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Immaculate Collections

By Published on .

Do you know where your next brand anthem is coming from? Instead of shopping for it on iTunes—and finding out it's not available—try switching on your Xbox, or surfing one of a growing number of music collections that have been built with licensing in mind, where the tracks are cleared and ready to go.

Hank Music
Hank Music

Ten Music's online music library, Hank, began life six years ago, when the Venice-based shop distributed hard drives packed with a searchable collection of tracks from its roster of independent record labels. Plans to take it online began almost immediately, and the new Hank officially launched— after 10 months in beta—in April. The current version boasts 10,000 tracks from 42 labels and two publishers, and Ten Music president Sarah Gavigan says she hopes it will become the "category killer" for producers and creatives looking for the next cool thing. "Our goal for Hank is to do for music licensing what Getty did for image licensing," she says, adding that 50 percent of Ten Music's licensing deals now originate with a client finding a track via Hank. In addition to music from hip acts like Matthew Dear and Architecture in Helsinki, users get access to pre-release tracks, so they can scout for their next track way ahead of the curve.

Trackdown Music
Trackdown Music
Trackdown Music

As a former partner in L.A. music house Admusic, Korbin Kraus knows what happens to the demos music houses create in the pursuit of ultra-competitive advertising jobs. "One wins and the rest die," he says. Kraus's new venture, Trackdown Music, hopes to bring all those discarded pieces together into a "resource for people in the industry to go and find great music that has been written with an ad in mind." Trackdownmusic.com, which officially launches this month, contains 8,000+ tracks categorized by style, all created by music houses and composers working in the advertising field. The tracks aren't sourced to their composers, because, as Kraus says, "if you keep it anonymous, then the playing field is leveled for everybody and the music stands on its own merit." The site also includes a handy tool that allows you to audition songs against video from your local hard drive. "It is difficult for people that own houses that are creating original music, and this is another venue for them to move the music that is sitting around collecting dust, but is still great music."

Igor Music
Igor Music

"'Library' to me really applies to these vast oceans of music that are lying around online that are not necessarily great quality," says Michael Montes, executive creative director at Sacred Noise, the New York music house behind the newly launched music collection known as Igor. "I really wanted to create this art gallery that was much more artist-focused than focused on generic concepts like rock, pop and tempos. As you go from artist to artist in the Igor website, I wanted it to feel like you're going through different rooms of an art gallery." Currently, Igor—named for Montes' favorite composer, Igor Stravinsky—includes rooms devoted to licensable music by Philip Glass, Montes, Brooklyn funk and soul label Daptone, and the bands B-Monster and Chimp. Montes says the collection will expand to include room for 15 to 20 artists, but stresses that the strength of Igor is its focus. "I want to really, really be selective," he says. "I don't want to waste my clients' time with an ocean of noise."


Last fall, EA Games inked a deal with music management company Nettwerk to create Artwerk, a company that will release records and license the music created for EA's games to advertising, TV, and film. "Normally for a videogame, you would license a song that already exists," says Julie Hurwitz, senior director of creative development at Nettwerk. "But in this situation, EA has commissioned songs to be written for their videogames and now we're licensing them for other media." The collection includes 1,000+ tracks by name brand composers like Mark Mothersbaugh, Joe Satriani, and Paul Oakenfold, who scored the games The Sims, Nascar 2006, and Goldeneye, respectively. Expect a six-disc promotional boxed set of the collection to make the rounds this summer, followed by Artwerk's first release—a full-length CD from established Belgian DJ Junkie XL, who scored the EA snowboarding title SSX Blur.
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