Music Supervisors Across Europe Band Together at Reeperbahn

It was a great opportunity to pull together some of the top European music supervisors from across Europe and discuss the current state of sync in their respective countries, and appreciate how many issues and opportunities they have in common.

By Duncan Smith & Milena Fessman

The Guild presented a panel ‘Sync Across Europe’ at Hamburg’s Reeperbahn festival last week. Since its debut in 2006, the Reeperbahn Festival has grown to become one of the most important meeting places for the music industry worldwide, and, as Europe’s largest club festival, it boasts a broad spectrum of emerging and more established artists. This years edition presented more than 900 events. In addition to some 600 concerts by international artists held in a wide variety of venues, the festival programme includes events in the fields of fine art, film, literature, and education and the Reeperbahn Festival conference programme is designed for professionals active in the music and creative digital industries and features sessions, showcases, networking events, or awards ceremonies. That is the official text from the website but it is much more. Meeting interesting people, drinking wine or beer, seeing bands, walking around, spinning ideas and going to bed far too late – as always..

It was a great opportunity to pull together some of the top European music supervisors from across Europe and discuss the current state of sync in their respective countries, and appreciate how many issues and opportunities they have in common.

Milena Fessman (Music Supervisor at Cinesong, Germany) moderated a panel consisting of Alexander Wiebanga (Director/Partner at Sizzer, Amsterdam), Goran Obad (Partner/Head Of Music Supervision, Ohlogy, Oslo), Stephanie Sfeir (Music Supervisor at Creaminal, Paris) and Duncan Smith (Senior Music Supervisor at PlayStation, London).

Milena was kind enough to share a few words to say about her experience:

Reeperbahn Festival is a great place to meet and mingle but Thursday morning at 10.00 am is normally not the most popular time to be holding a panel following a late night! However this time we were pleasantly surprised to be sitting in front of a crowded house eager to follow 4 European music supervisors and their visions about their work and the problems everyone has to overcome doing the job to the best of their abilities.

I had the chance to talk to Stephanie Sfeir from Creaminal, Marcel Wiebenga from Sizzer, Duncan Smith from PlayStation and Goran Obad from Ohlogy about feature films, commercials, games and how they go about finding the best music for their projects. It was a very entertaining discussion as everyone had some funny stories to tell about how subjective taste in music can be and the unpredictability of clients. Ask 5 people what they think is cool and you will get different answers from everyone. And we all agreed that at a certain point there is always someone from outside coming in with an opinion – sometimes the wife of the director!

Although this sounded a bit like a therapy session in the beginning – supervisors being alone in a room in front of a computer – it turned out to be a very interesting and entertaining panel.

How does one find the right music, the differences between the different markets in Europe, the way the job has changed and how it will change in the future as sync becomes much more important than in the old days for a musician/band to survive. We also talked about the UK & European Guild of Music Supervisors and the value of the work they’re doing, and it was a great opportunity to get to know all these colleagues and to see that they fight the some problems as I do sometimes.

And being the start of the panel program of Reeperbahn festival it was also a great chance to meet publishers and labels attending the talk. Reeperbahn festival in general was really interesting for me this time – I didn’t get to see any bands but had the chance to meet many interesting people from around the world and the panel allowed me to see how much we all have in common.

Quotes from fellow panellists:

“The reason why I come to these events, apart from the beer, currywurst and new bands (I can get all of those at home), mainly is to connect with fellow supervisors and exchange ideas on how our craft is developing both creatively as well as business wise.” (Marcel Wiebenga, Sizzer)

“Great panel, great people, great conversations. I was very happy to meet fellow music supervisors and discuss methods, markets and share our views on the business. Hope to cross paths again !” (Stephanie Sfeir, Creaminal)

“Our job is about educating on all sides, so it’s crucial that we interact and align.” (Goran Obad, Ohlogy)

Click here for more information about the panel and more on the Reeperbahn website.

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