Want to make money with your music? This is a must read interview for any producer looking to jump into the lucrative world of music licensing. David Whiteside from www.p5audio.com sat down with Campbell Collins, head of Q Music Collective (www.Qmusiccollective.com), one of the premier music licensing companies in Los Angeles, CA to discuss everything from the present music licensing market, to what it takes for a producer to get their music into film, television and multimedia. Here is the interview…
P5audio: Yo Campbell, thank you very much for taking some time out to speak with us…
Campbell Collins: IT’S AN HONOR FOR ME ARE YOU KIDDING! I’VE BEEN A FAN OF PHANTOM FOR YEARS.
P5: (Laughing!) Yes! We finally have a fan! Definitely appreciate that. So first question, how long have you been running Q Music Collective?
CC: ABOUT 5 YEARS. BUT WE WERE MUSIKDELUX, PART OF SOUNDELUX/ASCENT MEDIA BEFORE THAT SO TOTAL 7 YEARS.
P5: And who are some of your past and present clients?
CC: WE SUPPLY TO THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS SHOW FOLKS, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD, E! STYLE ETC.,
LOTS OF SERIES ON NBC, CBS ETC. WE DID 5 SHOWS FOR NBC LAST YEAR INC. CELEBRITY EXPOSE (MY NETWORK TV-FOX), HOLLYWOOD GREEN FOR PLANET GREEN AND TV ONE ACCESS FOR TV- ONE IN NY. PLUS, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, TRUE BLOOD AN SOME COMMERCIALS TO NAME WHAT I CAN REMEMBER.
P5: Very cool. You guys have your hands in a lot of stuff. Is there any particular style of music your catalog specializes in? Or do you guys cover all the musical bases?
CC: WE TEND TO BE YOUTH DEMOGRAPHIC; ROCK, ELECTRONIC, POP. BUT WE ALSO CONSIDER OURSELVES A MID-SIZE LIBRARY SO WE HAVE TO COVER OTHER BASES RATHER THAN TRY TO BE ALL THINGS OR TRY TO BE A STRONG NITCH PLAYER WE’RE MORE “BOUTIQUE GENERAL” IN OUR MARKET POSITION. WE HAVE AN ON-LINE SEARCH ENGINE AND AN OFFLINE LIBRARY OF MORE ESOTERIC STUFF TOO.
P5: So being that your offices are located on Vine, right in the heart of Hollywood, how important is location for you? Does operating here out of beautiful Los Angeles give you a strong advantage over your competitors?
CC: WE’RE HERE MOSTLY BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE WE’RE LOCATED. MY WIFE IS A TOTAL LOCAL,
HOLLYWOOD HIGH ETC. BUT IS MAKES MORE SENSE TO US TO BE REPRESENTING HERE. IF Q WERE IN SAN FRANCISCO PARAMOUNT WOULDN’T SEND OVER A DRIVER TO PICK UP TRACKS, AND I COULDN’T BUMP INTO THE FOLKS THAT SELECT THE MATERIAL OR TAKE THEM TO LUNCH WITHOUT A LOT MORE EFFORT. HOWEVER I KNOW A GUY IN PORTLAND THAT HAS MADE A PRETTY GOOD BUSINESS IN LICENSING MUSIC – PERHAPS ITS MORE ABOUT DRIVE AND VISION. IF I WERE IN SEATTLE I’D PROBABLY WANT TO BE IN THE COFFEE BUSINESS. BUT THAT’S ME.
P5: (Laughing)…exactly. Picking up on that point, highlight for me some of the reasons why you’ve been able to maintain such strong on-going relationships with music supervisors for major networks?
CC: SERVICE AND BEING ABLE TO TALK TO FOLKS AND TAKE THEM TO GOOD RESTAURANTS.
P5: Ahhh, so could one find you at Spago on a daily basis making deals?
CC: (Laughing) WELL, THAT CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE TO BE A VERY SPECIAL CLIENT. YOU KNOW THEY, UNDERSTANDABLY, ARE VERY BESET BY FOLKS LIKE US. WE NEED TO WALK A FINE LINE WITH THEM AND RESPECT THEIR SPACE OR WE’LL BE CONSIDERED PLACEMENT STALKERS BY THE DECISION MAKERS AND WE’LL SHOOT OURSELVES IN THE FOOT.
P5: I hear that, and that’s kind of the same thing for composers and producers wanting to submit material to your
library, right? You probably don’t want, like you said, “stalkers” hounding you with music that a) you might not need, or b) they might be submitting to other libraries to try and play the numbers game.
CC: EXACTLY. SAME THING.
P5: So With the explosion of all these new cable network stations creating thousands of hours of programming each
week, has this translated into increased opportunities for musicians and music placements as well?
CC: IT MUST, THOUGH THE BIG LIBRARIES SEEM TO BE EVERYWHERE AND IT IS WAY HARD TO PRY ANY MARKET SHARE AWAY FROM THEM. THEY JUST BUY YOU OUT IF YOU ARE DOING YOUR JOB TOO WELL.
P5: Well, then it sounds like you’ll be in for a payday sometime soon! Tell me, what advice would you give producers,
composers and songwriters who want to submit their material to you?
