Posts tagged: music

The final countdown

Halima at thupr: music

Post by Waves PR intern,  music blogger Halima Amina

Friday was the last meet up for THUPR, but it was indeed indexical of the whole THUPR vibe and journey. From big meet ups and company involvement, to small scale conversations. It’s with great sadness but with a brilliant ending that we say goodbye to THUPR.

The final meet up was under the theme of music, with contribution from Steve Lawson, Emily Breder, Claire Thompson herself and all attendees. THUPR has always been about bringing the conversations that count-and that’s exactly what we did.

Ideas bought up included the idea of branding. Is branding now merely a crass tool used to stamp something on the head and sell it on? Perhaps branding doesn’t cater for the multi faceted and terrifyingly impersonal nature of modern media, but the question then is-what’s the quick, strong alternative?

One cannot speak about music at a PR event without piracy taking a stake in the air time. Steve, as an independent musician himself, explained the concept of “gratitude” being the highest currency available online. Making his work available for free download, he welcomes (and receives) optional payment should the listener have enjoyed it.  So the power goes right back to the consumer.  A risky tactic maybe, but it is clear a radical change of the digital music market is needed.

I raised the point, from a consumer point of view, audiences are much less likely to feel the obligation and need to pay for an album when little or no engagement with audiences is being made; bragging about money in every song will probably not strike a chord with students the next time they’re in HMV.  It stands to reason then that this concept goes right back to branding-an impersonal brand is less likely to earn money than an approachable personality.

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How To Brief Music For PR and Marketing Folk

Ahead of tomorrows thupr event on music and PR, Gareth Cousins, Composer and Producer of Music for Advertising, Film and TV,  has given us the lowdown on commisioning music for PR purposes:

Gareth Cousns

It is pretty much taken for granted that music is an important part of any advertising, marketing or branding campaign. (Ed – just think of Right Here, Right Now in the Socialnomics viral video that does the rounds) The practice of using music in film and television has long since passed into common practice for all moving image media, from films to commercials to websites and everything between. But despite this it can be very hard to find information on how to find and brief a composer, the rights that you will need, or the costs involved.

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Music Rights


Image via Wikipedia

Once you’ve worked out what budget you need for music in your PR or marketing campaign, what rights do you need? From the outside it seems like a thorny and complex issue, but composer Gareth Cousins explains:

  1. a.               Music Rights Explained

Whenever a piece of music, or other creative work, is created, it becomes the Intellectual Property of the creator. This is true whether the music created is a three second sting (such as the Intel mnemonic), a pop song or a huge orchestral work.

In the UK, music rights are assigned to the PRS so that performances can be kept track of and the composers fairly compensated for their performances. The amount of royalty the composer receives depends on the length of the music and the medium is broadcast on.

This is a very well established operation and has been going for over 100 years. The royalties gather provide an essential stream of income without which the music industry (and composers in particular) would struggle to survive.

There is commonly confusion about how PRS royalty payments are made, and who makes them. Production companies or advertising agencies sometimes believe they are responsible for them, but this is never the case. These payments are the sole responsibility of broadcasters (such as BBC and ITV) or content providers (such as YouTube) who play a levy (called a blanket license) to the PRS based on the amount of music they use in a given period of time.

For this reason, composers are not able to give a 100% buyout of all of their rights to a piece of music they have composed, as is sometimes requested by clients. This is not possible while their music is controlled by the PRS (or by the associated companies abroad such as ASCAP or BMI). But it not necessary in any case, as explained above, the costs of broadcasting music are not borne by the composer’s clients, but by the broadcaster of the music.

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You’ve briefed a composer: how do you define a budget for music within your PR campaign? Gareth Cousins explains:

PCAM (The Society Of Producers and Composers Of Applied Music) publish a guideline for composers fees, which may be used as a very rough indicator of how much it will cost to commission music. The truth of the matter is that there are not set fees for this type of work, and budgets will be vary greatly, both below and above the figures they suggest. Read more »

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