Tuning into the Zeitgeist: First Annual Vision Sound Music Festival
TMV’s Laura Thorne attended the first annual Vision Sound Music Festival, a three-day event bringing together music, video games, film, and advertising held at London’s Southbank Centre.
The first day of the Festival focused on the B2B relationship-as founder Andrew Missingham stated in his welcome message: “we want to throw a spotlight on the relationship between visuals and audio…we want your four industries, music, film production, video games and advertising to find out a little more about how they work so you can do better business with one another.”
A consultant and creative industry strategist, Missingham’s current and recent clients include Nike, UK Music, The British Council, the BBC Performing Arts Fund, Radio 1xtra, the Music Publishers’ Association and the European Union. “Better art equals better business,” said Missingham in the keynote panel, and in today’s culture, for art lovers there are a variety of starting points from which to access it.
Panels included “SoundLounge: The Sound of a Brand,” “DJ Fresh, Lucozade & the Creative Process” (sponsored by the MPA) and “Synchronizing Sound to Games & Adverts”. Among the featured speakers were Gail Gallie (CEO, Fallon); Marc Robinson (Director of Film/TV/Advertising, Universal Music UK); Andy Varley (Managing Director, Insanity Talent Management), Duncan Smith (Music Supervisor, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) and Greg Turner (Senior Creative Licensing Manager, Universal).
As a whole musicians and their managers now recognise that getting a song placed in a TV show or in an ad is very much in their interest and will add value to their bottom line. However, according to Ruth Simmons, CEO of SoundLounge, music only represents 5% of the overall spend on advertising, and is often the element that is added only after the visuals are complete. Fallon’s Gallie alluded to an Orange ad campaign that was in development for six months, yet the music was only selected in the last five days prior to air-date. So connecting the dots sooner, or perhaps even making the music a fundamental part of the campaign from the get go was a theme that was repeated in the opening keynote panel and throughout the day.
The presentation “DJ Fresh, Lucozade & the Creative Process” illustrated just that concept, which saw the development and production of the ad, composition of the music and the marketing strategy for each integrally joined up with each other. Ad agency Grey London knew the credibility that could be generated within their target audience by associating the Lucozade brand with an on-trend genre and artist; therefore, the song was released as a single through Ministry of Sound and promoted in its own right well in advance before its use in the Lucozade ad. The result was a number one on the UK charts, adding considerable buoyancy to both Lucozade and DJ Fresh and showing how a rising commercial tide will lift all boats.
Similarly, the sci-fi video game Resistance 3, released by Sony, was used as a case study depicting the backstory behind a synchronization deal. Sony was looking to create a trailer promoting Resistance 3 for a gaming trade show. The search for music began, and ultimately the team identified two potential tracks, one by Johnny Cash and the other a little-known cover of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” by gospel/R&B group the Staples Singers. Cash’s estate were not willing to give permission for the Cash song to be used without seeing the completed trailer first, a request that impossible to fulfill in the time available. Fortunately, an agreement was negotiated with Dylan and the owners of the Staples’ recording, Milestone Records. The point was made that it is prudent to avoid getting attached to a specific track until the deal is done, and to always have viable alternatives under consideration should something fall through.
Among the other presentations were Brand Manager Will Hambleton of ie:music talking about revenue opportunities in social gaming and mobile apps (53% of Facebook users play games online) as related to his client Robbie Williams, and Real World’s Director Ed Averdieck on their new investment project, Cuesongs, offering “ready to go music rights” for online and mobile.
As recently reported by the PRS, UK B2B music industry revenue is growing, up 2.6% in 2010 (bucking the downward trend in business-to-consumer, which declined 7.3%). So the interest in advertising and branding by the music, film and gaming industries will escalate, along with the understanding that for a brand to truly maximise its success, it has to have a congruent marketing strategy that functions effectively across all circles of influence.
As such, Vision Sound Music Festival’s Director Andrew Missingham has tuned into the zeitgeist, and this year’s event will hopefully become an annual occasion.
Interview with VSM Festival Founder Andrew Missingham:
Cadbury’s 2007 ad featuring a gorilla and Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight”