Is this the future for corporate video music?
Film composer Jeff Rona released a music library composed specifically for film trailers and television promos. Jeff has scored a number of feature film and won a couple of awards. So, intrigued, I quickly scanned a fair number of the tracks and I must say I am highly impressed. This is not your run-of-the-mill electronic plinky-plonk library music. Jeff and his co-composers used real orchestras, choirs, instrumentalists and a top notch film music recoding engineer on this library. So are we going to hear this music on every film trailer in the future? Or even worse....:
Because this being a music library, the cues are somewhat generic. Many sound vaguely familiar, but then again: that was one of the goals of the project. In the words of the press release: "The library is structured with the style and formulas most utilized in motion picture advertising". (You can listen to an mp3 sample with this link by the way.) And they certainly succeeded with that! So I personally suspect we are going to hear these tracks a lot. Not just in film or television trailers, but in documentary promotions and (heaven beware...) corporate video as well. So any producers or directors reading this: please don't let any corporate execs hear this library, or you know what'll happen...
That said, I know deadlines (not to mention budgets) on corporate video are often too tight to warrant a composer, let alone an orchestra. But when too many productions use the same kind of music, or the same library, it tends to lose impact anyway. Library music has come a long way from the generic sequences of the eighties, but the main objection remains the same: as a producer / director you are trying to create a unique story, but are often forced to use generic music that is either forced onto the pictures or the other way around. It is a pity that music - the one element in the production that tells the audience what to feel - is often neglected. A reasonably well-resourced video could gain a lot from specifically tailored music that fits both the video and your client's identity like a glove. I'd like to encourage any producers or directors to share their take on this in the comments.
By the way: if you are a composer or musician and are (still...) thinking about writing original soundtrack music yourself, you might want to check out Jeff Rona's book on the subject. This is an excellent introduction to the craft that served me well when I started out writing soundtrack music. It was first printed in 2000, so it is still quite up to date. The book includes sections on the creative process of writing soundtrack music, the technical side and also the business aspects are treated. I can recommend this book to anyone wanting to start out in this business.
The original press release for the music library is here by the way, should you be interested. If there are any producers for corporate video or documentaries among you: please let me know in the comments what you think about this library. Would you use it? How often? What for?