82: Settling the Underscore Vol. 1 - First Impressions
Behind every television commercial, there’s an entire economy dedicated to selecting, providing, creating and sourcing music. What was once considered the “jingle” business has now become one of the last sources of real income in recorded music. Today, publishers, bands, composers, production libraries, artists and labels are all vying for a piece of the pie.
The ecosystem of commercial music is largely invisible. I’ve spent over a decade in that ecosystem, writing music for hundreds of ads, for products including Coca-Cola, Visa, Google, Stella Artois, Garnier, and Ford.
In this first of a series of episodes dedicated to the world of commercial music, I talk to two composer / entrepreneurs who have each put in their time on both the creative and business end of things.
John “Scrapper” Sneider is a world class trumpet player. Before getting into writing commercial music, over 20 years ago, he was on the jazz scene working with Larry Goldings (Ep. 52), Chris Potter and Brad Mehldau. He still records and tours with singer Curtis Stigers, and he appears on some of my favorite records including those by Madeleine Peyroux (Ep. 28). Here he talks about pivoting back and forth from jazz to jingles and maintaining that balance. He also discusses how technology has changed the business, how writing for commercials influenced his trumpet playing, how to write good hip hop tracks, and the importance of strong personal relationships in advertising. He’s a partner at Storefront Music.
Wendell Hanes might be the most intensely committed people I’ve ever met. He is seemingly always working, always ready to jump on a call, take a job, revise a piece of music. He has endless energy and strong opinions about music, the business, and as he reveals here, life in general. Wendell is both a composer and a kind of coach. His books “The 30 - 30 Career” outline how to become a successful commercial composer. His company, Volition Sound makes music for commercials, tv, film and records.
I’ve worked for both of these companies and, and they each provide a unique point of view about the process of providing music for commercials.