to find and recognize songs that are relevant for a specific audience and match them to the moving image. Mostly that means selecting music that is meaningful to that audience. For example, playing the right music at the right time can be used to send a powerful message or to make a statement. And with the right timing, new music also has a great chance of becoming impactful through their use in visual media.
At Clear Music, we’re always on top of new artists and developments in music, and we also know our way around back catalogs and classic hit repertoire. In the end it’s all a matter of finding the perfect fit for a project.
So if you are in need of the perfect song for an ad campaign, film trailer, or documentary, reach out and we’ll make it happen!
Happy International Women’s Day 2022 From Clear Music!
We’re proud to represent great music by many amazing women and we want to celebrate today by highlighting those women and their art. Artists include Celine Cairo, Janne Schra, Kelsey Coockson, Lady Bri, Jesca Hoop, The Marías, Rosie Tucker, KOYOTIE, Laney Jones, Chelsea Rose, Laura BCR, Eefje De Visser, Emy Perez, Jantine, and Ruby Friedman.
Check out the playlist below for a glimpse of all the female-fronted greatness from our catalogue!
Clear Music Amsterdam partners up with Something Happening Somewhere for Exclusive Sync Representation
Electronic music is essential to modern Dutch music culture, and has always been at the very heart of us at Clear Music. Founders Jarl en Mattijs, both DJ & producers, have been in love with the Dutch electronic music scene since their younger years. With Dutch roots, they have enjoyed staying close to the culture and have always been fascinated with the effect it can have when matched with visuals.
All the more reason that we’re thrilled to announce that we’re teaming up with Something Happening Somewhere as their exclusive sync representative. Ever since founding SoHaSo in 2013, Nuno Dos Santos has built a reputation of releasing high-end electronic music for the dancefloor and beyond. SoHaSo has all but conquered the Dutch electronic scene with over 40 releases from artists like Eefje de Visser, Dwaalgast, Bas Dobbelaer, Laura BCR, Love Over Entropy, Dixon and Null Wave , and a huge roster of producers, new talent and Nuno himself under various aliases. Aside from releasing records and label-merchandise, Something Happening Somewhere regularly organizes label events (at local Dutch stages and Amsterdam Dance Event) and stage-hostings on festivals. 2022 is shaping up to be an excellent year for SoHaSo with lots of exciting releases on the horizon and we couldn’t be more excited to partner up!
”We’re excited to work with Clear Music and match our music to new vibes and contexts. I would love to see our stuff in a nature documentary, some David Lynch-type movie, or some futuristic science fiction game. Besides the existing catalog, our roster of talented artists is ready and able to produce anything in the electronic music spectrum on demand. The mission is to put our music out into the world for people to enjoy, and to support the artists involved. This new collaboration helps to do exactly that.Nuno Dos SantosSomething Happening Somewhere - Label Owner
”It will be an absolute honour to represent the music released by SoHaSo for sync purposes. The songs tell us a variety of stories. While many tracks in the catalogue are almost impossible not to dance to, the music suits many alternative occasions and artforms.Jarl HectorClear Music Amsterdam - ECD / Co-Founder
We’re proud to announce that Clear Music Amsterdam has signed an exclusive publishing deal with Huminal. We’ll be taking good care of his song catalog, pitching and promoting his music for sync and brand partnership opportunities.
Jelle Jansen has created something truly unique through his Huminal sobriquet. With an ability to transform listeners into another world with his aural artwork – mixing organic, analogue sounds and crisp rhythmic forms on a vivid sonic palette – he consistently produces dynamic and inspiring works that have lit up electronic music. His techno, progressive house and electronica heritage is reflected in the distinctive melodies that infuse his work with trademark elegance and air.
Interested in using these songs for your next project? Reach out to Jarl Hector at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s make it happen!
Clear Music Amsterdam wishes you the best possible 2022! With both feet firmly planted in 2022, the Clear Music team would like to extend our best wishes to all of you for the new year and look forward to another year of exciting opportunities.
