Sentric’s advert syncs of the year 2014

•December 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By Patrick – follow me on Twitter

2014 is drawing to a close and like a survivalist counting tins of corned beef we have been checking and re-checking all the syncs we have licensed over the past twelve months. What a year it has been with an unprecedented amount of sync action coming from a larger number of our artists than ever before; therefore we have decided to put together two blogs featuring our favourite syncs of 2014. This first blog will look at our best advertisement placements and the second will be looking specifically at our favourite TV sync placements.

I’m sure you need another end of year countdown like the NME needs another article on Oasis reforming, but we shall be shedding some insight into how each deal came to be and why we think each placement is in the top five this year. So for all you artists interested in landing a sync this could contain some great ideas for your music.

(I would prefer it if you read all the bits in bold in a Tony Blackburn voice please, for those too young for big Tony read it as Grimmy or whoever does the Top 40 these days)

Straight in at number 5: Sunglasses Hut – Labyrinth Ear

This sync was landed back in sunny June and features the woman of all talents Chelsea Leyland being given the keys to the Sunglasses Hut store in New York’s, Times Square for the night. Chelsea and her glam pals get to muck about and try on loads of cool shades after hours, the British equivalent of this would no doubt be Paul O’Grady and his dogs trying on frames in Specsavers.

This is a classic example of the fashion promos we often work on, musically it does exactly what the client was after. The main criteria for this sync were that they needed a really feminine sounding track to tie in with the visuals. Chelsea Leyland is also primarily a DJ as well as being a fashionista so the track needed to be electronic but still be accessible and fun. The boxes where clearly ticked by Wild Flowers from the London duo Labyrinth Ear, but for me the thing that sold it was the soft and dreamy vocals which really complimented the whole tone of the ad.

Labyrinth Ear on Facebook.

Link to song.

Non mover at number 4: Johnnie Walker Blue Label – Capac

One of our more recent syncs comes from the famous whisky brand Johnnie Walker and their behind the scenes look at a recent online advertisement. We picked this one as visually it’s an incredible advert, even though it does make your toes curl watching that bloke going to the bottom of that creepy cave lake. Horror movies have taught us that being on your own in water is bad, just think of Deep Blue Sea… I had nightmares for months.

We have worked with Capac for a good few years now and placed their music productions before, but this advert and its serenity really fitted with their music. They produce very unique sounding electronic/ambient music. This said uniqueness is great for our clients to capture for their advert as it sounds like no other, therefore making it stand out against the competition. This was also a deep catalogue cut of Capac’s, but shows how any material has its own value in the world of sync as is explained below…

We spoke with Gaz from the band about his thoughts on the Johnnie Walker advert and working with Sentric – “We’ve been working with Sentric since their formation and over the years they have secured various sync opportunities for us, providing us with income to reinvest in the project. Every now and again we get the added bonus of a sync from a track released some years back, which definitely makes it worth having all our material on our Sentric profile.”

Capac on Facebook.

Link to song.  

Climbing the chart at number 3: Phones 4 U – Saint Motel

The saxiest thing since Careless Whisper is how I once described this track, Saint Motel’s My Type was a true stand out for 2014. You might have heard this track on various other placements such as FIFA 14, Channel 4’s The Last Leg, or even a Russian sitcom! But we think this sync on the Back To The Future styled Phones 4 U advert was the best yet.

As you can see this advert was a primary campaign for the brand and it had a large budget involved, meaning it was a great one for us to land for the band who where up against big competition. This sync catapulted the band into the public at a pivotal time of the single being released and within one week of the advert going on TV it was the second most Shazamed song in the UK. The second week of the advert saw the band break into the UK top 40 and resulted in an influx of sales and exposure for them. Unfortunately the future of Phones 4 U wasn’t so rosy with them going into administration a few months after the ad, but we think Saint Motel are going rise to great success in 2015 (we should know, we have heard some unreleased tracks!)

Saint Motel on Facebook.

Link to song.

Just missing out at number 2: Miss Guided – Weekend Money

Is there anything better than some models doing model stuff to hip-hop? If there is then I don’t even want to see it. Hip-Hop can often be a difficult genre of music to work with for sync, mainly because of the old effin’ n’ jeffin or it being less family friendly than other genres. Which is why it’s all the more rewarding to land a sync for the excellent Weekend Money and their track Hol’ Up.

I would like to take this opportunity to say ‘In order to help land a sync it’s INSTRUMENTAL to have some instrumentals’. Hopefully that nifty line will help all you artists to get a vocal free mix of your tracks done while recording. Fun fact time in the UK last year 75% of syncs where of instrumental tracks, I learnt that at a PRS conference, so its pure industry gold I have just dropped for you.

Sorry back on track… Miss Guided loved the vocal version of the track, its attitude and swagger was perfect for their advert. However it was rather explicit… I’m talking lines such as “F*** the cops, F*** the cops, F*** the cops, F*** the cops, F*** the cops, F*** the mother****** cops” so as you can imagine it was a no go. That was until we managed to get over an instrumental over to them in time and they loved it even more, so there it is the reason why instrumentals are so important!

Weekend Money on Facebook.

