Outlook 2019: A look at production music's strengths & weaknesses
Carl Peel & Luke Spry
Issue: December 1, 2018

Outlook 2019: A look at production music's strengths & weaknesses

Killer Tracks is a leading provider of production music and a global source for pre-cleared music for film, television, advertising and interactive media. Here, VP/head of music production Carl Peel and music director/producer Luke Spry (pictured L-R) look at the business's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.


The new generation of composers is a strength. Today, composers coming out of Berklee College of Music, the Musicians Institute and conservatories are savvy to the media landscape and potential licensing opportunities, and they’re hustling. They are trying to get cuts on records…and in car commercials. They want to write for video games. They are much more in tune with their style and what they’re good at, and they concentrate on that. In the past, composers often saw themselves as generalists who could work in various genres and they weren’t very savvy about business opportunities. We are finding it much easier to find and work with very good composers now because they understand the business and they’re willing to play ball. 


Competition is increasing and it’s diluting the quality of the product, especially at the low end. We are recording tracks with 60-piece orchestras in London and competing with people who are working out of their bedrooms. The quality they deliver may not be so good, but the cost is less. Maybe that works for a social video, but it doesn’t cut it for a theatrical release. 


There are a lot of opportunities in production music if you follow the trends. We’re excited about the new producers and composers we’re bringing in. And not all of them come from traditional, music school backgrounds. Today, when new genres pop up, they often come from basement producers and young people with minimal formal education. We’re working with composers and producers who are younger, closer to the street and more in touch with what’s happening with labels, publishers, radio, Bandcamp and Soundcloud. And it’s their music that we’re placing with top entertainment and sports markets, including the NBA, NFL and ESPN. Finding that kind of talent requires thinking outside the box and letting go of pre-conceived notions about composers and music producers. We’re doing that and it’s working.


People are very busy today. They’re doing three jobs instead of one. Picture editors often also function as the producers, sound designers, graphics designers and music supervisors of their projects. They don’t have time to sift through 10,000 files to find an appropriate music track. We help them meet the challenge by providing knowledgeable search specialists to assist in locating tracks, and with technology. We recently developed an extension for Adobe Premiere Pro that allows users to search our entire catalog, and download tracks without leaving the editing suite. We’re doing whatever we can to help clients with their workflows.