MUSIC+SOUND AWARDS TALK TO...
ROSIE HILL, HEAD OF UK CREATIVE SERVICES
Imagem Creative Services
What advice would you give to composers these days on getting their music placed? So much success in this arena is down to being a great communicator. You could be the most accomplished, versatile composer on the planet, but in order to earn the trust of clients and have a successful creative partnership, you need to be able to translate musical ideas and concepts into non-musical language, and show that you are willing to take direction (it’s our job to manage this process with our composers, of course). I think that building a strong identity for yourself and your music is critical in such a competitive market. It’s important that clients see they are buying into a unique artistic talent, in exactly the same way as they would with a commercial director.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started out? The presence of online advertising has escalated rapidly over the last 5 years especially, and the jury is out as to whether that will continue to grow. It’s alarming in some ways from a purely financial perspective, as we see bigger budget TV campaigns side-lined for online campaigns, but it’s started to balance out given the greater volume of online activity. On the flipside, it’s [online] given us and other rightsholders the chance to involve our writers/artists in some really interesting, strategic, content-driven campaigns, which is especially important when building a profile for up-and coming talent. So, all in all, a challenging, but positive change. The other significant change is the fact that people use the word ‘Curated’ approximately 100% more than they did 10 years ago.
In terms of the music, what’s the best TV show or film you’ve seen recently? Boyhood’s soundtrack was beautifully poignant. I think given the narrative and continual nudges forward through ‘micro-eras’, it could have been handled very heavily, but all the choices were perfectly subtle. Even the big hitters somehow felt fresh and understated, partly I think due to a very clever sound mix. The music is embedded in the narrative but shimmers in the background, rather than whacking you in the face. I don’t think I’ve cried like that at an end scene since ‘Six Feet Under’.
If there was one thing you could change about your industry, what would it be? Overuse of the word ‘curated’…
Have you placed anything in the last year that you’re really excited about? And why? Securing a spot for Fiona Bevan on an HSBC campaign earlier this year was especially rewarding. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to give Fiona a platform to engage new fans, and crucially, the music worked beautifully. Steve (Phillips – Imagem) worked very closely with Irene Salamanca at Cord, who in turn invested a lot of time with JWT sourcing the perfect track. A lot of dedicated, creative team work made it happen. In fact, I thought Irene was so fabulous that I offered her a job – and she’s here with us now! The bottom line is, every placement is exciting, primarily because it’s a justly deserved financial reward for the years of creative investment that our writers give to their craft. And, clearly, it allows me to keep doing this job, which I love dearly.
Have you noticed a shift in trends with regards to what type of music is being licensed? There will always be core areas that are in demand, regardless of the trends at the time: Breaking acts, instantly recognisable deep catalogue, covers, music that has gained kudos through usage in film or trailers etc What’s been interesting to see over the last couple of years is the use of more unexpected musical references – such as the Grey MCvities campaigns using UK and US TV themes without any obvious context or reference in the narrative, to great success I should add. It just reinforces the old maxim that you should ‘never say never’ when it comes to assessing how ‘syncable’ a piece of music is. Everything has a place.
Desert Island Disc? Rather than do the whole dance of ‘accidentally’ mentioning two records, I’m going to blatantly side-step the ‘one choice only’ rule and say Virgin Suicides original soundtrack (any soundtrack that features not one, but TWO Todd Rundgren songs is a winner in my book) and High Land, Hard Rain, Aztec Camera. Not my absolute favourite, but definitely in my top 100 and really, were I trapped on a desert island, I’d want something to evoke the wet and windy climes of my childhood holidays in various parts of the British Isles, which it does beautifully. Give me a rainy week in Scotland any day, over blistering sun and endless coconut-based dinners (hate coconuts).