Link to song.

Here it is the number 1 advert for 2014: Crabbies Grand National – Cerebral Ballzy

This makes me want to ride a horse and punch things” probably isn’t your average reaction to an advert… until now. I vividly remember the first time we watched the advert in the office before its release. In traditional Sentric fashion we all huddled round the office TV to check it out for the first time, two minutes of silence and then… “PLAY IT AGAIN!” we must have watched the advert at least 20 times that day.

This advert was so important for Crabbies as a brand; it was the first time in nearly a decade that that Grand National was to be sponsored by someone new due to John Smiths pulling their sponsorship with the race. Crabbies & Channel 4 both wanted to shake up the event, give it a fresh approach and makes the audience sit up and take notice. A lot of money was put into the creation of the advert, which meant that the music had to be absolutely perfect for them. Thankfully we held the key.

We love the advert due to its contrasts, the idea of getting a New York punk band on a British TV advert for a posh horse race still makes us smile and I think it’s that juxtaposition that makes it so great. Musically and lyrical the track fits perfect and it’s a really good example to artists out there producing music that they love but feel it wouldn’t stand a chance when it comes to landing a sync. This track was not written with any intention of being synced, yet here it is synced to a fantastic advert. Sometimes the advert fits the music instead of the music being tailored for the ad; they always work the best!

Cerebral Ballzy on Facebook.

Link to song.

As attentions inevitably turn to 2015, here at Sentric we want to stress the importance of not forgetting about this 2014 just yet. Your activity over the past 12 months can help fund your plans and ambitions to take your music career up a gear in 2015. Hopefully this post can help you focus your plan of action for the coming year and by working alongside Sentric we can make it happen. Will you be behind our favourite sync in 2015?

Ask the… studio producer/engineer/mixer.

•December 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Whether you’re about to record your first single or that difficult sixth album, making the most of your time in the studio is essential in order to make the best record possible on the budget that’s right for you. Royalties are a great way to Fund Your Future recording plans and as part of our blog series, we get the lowdown from an expert on how to get the most out of a recording session.

As part of Fund Your Future we’ve teamed up with Miloco Studios to offer one of our artists the chance to win a two day recording session so who better to give advice on the do’s and don’ts than Matt Lawrence, the Grammy Award winning producer, engineer and mixer who does much of his work at Miloco’s studios. With career that’s seen him working with the likes of Adele, Mumford & Sons, Foals and Amy Winehouse, Matt knows his stuff and we asked him some of your burning questions:

1. WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE ARTISTS MAKE WHEN RECORDING?

The most common mistakes I see are generally down to a lack of prep, such as:

  • Arrangement and lyrics not agreed/rehearsed.
  • Key equipment missing (guitar tuners/ drumsticks/ drum heads), equipment or instruments known to be needed not organised in good time.
  • An unrealistic expectation of what you want to achieve in the session, this can lead to stress and rushing the job. No point doing four average recordings when you can make two amazing ones.
  • A presumption that, “the studio will have one of those”. They probably won’t.
  • Inviting along girlfriends/boyfriends. It adds a dynamic to the session that is not usually helpful.
  • Overtime. Don’t do it! It’s expensive. If you have not finished your guitar take number 45 as it’s time to go home you should probably have turned up on time, or been thinking about your parts instead of tweeting pictures to the world of your fancy studio and the back of my head. If you do an extra hour every day for the week, you could have booked another twelve hour day instead, and the hours spent after being there for twelve already are not nearly as productive as you think.

This is not the 80’s or 90’s where recording budgets commonly run into the hundreds of thousands. Chances are you are either self-funded, on a little indie label, or have found an investor and have somehow persuaded them that investing in your band is a good idea. You are all expected to take responsibility for helping to keep costs down. This is best achieved by being properly prepared, being focused and ready for your parts when the time comes. There’s alot of waiting around in recording sessions and then you are suddenly required. Be prepared for this (and make sure you are in the building).

2. HOW MANY SONGS SHOULD AN ARTIST REALISTICALLY PLAN TO RECORD IN A TWO DAY SESSION?

Depends on style/band line up and playing ability, probably two max (with some overdubs) if they are for serious release. Although if it’s a Jazz trio, a whole album!

3. WHAT SHOULD A BAND CONSIDER IN TERMS OF TECHNICAL PREP? (WHICH MAY NOT BE PROVIDED BY A STUDIO)

Make sure guitars are setup properly and have the correct (new if required) strings.

Make sure all drum parts and cymbals are present – (no you can’t just ‘borrow’ a bass drum pedal from the band next door. Never presume that the studio has any back-line or any leads or ancillary kit you may require.

If you are hoping for studio kit then check with the studio bookings office first and get an email to confirm that this gear will be made available to you. Do this on a weekday in office hours. Your session may well be on a weekend and you can get no ‘official’ response at these times, no matter how many records you have sold.

Hard drives should have plenty of space and all audio files / samples / demos required should actually be on this drive!

Not quite technical, but has the singer been resting, seeing a vocal coach and done their vocal warm-ups? It’s not rocket science, but sadly does bear repeating – don’t go out and smash it the night before your session. You will play and sing like shit. I cannot fix that with a plugin.

