MUSIC+SOUND AWARDS TALK TO...
Brooklyn Music Experience, New York
Josh has produced, supervised and negotiated over 10,000 tracks for Branded Content, Television, Film, Social Media, and Major and Indie Recording Labels, reaching billions of consumers and fans, including over 50 tracks for Super Bowl ads. As a performer, bandleader, trombonist and recorder virtuoso, he has performed over 2000 shows with his band, The Second Step.
Read on and get a small glimpse of why Rabinowitz has earned the industry’s respect so resoundingly…
You’ve been referred to as the voice of music in branding and advertising. A weighty accolade for sure! How did your career in advertising kick off and progress?
I was an early outspoken advocate of the power of music in Advertising and Branding, and after so much credit for my work was being taken by others, I raised my voice even louder, and I think my voice was heard :-)
My interest in the space began when I learned that the earliest configuration of the Beastie Boys had won $40k US in a settlement after BA used their music, without permission, in an ad - I saw their rehearsal / hangout space on 59 Christie Street in Chinatown, NYC that they rented and set-up with that money, and it opened up my eyes to a potential route for monetizing one’s musicality that seemed interesting.
My first job in music and advertising was as a trombone session player. I was used to getting paid a few bucks and a belly full of beer for performing a live show, and at that session for the Bronx Zoo, for 5 minutes of work, I got remunerated as much as I did for a full night’s work.
I eventually, after many attempts at getting a full-time gig in the music business, joined a NYC based music company, working for a guy called Jon Silberman, who had started the original JSM, learned the business as fast as I could, made some excellent connections and then moved into a different music company called tomandandy. There I got deeper into the business and had some really nice successes. After a few years, I went to become a staff music producer at Y&R, working with some great collaborators for 7+ years, making even bigger waves, and then accepted a job at Grey as their Director of Music, where I spent 14 years, and had some deeper successes.
Working on both the production company and agency sides must have given you a comprehensive overview of the industry, making you perfectly positioned in your current consulting role. Would be great to hear how it’s all going. What’s your average day looking like?
The consulting role is excellent, I speak with many disparate players in the music space (not just ad and branding folks) every day, strategize and conceptualize with them, take a plethora of meetings, advise and connect companies to important collaborators, work on some Music Supervision and Production jobs that seem interesting and creative, travel to several conferences and present keynotes, all the while developing that great, forward-thinking idea that will hopefully bust open within the ever-changing music business model and be the next big idea.
Have you noticed any trends recently in terms of what type of music is being licensed / commissioned?
The trend I’ve noticed is the use of much interesting music at a low price point, and many huge sync deals at a high price point - leaving a hole in the middle, the middle correlating to budgets generally aligned with interesting original/custom music creation.
On the jobs you’ve worked on in the last year or so what has been the approximate split between commissioned, original music vs. existing tracks?
45/55, with many, many licenses obtained for small/micro uses like quantitative testing, disparate social media uses, online ads and other industrial uses.
How do you go about finding new artists and writers? Do you accept unsolicited submittals?
If I’m not aware of a new artist or writers from my varied encounters at conferences, my daily musical interactions, word of mouth, listenings to music, social media low and high attention span research, listenings with my kids and friends, then the artists and writers must never have put there music out there ;-)
Any particularly demanding / interesting projects recently?
I find that the most demanding projects are those when my collaborators don’t allow themselves to stand back and allow their collaborators to engage their expertise and insight. The least demanding and most successful projects in my career have occurred when people have let me do what I do and respect and trust my input to execute - I never will suggest an edit to a good editor, a revision to a good writer, an idea to a good idea-person - if you want good work and results, hire good people and let them do what they do.
What are your plans for the near future?
To continue to swim in various musical pools, meet everyone I can, ideate-ideate-ideate, ruminate-ruminate-ruminate, marinate-marinate-marinate, until that brilliant idea formulates and then I’ll hopefully be able to make even more musical impact than I have over the last 20+ years in one fell swoop ;-)