Hassle free music solution for advertising agencies


We all know the stresses involved in getting the perfect song to add that extra special effect when creating an unforgettable advert. Why settle for good when it could be great?

Music in TV commercials, radio adverts and other mediums may be challenging and very stressful to agencies and companies rs who aren’t experienced in this discipline, therefore services provided by music supervisors like independent music/license clearances and possible music replacement are available to assist music users throughout the entire complicated and often confusing process of music licensing.

With the tough economic climate South Africa is currently experiencing, advertising agencies and their clients may find themselves facing deadline and budget challenges when licensing music, even more so when licensing international songs. The nature of licensing any piece of music is that the user requires approval from the all original copyright holders, which, depending on the songs originating territory and the number of copyright holders, may take some time which could possibly delay any pre-planned flighting schedules. As a music user, there are a number of factors to consider when sourcing your ideal song.

One of the biggest factors to consider when licensing a piece of music is the music’s origin. Is it a big international song, or is it a continental/local song? The territory will provide an indication of possible cost estimates, turnaround times and the number of people you may need to deal with on a license. The nature of licensing an international song is one that requires slightly more time in comparison to a local track, as approval is required of the all the original copyright holders and their representation. This may be a challenge depending on who currently represents the rights and how active they are. In some instances you may even find yourself liaising directly with the artist/composer, as they have no representation. Also potential time delays with the Americas who only respond next day. This becomes slightly more challenging for an individual without any past experience in the field, especially when dealing with ‘classic’ (very dated) tunes, as it may become harder to locate the rights holders. Depending on the number of copyright holders involved in the music, you may find yourself liaising with 2 all the way to +7 people in attaining the necessary clearance, namely from the Record label and Publisher. “This can be scaled all the way down to one person when utilising the supervisory service of Sheer Publishing,” says Brett Vorster the Production Music Licensor at Sheer Publishing. “This is a great service for Advertising agencies and Productions Houses as it becomes one less thing to worry about in the midst of everything else thats being prepared for the production,” he continues.

Due to the ever-fluctuating exchange rate, licensing an international song may cost you an ‘arm and a leg’ as quotes and costs will be set out in dollars/pounds. Using African compositions are ever so advantageous in scenarios like this. The communication with rights holders may also be speedier and far more direct. It’s important to know that a clearance may take anything from a week to a year due the complex nature of budgets, licensing terms, medium and term requested, and the overall negotiation, which makes it very important to plan ahead of time.

When deciding on a potential piece of music to accompany a visual image, a client needs to consider whether the campaign is creative or budget driven. This will provide the music supervisor with a clear cut an indication of which strategy needs to taken when procuring the music at the outset, better yet, the most cost effective and timeous solution. In many instances, a client may find themselves creatively drawn to a piece of music because of its audio visual synergy and how the emotional feel of the music works perfectly within the advert, only to find that they can’t afford the “fees for that piece” of music. “When faced with a such a problem, replacement options are a viable alternative in conveying the message,” says Mandrew Mnguni, the Creative Head at Sheer Publishing. “This enables a client to keep the music at a consistent level with the visual, at a more affordable price,” he continues. “We also know how sensitive time is in the advertising industry thus we pride ourselves on quick turnaround time, from sourcing replacement options, to procuring cost/quoting estimates, receiving approval, all the way down to the final stage of facilitating license agreements,” he adds. Replacement options are generally easier to clear as the Music Supervisor would ideally curate 100% owned/represented pieces of music to avoid the clearance involvement of other rights holders, thus make the process quicker and smoother. Replacements can be approached in a number of ways depending on which characteristic within a song you are looking to find a replacement for. This ranges from Live to electronically composed music, the overall feel of the music, the genre, the message being conveyed, and most commonly the lyrical content of the music. Thus the replacement options will strongly depend on which traits within the music are driving the creative message/goal in the advert.

Should it come to light that the music’s involvement in the campaign/advert is budget driven, options such as Commissioned music and Library/Production music are often the way to go. Commissioning is a great option as the final piece of music is user defined, thus the commissioner can prescribe guidelines for the composers to work from. It is also advantageous to commission music as this allows you to pre-clear the proposed fee with composers pitching for the job. “We represent a variety of composers ranging from the world renowned film scorer Phillip Miller, to the super hit producer of singles such as AKA’s Baddest and All Eyes on Me, Tweezy,” says Mandrew. “This allows Sheer Publishing to cater to any and all musical genres by so making us a one stop shop in commissioning music,” he continues.

But what if I don’t like the end product? Well – it has a lot to do with the initial information and reference music provided. Firstly it is very important to word the brief in a specific manner to get to the correct and expected final outcome. When all’s said and done, music can tweaked, and adapted where it is deemed necessary, without forgetting to mention that until a clients happy, the job is not done. Commissioning may be more effective when experiencing deadline constraints as it’s generally more time efficient than the nail-biting wait when requesting clearance for a commercial piece of the music.

Over and above than commission works will deem you the copyright holder of the master recording of the commissioned music, making it more effective should you plan on reusing the commissioned piece for other campaigns or renewing for subsequent years. Is there a solution that may be cheaper than commissioning? Well – Yes. Production Music is one of the best options when working with a concise budget. Production/Library music is an inordinately great source of music. “With amazing rates and an abundance of music to choose from, Production music is a music user’s dream,” says Brett Vorster, the Production Music Licensor at Sheer Publishing. For more information regarding Production/Library Music please see the article below.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a large shift in the consumption and licensing of African Music over the continent and it’s usage over various mediums. Most recently we’ve seen a change in South Africa with a shift to the 90% play-listing mandate of local content. As a result of this, we’ll soon be seeing a positive and strong shift in the licensing of Local content for Advertising Agencies and like music users..

With a reservoir of authentically brewed African music, free music searches and some serious bang for your buck, look no further than Sheer Publishing for all your music needs.

By Zwelibanzi Sisilana


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