Cafébabel: Digital revolution has redefined music industry totally. Meanwhile, musicians vie for success in an increasingly complex market. Do you agree, that today's young professional composers need to maintain not only artistic significance but require marketing skills as well?
For those who have already invested their time in musical training at school, workshops, organizations, lectures, seminars, etc. I have found it is equally important to educate oneself about the process and business of "film music" plus understand the various sources of potential income. Aspiring film music composers especially need to remember that this industry, as any industry, is a "people" driven business. Therefore, relationships with the "person(s) in power" , whether filmmakers or studio executives, matters most. This means that one needs to be within the proximity of film production teams for opportunities to happen. also, consider that in the current buyer's market (in this case the filmmaker or production company), the composer has less to no control of their own opportunities available. It is critically important to value your work and learn when to say no to a job that is not mutually beneficial for both sides. For the composer, that means that there needs to be at least a few good reasons to accept work in exchange for a lower wage depending on what stage of your career (for example, a good credit, a good working relationship, a good recording for demos or a good experience, etc.). I highly recommend a book by Richard Bellis called "The Emerging Film Composer: An Introduction to the People, Problems and Psychology of the Film Music Business", which is full of a lot of great tips for aspiring composers.
Cafébabel: As an active professional executive in the American film music industry and who has also gained experience in the European market, can you suggest the fastest way to become successful in the film music industry in Europe nowadays?
Become friends with the next big filmmaker by spotting their talents early and connecting with them on a creative level. The other option is become a successful filmmaker or producer yourself. Composers need to build numerous relationships with talented filmmakers to increase their odds – which requires balance and prioritization in personal time management. Also, be resourceful and build a team of talent with similar passions and goals. For most successful composers, it takes years of scoring a number of projects before a better opportunity arises with financial rewards that can put a music creator on the map.
Cafébabel: Do you know of any successful music collaboration which started from networking in Internet through social media?
I can't point to any specific stories, but people within the industry are now more accessible by linkage with friends or strangers in the business (Linked In or Facebook). Although I prefer not to be addressed by strangers via Facebook for work. I rarely set aside time for anyone without some kind of connection or referral from someone I know. In those cases when I do meet or speak with someone who has no connection, it is because somehow I came across hearing the music and found it interesting enough to take the time. Nowadays artists indeed can efficiently use online networking platforms to collaborate with other artists and seek new projects.. One opportunity I can recommend is reviewing the website http://scoreascore.com/ developed by entrepreneur Jordan Passman whose mission is to connect composers with production companies looking for quality music. Separately, composer Bear McCreary has developed a great skill in taking advantage of social media to effectively increase his industry profile. This may not point to a collaboration that started from networking on the internet, but it proves to be a valuable tool that has supported the rapid growth of his career. I should also mention that he is incredibly talented in the other necessary musical and communication skills coupled with his drive and passion to succeed.
Cafébabel: How can musicians, who expose their work online, preserve intellectual property when they want to promote them extensively through social media platforms?
Copyright laws may slightly differ depending on your country of residence. In understanding that this is a music business, a composer must value their work as an asset to their business. These assets can only gain value if they are not given away for free and are legally protected by a special team of professionals. Although sometimes assets (even a piece of a song) can be shared or given away for free to stimulate new business. but, that needs to be limited the same way a composer would limit his/her work for free. Secondly, it is very important to learn the laws and various streams of income that originate in one's country of residence as well as any other country where one's music will be heard (aka streamed) or sold. In the U.S., ASCAP negotiates licenses with all major broadcast media then monitors those public performances to distribute "performance royalties" to its songwriter/composer and publisher members. Also, ASCAP has reciprocal relationships with all other international performing rights organizations as we'll. in most countries, an organization called Fintage Music collects for neighboring rights on behalf if it's artists and record label members including a number of other services as well.
ASCAP Senior Director of Film & TV Music, Michael Todd, has 20 years of experience in the Hollywood music industry and is a leader in the film & television composer community. Todd is a board member of the World Soundtrack Academy, which produces the World Soundtrack Awards at the Ghent International Film Festival. He is also a consultant to the Krakow Film Music Festival in Poland, the Festival International de Music de Cine in Córdoba, Spain, and Fimucité Tenerife International Film Music Festival in the Canary Islands. He has conducted interviews with major composers internationally, and given lectures on career building for aspiring composers. For the past 14 years, Todd has led and produced the acclaimed ASCAP Television & Film Scoring Workshop with Richard Bellis. This four-week intensive “boot camp” is designed to cultivate the next generation of film composers from around the world and provide access to Hollywood’s top resources. Alumni have gone on to build successful careers, garnering major awards and nominations (Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, G.A.N.G. awards, international film festivals).
2010 ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop with Richard Bellis