4. SHOULD AN ARTIST GET MORE THAN ONE MIX DONE?

You mean in a day? No

Or you mean, two different mixers for the same song? Could be a good idea and may show the song in a different light. A political hot potato here, tread lightly and with good business ethics. It is a small industry really and you’d be surprised – most things get back to most people. It’s always cool if you are above board about everything. Everyone wants the best for your record.

(Editor: In addition – the Sentric sync team would like to take the liberty of jumping in here to say that whether getting different mixes done by different engineers or not, please always, always always get an instrumental or ‘vocal free’ mix done! 9 out of 10 sync placements we land are for instrumental versions of our artist’s songs.)

5. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE ENGINEER/PRODUCER? (OR NOT TO PISS HIM/HER OFF?!)

Communication is good – don’t be rude or pointlessly arrogant toward them - You want them on your side!

Try to develop a working relationship in which they feel they can advise or comment (discreetly) if something is wrong or better done in a different way. You have to be confident in what you’re doing but don’t be bullish to the detriment of the final record just so that you know every decision and idea was yours!

6. ANY TIPS FOR CHOOSING A STUDIO WHICH BEST SUITS AN ARTISTS NEEDS?

Sometimes it’s as simple as location, but the line up of the band (if there is one) often dictates studio choices.

If you book your session last minute you will be severely limited in these choices – the good ones get booked up!

7. WHAT WILL MASTERING A RECORDING ACHIEVE AND DOES THE AMOUNT OF TIME/MONEY SPENT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? 

The dark art of mastering is still a relevant and important one. Most facilities often have an online, non-attended cheaper way of working. This can help to save some money.

I would always check to see if your mix engineer has a suggestion or a good relationship with any particular mastering engineer.

Always check thoroughly the reference copy you get from mastering, don’t just presume it’s right and glitch free. It’s your responsibility to check this, and even though you may be sick to death with the song, this is arguably the most important listening session of the project. Play it against other records you know to get a good sense of where it sits especially with regards to bottom end tightness and top end sibilance and crispiness. Mastering can simply be a battle of volume verses compression – maybe find a track you want to be as loud as and send this on as a reference for your mastering engineer.

Be realistic in your expectations. If you smashed down 3 tracks that you only just wrote in one day with shitty kit and got your mate to mix it in his bedroom it is not suddenly gonna come back sounding just as good as a Foo Fighters record (insert your seminal band/record here).

8. WHAT ARE YOUR THREE KEY TIPS FOR LAYING DOWN A SUCCESSFUL RECORDING?

At the risk of repeating myself:

  • For a band to be well rehearsed, everyone should be confident about the song and their parts.
  • Double check all instruments and kit in plenty of time to fix/buy/rent/borrow another.
  • Open a dialogue with the Engineer and or Assistant Engineer before session and put them in the loop with regards to your plans and expectations of the session. If you trust their experience then perhaps check with them that your plan is realistic in that studio in the allotted time, you may need to adjust/manage your expectations.
  • No girlfriends / boyfriends. Yes that means you. Spinal Tap had Janine, A certain Liverpudlian band “gained a fifth member” – let’s all learn from their mistakes.

For more information on Matt, visit:

Website contact page – www.matt-music.com

Management – http://piecesof8music.com/roster/matt-lawrence/

Twitter – @mattatatamusic

Ask the music industry; “If I was an emerging artist & I had £1,000 to spend then…”

•November 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By @Pursehouse – follow me on Twitter.

According to ABBA, money is a thing of hilarity if you are lucky enough to have plenty of it in the first place, but as the majority of artists I know are yet to have written enough über hits to fill a musical and then some on top; it appears to be more of a thing of worry than joviality.

Here at Sentric Music we’ve distributed a significant amount of money to a lot of artists around the world ranging from two figure to five figure sums and deciding what to go and spend it on can be a bit of a tricky decision. Unless you’re a certain Northern Irish act who’ll remain nameless that, after I sent them some sync royalties, informed me they were going to ‘get as much Buckfast as they could carry’. Lovely.

So with this is mind I thought I’d ask a lot of lovely people in various parts of the music industry what they’d spend £1,000 on if they were an emerging artist. Hopefully their answers will fill you with some inspiration of sorts and within 12 months of reading this you’ll have changed your blossoming musical career for the better in one way or another.

A few justifications before I begin.

Firstly: Why £1,000? Because basically it’s an attainable figure to achieve for the majority of emerging artists reading this blog. If you gig regularly, land a few radio airplays, maybe get your music used on TV, sell a few CD’s & t-shirts at shows etc. (basically put in the work, yeah?) and then if you look after your finances you should be able to get a cool grand in the bank within a relatively surprising short space of time. Alternatively just go put £15 on red 16 on the roulette table at your nearest casino and pray to whatever god floats your boat.

Secondly: Every artists’ situation is unique and there was no ‘starting point’ for this scenario when I pitched this question to the lovely folk who answered. Hopefully though, at least one of the areas mentioned within this post may make you consider a potential avenue for your cash.

