Corporate Music - How to Compose with no Soul

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Yonatan
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Post 25 Oct 2019

Stumbled across this video. Very entertaining and also a bit sad when knowing how soulless market forces have come to infringe on our lives. Cannot help but also seeing that this sickness has taken over also Reason Studios since it began to go a more streamlined way. Also so many RE videos that don´t show actual devices sounds but are more bathing in a lot of background nonsense, because that is how the trend has been, even for audio and music production marketing. Don´t know how many products that turns me off in their own commercials or promotion videos or even their demo sounds. And all are doing it, NI, Akai, Roland, and all the rest. It is unbelievable why smaller company like Reason, are trying to imitate the bigger ones, instead of building on the uniqueness that ones was their way. I prefer more "silence" instead of all background blipping.
And if corporates want to be seen as genuine, they should become that and start to act in a more saner way.

"Buy this device, software or product and sound or be just as every other advertisement or trailer ever made". Soon AI will just do all this with no effort at all and most tasks will be automated. I believe in the offspring of this a new wave of genuine creative expression will start to grow again. This corporate way will not last, soon the bubble will just burst. Off course it will probably happen synced with global financial collapse and mass unemployment. See how young peoples mass protests are beginning to spread. It will be a wakeup cold shower but it will bring many millions to their true senses and creative hearts. And environmental issues and the huge financial gaps will have to be adressed for real, not just "pretend".

What do you think? Is there any end to this corporate mainstream urban highlife trend?


Corporate Music - How to Compose with no Soul

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diminished
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Post 25 Oct 2019

Yonatan wrote:
25 Oct 2019
As if "buy this device or software and sound just as every other advertisement or trailer ever made". Soon AI will just do all this with no effort at all. I believe in a new wave of genuine creative expression. This corporate way will not last, soon the bubble will just burst.
Agree. Every "culture" will produce its counter culture. Meaningless Future Bass and "ahhh uuuh" pseudo Indie Pop will be looked down upon in 3 years or even less. There's always movement..

At the same time, corporations will continue to exploit whatever the next hottest hip shit is. I'm betting 5 bucks we'll hear lo-fi hip hop in Fortune 500 commercials soon if we aren't already.
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Periwinkle
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Post 25 Oct 2019

That's weird, I was watching this very same video yesterday. Probably something to do with Reason users and YouTubes' algorithm or something.

I guess this has something to do with why large corporates like to attach their soulless products to iconic and heartfelt pieces of music.

It concerns me deeply that there may be a whole generation of people who think of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain as the BASF theme music (Do BASF even exist anymore?) What next, Barber's Adagio for hair care products?
Image

.“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”

― Banksy

Yonatan
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Post 25 Oct 2019

diminished wrote:
25 Oct 2019
At the same time, corporations will continue to exploit whatever the next hottest hip shit is. I'm betting 5 bucks we'll hear lo-fi hip hop in Fortune 500 commercials soon if we aren't already.
Oh yes, they will take on what ever cheap clothing there is to not show off as a vulture.

And to be fair, same goes to political parties, governmental institutions and NGO:s, beside corporations. "We understand the cool kids" they seem to want to display. But it is like if parents come in the kids room when they have friends over and the parents try to impress on them. :)

When these try to be arty or show off as "one of you", it just gets very lame.

One field where music still can play an elevated role, is in good movies or TV-series. There, a symbiotic thing can appear and an ok song can be uplifted by an good movie, and an ok movie can come better off with a really interesting soundtrack.
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Yonatan
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Post 25 Oct 2019

Periwinkle wrote:
25 Oct 2019
That's weird, I was watching this very same video yesterday. Probably something to do with Reason users and YouTubes' algorithm or something.

I guess this has something to do with why large corporates like to attach their soulless products to iconic and heartfelt pieces of music.

