Music’s role in film cues interest

Sesh on music in pix scores at mart

CANNES — Sessions on the value of music in film, television and advertising drew packed audiences at international music trade fair Midem on Tuesday, with independent labels and publishers anxious to find out how they can get a slice of the action.

Fox Music’s Robert Kraft, XFilme Creative Pool’s Wolfgang Becker and Jason Bentley, who was music supervisor on the “Matrix” trilogy, described the role of music in film.

Noting that movie songs have become promotional vehicles, Kraft said: “After ‘Titanic’ we killed the goose that lays the golden egg by basically putting out a soundtrack for every film we made. But it only works where the bands mean something to the movie and connect with the audience.”

The music for a feature film’s trailers is often chosen by a post-production company, rather than the studio — hence the use of recognized songs rather than new music, which would be a risk with a big-budget movie.

Recalling the success of his “Run Lola Run,” helmer Becker said the songs in the film were performed by people he knew and therefore did not cost a lot of money. “But when the film became a success, the soundtrack made a lot of money,” said Becker. “The budgets for our films in Europe are smaller than the budgets some Hollywood movies have just for their music,” he added.

Delving into the world of advertising, Saatchi and Saatchi’s Eric Korte noted that the jingle is effectively dead and the percentage of original, commissioned music used in ads has dropped from more than 90% a few years ago to just 60% now.

“What matters is that music works with the pictures, unless of course you’re trying to associate a product with a particular artist,” said Steve Ellis of PumpAudio, which administers a catalog of music for production purposes.

Backing up that statement, Korte said it was highly unlikely that an ad spot would ever be built around a song. “The film leads the way,” he added.

On Monday evening, Midem tuned into the world of jazz when it honored Blue Note principal Bruce Lundvall as its personality of the year at a gala dinner.

Lundvall, prexy of EMI Music’s Jazz & Classics division in the U.S., was characteristically modest: “I’m just a jazz fan from New Jersey,” he said on receiving the accolade.