A new breed of musical artist is emerging - one that’s brand savvy and aware of the power that global brands can have in kick-starting careers and providing ‘made it’ moments. George Barnett
, Lotte Sterk
and Folkert Lodewijks
are part of this new breed, and they’re among the many independent artists signed to MassiveTalent
, a disruptive offering that’s realising the musical dreams of new and emerging talent.
The talent-scout division of MassiveMusic, MassiveTalent boasts an extensive, non-traditional catalogue which is connecting emerging artists with global brands – and generating exciting results. Currently led by Tim Preston, Casper Nederhand and Lotte (all will be explained…), the MassiveTalent team scours the globe for musical talent, hand-picking artists and providing them with a platform to be discovered by brands, gain extensive exposure and propel their careers to new heights.
The talented trio have discovered that the offering is a catalyst for success, finding out first-hand how signing to MassiveTalent can generate successful, if unexpected, careers in the music industry.
, a former young drummer of the year, it’s resulted in global sync success. Lotte
, an Amsterdam-based pianist and music composer, has forged a new career path and landed a dream job. For Folkert, lead singer of southern pysch rock band Sunday Kids
, it’s spawned a record deal (and a lot of free beer). While their journeys differ wildly, one thing’s for certain - it was MassiveTalent that helped them make it…
Conquering the World with Sync…
Multi-instrumentalist George first discovered MassiveTalent when the team approached him about his song, ‘Light a Fire’. “They wanted to put it forward for an Axe commercial,” he explains. “The song was already written, all I had to do was make a few changes. The process was quite straightforward and, afterwards, I was keen to do more.”
The track was used on Young & Mature
, which aired in South America, and paved the way for his next job, an interesting project for cycling-retailer Wiggle which broke the mould for how MassiveTalent operates. Wiggle weren’t interested in a sync, instead they wanted an original composition.
“There are clients who fall in love with the sound of our artists, but the track isn’t right for the specific commercial,” explains Tim Preston. “So one option is for the artist to come up with an original composition. It’s an opportunity which they’ll only get from being part of the MassiveTalent library.”
“The brief was for a couple of songs that had bells, bike noises, that kind of stuff – it wasn’t already written,” says George. “I came up with something that incorporated the ‘This is how we roll’ line and they liked it, fortunately! Then they asked about the video, they’d seen online that I was a performer too. I don’t just write, I play most of the instruments. And I then starred in the film which was a great visual piece for them.”
George went on to play a starring role in the campaign’s music-video (which just so happened to be shot at MassiveMusic London’s Shoreditch HQ) and found further success when, in 2015, ‘Light A Fire’ was again featured in a commercial, this time for Volkswagen Caddy.
For George, his consistent success as a MassiveTalent artist is, in part, down to the team he works with in London. “They’re all musical in one way or another; Roscoe and Paul DJ, while Tim’s in a band. It’s not like talking to robots; they really do get the creative process and they’re so easy to work with. You can always just sit down and chat with them, talk ‘real’, and work out what we can do to make the situation best for everyone. They’re very fair on the artists and I trust them completely.”
Not only have the tracks helped the brands, but the projects have helped George develop as a musician. “In terms of music, it’s helped my writing. I’m writing much better songs and I’m getting there faster; making stuff sound good quickly,” adds George. “They’re just really good people to be honest and, if they understand me as a writer, then they’ve got a great understanding of all their writers. It’s been a real success.”
From Scouted to Scouting…
Lotte Sterk was studying composition and music production when she discovered MassiveTalent. On the recommendation of her then teacher, she paid a visit to ADE’s Music Portfolio night – a ‘speed-dating’ style evening for musicians and composers to meet music industry professionals. It was there that Lotte met the MassiveTalent team.
“They explained how MassiveTalent worked,” says Lotte. “As an artist, it’s a great opportunity to take your music to the next level. It’s a platform to gain exposure and a sync can really give your musical career a great boost.”
Lotte joined the MassiveTalent roster as an artist soon after meeting the team and, although it didn’t lead to an immediate sync, it did lead to a whole new career path. “It introduced me to music combined with moving image. It was my first step into the industry and it’s an area I discovered I had a real passion for. I started freelancing as a music researcher for a number of companies, including MassiveMusic, and now, three years after discovering MassiveTalent, I’ve managed to land a job here!”
For Lotte, it was the team’s personal approach that originally helped seal the deal. “They were genuine and enthusiastic about my music, I felt really comfortable with the whole of the MassiveTalent team. It’s a link that I’m seeing now that I’m fully immersed in Massive’s culture – the whole team here is very passionate about what we offer.”
Sweet Deal (and a Year’s Supply of Beer)...
The team’s personal approach was also instrumental in signing the Amsterdam-based band Sunday Kids to the library. In 2014, lead singer Folkert Lodewijks met the team at a party. They began talking about music, naturally, and the conversation snowballed; the team went to a Sunday Kids gig and, a couple of months later, MassiveTalent signed the band to their library.
“It made sense for us to work with such an international company,” says Folkert. “They give a chance to artists who were just starting out. We didn’t have anything to lose, it could only get better for us, and there wasn’t any risk!”
The band’s big break came when their track, ‘Along The Way’
, was used by Grolsch in a Dutch commercial for their Kornuit brand
. It proved to be the start of a fruitful relationship between band and brand; Sunday Kids starred in the commercial, Grolsch financed a promo for the track, and the band (much to their delight) received a year’s supply of beer!
For Sunday Kids, the sync kick-started their musical career. “People began to recognise us and they wanted to buy our album just because of that track” explains Folkert. “Our video has been viewed almost 200,000 times – that’s a lot for a small band that nobody knew of before. It got us a lot of attention, and because of the attention we got more gigs.”
Most importantly for the band, the sync put the band onto the radar of the record labels, and Sunday Kids have gone on to sign their first record deal. Grolsch have since signed the track for another year, and to sweeten the deal they’ve given the band another year’s supply of beer (again, much to their delight!).
The success that both George and Sunday Kids have found with MassiveTalent is testament to the resurgence of sync as a genuine platform from which new and emerging talents can kick-start a musical career.
“In the last five years you’d read things, even in mainstream papers, about syncing and the power of a song being on a successful ad. People think about it in a different way now, there’s a lot more acceptance of syncing. The culture’s changed,” believes George. “In the old days, it would be a real no-no for certain bands to sell out to advertising. You’ve not got anything to sell out to now because that’s where the money is coming from.”
Looking it from the other side of the fence, Lotte adds: “From a brand perspective, they’re looking for someone new and original. They don’t necessarily want someone that’s been used on another commercial, they want something unique, and the MassiveTalent library is packed full of exciting upcoming and unknown talent.”
Folkert concludes: “It gives you publicity and if you’re working together with a brand you’re taken seriously as an artist. Ten years ago, it wasn’t cool to put your music behind a brand but, now, people understand that it’s necessary. From our commercial, we now have a record deal! It really helps to get you there.”