Last year has marked the start of our venture as a music company, and we can look back on and be grateful for some great projects and collaborations for our first year of bringing together brands, music and media. We have spent time strengthening relationships with artists, agencies, music professionals, and film production companies so we can take our client’s work beyond the next level and strike a deep chord with their target audience.
Celine Cairo – Found a Light (Live at Concertgebouw Amsterdam)
Get your favourite headphones or turn on your best set of speakers and dive in. And if you are looking for an intimate, heart piercing soundtrack for your next project, act fast because soon she’ll be too big for all of us. Celine Cairo is one of the artists that we fully represent (master and publishing), and we plan on highlighting more of our artist and songwriters roster on a regular basis in the coming year.
Listen to here latest album ‘Overflow’ here: spoti.fi/3uhxAFv
Sonic Identity & Audio Logo
Last summer, we partnered up with Moonback to create a Sonic Identity and Audio Logo for their brand. Determined on creating a track that resonated their message and evoke positive and energetic emotion, the song we created for Moonback features elements from various musical genres, different cultures and musical eras. The back-bone of the song is a late 80’s inspired disco-pop beat that is both laid back and driving at the same time.
Moonback’s journey started in 2020 with a LinkedIn post that went viral and was viewed by 2.5 million people. This was shortly followed by a crowdfunding campaign, where 1.524 people collectively invested a whopping 2 million euros – simply because they believed in their mission of providing honest service for easy hotel bookings.
Alzheimer Stichting Nederland
Music Supervision, Licensing and Re-recording
One of our highlights of the past year would be working together with Alzheimer Nederland, a non-profit organization to create and produce music for their Christmas advertising campaign. We chose to rework a classic Dutch song ‘Samen Zijn’ with Meau, who is rapidly taking over the Dutch indie singer-songwriter scene. She went from playing her first show in front of an audience in June of 2021, to headlining a tour of all major Dutch clubs in 2022. The ad was awarded “Best Christmas Campaign of 2021” by neuromarketing research institute; Unravel. Watch their webinar here (in Dutch).
25 Jaar Quote 500
Music Supervision & Audio Post Production
We had a great time working with Quote on the 25-minute documentary celebrating the 25th release of the Quote 500. Together with director Laurens Hulshof, we carefully selected the perfect accompanying pieces to fit the tone of the documentary, and help communicating it’s message. You can watch the full documentary here.
2022 and beyond
In the new year, we can’t wait to connect with you to elevate your productions and strengthen your messages. So if you have a project where music supervision, a custom track, or sonic branding is needed, or you’re just looking to schedule an introduction, contact us!
Mattijs, Steven & Jarl
Using a hit song to promote the release of a video game or feature film works well, often really well. However, there may be legal, creative or financial obstacles to using an original recording. In this article we go on record about the basic ‘need-to-knows’ of licensing and creating a cover trailer song.
Trends in Trailer Music
Over the past ten years, it has become common for film- and video game trailers to be accompanied by a dramatic (or trailerized) version of a popular song. Remember the trailer for ‘The Social Network’ in 2010? That unsettling version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ by a Belgian girls choir was the big one that kicked it all off. Since then, the business of trailerizing songs for entertainment marketing has taken off. The past ten years has seen some great adaptations like Cat Stevens’ ‘Wild World’ for Mad Max: Fury Road and Pink Floyd’s ‘Eclipse’ in last year’s trailer for Dune. And in the past three months alone we have seen versions of ‘Heart of Glass’ (House of Gucci), ‘Starman’ (Lightyear), ‘Kickstart My Heart’ (Battlefield 2042), ‘God Only Knows’ (Lamb) and ‘Perfect Day’ (Spencer), just to name a few.
For trailer companies and music supervisors, licensing a cover version of a popular track can seem like a complicated and expensive process. While it may indeed become costly depending on the song choice, it doesn’t necessarily have to be all that complicated if you know what intellectual property rights you’re dealing with. So let’s break it down;
Master vs. Publishing
There are two main rights that you have to take into consideration when licensing (a version of) a popular track for a trailer or commercial; the master recording rights and the composition/publishing rights. In most cases these are controlled by different parties. The master recording refers to the actual recorded version of a song and is often owned by the record label of the performing artist. The copyright of the composition belongs to the songwriters and their publishers and refers to what makes the song unique, like melody, harmony, structure and lyrics.
