Introduction to a changing music industry

The music industry had to deal with change early and has since had to adapt to several waves of change. The latest revolution in the industry is streaming, subscription music and this has been described by some as the final blow to the music busines model.

With so many common themes running across all Media content stakeholder are there things we can learn from the industry that had to deal with them first? Fast Media Magazine will publish a series of articles exploring the future of the music industry and learnings others can take from its experience.

I talked to Martin Hasselbring, Managing Director at Jimmy Turner music consultancy in the UK and asked him to give me a short introduction on his company and the industry. Martin will also be a participant in our upcoming music roundtable, more on this later.

How have you landed in music consultancy? 

After working for Getty Images for 3 years for the film and media management divisions I landed a job at Ricall, an online music licensing platform.  After 2 years at Ricall I decided to start up my own business and bring a music consultancy to life. 

How does Jimmy Turner work; what is different? 

When I left Ricall many thought I was going to start another advertising synch company but the plan was to start a fully integrated music consultancy.  We didn’t want to concentrate solely on the advertising world and explore some of the “non-conventional” routes to synch.  We have done a handful of synchs for MTV/ Footlocker, Odeon Cinemas and Xbox, we’re also working on music supervision for a feature film (Highgate Vampire) and we also have a digital project on the make for Simon Ellis (currently music director for Britney Spears’ Circus world tour).  Keeping Jimmy Turner as a music consultancy allows us to work on any project that has a music angle and use our contacts to make it happen…without being pigeon hold into 1 service offering.  

What’s the state of the Stock audio business right now? 

Not really my speciality but I’m hearing stock audio being considered for some high visibility briefs which would never had considered production music in the past.  With the economic downturn everyone’s looking for a track that fits the budget and maybe not necessarily the brief.     

What types of audio content products are there? 

You can get anything from sound effects to loops (bass, drum, etc), sound-a-like tracks to the real deal.  You should be able to find any sort of music that will fit your brief and budget.    

What are the different business models that audio is sold through ?

Most publishers/ labels will have their own website that you can search for tracks that they manage so you can go direct.  There are a couple websites who support some of the majors and independents which will allow you to request licenses and act as a music broker.  You also have your traditional synch agencies which will work closely with the labels/ publishers and push tracks which match the brief.  Then you have your stock/ production music which allow you to buy tracks straight from the web.      

How is pricing determined? 

For commercial tracks the most important bits are term, territory and what it’s being synch’d for.  The more famous the artist or the more known the song is, the more expensive it will be.  When it comes to production music term, territory and what it’s being synch’d are the normal basis as well but most libraries will have a set price depending on the above criteria for their tracks.    

Are prices stable through the recession and changest in the industry?

With budgets eroding it’s having a knock on effect regarding pricing for commercial tracks…labels and publishers are accepting much lower fees for tracks they would have made 2 to 3x as much a couple years back.  Production music prices have also come down due to the market becoming more competitive and everyone chasing the £’s and $’s to get their music used. 

 Will audio ever become a commodity?

I can not imagine commercial music ever becoming a commodity for the fact that it’s not produced to be used for product promotion purposes…it’s being produced to be enjoyed, hopefully by the masses, and not because it would make a great track for an advertisement.  On the flip side I think stock/ production music is becoming more of a commodity because it’s being produced for advertising, broadcast, etc purposes…and not to become a #1 hit in the charts.   

How do clients know what model is best for them?

Budgets, budgets, budgets!

How many companies sell Audio and where are they based mostly? 

There are so many production music companies out there, all over the world.  For the most part the Asia, UK and USA are probably home to the majority of the players in the market. 

Are there particular immature markets that these companies are looking out for?

With the Eastern European market becoming more established in the broadcast/ advertising there are some great opportunities…if you have the infrastructure in place to make the contact. 

 How big is the market for Stock Audio and total Audio licensing? 

Very good question…if you find out can you let me know?!  Because many of the production music companies are independent it’s tough to get an exact number and since commercial synch’s are lumped into the overall figure it’s tough to know how much the synch market is actually worth. 

Is it a growing business and how much has the recession impacted things?

With budgets shrinking it’s hitting the market hard…smaller budgets = smaller fees.  But it seems that music is being used more and more from websites, virals, downloads, etc…It’s just taking more jobs to bring in the revenue. 

 What are the innovations of note in the industry lately? 

Sites like Spotify and Jango are changing the way we listen to music…

 Does Audio ever get sold in partnership with visuals and if it does, how does this work?

 What I learned when I started at Ricall is that the people looking for music were normally the same people looking for stock footage; so everyone is well aware of the players in the stock image/ footage market.

What are the developments to watch the coming 2 years?  

How mobile is going to incorporate more music and music hubs for B2C/ B2B…

And what are your plans, how will you develop and grow the business? 

We’ll keep focusing on the “bigger picture” when it comes to music; focusing on digital projects that can be developed, scaled and launched in multiple territories.  Music supervision for film will be in the mix…while still bringing in the occasional advertising synch.  Pretty much business as usual!  


 Jimmy Turner is a fully integrated music consultancy dedicated to working together and in partnership with the international creative community. At Jimmy Turner we believe that imagination, inspiration and ingenuity are what it takes to achieve success.

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

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