In our new Client Sync of the Month series we’re spotlighting some of our clients’ most exciting placements and delving into the stories behind them.
This month we caught up with Peter Raleigh, PresidentRaleigh Music Group, to discuss representing the Elvis catalog and recent placements in an Apple Watch commercial and the Baz Luhrmann Elvis biopic.
How did Jack White’s cover of “Power of My Love” end up being considered for the Apple Watch commercial?
It happened very naturally. We got the brief in November of last year, that is how far in advance these things happen. The client was looking for songs that had certain keywords like power, love, and strength, so our sync team sent them a few songs including the Elvis song “Power of My Love.”
They were interested in covers, so we sent some from our collection including the Jack White cover, and they said, well, actually, we were thinking of using him for this campaign so it’s great that he recorded this song. So that’s how that came about.
And then you look at the requirements of the commercial. Who is it for, are we going to have exclusivity in this project, are they going to ask for that? Obviously, the proposed fee, and do we have a co-administrator on this? At that time, it was another co-administrator and it’s now Universal, that changed at the end of last year.
Who was the agency?
It was direct with Apple. We worked with Apple several years ago on a campaign featuring the Elvis song, “There’s Always Me”, so I think that relationship also helped to solidify the choice.
What were some of the challenges associated with the project and clearing the song?
It was actually pretty easy to clear. We were excited about it and happy to quote on it and our co administrator was also very supportive and excited about making this opportunity happen.
And at the time we were working with the music supervisor for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, and I did tell them [Apple] that the song might be in contention for being used in the film, just so they weren’t surprised by anything. You have to have transparency when you do these placements.
What makes it a great placement?
I think the timing of it being very close to the film because there’s already a lot of press and great positive attention surrounding Elvis. And it’s also a very good song that deserves to be heard in the campaign.
“There are probably about 10 Elvis songs that most music supervisors know, but then there are a hundred others that are terrific and could be used in various ways.”
We always look to get placements for the less obvious songs in a catalog. There are probably about 10 Elvis songs that most music supervisors know, but then there are a hundred others that are terrific and could be used in various ways. So, it’s nice to see that rediscovered, and I think that that happened with “Power of My Love.”
Have you noticed an increased demand for the Elvis catalog?
Interest in the catalog has always been high, but with the Elvis film, I’ve had inquiries from foreign territories about some of the more obscure songs from the film. That would never have happened if those songs hadn’t been chosen by Baz Luhrmann. That makes a big difference.
We’re definitely seeing increased activity in syncs for film and TV. And in some cases, it’s unexpected songs that people are asking for, so I think music supervisors are taking a fresh look at the catalog.
“We’re definitely seeing increased activity in syncs for film and TV. And in some cases, it’s unexpected songs that people are asking for, so I think music supervisors are taking a fresh look at the catalog.”
What are some of the challenges you have representing the Elvis catalog for sync?
One of the challenges we’ve had is that there are really good songs that Elvis recorded, but in some cases, he may have been the only one to record them. We might think a song could be good for other uses if, say, it was recorded by a female artist, but all you have is that recording.
So, we’ve begun a process of getting some of the Raleigh Music Group artists to do rerecords of some of these songs. We have an artist right now, Sam SZND, who is recording some of these songs and she’s working with our A&R team to choose them and to understand what advertisers or film and TV sync music supervisors might be looking for.
It automatically gives a new life to it because it’s a new generation, it’s a different perspective. The Elvis songs were recorded 50 or 60 years ago and they’re great recordings, but it’s always important to have different artists revisit them. And it helps the overall catalog as well.
How much caution needs to be taken in approaching each opportunity?
We tend to be very careful with the Elvis catalog. Obviously, we want to get as many placements and sample uses and rerecords as we can, but at the same time we have certain standards from the Elvis owners and from the Elvis estate.
“Obviously, we want to get as many placements and sample uses and rerecords as we can, but at the same time we have certain standards from the Elvis owners and from the Elvis estate.”
We had a situation with a reality TV show where one of the characters was a DA but, on the side, he’s an Elvis impersonator. So that involved me going to the estate and saying, is this an image and likeness use? Do we have to deal with that as well?
The other question is will the estate approve it? We and the estate are very careful about how Elvis is presented, and we don’t discourage Elvis impersonators, but you’ve got to be a really good Elvis impersonator.
We had an Elvis song, “Don’t Be Cruel” in the TV series Euphoria. It was a really great use of the song and it’s a great way to introduce a younger demographic to the song, but it was a difficult theme and we had to look at how it was going to reflect on the Elvis catalog. You have to protect the catalog as well when you make these decisions.