Music sites wait for Net-savvy filmmakers

Tunes inexpensive, easy to use with online libraries

The practice of using the Internet as a core resource for music supervisors has been around for a few years now. From finding composers to licensing tracks, the Internet helps to streamline the process and reduce costs. But a rudimentary question remains: Are filmmakers tech-savvy enough?

“It was almost impossible to use our offering when people had computers that didn’t even have sound cards,” explains Tim Sexton, a 20-year veteran of music supervision who helped launch the now-defunct Licensemusic.com, “and this was a year ago.”

Adds Ole Georg, CEO of OGM Music (ogmmusic.com): “There are means to go in directly from our Web site and have music transferred directly into their films. We’re just waiting for people to get up to speed.”

Music libraries like OGM Music, Audio Network, Megatrax and KillerTracks.com (owned by BMG), however, have succeeded where others have failed by addressing this problem head on with a multiplatform approach. In addition to allowing clients to retrieve music in MP3 and Windows Media formats, these companies also send CDs the old-fashioned way.

“What we’ve tried to do is pretend that a client has never done anything like this before, and lead them through it one step at a time,” says Gary Gross, president of BMG production music U.S. “If that doesn’t work, they can call us and have a CD sent out to them overnight.”

For the independent filmmaker on a shoestring budget, scoring online can cut costs substantially.

For example, Soundstorm’s U.K.-based Audio Network (AudioLicense.net), a recently launched Web site, offers original tracks composed by well-known musicians such as Stewart Copeland and Chris Blackwell. It also has an introductory offer for clients to obtain a production license to use its music in up to six productions for $750.

“We virtually give the material for producers to use,” explains Andrew Sunnucks, a joint managing and creative director at Audio Network, “because in the end, that makes the works more famous. (Payment comes) from performance income which is paid by broadcasters or cinemas through annual blanket licenses. That doesn’t affect the producer at all.”

Music libraries insist, however, that the best incentive to score online comes from their time-saving search engines. Rather than muddle their way through hundreds of CDs, filmmakers only have to type in the exact type of music they’re looking for to find the perfect score.

Similar to the aforementioned Web sites, Megatrax’s library (Megatrax.com) holds upward of about 10,000 titles of original compositions in virtually every style of music imaginable.

“At our Web site and at other Web sites, there are fully automated search systems 24 hours a day,” states Ron Mendelsohn, CEO of Megatrax. “Any client can go in, search and audition the right piece of music online.”

With lower licensing costs, easy search engines and nurturing customer care, it’s in the best interest of independent filmmakers to update their computers and use them for something other than email.

“This is the future. It really is today,” Sexton declares.

“Time will take care of this,” Georg adds. “We are all just ahead of the game.”

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