Erased Tapes Music, the publishing arm of Erased Tapes Records, recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary.
We caught up with Emily Appleton Holley, Head of Publishing and Composition, and Julie Blake, General Manager, to discuss the evolution of the company and today’s music publishing landscape.
What are your biggest challenges as an indie publisher in today’s landscape?
EAH: A challenge we’re seeing more frequently is an increasing demand from broadcasters and production companies to retain 100% of the publishing and other music rights on scoring projects. As a publisher, our job is to protect these rights on behalf of our writers as those royalties form a crucial income stream allowing artists to support themselves. This is especially important if the upfront scoring budget is limited. We feel that independent music companies will need to stand together to provide alternatives to this approach.
Where are you seeing new opportunities for your writers and composers in the digital age?
EAH: With the emergence of SVOD platforms (Netflix, Apple, Amazon etc…) we’re noticing a huge increase in the number of productions being made which is creating more scoring and licensing opportunities for our writers and composers. We’re noticing that production companies are also starting to take bigger risks in the content they are making which is creating interesting and exciting opportunities for more creative and unusual scores and sync placements.
“Production companies are also starting to take bigger risks in the content they are making which is creating interesting and exciting opportunities for more creative and unusual scores and sync placements.”
– Emily Appleton Holley, Erased Tapes Music
Emily, your background is in music supervision – how have you found it being on the other side and working for a publisher?
EAH: Without wanting to sound too cliché, I’ve been a fan of Erased Tapes for a number of years. I’ve always gravitated towards artists with a unique sound or voice and this is something that drew me to many of the Erased Tapes artists initially. Each individual artist has an ability to take you on a journey with their music and there’s been a consistently high level of craftsmanship heard across every release.
It’s been a real joy delving into the catalogue and getting to know the composers that are part of the publishing family. I was pretty familiar with the contemporary classical artists (Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Anne Müller, Michael Price) and electronic producers (Rival Consoles, Kiasmos, Ben Lukas Boysen) but quickly realised that Erased Tapes is also home to a number of incredible vocal artists, avant-garde instrumentalists, experimental rock and jazz groups.
Most recently, the label signed the Parisian electronic R&B producer Crayon, an unexpected direction for the label perhaps, but that’s what I find really exciting about the Erased Tapes collective.
Are you noticing any trends associated with sync and scoring opportunities?
EAH: Over the past few years there’s been an increase in commercial artists crossing over into the scoring world, Oneohtrix Point Never (aka Daniel Lopatin) scoring Uncut Gems being just one example.
This has created a ripple effect in the scoring world and coincided with an increasing number of scores veering away from the ‘conventional’ orchestral score. Nathan Micay’s recent score to ‘Industry’, Cristobal Tapia De Veer’s score for ‘The White Lotus’ and Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein’s score for ‘Stranger Things’ are some wonderful examples. We have seen an increase in the number of scoring briefs looking for unconventional sound palettes and unusual instrumentation which I find incredibly exciting.
Can you talk about the resurgence of printed scores and your interest there?
EAH: The digital era has caused music to feel more intangible and as great lovers of both music and design, we enjoy creating objects of lasting beauty that can be shared and cherished in the long run, whether that’s a vinyl record or an artfully made sheet music book. Creating printed books connects us to both the past traditions of music publishing and hopefully to future generations of music lovers and musicians as well.
You’ve also seen a resurgence of orchestral groups performing your composer’s work. How did that come about?
EAH: Through various avenues. The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra recently performed Högni Egilsson’s debut Symphony ‘Symphony – No.1 – Eternal Return’ following their involvement on his score for the Netflix Original series ‘Katla’. The Canadian avant-garde instrumental group Bell Orchestre recently performed live with The Montreal Symphony Orchestra and we’ve also collaborated a number of times with London Contemporary Orchestra, with live performances featuring a number of our artist’s at London’s Southbank Centre.
Julie, you started working in music publishing in 2005 – how have you seen things changing since then?
JB: The biggest change I’ve seen is many independent labels forming their own in-house publishing companies. Given all of the hard work that labels do to develop the careers of artists, it often makes sense to keep all of those activities under one roof with one side of the business supporting the other and vice versa. Publishing still remains a bit of a mystery to a lot of artists, and there’s always a need for trusted partners to help support and protect the rights of creators.
“The music industry is going to need to get creative and present a united front to protect musicians’ rights as more and more networks and broadcasters demand ownership of original scores.”
– Julie Blake, Erased Tapes Music
It also feels like there’s more content than ever being made and with that come many great opportunities to sync music and find scoring jobs. I love how cinematic TV series have become over the last decade and the production value and variety of home entertainment is really amazing. I think the music industry is going to need to get creative and present a united front to protect musicians’ rights as more and more networks and broadcasters demand ownership of original scores. Musicians need that money, not the networks.
What is the future of the publishing arm of the company? How do you see it evolving over the next decade?
EAH: The scoring arm of Erased Tapes Music has been growing organically over the past 3 years, I’m looking forward to seeing this side of the company develop further and to continue working closely with our composers on original music for both short and long form content but also video games, theatre and contemporary dance productions.
We’re really passionate about the creation of printed scores, and facilitating live performances of our composers’ work by orchestral groups. We’ve collaborated with the London Contemporary Orchestra on a number of live performances to date and look forward to continuing our collaboration with them whilst also exploring new partnerships with other orchestral ensembles.
We’ve recently released three sheet music books including a compilation of piano scores (Solo Piano) from the Erased Tapes catalogue, as well as folios of solo piano works by Continuous Music pioneer Lubomyr Melnyk and American songsmith and multiinstrumentalist Peter Broderick.