The music industry for motion picture advertising campaigns has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2005, the boutique music production house audiomachine was testing the niche market waters in an industry dominated by big-budget deals between movie studios and record labels. It was a trend that audiomachine co-owner and lead composer Paul Dinletir hoped to change.
“Back then, everything was licensed through a soundtrack by the movie studio,” he explained. “The industry was such that studios would just come to you and say, ‘Here’s a popular piece of music or a really nice score; we want an emulation of it. Do your best.’ Very rarely would someone be asked to gather an orchestra and score a trailer. It did happen, but it wasn’t something that was normal at all. But then again the technology back then wasn’t as amazing as it is today.”
Today’s technology has not only allowed companies like audiomachine to become major players in the industry, it’s also broken creative barriers and changed the end product in the process. Studios are no longer just looking for straightforward orchestral scores to accompany their trailers. Instead, they’re searching for a blend of numerous musical genres; a hybridization of many sounds, from the string section of an orchestra to the strum of an electric guitar.
Dinletir explained, “Producers of cutting-edge movies now come to us and say, ‘I don’t want a traditional trailer piece; I want something I haven’t heard before.’ And the only way you can do that is to give them hybrid.”
The trend toward hybrid sounds first began in the nineties with the boom of electronica but it still wasn’t widely used by the studios in trailer scores. Dinletir feels the real push for this new sound came just within the last few years, and that the pioneers of the trend weren’t the techno acts of yesterday but rather the cutting-edge composers of today.
“(Composer) Tyler Bates’ work on ‘300’ was a great hybrid score. Harry Gregson-Williams, Hans Zimmer, John Powell — all of these guys were setting hybrid trends years ago.”
With a recent surge in popularity, these composers have taken on near rock star personas and paved the way for hybrid music.
“With hybrids, the way we create things becomes limitless,” says Dinletir. “We can think of the orchestra in a non-traditional way. We can take live strings and pass them through a distortion amp, or we can take live drums and guitar and add a small cello section to it. This idea of creating something fresh and new is the upward trend and we feel like we’re just getting started.”
That upward trend has now become a large part of audiomachine’s business, especially when it comes to scoring the trailers of action-packed CGI extravaganzas. Since 2005, AudioMachine has contributed music to the advertising campaigns of more than 300 films, including two of the three tracks that appeared in the extended trailer for “Avatar.” Both songs, “Akkadian Empire” and “Guardians at the Gate,” are hybrid blends of traditional orchestration and more contemporary instrumentation and production.
Dinletir believes that the rise in popularity of hybrid music has made the jobs of musicians and composers a lot more interesting.
“Our creative process has gotten better,” he explains. “Since we create custom-made releases that cater to a specific part of a trailer without any preconceived pieces of music beforehand, we can now be more creative and consider releasing the music as a record, and then cater to the trailer music industry.”