It concerns me deeply that there may be a whole generation of people who think of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain as the BASF theme music (Do BASF even exist anymore?) What next, Barber's Adagio for hair care products?
Algorytmic music maybe. :)

Yes, you mean when corporates are using a famous piece of already existing music. Oh, yes that can be even more horrible. Might even prefer they just use the soulless background music than destroying a piece of artwork forever. Associations is so strong in its wiring, which these corporations knows, so suddenly young generations can say out a corporate brand when they hear a song. All the classical works has been exploited, and a lot of music from 60:s or 70:s and so on, few tunes left, they just went through the whole list. But it must be very costy for them but is very effective way to give a brand a better image. But nowadays every penny is turned so that late capitalist markets are kind of eating up their own tale. So they dont even bother anymore to pay for association with a good song, they just put out some AI lines, and maybe that is with a relief, as it is not nice having to almost disgust over really good songs just because they have been exploited by some brand commercials.
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TritoneAddiction
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Post 25 Oct 2019

Interesting clip.

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Periwinkle
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Post 25 Oct 2019

Also, chocolate boxes and Renoir. To these people, art is just a commodity.

Power to the people!

It's quite interesting to see that several recording artists seem to have actively sought that a connection should not be made between their material and a certain current American president.
Image

.“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”

― Banksy

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MrFigg
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Post 25 Oct 2019

HELL YEAH!!!!! The revolution will NOT be televised.

xboix
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Post 25 Oct 2019

MrFigg wrote:
25 Oct 2019
HELL YEAH!!!!! The revolution will NOT be televised.
No. It will be streamed live and people will crash the internet trying to complain about how offended they think they are.

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bxbrkrz
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Post 25 Oct 2019

Yonatan wrote:
25 Oct 2019
Stumbled across this video. Very entertaining and also a bit sad when knowing how soulless market forces have come to infringe on our lives. Cannot help but also seeing that this sickness has taken over also Reason Studios since it began to go a more streamlined way. Also so many RE videos that don´t show actual devices sounds but are more bathing in a lot of background nonsense, because that is how the trend has been, even for audio and music production marketing. Don´t know how many products that turns me off in their own commercials or promotion videos or even their demo sounds. And all are doing it, NI, Akai, Roland, and all the rest. It is unbelievable why smaller company like Reason, are trying to imitate the bigger ones, instead of building on the uniqueness that ones was their way. I prefer more "silence" instead of all background blipping.
And if corporates want to be seen as genuine, they should become that and start to act in a more saner way.

"Buy this device, software or product and sound or be just as every other advertisement or trailer ever made". Soon AI will just do all this with no effort at all and most tasks will be automated. I believe in the offspring of this a new wave of genuine creative expression will start to grow again. This corporate way will not last, soon the bubble will just burst. Off course it will probably happen synced with global financial collapse and mass unemployment. See how young peoples mass protests are beginning to spread. It will be a wakeup cold shower but it will bring many millions to their true senses and creative hearts. And environmental issues and the huge financial gaps will have to be adressed for real, not just "pretend".

What do you think? Is there any end to this corporate mainstream urban highlife trend?


Corporate Music - How to Compose with no Soul

This is also true for most recent big budget movies. It's hard (for me) to remember if there was a theme attached to a particular character. Very bland. Nothing sticky. Maybe I could blame Hans (expect for Inception)?
Big budget movies are big money machines, maybe not surprising if they would follow the same concept as selling burgers, or selling the idea of being green like BP.
Great video.

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BRIGGS
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Post 25 Oct 2019

Monster truck music FTW!!!
Last edited by BRIGGS on 27 Oct 2019, edited 2 times in total.
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Periwinkle
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Post 25 Oct 2019

@bxbrkrz

What about Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and the LOTR movies?

Then their's Danny Elfman - he's a monster. Not just the Simpsons Theme, but Nightmare before Christmas is epic.







Image

.“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”

― Banksy

mcatalao
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Post 25 Oct 2019

Hey man, I've done corporate music. My only regret is not making more!

It puts money in the pocket and food in the plate so... Frak it!

Fun video, he makes fun with the bread and butter of the thing! :)

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bxbrkrz
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Post 25 Oct 2019

@Periwinkle
Beetlejuice , Batman, Mars Attacks. Great themes. They all have the same 'flavor', still great none the less.


