We chat to the Production Music Association‘s Executive Director Morgan McKnight about the upcoming Production Music Conference and trends and areas of growth in the sector.
What’s the goal and purpose of the Production Music Conference?
The Production Music Conference is the premier annual event in production music, featuring top industry leaders from around the world and offering a wide-ranging panels, learning, and unique networking opportunities. Our mission is to provide valuable information and share best practices in a positive and inspiring forum for attendees involved in all aspects of production music. This year marks our sixth annual event, and will take place September 23rd through the 26th in Hollywood, CA.
The conference is presented by the Production Music Association (PMA) — the leading advocacy group of the production music community. We are a non-profit organization with over 60 member companies representing over 670+ music libraries around the world, plus composers, technology companies and other industry professionals. Our mission is to elevate the unique value of production music, to educate and to create community, all focused on ensuring the long-term viability of the production music industry for all our members.
Who should attend?
The Production Music Conference is an absolute must for anyone in production music. This is the premiere event where library owners have the opportunity to meet composers (and vis versa) and the networking opportunities for anyone in the production music community — or hoping to get into production music — are pretty amazing. Attending this event are typically 670+ music libraries from over 26 countries. In addition to our existing membership, we encourage composers, songwriters, producers, sub-publishers, technology companies and industry professionals to attend the conference. We expect over 700+ attendees at this year’s PMC. We have top name composers and industry leaders speaking on panels — all of them there to help composers make a difference in their lives and in their careers. The PMC can bring so much value to what a composer is trying to do in their career and this community is very welcoming and willing to help.
What’s new and exciting about the conference this year?
Every year our goal is to put together an event that offers deep value to every person who attends, and this year we’ve absolutely achieved that. We’re fortunate to have Paul Williams (Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe and Ivor Novello award-winning lyricist and composer who has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and currently serves as Chairman of the Board and President of ASCAP) and Pinar Toprak (an award-winning composer for film, television, and video games who made history this year by composing the score for Captain Marvel (2019), making her the first female composer to score a film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) as keynote speakers this year to share their vital, illuminating ideas and experiences during such an important time in our industry.
The PMA Annual Town Hall Meeting is always a popular event, offering a “state of the union” style update on developments and information on the entirety of the production music industry. We also have an address by John Phelan, Director General of ICMP as well as an international sub-publisher meeting.
Our panels this year are offering incredibly valuable information for the community, including such panel topics as: Pitching to Catalogs; Producing Trailer Music – Creation to Completion; Independent Music Producers Career and Money Management; After the License – Following the Music After It’s Been Licensed; Neighboring Rights in Production Music; Writing for a Superhero Franchise; How to Write 30 Cues in 1 Session Without Sounding Samey; Understanding Global Licensing in 2019; Inclusion in Production Music; Production Music in Latin America; Navigating the Ever-Changing World of Library Composer Deals; Production Music Useage for Sports; Writing Music for Video Games; our popular Battle of the Music Directors music search challenge; and much more.
Our welcome party is really an ideal situation for networking, along with cocktail parties every evening during the conference. We also have a special screening of The Library Music Film produced by Shawn Lee and HutTwenty9 Films.
What are the Mark Awards?
The Mark Awards are the preeminent global award ceremony celebrating the best in production music, presented by the Production Music Association. This year’s Mark Awards will be held during the PMC on September 24that the Loews Hotel in Hollywood and will be hosted by veteran music supervisor, music producer, Fox Music SVP and Guild of Music Supervisors co-founder John Houlihan, whose work has helped shape more than 50 feature films including Bohemian Rhapsody, Deadpool 2, The Shape of Water, and Atomic Blonde.
The recipient of the 2019 Hall of Fame award will be Jim Long, the influential music industry veteran who founded FirstCom Music and co-founded publisher OneMusic and record label Honest Entertainment, in addition to multiple successful broadcast and radio syndication companies. The winner of the 2019 Ambassador award will be Martha Hanrahan, the long-time head of music at NBC in Los Angeles who supervised the music of all primetime, late night and Saturday-morning programming produced by NBC Studios during some of its most successful years.
This is a very special night for everyone in production music, and we’re honored to be able to host incredibly talented people like Jim Long, Martha Hanrahan, and so many others from around the world and recognize them for their exceptional accomplishments.
The Production Music Association will hand out awards in 30 different categories on production music’s biggest night, includingBest Production Music Track, Best Use of Production Music, Best Production Music Library Artist, and Best Cover Art. Award winners will be selected by a panel of ten of their peers in the industry, which is appointed by the Production Music Association’s award committee.
Can you give us an idea of the size and scope of the production music sector in 2019?
Production music is a billion dollar a year global industry, creating livelihoods for tens of thousands of composers, songwriter, producers, and musicians. We estimate that production music generates $500 million a year in the U.S. alone. Production music is everywhere – blockbuster feature films, popular television shows, commercials for Fortune 500 brands, radio, news, sports broadcast.
Can you talk us through any interesting trends and areas of growth in the production music space?
Just as technology is constantly evolving and transforming how consumers experience and consume music, it is also increasing the amount of content opportunities in which the music of production music creators can be placed.
The current landscape is experiencing a continuous introduction of new music apps as well as the ever-rising popularity of OTT services like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, fuboTV, Now TV, Sky Go, Sling TV, and others. The ease of access for these services along with compelling, binge-worthy original content is creating a sense of urgency for the consumption of that content — all of which ultimately leads to more rapid-fire content creation and more opportunity for production music placements. We’re also seeing that linear television is increasingly resourcing production music useages in its programming.
In this constantly evolving content landscape, the PMA works hand in hand with the PRO’s and the NMPA to amplify the voices of music creators and to help protect and advance the interests of music creators and copyright owners.
What are the changes you’d like to see in the production music industry?
One important change I would like to see involves how the music industry at large may perceive production music. Like all forms of music, production music has evolved and continues to push boundaries — it’s not the same production music industry as it was, say a decade ago or even last year. We now have some of the industry’s top award-winning songwriters, producers, and composers and some of the world’s best-loved recording artists proudly putting their names on production music projects. Today, production music libraries are offering songs, tracks, and stems that are of exceptional quality backed by some of the biggest multi-platinum names in the industry. For our creator community, production music has proven to be an extremely financially rewarding and creatively inspiring sector of the music industry to participate in. For those who maybe haven’t kept up with what’s happening in production music these days, it’s time to take another look.
From a label/publisher perspective what are the benefits of getting involved in production music?
For a music company to offer a total music solution for the film, television, radio and media industries, it needs to go beyond commercial music and offer the ability to create custom music for a production, specific to the project’s musical needs; TV News music; sonic branding; pre-cleared tracks with a high quality and high production level; incredibly authentic period or micro-genre music; and the list goes on…Production music represents the best of artistic value and high quality production to meet these client needs, all while creating alternative streams of income for music publishing companies, record labels, and creators.
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