Guild on Tour: Finnish Edition

By Duncan Smith

Music & Media Finland hosts the Guild to talk all things Supervision

Music & Media Finland is one of the longest-running music conferences in the Nordic countries (it’s been going since 1989) and this year the Guild was well represented when myself and fellow supervisors Iain Cooke, Ayla Owen, Karen Elliott & Amy Ashworth travelled out to Tampere, Southern Finland.

The event brings together over 700 participants from 20+ countries, including labels, publishers, artists, composers, managers, agents & media for 4 days of panels, workshops, networking sessions and showcases. Some of the highlight speakers were Martin Goldschmidt (founder of the Cooking Vinyl group) & legendary producer Sylvia Massy who shared some of her experiences working with the likes of Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash & Tool.

On the Guild-endorsed ‘UK Sync’ panel, we discussed the state of play in the UK & looked at some case studies. Ayla showed a recent Audi Q5 ad that she’d worked on featuring a bespoke cover of the Wizard Of Oz song ‘If I Only Had A Brain’. Iain discussed finding & licensing music for Sky series ‘The Five’ and Karen had the room laughing whilst discussing the process of getting Meryl Streep to sing (deliberately badly) on camera for the Oscar-nominated ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’.

Meanwhile, Amy was on the ‘Brands In Sync’ panel sharing her knowledge & experience of collaborations between artists and brands with some international panellists. We were also all involved in two music workshops where we got the chance to meet local rights-holders, artists & composers and hear the diverse music coming out of Finland and the surrounding area.

For the ‘Get Synched’ workshop labels, publishers & artists played music to briefs that a group of music supervisors including ourselves and Nellie Rajabi (Silo, Hit The Ground Running, USA), Michelle Cho (Pusher, USA) & Nicholas Nowottny (White Horse Music, Germany) had submitted to Music Finland previously. From glacial pop to traditional Finnish folk there was something for everyone and the participants seemed to really appreciate the constructive feedback that was offered. Past years’ workshops resulted in licensing deals for sync placements and no doubt the same will happen again in the next 12 months.

The following day we all took part in a Score workshop & were blown away by the standard of composers already doing high level work for trailers & Nordic films but eager to break out to more international projects across the games, film, TV & advertising areas.

Ruby Wasmuth from UK agency Manners McDade had gone out to Helsinki a few days earlier to have one-on-one sessions with these composers and offer advise on how to connect with, and tailor music for, international clients & audiences. 

In Ruby’s own words: “Meeting some of the top composers of the Finnish film industry was such a positive experience for me. The level of talent there is quite extraordinary and it was an absolute pleasure to give them feedback on their work and encourage them to promote themselves internationally. I’m very excited to see their careers progress!”

The evenings involved drinking lots of the local tipple, Lonkaro, & checking out local talent at the Lost In Music showcase festival where over 100 artists played across the city. The highlights included accapella Finnish folk-hop from Tuuletar, and Maijja Kauhanen, an incredible one-woman-band who plays the traditional Finnish kantele whilst singing and playing percussion without the aid of backing track or loops.

We also attended the Industry Awards Gala where Finnish music industry honours were given out whilst, somewhat surreally, ballerinas served branded vodka in a blur of dry ice & strobes.

The conference was brilliantly organised and we made some valuable contacts out there whilst spreading awareness of the Guild in the Nordic area. It was a privilege to be able to tap into a deep pool of musical talent and hopefully, we’ll be collaborating with some of those rights holders, artists & composers on projects in the future.

If you’re interested you can check some of the composer talents here on a specially curated Music Finland playlist:

Here’s an example of Maijja Kauhanen in action.

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