Thirdly: Money is highly more effective when used within conjunction with a strategy. It’s all very well having a grand in your pocket, but if you randomly piss it up a proverbial wall without a plan to accompany it then it’ll be far less useful then if you did.

Fourthly (PLUG): Don’t forget that if you keep your Sentric Music profile up to date then we’ll regularly start sending you money. Simple enough, eh? (If you’re an artist and don’t know who we are or what Sentric does then go hither and we’ll put some cash in those skinny jeans of yours, you trendy bugger you).

So let’s begin with muggins here, eh?

Simon Pursehouse // Sentric Music // @Pursehouse
Book a rehearsal space for as long as £1k can get you and spend every waking possible millisecond in there working indefatigably on writing the best songs you can and practicing them over and over and over and over again until you’re aggressively bored of playing them… And then play them some more. You simply cannot underestimate how important and difficult it is to write truly brilliant songs and then follow it up by blowing people away when they see you live. Do those two things well enough and you’ll having people queueing up round the corner to throw more money at you.

Tim Ingham // Music Week // @tsingham 
I’d put it in the bank, to begin with. See how far you can get in a few weeks without spending a penny, setting realistic targets for growth in social media numbers within a set timeframe. This will train you to use money judiciously when you eventually decide to dip into your funds. I’d then spend the majority of the cash on the recording of two or three tracks to a high quality, as well as getting some good pictures taken, the creation of a logo and a professionally-written (short!) biography. Voila: you now have a product, a brand and promotional assets. All of them are vital – just never use those words in public. The only way is up.

Peter Robinson // PopJustice // @PopJustice
I’d put it towards the deposit on a flat. If I had to spend it on getting my career off the ground and presuming I’d already recorded my song I’d spend £200 getting a producer to spend a few hours tarting it up to sound proper, £400 on a video and £200 on a photo shoot. I’d ask a decent online PR to make sure the right people knew when I whacked it up on SoundCloud and YouTube and if nobody liked it I’d change my name and do the same twelve months later. If it hadn’t worked after three suitably contrasting attempts I’d get a proper job.

Jen Long // Kissability Records // @JenLong
If I was an emerging artist and I had £1,000 to spend then I’d take a look at the ways my music connects with an audience best and put the money into that. It could be paying for petrol on the road, it could be hiring and online PR, but I don’t think there can ever be a hard fast rule for these things.

Jack // Alcopop Records // @ILoveAlcopop
If I was an emerging artist and I had £1,000 to spend then I’d not waste it the first PR or plugger that came calling. It’s really important that you build yourself a platform to kick on from, rather than feeling you immediately have to buy into an expensive press company because they tell you you should. PR and pluggers are wonderful when they work out well, but to ensure they’ve got a lot to work with, make sure everything else is in place too. Get gigs rolling in, sort out some key indie festivals, build your own buzz and think about what you’ve got to tell the world.

If you’re paying someone to sell your band, make sure they’ve got a compelling tale to tell – and don’t be afraid of kicking on yourself! Then hopefully someone else will notice and pay good people for you :-) Then you’ve got a spare grand, and I’m thristy. Lets hang out x

Sean Adams // Drowned In Sound // @SeanInSound
Not spend it on PR.

Darren Hemmings // Motive Unknown // @Mr_Trick
If we were starting on the assumption that you’ve written and recorded some amazing music (no small caveat right there!) then I’d probably allocate that money across a combination of PR and to some extent promotion, purely to drive awareness and get people understanding who you are. PR can ensure coverage that has the kind of reach you won’t get with ads and that kind of budget. Ergo, PR is a better use of your money if we’re talking about a “pounds-to-eyeballs” ratio here. Then, assuming your PR person has landed you some placements, I’d put a bit of money to promoting posts on Facebook and/or Twitter (both have solid self-serve ad platforms now) just pushing your coverage on those sites. Coverage is all about endorsement: if no one has heard of you, an advert saying “listen to our music, its great!” will fail because its a given you would think your music is awesome. As a qualifying statement to someone who has never heard of you, that means nothing. Having, for example, NME.com, The Quietus, Brooklyn Vegan or any other relatively influential site saying “check out X, his/her/their music is amazing” is worth infinitely more, because those are established, trusted sources.

On this though, I think someone should also do a post to the effect of “10 ways to avoid cutting into a £1000 budget”, because I think there’s innumerable ways in which you can save money to then spend it more wisely elsewhere. A google account, for example, ensures you have not just free email, but also 5Gb of cloud drive space to share and distribute files. Combine that with Cash Music and you can even then sell your music, with the only commission going to Paypal for payment (ie less than anyone else, anywhere!). Equally, if you sign up for Google AdWords then leave it alone for about a fortnight, they’ll offer you something like £75 of free AdWords to get you started. Mailchimp will allow you to have up to 2000 subscribers before you have to pay, so again you can build a sizeable database and make use of this incredible platform for free. You can even combine Mailchimp with Cash Music to create free email-for-media downloads. There’s LOADS of awesome ways to use services without paying a penny – all of which ensures that you have more cash left for PR, decent promoted posts or indeed anything else that comes along. Never overlook the Dischord-style thrifty punk rock approach!