James Horner's


Daniel Lindholm's


Bear McCreary's


Michael Kamen's



Ennio Morricone's






I was mostly thinking of themes attached to characters, rather than a movie, or TV shows. I can't remember any themes attached to any of the Marvel's characters as an example. The new Star Wars? Nothing specific (to me). Again it is just me and my own bias of course. I guess this is what I meant by 'recent big budget movies'.

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Timmy Crowne
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Post 25 Oct 2019

I have respect for Tantacrul’s work and enjoy his videos, but I disagree with him on this one. While he’s correct that corporate music tends to fit narrowly-defined parameters, his analysis is half-done. He doesn’t tackle the basic reason why corporate music exists: it works. Suggesting that billion-dollar companies license certain music for their advertising simply because they’re soulless capitalists, without mentioning the fact that millions of consumers find such ads compelling, is rather bizarre.

Now someone might argue that trends in advertising exist merely because monkey-see-monkey-do; one random commercial has freakish success, and all the other marketing houses try to replicate it. But this theory only works if such successful music (and by extension all music) has no real meaning or value. Tantacrul doesn’t seem to hold this position, since he evaluates corporate music as uninteresting, lame, inane and hackneyed. He slaps pop cues in the vein of U2 with the label “nothing-music,” yet he offers no insights as to what proper advertising music should sound like.

Has he never encountered an advertisement that featured good music which honestly complemented the product? Should advertising have no music? Should there be no advertising at all?

His critique illustrates how the sour cynicism of the individual can devalue an art form as much as the sugary idealism of the corporation.

Yonatan
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Post 26 Oct 2019

mcatalao wrote:
25 Oct 2019
Hey man, I've done corporate music. My only regret is not making more!

It puts money in the pocket and food in the plate so... Frak it!

Fun video, he makes fun with the bread and butter of the thing! :)
As long as it feeds musicians or producers, that is fair and good.

But probably it will become less and less of that as automation goes on,
or at least that it gets into fewer and fewer hands. Subscribing to some
service and all is streamlined like a fast food drive in, both video and music.
Automation comes in more, making everything faster.
And in music production we follow along. The expectation is to produce fast,
and that makes things sound more or less "preset-based" and from template.

And honestly, it is logical in how the world is today. And I do prefer corporate
videos to use less artistic music. How terrible it would be if mediocre
mainstream corporations would use really extraordinary music.
If the background music does not mirror the company, then it
would be a waste of talent. For instance, if I were to make
music track for a corporate add, and I came up with something
of great artistic value, I would save that and instead make a less good
music that sound more like mainstream and that I would never think
would be good enough for stand alone.

We all surely have a dozens of such beats or musical ideas laying around.
Untitled this or that, testing a new device etc. And we know it is not terrible,
it sound ok, may have a cool sound, but nothing that has the spark enough
to ever become something we develop into our own work or it is a style
we are too far from having any use of.

So, personally, I have nothing against doing this bread and butter work.

How do you go about and find this kind of work?
Have you seen any changes in the field, is it getting easier or harder?
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Yonatan
Posts: 820
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Post 26 Oct 2019

Timmy Crowne wrote:
25 Oct 2019
I have respect for Tantacrul’s work and enjoy his videos, but I disagree with him on this one. While he’s correct that corporate music tends to fit narrowly-defined parameters, his analysis is half-done. He doesn’t tackle the basic reason why corporate music exists: it works. Suggesting that billion-dollar companies license certain music for their advertising simply because they’re soulless capitalists, without mentioning the fact that millions of consumers find such ads compelling, is rather bizarre.

Now someone might argue that trends in advertising exist merely because monkey-see-monkey-do; one random commercial has freakish success, and all the other marketing houses try to replicate it. But this theory only works if such successful music (and by extension all music) has no real meaning or value. Tantacrul doesn’t seem to hold this position, since he evaluates corporate music as uninteresting, lame, inane and hackneyed. He slaps pop cues in the vein of U2 with the label “nothing-music,” yet he offers no insights as to what proper advertising music should sound like.

Has he never encountered an advertisement that featured good music which honestly complemented the product? Should advertising have no music? Should there be no advertising at all?

