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Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.

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Tim Frechette
Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:31:30 pm

I am working on a corporate video for fund raising for a national organization but with the 3 local branches. We started filming, etc, with their first choice of a song being a very popular song. I told them that I would look into the cost for usage IF the song was even available. The song would be atleat 10,000 and we all agreed that I would find 3 songs for them to choose from and the cost would be included in my price. After spending atleast 25 hours searching for songs I gave them 3 then an additional 2. I waited 2 months for a decision with repeated emails asking what their decision was and I also informed them that a song choice was needed so I could do some final filming with shots that will be complimented by the music. I get a call today telling me we need to finish this in 4 weeks and to find some more choices for songs. They want additional filming but I do not want to waste my time until I have a song.
I looked at EVERY music link that all of the great pros have posted here and I just can not spend anymore time listening to music.
Am I out of line here asking them to choose one of the 5 songs or do I bite the bullet and lose more time searching?
PS. They do not understand the production side of this have not provided me with ANY storyboard ideas even I have asked repeatedly.
Your thoughts??
Thanks
Tim


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Stephen Smith
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:53:06 pm

You may want to try Non-Stop Music or Megatracks. They both have a big libraries of songs that are close to very popular ones. You may be able to find a very similar version of the song they wanted. Plus, both libraries will find the match for you so you don't have to if you don't want to. Every time a client wants a popular song these guys have had something very similar. Hope this helps.





Stephen Smith
Lone Peak Productions

Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2


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Nick Griffin
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 1:14:03 pm

Over in Corporate Video Mark Susko wrote an excellent post on this. Check out: http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/12/856334

I especially agree with the fact that using contemporary "popular" music makes a show age quickly. That and the fact that licensing the real thing costs a bloody fortune.

In addition to Royalty-Free music look into libraries from companies like Killer Tracks. Great stuff for not all that much money.


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cowcowcowcowcow
Franklin McMahon
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 1:52:21 pm


Part of the problem is it seems you are not charging for your search. If that is the case, then you will go another 25 hours, maybe 50. The reason they are saying "keep looking" is because they have no incentive to choose. It may be too late for this project, but in the future, searching should be a line item and additional searching should be an added fee.

Clients very often need to be nudged into decisions. Addition cost is a great way to reach speedy decisions.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:14:05 pm

My guess about the delays to decide is that the project has too many bosses and none of them can agree, or none of them wants to take the responsibility for the choice if it turns out to be unpopular with the boss. In either case, this is where you take the bullet for them. They'll make you do that anyway.


Tim, go ahead and make a pick yourself. You are supposed to be the expert. When you present it, do it with confidence, have explanations ready to hand regarding how this choice fit the needs of the piece best. If you can show you put a lot of reasoned and informed thought into your choices, they won't get questioned so much. There is such a thing as being *too* deferential to a client sometimes... when that client really doesn't know what they want. In such cases you just have to take a firm hand, forge ahead, BE the expert, be the leader, make the hard creative choices. In the end, that's supposed to be what we're getting paid to do, because we know more than the client about such things.

Make the best pick in YOUR professional opinion, today. Have one alternate standing by. Done. Limit the ability to throw the project off track by limiting the number of said tracks. If this gets to the wire and they still don't like anything, that's when you say "well, you guys had three months to make a decision, now we're out of time, I made the best call I could under the circumstances. You want to go into overtime, that's an extra charge."


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Nick Griffin
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:17:48 pm

Good point Franklin. Sometimes it's easy for those of us who have been doing this for awhile to neglect to mention the obvious. Of course you should charge for your time on this and almost every other aspect related to a project.

Normal people (ie. - clients) typically know very little to nothing about things like production music and stock footage until they are exposed to it. It's our job to take them by the hand and lead them through the complexities. Production music is ohhh so much less expensive than "something they heard by somebody on the radio" and (as mentioned in an earlier post) real paid actors are much less expensive than amateurs in the long run.