Steve Levine // Producer & Hubris Records // @MrSteveLevine
Put it on a horse! It’s not about the money. Without a great song you have nothing, so if you have £1,000 or £100,000 without that great song idea you are wasting your time.

James Walsh // Ditto Music // @JW_DittoMusic
I’d hire the best possible PR. Most will be monthly retainers and the very best may be more than £1,000 but even if hired for just 1 month, your music getting featured on Pitchfork, Indie Shuffle, Line of Best Fit, Pigeons & Planes and charting on Hype Machine will ensure it gets heard by A&R Scouts, Publishers and labels. Will also provide you with numerous unbiased critiques of your music which can aid your development.

Marsha Shandur // Music Supervisor for The Inbetweeners, ex-XFM DJ & YesYesMarsha.com // @YesYesMarsha
I would take two days to research the people in the music industry who I most wanted to think I’m awesome – whether that’s radio DJs, music supervisors for my favourite TV shows or people at record labels.

I would find out the best ways to add value to them – especially those that aren’t to do with their jobs – and then email links to relevant articles, film trailers or organisations. Maybe I’d even spend some of that money sending them a book I think they’d like, or their favourite bar of chocolate.

This isn’t about bribery – it’s about making yourself stand out, and making the person whose attention you want know that you are interested in THEM in particular, and not just sending the same email blanket out to everyone.

If that didn’t cost 1000 quid – if I didn’t have to go to the internet cafe to do this – then I’d spend the money on really nice physical cards to send them. No one gets any nice real post anymore.

Andy Malt // CMU // @AndyMalt
Buy a van and then drive it to all of the country’s most depressing venues and play shows in them. Probably best to clear that last part with the venue first, but otherwise you’re ready to go. Try to buy a van that will last a good few thousand miles without falling apart, but try to do a deal that leaves you with some change left over to invest in some other things.

Thankfully, these days you need less money to get your music ‘out there’, so use all the free services you can. Let’s assume you already have some music recorded, or that you can record it to a usable standard yourself. Stick that on SoundCloud and Bandcamp.

Pay a friend with photography skills to take some nice photos of your band. Never underestimate the importance of having good photos. You can use them on social media, for one thing. And if people write about your band online then they can use them too and you’ll look really cool.

Maybe pay another friend (or even the same friend) with video skills to make you a video on the cheap that you can put on YouTube. Unless you have video skills yourself, in which case tell that friend they can’t have your money. Maybe stop speaking to them entirely, you don’t need them. Unless they can drive a van and you can’t.

Hopefully buying your dirt cheap super van will leave you with enough money to make some merch. Get some t-shirts made up. And a short run of CDs, maybe. And some badges. Try to sell the t-shirts and CDs to the people who come to your shows. If and when they refuse, give them a badge and smile. And get their email address. Always the email address. Getting an email address costs you nothing but is of great value to you. Build a mailing list, tell people when you’re coming back to their town, occasionally suggest that they might like to buy something from you, and then get back in that van again.

Al Groves // Motor Museum // @MotorMuseum1
I would find a shit hot emerging producer to help take my tracks to the next level. £1000 should give you access to a producer and studio with a really good local track record, and if you go for somebody who is up and coming they will be giving 110% to every project and you will catch them at their best.

Annika Walsh // Blinkbox Music // @Annikakaka
I’d spend the money on the music. If I don’t already have a great track, I’d stalk my favourite songwriters online & in person and charm them into working with me. I’d find a great studio who offer special rates for unsigned bands (like Metropolis) and record, mix and (importantly) master my track. I’d spend any remaining money on EPK assets – a strong band bio, good images etc. would make my band look professional.

At the same time, I’d make the most of all the free opportunities available to me:

  • Create (& maintain) strong Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, YouTube profiles
  • Vlog regularly, from songwriting to recording to performing – all from an iPhone
  • Go to as many free showcases in London as possible to meet people & learn from other new emerging band

Joe Frankland // PRS For Music Momentum Fund Manager // @Joe_Frankland
I’d record that killer song I’ve been working on with a producer who would bring a new dimension to my music, helping with pre-production and fulfilling the potential the song has so I can approach radio, attract blog coverage and secure sync deals with a single release. I’d take plenty of time planning a release, with a strategy in place to send my music to media targets 8-10 weeks before my release date. Before announcing, I’d confirm a string of dates across the UK and a single launch in my hometown. I’d use whatever is left over from production, mixing and mastering to cover the loss I’ll probably make on the road. But it’ll be worth it as I’ll make some genuine fans, will prick the ears of the industry and will be all set up to do it again, potentially with industry backing or money I’ve made from fans.

Gareth Allison // Music at BT Sport // @GarethJJAllison
Assuming my band sounds as shit-hot as I imagine them too and that we put on a show that’s comparable with The Hives then I’d spend my £1000 on a print and online PR.

We get sent 100’s of tracks every day and it’s impossible to listen to everything so we rely heavily on what people we trust are saying about those acts before we decide to check them out for ourselves.

I think the same can be said for managers, agents, promoters, labels and publishers and so having your music showcased in the right places can put you at reach of all the important players in the industry and it’s those people that can turn a hobby into a career.