His critique illustrates how the sour cynicism of the individual can devalue an art form as much as the sugary idealism of the corporation.
Yes, you have good points there. I also thought he went a bit harsh when attacking U2 suddenly. It is very much his personal bias more than objective. I too wanted to hear more why he went so hard and he did not explain his point, just made the remark as if it was unquestionable truth.

I myself have nothing against the use of elevator music per se, I mean the term "furniture music" came with Erik Satie 1917. Music and sounds can be used in so many ways, it is not just for sitting and listening on an musical album. (why the heck did that linking got automatically added there? Shows just how corporate powers takes over the world! :)

I many times find overly used sounds and music in many places and in movies and so on, as a bit bothering at times. But some want it like that. Using sound and music like sugar to sometimes cover a bad taste, just to tap into the emotions, which drives most peoples judgements and actions as we many times tend to act on impulses from outside stimulus. So music and sound has a magical component to it and can also be used to manipulate our moods or nudge our direction of focus and so our current state of mind. I find it more interesting as a phenomena to be aware of, just as being aware of how words impact our minds and our identity etc. Awareness is what is refreshing. Awareness of the environment, sounds, music, how visual things are affecting us etc. The part of this video that has some kind of effect on making one a bit more aware of the use of music in this way, is what I find interesting. And I agree on his point about the hollowness of modern mainstream corporate lifestyle in office buildings. But yes, he does walk on thin ice, coloring an interesting analysis with a bit too much of a personal taste, not being enough clear about his point, as you say, he does not come with any other or further suggestions, it stays as a critique, but less solutions.
I mean it is obvious that corporate or organisation or promotional video adds have a certain "nowhere" and "nothing" to it. It is often times just a way to engage our mind and emotion at same time, but only enough so that we dont get distracted by either a too great piece of music that we forget the message, but just enough to keep us floating along 20 or maximum 50 seconds watching an advertisement.
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MrFigg
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Post 26 Oct 2019

I read the first bit of your post and stopped when I got to U2. There was a post a while ago asking something like was it possible to intentionally make objectively bad music. I think U2 have given us the answer to that question.

Yonatan
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Post 26 Oct 2019

MrFigg wrote:
26 Oct 2019
I read the first bit of your post and stopped when I got to U2. There was a post a while ago asking something like was it possible to intentionally make objectively bad music. I think U2 have given us the answer to that question.
haha, please explain what you mean!? :)

I have personally never been a listener on U2,
just not been interested in them as a band.

But calling them objectively bad...?
I can recall dozens of mainstream
bands that are in the same category.

What I can say is that I think U2 is bigger hyped than that serve them.
They should be better off having to struggle a bit more in an underground scene.
The big "superstar" aura that gets put on some artists and bands are just awful.

I have not been lured by the music that I heard by U2 on radio.
But, I saw they added an album on Itunes for free a couple of years ago.
I ignored it, but sometimes it went on automatically.
I remember that I one day gave it a shot when it came on, I actually listened to
all songs, and to my surprise I found that it was better than anything I heard from
them in the past. I did not became a follower and I deleted the album, but although
I think they have been overrated a lot, the songs I heard at least made me accept
that ok they are doing their thing and are not totally rubbish and big ego image.
Still not my cup of coffee, but I would not say they are objectively "bad".

Please tell me why I should consider otherwise. Why are they so bad?
(if putting aside that one might be annoyed by Bonos somewhat
self important image that may have been in the way of the music)
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MrFigg
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Post 26 Oct 2019

Reasons in no particular order:
1. Because they just are.
2. Bono
Last edited by MrFigg on 26 Oct 2019, edited 1 time in total.

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MrFigg
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Post 26 Oct 2019

Bono.
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Yonatan
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Post 26 Oct 2019

MrFigg wrote:
26 Oct 2019
Reasons in no particular order:
1. Because they just are.
2. Bono
Well, that is legit for personal taste. One has to somewhat relate to the singer and the overall feel of a band or artist.
To relate to the performer is such a big part of a musical experience when it comes to the Pop and Rock world.
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mcatalao
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Post 26 Oct 2019

Yonatan wrote:
26 Oct 2019

But probably it will become less and less of that as automation goes on,
or at least that it gets into fewer and fewer hands. Subscribing to some
service and all is streamlined like a fast food drive in, both video and music.
Automation comes in more, making everything faster.
And in music production we follow along. The expectation is to produce fast,
and that makes things sound more or less "preset-based" and from template.

