By Emma Francis
In Conversation With Music.Film
Presented by Cutting Edge Group, Music.Film is a platform built to be your go-to space when searching for film music and for processing licensing for secondary usage. This company is renowned for the large catalogue of film soundtracks and are now providing a platform for their users to access over 400 scores, including content from Drive, Their Finest, Arrival, Whiplash, Hacksaw Ridge, Carol and Sicario.
We had a chat with Alex Sheridan, Head of Sync, to share news of the new venture with our members.
First off, tell us about yourselves and what you all do at Music.Film.
Music.Film has offices in London (headed up by myself) and in Los Angeles (run by Chuck Ansel and Michael Kurtz) so we are open 24 hours a day! Plus we have representatives in all major territories, so wherever you are, your score needs will be covered by Music.Film.
How does Music.Film differ from others in the market?
Music.Film is unique in the market because of its investment into film music and subsequent ownership of both master and publishing of the scores it owns. This, and our knowledge of what different media requires in order to secure placement (for example dealing with Musician’s Union issues to work with the UK’s Blanket Agreement for terrestrial broadcasters) enables us to make score available to everyone, and at a price point that would pleasantly surprise many of your readers! Above all though our unique scores, including work by Jóhann Jóhannson, Cliff Martinez and Justin Hurwitz in films like Drive, Sicario, Whiplash and The King’s Speech speak for themselves as copyrights and amplify any production, large or small.
How can a music supervisor work with Music.Film?
We provide Music Supervisors with a place to come to source and license score, using our site that has been specifically designed to match Supervisors’ workflow, and easily license using our rate card or simply calling up one of us in the team. We have all digital formats available, plus an editing platform within the site and all this can be accessed as soon as we have given you a password. Until now Score has been associated with being difficult to license (largely because of ownership and issues surrounding a large number of musicians on the recording) but our model means there are no red flags to bear in mind, so we are hoping to open up score as a useful resource for the Supervision community.
Nostalgia plays a big part in brand alignment to demographics. Do you see your music being used more across the advertising space?
Our catalogue brings with it not only the music itself but also a sense of the aesthetic and cultural positioning of the film. For example Drive is immediately redolent of the style of the film, so that brings with it another layer of association when it is placed to picture. So there is a strong nostalgic element associated with film score. Plus, as part of the Varese Sarabande catalogue (which we acquired) we have access to recordings of some of the best known film scores of the 20th Century, recorded without Union encumbrance, so we are very excited about making those available in the coming weeks.
Our music has found a home in licenses across all kinds of different media, including Ad’s, Trailers (such as for Logan and The Great Wall which featured Jóhannson’s – The Beast) and even films, where we have found a market of relicensing existing cues to productions. As we have stems for all our cues, these can be easily reworked to fit a new production and allow directors and editors to keep their temp music. We can also offer bespoke music creation for projects, an example of which is the show Beyblade Burst. Michael Kurtz headed up the team in our US office that created the theme song for season 1, and we are currently creating the score and theme song for the upcoming season 2 of the show.
In your opinion, what are some of the challenges that come with working with score?
I believe the preconceptions of difficulty in licensing score, which stem mainly from studios being thought as being non-licensing savvy and the number of union musicians on many recordings, has been problematic in making Supervisors feel as though score in general should be treated with caution. Part of our mission with Music.Film is to challenge this preconception, because that means that lots of fantastic music, which you may not have heard in the context of the film (particularly if the film didn’t do well for example) will be given a potential second lease of life.
As an example, I understand Whiplash was created on a shoestring budget. How do budgets affect the score & licensed music?
Absolutely, Whiplash is a great movie with music at its heart. Our reasons for investing in a film aren’t always driven by factors like budget but whether or not we believe in the project and the music. In the case of Whiplash (and the case of many of our films) we felt that it was a great project and we believed in it. In some ways it’s akin to traditional publishing and backing a particular act.
How closely do you work with the Supervisors on the film scores?
We are flexible in the way we work with supervisors. We have in house teams in London and a close relationship with SupeTroop in LA but also many Directors come with a Supervisor with whom they have an existing relationship. The success of the film and therefore the music that drives it are paramount, so whichever way to best achieve that is what we are concerned with. The right creative choice for the movie (whether composer or song) is paramount and that the director and supervisor will always have final say.
If you want to find out more about Music.Film and their new platform, check out their website.
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