Last year, I wrote this about a long-lost band from Leamington Spa called Legends of the Whitnash State Circus. It was meant to kickstart an attempt at regular writing - it didn’t work in that sense, but somehow it made its way to the band itself, who have now decided to reunite! Now you can hear them once and for all - they made a demo with the help of Andy Mort (Atlum Schema/Sheep Dressed Like Wolves), which will precede their live return in 2014. I waited seven years to hear these songs again. It was worth the wait.
there are all these companies now that brands hire to find music to use in their advertising and commercial materials and stuff
this article by jessica hopper on buzzfeedtalks a lot about how important it is for indie bands to place songs to place songs in advertisements not just as a source of income to replace income from record sales now that no one buys music but as a way to get exposure - the article talks about how an essential part of tegan & sara’s strategy for breaking into the rigidly regulated top 40 market was placing their single in a commercial, a strategy that was i think pretty helpful in helping the band fun. (who i love) reach their current audience elite gymnastics continues to get sync offers posthumously. one recent one that i signed off on was from an ad agency that normally creates its own music for the ads it produces, but happened to try using the cfcf remix of “here, in heaven” as temp music and ended up liking it enough that they decided to offer their music budget to use in exchange for use of the song. here is a quote from hopper’s post about typical fees for this kind of thing:A one-year license for an existing song by a smaller band runs from $10,000-25,000, an original composition can run $25,000-30,000. A marquee-name band, for a yearlong national campaign, could get $150,000 for existing work, or up to $300,000 for an original composition for a multi-year campaign. While licensing an album cut has the potential to break an album and make a career, 30 seconds of original music pays the same as months of intensive touring — and often anonymously.
the fee for this sync was along the lines of what hopper describes - very low five figures, split four ways between me, josh, cfcf, and acephale. i was extremely lucky to get this sync - someone at the agency happened to really love the song and the rest of the agency got on board. because we were able to deal directly with the agency making the ad, we basically got offered the entire music budget, which is how you want it to work if you’re an artist.
that’s an example of something i agreed to. most offers i get don’t work that way - they come from weird middleman companies that brands hire to find music to place in their ads. when you’re dealing directly with a brand or an ad agency, you get more money because you’re interacting directly with the people dispensing the music budget. when the brand or agency hires some kind of “music branding service” or “licensing agency” to find music for their ads, that company basically makes a profit by giving you the lowest possible offer and keeping the rest of the available budget for themselves. many of these companies have figured out what hopper’s article makes plain - that money is no longer the only motivating factor when indie bands are deciding whether or not to place a song in an ad, that exposure is also a huge concern. so some of these companies just comb blogs and music websites for new acts with low profiles who are desperate to be noticed, offering them $0 but telling them it’ll be good exposure for their band, successfully fulfilling their clients’ need to license some vaguely of-the-moment sounding music without spending a cent of the music budget, which they’re then free to keep to themselves
Must-read post by James Brooks, aka Elite Gymnastics/Default Gender (ex-Dead Girlfriends) on the new “tentacles” of the music industry. Read the post in full here. Would definitely read more of his “thinkpieces”.