(...)

So, personally, I have nothing against doing this bread and butter work.

How do you go about and find this kind of work?
Have you seen any changes in the field, is it getting easier or harder?
I agree, the automation evolution will probably remove some people of this job. Luckily i work with computers (and have worked with robotic automation) so i might be one of the guys who'll be fracking other people's jobs... :)

I've been out of the loop, but my idea is that most people who work on this, now just make a lot of stuff and put it on Library/stock sites, like pond and others.

But i've done stuff for some local brands, the biggest one till now, was Companhia das Lezirias's promotion vídeo for Lisboa Dakar in 2008 (which was unfortunately later cancelled because of terrorism threats). In that case, part of the project stood as the company's logo/overture as you can see in this video from Youtube:



That was a well paid job, though it was about 30 minutes of music with a narrator on top!

From there most stuff I've done was more "internal".

The sad thing about libraries, is you don't know where your stuff is going to. Probably because thought for some while the songs are simple, imho the "soulless" description is not completely accurate.
However, the good thing about libraries, is that it puts you in contact with the buyers, and if you're out of the loop, as i'm now, it's a good way to restart selling stuff.

Anyway, for internal stuff most companies will turn to the libraries, and for promotions like that one from Companhia das Lezírias, they will be more exquisite and ask for original songs for the videos. For that you want to team with a video production company.

This work has never been easy, mostly on the prospecting part. It's a bit easier for this kind of stuff but buyers will not come your way, you have to search a lot, pitch a lot and so on.
I had a good partnership with a studio 4 years ago, where i made arrangements for other people. But at some point i got ill, and had to turn down some work, and they started to work with another guy.

So... Out of the loop! :/

mcatalao
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Post 26 Oct 2019

Yonatan wrote:
26 Oct 2019

I have personally never been a listener on U2,
just not been interested in them as a band.

But calling them objectively bad...?
I can recall dozens of mainstream
bands that are in the same category.
Agree.

In art nothing is objectively bad and nothing is objectively good (unless you go for some extremes, like taking a shit on a plateau, or playing a music piece at 4 beats per decade - and yes this things are real).

I'm not a big fan of U2, they are very repetitive and I've never connected much with their songs. It's that kind of band that i never felt compelled to hear them. Same with Cranberries. Maybe it's the arrangements, maybe the format (the melodies are simple and hooky but the arrangement is always the same, and those delayed signature guitars, are ok for 2 songs... ). But since the band does not compel me, i analyse it too much, and end up justifying it with technicalities.

Important to say, music is not only for musicians (we are the workers of music, like hoise builders build for other people we do music for other people too)... my wife loves both of these bands, and she doesn't understand how i don't like them.
If i ask her why she likes them, she will talk about the melodies (she's not a musician, for she doesn't give a frack to arrangement, or repetitiveness, or tone, and she likes the delayed guitar) and she will talk to me about the lyrics (that i probably have never really listened or try to understated, and the lyrics are quite connected to Ireland's history and events), and that's why U2 "touches" her.

So for my wife, they are emotionally good, and for me they don't compel me to hear them, so i tend to think about their music more objectively. I think its a doom, to hear to music too objectively.

But call them objectively bad is impossible, as stating corporate music is soul-less is also a stretch imho.

Corporate moguls are smart. If they thought the music they put in the videos and presentations didn't compel the viewers, they wouldn't put it there.
Last edited by mcatalao on 27 Oct 2019, edited 1 time in total.

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bxbrkrz
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Post 26 Oct 2019

Corporate music has to be produced for a particular culture. The goal is to sell a product to an audience that needs to feel special, not generic, interchangeable. In the video he describes composing for a particular style of music, instruments. He should do the 'same' video again, but across different cultures, then compare. We are so locked up in 'our' culture, we may forget everything does not sound the same everywhere (beyond the US/UK/EU's music culture bubble).



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