Obviously anyone can send a CD or a soundcloud link to a blog or the NME, but a really good PR has the relationships in place to get bloggers and journalists to talk about your band in a way that will engage with both fans and the industry. PR’s are basically gatekeepers for the gatekeepers and a good one is well worth the money.

As a team we all have a scan of the NME once a week and of course we’re heavily into blogs. If I’m in need of a new band crush then I’ll head straight to Disco Naivete or Breaking More Waves.

Jonathan Kerr // Universal Music // @JayKerr
If I was an emerging artist and I had £1,000 to spend then I would invest where my fan base are investing. Whether that be shows and finance tour support, or sales and manufacture merch or product (physical/digital). Find your top grossing revenue stream and expand it.

Jhon Cosgrove // Awesome Merchandise // @AwesomeMerch
If I was an emerging artist and I had £1,000 to spend then I’d invest it in merchandise. Obvious answer from someone who works for a merchandise company, but also a sensible one from someone who has also been in a touring band for over ten years.

Here’s why: You’re an emerging artist, people are getting to know you. You’re playing some good gigs, people are buying your CD and downloading your music. How else can you promote you/your band and your face-melting tunes? A whole range of excellent merch of course. Buying merch is an investment in your future as it’s a sure fire winner to making more money and funding what you do… being in a band is not cheap. People envisage bands to be sitting around smoking fifty pound notes and drinking bottles of JD inside their gold tour buses but in reality it’s a lot of hard work and money. Practice costs/travel/equipment and then recording are all constant money pits.

Use that £1,000 to spend on some good design (this bit is very important) and then on some awesome merch. Think about what your fans would want and cater for them; tees, stickers, badges and posters are a good place to start. Get the merch online, promote it hard via social media sites and help fund your band’s future. In today’s world it’s just as important that the band is run as a business as it is to having good songs (cynical, but factual). Once you’ve spent that first £1,000 then make sure you’ve saved up the profits in the bank and invest in some more. Soon enough you’ll be smoking those fifty pound notes on that gold tour bus.

Revo // Liverpool promoter & booker for Liverpool Sound City // @ClubEvol
I’d book in some studio time and record my best songs to a professional standard. Once you have your songs you can do everything else online yourself, with or without a label.

Andrea Madden // Music Supervisor for Made In Chelsea // @MissyAmKm
My advise would be….the sensible me would put the money into promotion, you could have the best track in the world but if no one hears it it’s a shame. Maybe look at a radio/tv plugger…they could open doors for you. The not so sensible me would buy a Fender Jaguar and a couple of FX pedals :-)

Alex Kennedy // Music at Sky TV // @ajkendo
If I was an emerging artist and I had £1,000 to spend then I would find some very creative young buggers and get them to make an utterly unique and compelling music video for me. I had the pleasure of being on a panel recently with the two little geniuses (Brendan Canty and Conal Thompson from Feel Good Lost) who made the astonishing video for Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” and it just reinforced my long held belief and something I work every day on, that putting the track that you have put your blood, sweat and tears into alongside some stunning audio-visual footage is the single best way to impact people outside of getting someone in the front row of your gig and blowing them away with some 80’s power chords!

Kevin Douch // Big Scary Monsters // @BSMRocks
I would head down the bookies and stick it all on Coventry to lose their next game and double my money. I’d then spend £10 on 100 blank CD-Rs, £20 on some paper and other tools to create awesome, eye-catching DIY artwork, £200 on 50 t-shirts and a tenner on a bucket of chicken, before sitting down in front of my laptop for a day researching labels, magazines, promoters, booking agents, PRs and radio pluggers I genuinely think might like my band. The next day I’d send them all streaming links to our best songs along with a short, friendly, non-arrogant, personalised note, telling them why I’m getting in touch, a little about my band and offering links to more information should they be interested. If a PR shows genuine enthusiasm for the songs I would ask if I could pay them a small amount of money to employ their services, book a few gigs (perhaps using a little more cash to help offset the unfortunately low fees), sing my heart out and flog by wares. The remaining money would be spent recording our next batch of brilliant songs and repeating the process, bookies and chicken included, until I was fat, rich and top of the pops.

Matthew Williams // UK Music Jobs // @UKMusicJobs
If I was an emerging artist and I had £1,000 to spend then…..i put it towards building a decent website that includes a mailing list. It will make you look professional & you can build a database of fans. BOOM!

Liam Keightley // International Talent Booking // @reggiekite
I’d put it towards a splitter/van. You just need to get yourselves and your gear to the venue. That’s it. Growing up in a band we used to have 2 or 3 cars/taxis’ to get us to gigs. You’d have spent all your fee before you got to the venue! Someone always has to drive, but you can get a mate to do that, roadies start somewhere too :)

You could get to gigs further away, saves you on a hotel and if you are mates with a couple of other bands, then something you can make money on. It’s not going to be luxury, but it’ll get you to gigs; one of the most important aspects of an emerging artist.

