Music is Just Music…Right?

Recently, we were sent a piece of ad music composed and mixed for a client by a rock musician in their town. He writes pretty good music…edgy, hip, listenable. But there’s a problem. Not being a media professional, he didn’t understand the intricacies of creating music for advertising.

The piece of music he wrote was all guitar, keyboards & hip, honked-up filtered drums. The voicing of every instrument was in the midrange (the same midrange that the human voice occupies.) Terrific if you’re just listening to the music. Perfectly horrible if you’re trying to mix it with voice. And this music will always be mixed with voice.

Mixing it was a nightmare…we ended up having to carve a huge EQ hole in the jangly midrange, widen the stereo to create a space for the voice, and bring up the low and high frequencies so that when mixed, the music would still be present enough to hear without blocking the message. Oh…and it was 34 seconds long. Nice.

This is happening a lot in these budget-conscious days. Because of cutbacks, local club players are being called on to create music for advertising. They’ll typically do it for cheap, and after all, everyone has some kind of software on their computer that can mix multiple tracks of music. From Garage Band to purloined copies of ProTools, people have copped the attitude that software makes production easy. But easy and professional have never been good roommates.

Quality matters. Knowledge of our industry matters. When hiring people to create music for your client, budget the few extra bucks it takes to get real media professionals to compose your brand music. You’ll get far more than you bargained for, because we know that solid brand music for your client isn’t the same as a 34-second rock tune. No matter how hip or edgy it is.