For the first time ever, content creators can access the NFL Music Library in full via a new Synchtank-powered site.
Picture a classic NFL Films scene: we follow the ball as the quarterback propels it into the air. It spirals in slow motion, beginning its flight as the accompanying music, an orchestral piece straight out of a Christopher Nolan movie, starts to intensify. The ball gradually descends into the hands of the receiver, the tempo picking up as he weaves through his opponents and embarks on his journey down-field. Drums booming, the music builds to an epic crescendo as he dives into his moment of touchdown glory.
Whilst this sort of nail-biting drama might be hard to replicate without 22 world-class athletes and a football field, the library of music that soundtracks NFL Films is now available for the first time, in full, to content creators. Hosted on a slick new Synchtank-powered site, the NFL Music Library contains a wide range of easy to license works, from iconic classic NFL films to current contemporary masterpieces and show themes. It’s music created to tell stories, and an invaluable new creative resource for content producers.
Not your average production music library
Since its inception in 1962, NFL Films has revolutionized TV sports coverage with its groundbreaking immersive and cinematic content. Founder Ed Sabol, and his son, Steve Sabol, always believed that music was a key element in the storytelling of NFL Films productions and, along with vivid narration and unique moving images of the game, music has served as a key element of what has become known as the NFL Films Style.
Nearly every piece of that music is now available through the NFL Music Library, a rich collection of the highest quality. Not your average production library, it contains thousands of musical pieces that rival some of the all-time greatest film scores and mainstream hits. “The thread that runs throughout every era is the innovation, high production values, and an emotional core that transcends what you expect from ‘sports production music’,” explains Peter Poulos, NFL Films’ Original Music Administrator.
“The thread that runs throughout every era is the innovation, high production values, and an emotional core that transcends what you expect from ‘sports production music’.”
– Peter Poulos, NFL Films
It’s also an incredibly varied catalog, with tracks in almost every style and genre. “With more than 50 years of music creation, it has become widely diverse,” says David Robidoux, Director of Original Music and a multi Emmy Award winning composer who has written music for NFL Films for almost 3 decades. “Because we create for all the divisions of the NFL: NFL Network, NFL Teams, International, our Digital assets and internet properties, we need to create very diverse music.” Robidoux, who is responsible for crafting much of the library’s music, breaks it down into 5 main pillars:
Classic NFL (Orchestral, Jazz/Big Band, Rock/Disco, etc.)
– example: “Roundup” by Sam Spence
Hybrid Film Score (Big, Orchestral, Modern sounds/textures)
– example: “One Last Go” by David Robidoux
Storytelling (Lighter, emotional-focused)
Contemporary (Hip-Hop, Electronic, Rock, Pop, World, Remixes, etc.)
– example: “Fly High” – David Robidoux
Show Themes (NFL-Produced programs)
– example: “NFL Game Theme TNF18″ – David Robidoux
Music that tells a story
It’s hard not to have a preconceived notion of the type of music you’d expect to find in the NFL Music Library. Yes, there are show themes and big-game anthems, but, ultimately, it goes so much further than just “football music”. It’s music that serves an important purpose: storytelling. “NFL Films’ ultimate goal is to tell stories,” explains Robidoux. “It’s the basis of NFL Films and at the core of our founder, Steve Sabol’s philosophy. The films may be set against the backdrop of football, but they are genuinely stories about people and their triumphs and struggles.”
“The films may be set against the backdrop of football, but they are genuinely stories about people and their triumphs and struggles.”
– David Robidoux, NFL Films
Best known for evoking powerful, dramatic moods that are felt, not just heard, NFL Music lends itself to any type of content, whether it’s a football game, a TV commercial or a hit Netflix show. “This is music that works equally well in non-sports applications, and we’re certain that this additional exposure will shine a light on the potential diversity of uses,” says Poulos. “Hopefully our reputation [for sports music] brings people to the library and once there, the combination of the Synchtank experience will show them there is so much more music,” adds Robidoux.
A new way to experience NFL Music
The new site has powerful tools for searching, sampling and discovering the library, which spans almost six decades and continues to grow. “Our composers are actively creating new music all year long, and we recognized the need to make this music more readily available,” explains Poulos. “In addition, we’ve worked hard over the past few years to unearth more obscure tracks from our archive. There are literally thousands of pieces in our library, including many alternate/thematic versions, and remixes of our classic NFL Films pieces that date back to the 1960s.”
The team understands the importance of putting user experience first. “Nowadays people are expecting something visually even when they are choosing music and that visual affects their experience,” says Robidoux. “They want artwork, descriptors, metadata and tools like “similar tracks”, “thematic versions”, etc. to help them through the process.” Designed with creatives in mind, the site’s intuitive search engine and range of themed playlists help to expedite discovery, while direct licensing of exclusive NFL music simplifies the admin process. Tools for building and collaborating on projects and playlists further enhance the experience, and users can even audition a track to an uploaded video.
“It truly provides a sonic and visual experience – one that captures the spirit of NFL Films.”
– Peter Poulos, NFL Films
The launch of the site marks a new and exciting chapter for NFL Music. “This for me has really been the culmination of almost 30 years of never having our music presented in the way I felt film and media producers needed it,” says Robidoux. “Synchtank delivers this for me like no other systems could.” The site provides a true home for the catalog where both users at the NFL and potential clients can interact with it. “The biggest takeaway is that it truly provides a sonic and visual experience – one that captures the spirit of NFL Films,” adds Poulos. “We’re very proud to present the NFL Music Library in a way that respects our history and prior accomplishments.”