Anna Sophie Mertens // Live Nation // @miss_asm
I would invest it or put it towards a decent used car/van. Chances are you will be traveling up and down the country with your instrument(s) of choice and the gigs won’t (yet) cover your expenses. And you’ll be able to earn your performance royalties via Sentric for the live gigs too!

Jim Gellatly // XFM DJ // @JimGellatly
I’d invest it in studio time to help get the best representation of my music, or just bank it ready for a good opportunity. Otherwise putting it on a horse may result in a better return.

Louise Dodgson // Unsigned Guide // @EditorUnsigned
A decent quality recording of your demo or EP is essential. This represents your sound & is what you will be presenting to the industry and fans so you absolutely want to make the best impression possible.

Other fundamental building blocks for your music career that you should consider putting your £1,000 towards are decent images (either photography or artwork). You don’t have to spend a lot to get some great results. Membership to the Musicians’ Union is a good call, and of course a subscription to The Unsigned Guide to provide you with up to date contacts from all walks of the music industry to send your music onto.

Dot Levine // UK Music // @DotLevine
If I was an emerging artist and I had £1,000 to spend I would hire a graphic designer to help me with my brand identity. I would get them to design an e-newsletter and website for me so I could send out my EP to bloggers, DJs and taste makers, whilst also ramping up my social and online presence. I would want my music to stand out and get me noticed – having a strong identity would stand me in good stead. It’s so important for emerging artists to be unique and professional so their music stands out.

Caroline Bottomley // Radar Music Videos // @RadarMusicVideos
I would approach my local art/media college, find the course leader for any film production courses and ask them to tell students I have £100 to pay any director who can shoot me/us playing three songs, cut them well and get them up on my YouTube channel a month before I start my tour. If they don’t hit the deadline then I don’t give them the money and I find someone else to do this pronto.

Meanwhile, I’ll be making lots of little bits of Vines and Instagram videos with my phone – me about to do a gig somewhere, me after a gig, a fan saying what they liked about the gig etc. I’d be building up a sense of community and enjoyment around me. And I’d edit the Vines & Instagram videos into slightly longer videos which I can put on my YouTube channel.

I would put £200 toward transport and accommodation and tour as much as possible. At gigs I would ask the audience to film my gig, upload the best song to YouTube and send me the link. I’ll favourite those videos, so they show up in my YouTube channel. Anyone who sends me video footage gets a free download of my EP and big-ups on your Twitter/Facebook /Instagram. I might have to game this if it’s not taking off, I.E get different friends to come along to different gigs and record me on their phones and upload to kick start the idea.

Then I’d spend £500 on getting a good video for my lead track made via Radar – home of emerging music video director talent worldwide.

I’d spend the remaining £300 on getting a new, small but good PR/plugger to secure a group premier of the video on the four or five biggest blogs they can get (which may well be tiny, but I have to start somewhere and any good press is invaluable) and I would work with them to approach radio and try and get onto radio playlists, referencing the rather nice view and subscriber figures I’ve been buiiding up on my YouTube channel.

Ally Gray // Emu Bands // @EmuBands
If I was an emerging artist and I had £1,000 to spend, how I would spend it would very much depend on what stage I was at. If I was just starting out, I’d hold on to it and concentrate on writing and rehearsing until I felt the time was right to start getting my music out there. I’d then attend as many conferences and education events as possible to learn as much as I could from panels and seminars, and meet some industry contacts at networking sessions. A bit further down the line once I’ve started to build a fanbase, I’d invest a bit (not much is required though) in learning about my current and potential fanbase through analytics, via Next Big Sound, Facebook etc. and then creating a targeted marketing campaign for my next release.

———————————–

There you go! Plenty of ideas to get your head around there. Feel free to contribute your own over on Sentric’s Facebook/Twitter.

Be safe.

Pursehouse

#56 The Sentric Music Podcast November 2014

•November 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It’s the penultimate podcast of 2014 and, unsurprisingly, we have yet more rather brilliant new music for you. It’s a tried & tested format by now so why change it, eh? If you don’t discover your new favourite song in this episode we’ll refund what you paid for it.

YOU CANNOT LOSE. Including:

To Kill A King //
Childcare //
Fickle Friends //
Ajimal //
TVAM //
LSA //
Franko Fraize //
Alexander Teller //
Polar States //
Klaus Johann Grobe //
Blossoms //
Capac //

Everybody needs good neighbour(ing rights)…

•August 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By Pursehouse – follow me on Twitter.

So after years of me harping on at you via the medium of this blog to sort out your music publishing you’ve finally listened and got everything sorted with the PRS/MCPS, yeah? (If not then read this, if yes and you’ve done it by signing up to Sentric Music then bless you, I’m chuffed you’re on board).

So now you start emailing me, pestering me, demanding my time and attention like a toddler who is craving a biscuit inbetween crafting various trinkets from Loom Bands to a background of Ben & Holly reruns.

“Can you get my song on Emmerdale?”

“I think this is perfect for Made In Chelsea!”

“If you got our new single on Soccer AM I’ll name my first born after you.”