Not All Songs Are Created Equal
When dealing with these two sides of sync licensing and the rates involved in both, a term you may have heard about is Most Favored Nations. MFN is an agreement that ensures parity/equal pay between the publishing and recording parties when negotiating a sync license. Equal fees for master and publishing rights are pretty common, but there are exceptions. There are circumstances when it isn’t really logical to handle the same rates for publishing and masters. Think about it, if my band covers a Beatles-tune, the license for the composition by the Beatles will be much higher than my master recording. But if Paul and Ringo decide to cover one of my band’s tunes, their recording will be worth much more than my original composition. In most cases though, when it comes to licensing a cover version of a song, the master recording is easier to clear than the publishing rights.
I Will Survive, and how to get the best sync license terms
Let’s illustrate this with an example; say you’re working on a trailer for a fighting game and you want to use ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor as the soundtrack, but there is no budget to license the original version by the artist. While browsing the internet, you may stumble upon a cover version that you really like that will also fit the tone of the piece you’re cutting.
To get a fair deal and optimal terms, it is helpful to have a party on board that knows the ins-and-outs of the sync market and music licensing (like Clear Music). We have existing and long-standing relationships with publishers and record labels and are able to negotiate a fair price for the sync and master use license. The final license fee will depend on a number of things, like the duration of the trailer and how many seconds of the music cue is used, the content of the trailer (synopsis), the prominence of the cue, and of course the popularity/familiarity of the song.
Clear Music brengt MEAU en Alzheimer Nederland samen voor akoestische cover ‘Samen Zijn’ in kerstcampagne.
De kerstcampagne van Alzheimer Nederland wordt gekenmerkt door de klassieker ‘Samen Zijn’ van Willeke Alberti, in een subtiele, akoestische uitvoering van singer-songwriter MEAU. In samenwerking met creative agency ICP en Alzheimer Nederland heeft muziek agency Clear Music MEAU benaderd om het origineel uit 1987 te vertolken in haar onmiskenbaar eigen stijl.
MEAU is in sneltreinvaart op weg naar de top van de Nederlandse indie singer-songwriter scene. De reeds uitverkochte clubtour in 2022 (langs o.a. Paradiso en TivoliVredenburg) is des te meer indrukwekkend als je bedenkt dat ze in juni 2021 pas voor het eerst voor publiek optrad. Ook verovert ze de hitlijsten met de onlangs uitgebrachte, zeer persoonlijke single ‘Dat Heb Jij Gedaan’, die momenteel op de playlist van 3FM, 100%NL, Radio 2, Q-music en Radio 538. staat. En als klap op de vuurpijl verzorgt ze volgend jaar het voorprogramma van Suzan en Freek bij de shows in de Ziggo Dome.
“Ik hoop dat iedereen ondanks de maatregelen tijdens de feestdagen ‘samen’ kan zijn. Laten we elkaar wat extra liefde geven!”
Sonic branding agency Clear Music Amsterdam, dit jaar opgericht, helpt merken en reclamemakers bij alles dat komt kijken rondom het vinden, creëren en licenseren van muziek dit impact maakt. Jarl Hector van Clear Music was als music supervisor eerder verantwoordelijk voor de uitvoering van ‘Zing, Vecht, Huil, Bid, Lach, Werk, en Bewonder’ door Maaike Ouboter, in de campagne voor Our Planet door Netflix (winnaar van de Buma Award Beste Sync in 2019)
“Het zit in het DNA van Clear Music samen te werken met artiesten, labels en publishers om de boodschap van merken en filmmakers te laten resoneren. Het is geweldig dat we een muzikale bijdrage hebben kunnen leveren aan het verhaal dat Alzheimer Nederland wil vertellen deze kerstdagen.”
picture: Jantina Talsma