Sound Q&A: Musical Merging

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Sometimes big decisions are easy. Take, for example, the recent merger between Bang Music and Music On Demand (MOD) Productions. Bang, on the East Coast, specialized in commercials projects, while MOD, on the West Coast, did most of its business in film and television—and both wanted more work in the other's area of expertise. So what started three years ago with various TV soundtrack collaborations, including the music for Scrubs, has now become an official merger of resources. We spoke with Bang/MOD executive producer Brian Jones about the new deal.

What were the differences between these companies before the merger?
Brian Jones: MOD didn't have a real foothold in commercials; it was more geared toward film and television. Bang has been around for a long time and just had the name that MOD didn't in this industry. Aaron Green [Bang/MOD executive producer] and I started talking about what we're doing, future goals and the kind of work we're often asked to do, and we found we could be very good business partners in different areas. MOD had a far greater catalog of things that were TV- and film-ready, but whenever they didn't have something they'd call us because we'd always have things from various music projects. So it became a very simple way for us to provide a better, more complete package on either coast than we each were able to offer separately.

What other improvements have come from the new deal?
It's about covering time zones. We're in New York and they're in L.A., so there's that three-hour cushion for some projects. And my writing partner, Espen Noreger, lives in Norway; with the availability of digital file transfer, he can use that six-hour time difference to work on things while we're sleeping. We just finished the music for a show on Bravo called Shear Genius and we're working on another reality show for E! We're using two composers from Norway primarily because the talent is there and we have that time zone buffer to give more attention to the project. They can get it delivered at least six hours earlier than I could from here in New York.

How does the merger impact the commercials industry?
The ad world really needs to be working on the highest level, and we point to films and popular artists as examples of that level. We know the ad world is quite capable of creating great things, but a lot of commercials music/sound tends to get dumbed down because it's in a shorter format or people feel it's a jingle. We're looking to provide, in a very real-time way, a feature film-level of quality with our combined re-sources.

Why is music/sound often put off to the last minute in advertising?
Thankfully, I think many times it's the music that gets the creative ideas going in the first place. But it is often left until later, and I assume that it's about the money spent on film and all the time involved in shooting the film. Our point to this whole merger is that we understand why it happens; we want to make sure the client doesn't suffer because the music or sound design came last.
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