And here’s the thing; you’re right! Your new single is perfect to soundtrack the love hexagon between Binky & Spencer & Trixy & Felicity & Dappy & Sneezy on Made In Chelsea and the opener of your new EP would fit wonderfully over coverage of Sheffield Wednesday scoring six goals against a gloriously disheveled Leeds during the Sky Sports News round up, but until it’s registered with the PPL then I’m afraid I can’t do a thing with it.

So what is PPL? (also known as ‘neighbouring rights’)

PPL is an income stream that is split between two parties;

1) The master rights owner

So, traditionally (oh that word in these blogs, hey?), the master rights owner is the record label, but more and more is becoming the artist in question in this modern music industry. Basically; whoever paid for the ditty to be recorded effectively owns the master copyright.

2) The people who performed on the recording

So in the world of publishing and PRS/MCPS et al, the money generated there is for the songwriters alone, but for the PPL it is for everyone who actually performed on the recording.

So if you’re the drummer who doesn’t write anything because you’re, to put it bluntly, an ill-educated illiterate heathen whose only use is to literally hit things with other things, then the PPL is where you’ll earn your money.

(Yay drummer jokes!)

So! This means that you have to register with the PPL as two separate entities; as the master rights owner and as a performer. This is important; be sure to register as both or you’ll be missing out on lovely money.

If you have a label then you only have to sign up to the PPL as a performer (each one of you as well, not just the admin savvy bass player who has too much time on his hands backstage trying to tether his iPhone with his Mac to make a gig claim whilst the rest of the band are out there living their lives and taking groupies back to the tour bus).

(Yay bass player jokes!)

To sign up to the PPL head hither: www.ppluk.com

Once you’ve done everything correctly then you’ll see on the PPL database that your song will have a little green tick next to it as thus:

Oh if only all bands were as organised as the delightful Labyrinth Ear...

Oh if only all bands were as organised as the delightful Labyrinth Ear…

This, my friends, is where the trusty ISRC code comes into play. These nifty little digits are how royalties from the PPL ultimately work their way back to you. If you keep getting your ISRC’s mixed up with you ISWC’s then be sure to check out my blog regarding music industry acronyms; The BLOMIA.

So why should you do this?

Money

Everytime you hear your recording played in the public domain then in theory it generates a royalty that is yours to spend on whatever you wish. Radio airplay, TV airplay, bars, restaurants, jukeboxes, clubs etc.

We regularly distribute significant amounts of money to our artists here at Sentric for their neighbouring rights/PPL income (as it’s a service we offer as well as music publishing) so it’s very important you get on top of this please.

God knows enough musicians complain about how hard it is to make money in the modern industry, often using examples such as Spotify streaming rates to back up their arguments, but then worryingly regularly they’re missing out on key basic income such as performing, mechanical and neighbouring rights generated by gigging/radio airplay/TV airplay etc. because they’ve not done their basic homework on the business side of the music business.

(I’m not ‘having a go’ there I should add, honest – but this is why lovely people like us at Sentric Music are here; to do all this tedious administrative nonsense for you and make you money whilst you pen your art… “BECAUSE IT IS ART, MOTHER, YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND”)

Synchronisation on UK TV

As mentioned above, your music can simply not be used on UK television unless it’s registered with three societies; the PRS, MCPS (both publishing rights) and PPL (master rights). I, as the muppet who pushes your music to TV folk, can’t pitch it to them unless the track is covered by these ‘blanket licenses’, so please don’t ask me until it’s sorted.

(BTW – If you’re interested in getting your music synced then here’s a blog with more information)

The guys over at the PPL put together this rather handy video which is worth a watch:

I hope that clears that up. Please go and register all your releases with the PPL now. It’ll make the world a better place.

Pursehouse.

If you would like Sentric to handle your rights holder registrations then get in touch by emailing neighbouring rights [at] sentricmusic [dot] com, once completed we can then include your music on the ‘All-Blanket’ sync catalogue and put you forward for further opportunities with our broadcast partners that will potentially see your recordings used on thousands of jukeboxes around the UK.

#53 The Sentric Music Podcast August 2014

•August 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The kids are off school. They need entertaining *constantly* (seriously; what’s that about? Why can’t they just have a nice sit down for a while?) so here’s an hour of music to keep them occupied as you get some alone time with a cup of tea which has a healthy nip of brandy in it. This month featuring:

Canterbury //
Eliza Shaddad //
SG Lewis //
Jane Weaver //
The Pretty Littles //
Luke Cusato //
Huskies //
Samoans //
Miracles //
Great Pagans //
Rameses B //
Algernon Doll //
Wonderlush //

#51 The Sentric Music Podcast June 2014

•June 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

June. The World Cup, Wimbledon and, as this podcast is uploaded into the world, it’s only bloody sunny as well isn’t it?! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE I TELL YOU!!! With all these amazing things happening you’re going to need a soundtrack to go with your new Ray Bans and fancy headphones aren’t you? Good job we’re here then with a podcast featuring some of the best new music you’ll discover this summer. Including…

Shy Nature //
Cattle & Cane //
Death At Sea //
Ian Britt //
Young Rival //
Human Pyramids //
HighFields //
Gallery Circus //
Paris Burns //
Blizzard //
Sam Airey //
Freeze The Atlantic //

 
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