615 Music's Randy Wachtler on the Future of Production Music
How client demand is shaping catalogs and new technology will help composers earn more from back-end royalties
Studio/tracks: You’ve signed three new libraries recently-one from the UK, one from France and one based here in the U.S. Are you in acquisition mode?
Yes, we are. Composers in London, in particular, have a really different slant on creating music. Those we’ve worked with have a really unique way of composing music with beat. There’s just a lot of really great dance music coming out of the UK right now. They just have a terrific knack for scoring with rhythm. We also have a few catalogs out of France. Our new Adonys 5.1 comes out of Paris. You know, everybody can write rock and roll, but it always comes out slightly differently, depending on where you’re from.
It is. We hope to add more at some point, but right now, the industry just cannot make up its mind about 5.1. The demand we all expected a few years ago has never really materialized, in my opinion. Even most producers of video game trailers want tracks in stereo, not surround, because of where the trailers will be shown [online, via mobile devices and on TV].
It wasn’t too long ago that library music was considered elevator music-relegated to the background. The quality level has risen, and in general, all of the libraries out there are just getting really, really good. We’ve got a new collection coming out soon called, “Minimal Music,” that directly came out of client interest. The whole concept behind this is music that is very simple-subtle background music that supplies a mood but doesn’t overpower the dialogue, voiceover or other sound effects within the final mix. We still have underscore mixes for all our other catalogs, but this is the first one written from the outset with only underscored tracks.
What is at the top of the PMA’s agenda these days?
We just had a board meeting and had ASCAP and BMI there to do presentations. There’s new monitoring technology coming out that’s really exciting. One of the biggest problems for our industry is it has been so hard to track our music to get composers paid. For years, we’ve had to just rely on some producer hand writing a cue sheet and sending it in to the performing rights organizations in order to get paid back-end royalties. Now there is new technology, used by such companies as TuneSat and Landmark, that can scan the Internet, and all broadcast and satellite output and find music through its embedded metadata. Every music library company that sits on the PMA board, not to mention every composer who writes for them, is excited about these developments. It’s still evolving as we speak, but I think it’s finally getting to the point where it’s going to be really useful.