January 18, 2016 Alex Fulton

Musical Stalemate : how to break the deadlock on music selection for media

“We can’t come to a decision. It’s not just Storefront, it’s the other music houses too. The creatives have been sitting with the tracks for days and we just don’t know what to do.”

My client’s frustration and feelings of defeat were palpable as I got off the phone. She had budgeted $6,000.00 in demo fees for three different vendors to compose original music for a sixty second commercial. Now with thirty tracks in her hands, she can’t unite her team behind any of the submissions. I picture a room full of otherwise high-energy, innovative people, sitting with their faces in their hands while they numbly cycle through tracks and argue over the merits of a handful of selections. This is musical stalemate.

For the four years I have been in the business of music for advertising, this has been a frequent scenario. Sometimes it results in six rounds of original music, costing a client thousands in demo fees. You may find it amusing to learn that in that case, the clients almost always revert to one of the tracks from the original dispatch. Other times a few tracks are sent into test for months on end. Occasionally a music direction is scrapped entirely and we all start again from square one. The reality is that when a team has to arrive at a consensus on something as subjective as music, the risk of a stalemate is inherent.

…Or is it?

The purpose of music in a commercial is to convey the emotion of a story. Using sound, our job is to make an audience feel a certain way about a product, brand, or idea. While opinion’s about music are subjective, the impact it has on a target audience is measurable!

Enter Scott Simonelli. A little over a year ago I had dinner with Scott, who described to me an idea he had for taking the guesswork out of music selection. The concept was to send a few tracks to hundreds of listeners in a targeted audience. They would test the music’s ability to achieve the intended impact using an easy-to-use interface with a number of categories by which to evaluate the music. With the results, a music purchaser could compare quantifiable data about music selections side by side. When a few pieces of music left a creative team in stalemate, this solution would allow the purchaser to make a selection based on the real impact the music would have on their target market. GENIUS.

Today, that solution is called Veritonic. Scott Simonelli and Andrew Eisner have made their music analytics concept a reality, and as a Music Producer for advertising I couldn’t be more excited about it. Finally, instead of engaging in the same conversation about music that landed my client in the deadlock, I can offer the light at the end of the tunnel!

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Back to my client’s creative team, stuck at a draw over music selection. I would love to tell you that I offered Veritonic and they decided to use this powerful 21st century music analytics tool to provide statistical insight on the decision. The truth is that they had already taken more traditional steps to fix the problem. I can tell you that my client was eager to give it a try in future scenarios. Who wouldn’t be!

The takeaway is this:
It’s 2016. Your creative team doesn’t need to be gridlocked on a music decision. The tool exists to get the data on the impact of music selections for your media. Those weeks of indecision, and all of the frustrating and expensive steps you are forced to take because of it, can be skipped entirely.

For more information check out www.veritonic.com, and if you do end up trying it out on your project, come back and tell us about it!