Whilst the advertising industry is well-aware that shrinking budgets are causing traditional advertising models to be reassessed, the music industry has stayed fairly steady in terms of speed and cost. Good brands and agencies know that quality music is integral to the success of most ads. But sourcing the best in today’s landscape isn’t easy or always cost effective.
Securing music for commercial content can present a host of challenges. Two of the three main options for advertisers, bespoke composition and licensing of commercial copyrights can seem financially out of reach for many projects, or too complicated to be achieved within a tight turn around. What’s more, the process is becoming increasingly fragmented as the demand for content rises and the digital world proliferates. The grey areas and complex terminology of music copyright and sync licensing can leave many vulnerable to infringement and unnecessary inflated costs.
“There is still a gaping hole in the market to be filled by a fresh music and sound solution that works with the budgets of today but addresses a market fraught with continually evolving costs, litigations and options. Music and licensing needs to be simple and transparent without cutting corners.” comments Seb Juviler, Co-Founder of audio post house SNK Studios.
Seb and Julian Goodkind, Founder of music supervision and licensing companies Pure Sync and Cover Sauce, are fresh from announcing a new offering for the advertising world. They say that their model, based on ‘transparency, honesty and experience’, will not only provide a comprehensive, modern solution to music in advertising, but eradicate the hidden studio costs and expenses that are often synonymous with the process.
Since opening in 2003, SNK Studios has made a name for itself as a dedicated Audio Post and Music Composition house. The business has grown steadily by seeking like-minded companies to partner with including specialist audio and digital agency Red Apple Creative. Following this merge, SNK Studios and Red Apple Creative’s combined capabilities allow clients to seamlessly access services such as script support, voice-casting and distribution as needed.
Inside SNK Studios on Tottenham Court Road
Completing a 360-degree music and sound model, SNK’s most recent strategic partnership with Pure Sync and Cover Sauce provides clients with straightforward access to expertise in supervision and licensing, in-house at their Tottenham Court Road HQ.
Sam Dillon, Senior Producer at SNK Studios, explains: “Rather than brands or agencies having to deal with separate organisations all marking up their rates, our team can now handle the full gamut of audio requirements when needed. Whoever you speak to you'll get the honest, impartial advice you really need. Working with us is a bit like having an in-house audio producer who gets the bigger picture.”
Launched earlier this year, Cover Sauce is a sync-focused music catalogue of over 15,000 covers and re-records crafted especially for advertising agencies, brands, film and television companies. The library is an alternative and more cost-effective solution to expensive original master recordings, and to the complexities and creative limitations that come along with the licensing processes of using commercial music. Cover Sauce forms one of the largest and most diverse music catalogues for the advertising industry with creatively unlimited music options.
Julian says: “The catalogue features predominantly covers and re-records which expands the creative interpretation of a music copyright. Many brands and agencies have been working with us in the UK and internationally to solve the need of wanting to use commercial copyright music with that instantly recognisable hook and lyric, but without the cost associated with using the original. It saves the client a significant cost. Our catalogue also allows for a great deal of creativity. For example, there might be a song that contextually and lyrically is right for a piece of content, yet musically it’s not the right style, whereas we have multiple versions of a song in different styles.”
He continues: “For us, even more important than saving clients from paying well over the odds for a Sync License, is the ongoing rights management. So many times, we have had clients come to us and say, ‘we’ve moved agencies, our license has expired but our ad is still on TV or online, what happens now?’. When rights management isn’t properly managed by the person who put the initial license in place because they’re either onto the next job and/or have forgotten to inform the client, it has longer term implications for the brands, agency and the rights holders.”
That means it’s integral to plan ahead of a license expiring, he adds: “We have to manage any possible renewals diligently to avoid a breach of copyright. That’s of real value to our clients, because it helps to build a positive relationship between them, us and the rights holders and our clients know they are in safe, professional hands. When the process isn’t efficiently managed, a whole host of financial implications can come into play.”
Central to SNK’s offering is a straightforward and clear approach to pricing which is sensitive to avoiding unexpected costs at all stages of a project. Seb explains: “Protecting our clients and applying a common-sense approach at all times is key. When booking our audio studios for sound design or a final mix for instance, the price that we quote at the outset is calculated as a simple hourly rate. And that’s the rate on the final invoice. Considering the amount that we now offer; with seven studios, including Dolby certification and all the additional expertise, it’s an incredible service and great value for clients.”
“Offering this range of audio services under one roof makes things far easier for our clients” says Sam, “We can offer insight and ongoing management of the entire process, with unrivalled industry relationships spanning advertising, creative, music and delivery. Julian and ourselves were both already handling global business and by partnering up in this way, we're providing our clients with the security they need in a fast-changing landscape.”