Monday, July 2, 2012

Production Music Libraries

Where does the music come from in reality television?

Many of your favorite television music tracks come from popular libraries, such as the theme song from Curb Your Enthusiasm.  And much of the music from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, also including their theme song.

Production music libraries are a popular source of music for television for several reasons.  The chief advantage is that they are designed to be easy to license.  The production company pays a flat fee to use music from a particular production library, and for that fee they are allowed to use all of that music in perpetuity, anywhere around the world that the show may be broadcast, on any platform or format even if it hasn't been invented yet.  If you know anything about the nightmare of licensing music under these situations, you begin to see why using a production library is a good, no-hassle way to get music for your production.

Additionally, production music libraries are much cheaper than licensing commercial music or hiring a composer to write original music for your production.  This is particularly true if your company is making several shows and can cut an overall deal with one production library.

There are many libraries available for you to investigate before deciding which one is right for your project.

My personal favorite is the Extreme Music library.  This is a vast, vast library with every style and combination of styles you can imagine.  I love that it has a large collection of classical music, as I tend to use it whenever I can (it's good for comedy, action, drama, everything if you know what you're looking for...)  I love that they are constantly adding new stuff.  The website is very easy to navigate and search for different tracks by feel or description or instrument or keyword or whatever!  I've never had to struggle to find something in this library, and I always get exactly what I'm looking for after a little searching.  I would use the Director's Cut series to score a film, should I ever get the chance.

The library I've worked with the most as an editor is called iSpy.  This library has a lot more of what you would think of as typical reality music and I find is particularly suited for comedy and action, though it is used in all types of shows.

There are plenty of libraries out there, and here are some I have occasionally come across in my professional life:

Killer Tracks is a very popular library.
So is Vanacore
Lovecat Music has a lot of pop music with lyrics.  I used it on Plain Jane for the CW.
Combustible
Signature
APM
AH2
Discovery Music Source is used by all the Discovery family of networks, such as TLC and Discovery Science.
Audionetwork is a British company that is gaining footholds in the US.

The downside to using a production library is that none of the tracks will be truly unique to your show, and there is a risk that viewers will begin to recognize or even tire of the music.  I find this is generally a small risk, and one well worth taking.

EDIT:

Here are some more libraries I have worked with now, on MTV and other networks:
Beach Street Music
Black Toast Music
In The Groove
Jingle Punks
Pfilbryte - I particularly like this library for quirky and docu stuff
Pacifica
DL Music
AudioSparx - Easy licensing for independent filmmakers

Monday, June 18, 2012

Double premiere tonight!

Tonight I have two shows premiering...

"Danger By Design" has back to back episodes on Discovery Science at 9pm and 10pm...
Specifically I cut episodes five and six, which should air back to back on July 2nd.

Also tonight is the premiere of "Miss Advised" on Bravo at 10pm....
I specifically worked on episodes 4-8, which will begin airing July 9th.


Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Well it's Emmy season, and now that I'm a member of the Academy, my opinion matters for a few months.  I've been receiving tons of packages for my consideration, including some pretty impressive items.



My favorite so far is the Food Network lunchbox, filled with DVDs...


The window for applications has ended already, but voting for nominations doesn't begin for another week, with the noms being announced five weeks later on July 17.  

A reflection of the landscape of television these days, I've been receiving about an even split of reality and scripted programming for my consideration.  For those who can't afford to mail screeners (or just want to go green), the Academy is offering online submission viewing as well.  Here's what I can consider right now...





From what I can tell, this is the widest competition for any genre.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What do you think?

Interesting article on the cover of today's LA Times Calendar section, regarding VH1's (apparently) controversial show "Basketball Wives," which has been drawing criticism to the network for portraying negative African American stereotypes.  VH1 President Tom Calderone has this to say:
"We're creating new celebrities.  'Mob Wives' are new celebrities.  'Basketball Wives' are new celebrities.  I think our role is to put a mirror on pop culture and influence pop culture--that's important."
VH1 has found a large black audience thanks to the success of its reality shows, including the "of Love" series and its many spinoffs.  Meanwhile, African American channel BET has shied away from sensational programming, opting for a mainly scripted offering, which brings in lower ratings for the network.

With African Americans watching two hours more television each day than the average American, and spending $1.1 trillion each year, what do you think about networks catering to an African American audience that seems to favor negative stereotypes?
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has voted to create a new Peer Group among its members, this one specifically for those who work in Reality.  In addition, the "Nonfiction" peer group has changed to "Documentary."  This is based on the strength and unstoppable growth of the reality genre.  You can read the announcement here.

Incidentally, the vote mentioned at the bottom of the article has passed and the by-laws have been changed to accommodate more governors on the board.

Personally, I don't care for segregating Reality and Documentary, because to me it implies that one is better than the other, or in some way more artistic.  I do believe both fit under the category of Nonfiction, so I don't see a need for the separation.  But according to the article, this is based on the strength of the Reality genre, so we'll see what happens!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Congrats to all the nonfiction Eddie Award Nominees!

BEST EDITED DOCUMENTARY:
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Joe Bini & Maya Hawke 
Freedom RidersLewis Erskine & Aljernon Tunsil
George Harrison: Living in the Material WorldDavid Tedeschi

BEST EDITED REALITY SERIES:
Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations: “Haiti”Eric Lasby
 Beyond Scared Straight :”Chowchilla”Rob Goubeaux, A.C.E., Paul J. Coyne, A.C.E., Heather Abell, Audrey
Capotosta, Maura Corey, Jeremy Gantz & Molly Shock
Whale Wars: “Race to Save Lives”Eric Myerson, Pete Ritchie & Josh Crockett

See the full list of nominees here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TV in the antenna age

While doing some holiday travel, I was pleasantly surprised by an classic television exhibit in Terminal 3 of SFO, Television in the Antenna Age.  Check it out if you're there!

 Although the exhibit was almost exclusively about scripted television and technology, I was happy to find this little shout out to Reality Television...

Reality Television:  Unscripted television featuring "ordinary" people dates to television's earliest years.  Allen Funt, the host and producer of radio show Candid Microphone, introduced Candid Camera on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in 1948.  The premise involved presenting unsuspecting people with unusual or alarming situations and capturing their reactions with hidden cameras.  The pranks ranged from elaborate set-ups, sometimes involving the subject's friends or relatives, to simple reaction shots of pedestrians surprised by a talking mailbox, or an over-enthusiastic traffic cop.  Television viewers were captivated by the actions of people with whom they identified, and the program aired for more than fifty years.