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An Ol’ Dirty Bastard cover and a kazoo parade featuring Big Freedia were the two most-awarded pieces of music at the 2020 AMP Awards, which were held virtually on Thursday (July 30.)

The seventh annual gathering from the Association of Music Producers (AMP) recognized excellence in use of licensed and original music in advertising, led by Smirnoff’s “Infamous Since 1864” campaign, which features a cinematic cover of ODB’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” Wave Studios was awarded for both Outstanding Mix and the 2020 Ryan Barkan Best In Show Award for its work on the composition. All of this year’s winners can be viewed HERE.

 

Another two-time winner is Squeak E. Clean Studios for its work on Facebook’s “Kazoo: With the International Kazoo Players Association and Big Freedia,” which took home the awards for Outstanding Adaptation/Arrangement and Best Artist + Brand Collaboration. The :60 spot makes memorable use of the mouth instrument as the basis of a Facebook Group for kazoo enthusiasts, who form a marching band that leads to a concert with the queen of New Orleans bounce.

 

Originally scheduled for April, the 2020 AMP Awards were delayed until late July to allow enough time to put together a first-time virtual program. The pre-recorded broadcast, which aired via Zoom, eschewed acceptance speeches to focus on the work, and also featured two songs from Aloe Blacc, who previewed his forthcoming “All Love Everything” with a performance recorded at Playa Studios/Mophonics in L.A. “At a time when you have Chris Martin playing on his piano at home to thousands of people, we decided to reach high to get a great artist like Aloe to have him perform from this cool space,” says Georg Bissen, owner of New York-based music company MetaTechnik who in June was elected National President of the Association of Music Producers.

The common thread for all of this year’s honorees was how they each showcased the inextricable link between music and storytelling. Jay Russell, Chief Creative Officer at ad agency GSD&M and AMP Awards 2020’s Show Chair, compares watching a great commercial without music to listening to David Lee Roth’s isolated vocals on “Runnin’ With The Devil” without the Van Halen accompaniment. “It’s ridiculous watching something without music,” he says. “I’ve sold commercials based on the song. I truly think the formula for a great ad is one third the idea, one third the director and music is often more than one third.”

This year’s AMP Awards curatorial committee was comprised of agency creatives and music producers as well as executives from music production and music publishing companies. Its members included the following: Kristen Barnard, Director of Integrated Production at Tracy Locke; Joanna Batemits, Executive Producer at Carousel; Khrisana Edwards, Director of Integrated Production at Indeed.com; Stephanie Diaz-Matos, Head of Supervision & Library at Raedio; Jack Epsteen, SVP, Director of Production at GSD&M; Michael Frick, VP, Brand Partnerships & Creative Synch at Position Music; Karen Gereffi Goodman, VP, Creative Director at MullenLowe; Robby Hurd, VP of Sales at Musicbed; David Lapinsky, VP, Music Producer at Grey/Townhouse; Alec Stern, Director of Music at DDB; and Rani Vaz, Executive Producer at RNDM ORDR.

Sponsors for the 2020 event include FGMK Insurance, Musicbed, Reservoir Media, ABKCO Music, Concord Music Publishing, Manage Ad Music, APM Music and West One Music. The show was produced with help from Cosmo Street, Mophonics and Ataboy Studios, with media support provided by LBB, SHOOT Online and Source │Slate │Shots. Composer Bobby Lopez also appeared during the broadcast to encourage donations to the Musicians Foundation, a nonprofit that provides Covid-19 relief resources to the music community.

See below for the full list of winners at the 2020 AMP Music Awards:

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Walker

Chanel Miller

“I Am With You”

 

BEST USE OF LICENSED PRE-EXISTING RECORDING

Groove Guild

Volkswagen

“Hello Light”

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Mophonics

World of Warcraft

“A Toast to 15 Years”

 

OUTSTANDING ADAPTATION/ARRANGEMENT

Squeak E. Clean Studios

Facebook

“Kazoo: with the International Kazoo Players Association and Big Freedia”

 

BEST SOUND DESIGN

Sound Lounge

Change the Ref

“GunDependence Day”

 

OUTSTANDING MIX

Wave Studios

Smirnoff

“Infamous Since 1864”

 

BEST ARTIST + BRAND COLLABORATION

Kobalt Music

Facebook

“Kazoo: with the International Kazoo Players Association and Big Freedia”

 

BEST USE OF MUSIC AND SOUND IN EXPERIENTIAL/EVENTS

Antfood

Empire State Realty Trust

“Empire State Building Sonic Redesign”

 

BEST USE OF MUSIC AND SOUND IN NEW MEDIA MARKETING

Pollen Music Group

Magic Leap

“Out There”

 

RYAN BARKAN BEST IN SHOW

Wave Studios

Smirnoff

“Infamous Since 1864”

Songs For Screens is a Variety column sponsored by Anzie Blue, a wellness company and café based in Nashville. It is written by Andrew Hampp, founder of music marketing consultancy 1803 LLC and former correspondent for Billboard. Each week, the column highlights noteworthy use of music in advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as film and TV. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @ahampp.