CC: BE PREPARED TO DO A LOT OF METADATA FOR EACH TRACK, DON’T SUBMIT CLUB TRACKS THAT TAKE 16 BARS TO GET INTO THE FIRST NEW LAYER AND ON AN ON. USE SOME REAL INSTRUMENTS IF YOU CAN. IF YOUR GOING TO DO SONGS WITH VOCALS ALSO PLAN TO DO AN INSTRUMENTAL TRACK AND HAVE IT USE AN INSTRUMENT TO REPLACE THE VOCAL…AND NOT EXACTLY MORE AS A FILL, KEEP IT INTERESTING AND REALLY I DON’T NEED A BUNCH OF ELECTRONIC SO SO CUT N’ PASTE STUFF. THE ELECTRONIC WE HAVE IS REALLY WELL DONE, IT IS MORE THAN A GENRE- IT IS A SPACE WHERE YOU CAN DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING WITH THE SOFTWARE- REALLY OPEN. I LOVE ELECTRONIC MUSIC THAT IS MORE A MASH WITH THE TECHNICALITY OF PROG ROCK OR JAZZ OR WORLD … ANYTHING INTERESTING.
P5: For those readers who don’t know about entering in METADATA for their tracks, can you briefly explain to them what that is, and why it’s so important?
CC: Mostly it is creating the information on a track. This usually includes; name of track, sometimes a reference number (your name is Jones your track might then
be j23 In Love), length (time), genre (ROCK, heavy metal, hip hop), tempo (medium or BPM), description (example: Slow Med (90 bpm) – Song – Girl Rock – Sultry Whining Female Vocals With Harmonic Chorus, Big Beat Drums, Distorted Bass, Heavy Guitars – Lyrics: Good Night – Reflective – Full, Song). What this does is assist you in making your music more monitizable, searchable (FINDABLE!) and categorizable. It is NOT as much fun as making the music but if you do like the time efficiency expert sez…”do the hard things first.” Get it out of the way and over with and you’ll be fine. It will help if you do it in a standard program like excel where you can search fields for your own purposes.
P5: And how important is it for musicians to keep their stuff sounding original versus trying to emulate current popular styles? Is it smart to try and do both?
CC: SINCE I CURRATE OUR MUSIC PERSONALLY I HAVE TO MAKE ME HAPPY FIRST AND I BELIEVE IF I AM SO WILL THE CLIENTS BE. TRYING TO SOUND LIKE THE CURRENT HITS IS AN ART FORM AND IMPORTANT YES WE LIKE TO HAVE THE LATEST STUFF MOST DEF BUT THIS IS ALSO A LITTLE DANGEROUS – YOU CAN’T DELIVER STUFF WITH TOO CLOSE A REFLECTION…YOU CAN GET IN TROUBLE. ONE THING REGARDING GETTING IN OUR LIBRARY – NO UNPAID FOR OR UNAUTHORIZED SAMPLES ANYWHERE. BIG PROBLEM ESPECIALLY IN HIP HOP. THAT’S WHY P5 IS SUCH A GREAT SOURCE – YOU DO THE TRACKS AND SELL THEM – IF YOU BOUGHT THE SAMPLES/LOOPS YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE THEM.
P5: See that P5-ers! You’re not wasting your money! You just heard it from the horse’s mouth! So tell me what are the most common problems with the tracks submitted to you?
CC: AGAIN, UNAUTHORIZED SAMPLES! ALSO UNIMAGINATIVE OR INACCURATE METADATA, PACKAGING THAT SAYS ROOKIE ALL OVER IT- WE LIKE CD’S WITH REGULAR NOT MINI CASES WITH THE INFO ON THE SPINE SO WE CAN SEE IT, ALL CONTACT INFORMATION ON THE DISC AND JEWEL, BAD MIXES ETC. ALSO, TRACKS SHOULD BE MASTERED FOR VOLUME.
P5: How is the music technology of today changed your business? Do you find that overall music quality has gone up or down? And has all of this technology made it more or less difficult to keep up with the demands of your clients?
CC: I HAD AN ANALOG STUDIO WITH A PARTNER IN SAN DIEGO AND JIM AND I LISTENED TO THE CATALOG MUSIC FROM THE ERA AND DECIDED WE DIDN’T WANT TO GO INTO THAT (THIS) BUSINESS (MAINLY) CAUSE IT WAS HARD TO LISTEN TO (UNINSPIRED PABLUM). NOW IT’S ALL DIFFERENT. THE CLIENTS ARE DEMANDING MUSIC THAT COMPETES WITH THE RADIO AND THE PRODUCERS CAN ALL MAKE THAT KIND OF MUSIC ON A DIME WHEN BEFORE IT TOOK A CONSIDERABLE POCKETBOOK TO GET A REEL BUILT. PERSONALLY I LIKE THAT IT IS EASIER TO MAKE GREAT SOUNDING MUSIC- EVERYBODY THAT WANTS TO SHOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE MUSIC FOR WHATEVER REASON THEY WANT TO (MAKE MUSIC). THERE ARE STILL STUDIOS AND THEY PRODUCE A SUPERIOR SOUND TO MOST HOME RIGS BUT IT CAN BE HARD TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE ON A BACKGROUND TRACK IN A TV SHOW.
P5: I totally agree. Last but not least, how big of an impact do you think Manny Ramirez’s 50 game suspension will have on the Dodgers?
CC: MANNY DEFINITELY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEREVER HE GOES. BUT FORTUNATELY THE DODGERS WERE A STRONG TEAM BEFORE HE SHOWED UP. THEY’LL BE FINE.
P5: Thanks again for your time Campbell!
CC: NO PROB!
To find out more about Campbell Collins and the services of Q Music Collective, visit http://www.Qmusiccollective.com.