Described as ‘lame, one-dimensional and cheap,’ production music has a pretty tough time of it. In a stunt at SXSW, BMG Production Music showed the creative industry how wrong they were...
The music we love is shaped over entire lifetimes, memories encapsulated inside the rhythmic beats of favourite songs. Naturally influenced by our parents listening habits and tastes of our peers, the music we enjoy changes as we change, shifts as we age and experience new things. Yet, whilst our personal preferences shift, our general perception of production music seems to remain static - it’s an unknown entity created for generic purposes, not necessarily creative in the same way commercial music is, right?
Well, no. Not really at all.
But with commercial music spread far and wide by global streaming services - how can we, as a dedicated production music company, change what people think of production music?
For us, the first perfect moment came in the form of advertising festival, Cannes Lions, in 2018. Testing the ears of Adland’s finest, we pitched a blind music taste test, challenging participants to identify whether they were listening to commercial made music or production music. The results were incredible - only 55% of answers were correct. Our point had been made - production music is in no way fundamentally better or worse than commercial music. It’s simply under listened to and underappreciated.
So, this year, with the data-backed knowledge that production music could be as equally enjoyable to willing ears, we headed to South by Southwest with an ambitious plan; to host the world’s first production music festival - Goodstock. The twist would be that only we would know the artists and the songs were all from the BMG production music catalogue. The audience, a mix of advertising agency creatives, producers, music supervisors and publishers, would remain in the metaphorical audio-dark, under the impression that they were at a ‘new’ music festival featuring up-and-coming talent.
For the stunt to be viable as a would-be-festival, we had to pour reality into every crevice of it - from the location to the artists and setlists, the heady throng of industry insider attendees had to believe that this was a bona fide event.
Come showtime, the three performing artists MOA, Caleb Hawley and Dave Cavalier strutted and shred, owned the stage and brought the house down - all whilst playing what only we knew was production music. Attendees sipped drinks and wiggled hips, captured candid shots and nodded heads semi-in time with the beat. All in all, normal festival behaviour.
And yet, the audience were still completely unaware they were listening to production music. But, why?
Because production music is just good music made ready for media! It’s a collection of vibrations that resonate or irritate, that fuel great experiences and soundtrack memories .
To hear it live? Even better.
Our work at SXSW this year wanted to prove a point that we, as production music lovers, already knew - music is music.