So, if you're burned out on researching music Tim, here's a suggestion I neglected to mention earlier. Assuming you are in a major metro area, or can get to one, book a couple of hours at a recording studio which specializes in radio and audio for video production. These places usually have very large libraries of licensable production music. A good engineer will be able to quickly steer you through a myriad of options and help you narrow down to a few choices which you can take to your client.

Some studios will also offered a discounted rate for un-assisted music auditioning where you're left on your own with a bunch of disks, headphones and a player. This may (or may not) even include being pointed in some specific directions without the need to pay for the engineer's time.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:19:21 pm

[Franklin McMahon] "Clients very often need to be nudged into decisions."


Franklin is right on the money with this one, and some clients need to be nudged almost to the point of bruises, it seems. ;o)

They need to remember the old adage that Time Is Money -- and it is. After all, they would not work for free and throw a full week or more into something without being paid.

Somehow you need to communicate the relativity of it to them and make them make a decision. The ball is in your court.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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Tim Frechette
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:32:37 pm

WOW, what a wealthy of knowledge in these great posts. I will use a little bit of everyone's recommendations and see if I can head this off at the pass. I know the client is always right and give the client what they want but I WANT a great final product. Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I will let you know in a few days what direction we went in.
Thanks
Tim


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:51:02 pm

[Tim Frechette] "I know the client is always right..."


I have no idea who originally said that, but they must have been the client.

I know that JCPenny Company took the idea and came up with the full money-back guarantee idea that companies like Nordstroms and Wal-Mart have also done.

BUT...

What works in a retail situation is NOT always a good yardstick to use as your mental compass and business barometer in a service industry like ours.

You learn quickly in this industry -- or if you don't, you become one of the casualties -- that you have to set a value for your services and keep the client from never-ending scenarios that turn into The Job That Would Not Die (in 3D, by the way).

We have a customer is always right attitude here and we always do whatever we can to make the customer happy. But there are certain customers that we have walked over the years and have angered some of them by doing so. Why did we cut a few of them off? Easy, they were idiots for one reason or another. Some wanted The Job That Would Not Die. Some lied outright and you could not count on their word. Some were slow-pays that took forever to pay -- and a select less than a handful never did pay.

Is the customer always right? No. But then, neither am I. So, somewhere in the balance is a workable professionalism that allows for an equitable working solution that gives the client what they want while allowing me to make a living.

The Customer Is Always Right works in situations where a customer picks up something, walks it to a register, buys it and later decides that they got the wrong thing or don't like it. They come back and they get something else or they get their money back. It is a relationship of moments, not hours, days or more. In a relationship of hours or days or weeks or months, the rules change and expectations become more pronounced from both sides. Successful businesses find the balance. Good clients let them. Crappy clients make it all about them. I don't work for them, I let them go work with my competitors. I don't want every customer. I especially do not want the ones that think they are always right.



Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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cowcowcowcowcow
Franklin McMahon
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 3:32:30 pm


There are 4 stages of career levels most creative people go through.

1. Paid Hourly $
You punch a clock and are paid via time

2. Paid for Talent $$
You get paid for your talent and technical skills

3. Paid for Ideas $$$
You get paid on your vision, your ideas, your thought process, personality

4. Paid for Who You Are $$$$
You have nailed all of the above, your resume, is you

(4 are often people like celebrities, sports figures, rock stars, business gurus, etc)

Most creative artists are wedged between 2 and 3. And many charge more toward 2. The key is work your income toward 3 instead. A client says they need a flying logo, 2 says no problem. 3 says, hmm, is a flying logo the best idea? 3 offers the most to the client, and charges accordingly. 3 is typically in charge of a team of people more talented, and has a completely clean desk, but 3 can still be anyone, even a single producer, if they focus on vision as opposed to tech skills.

So getting back to the client is always right, clients are paying you for 3 but some producers are just charging for 2. And worse, only offering 2.

Plus when working at level 2, you have little leverage and are trumped by another producer doing the same technical tasks for less cost. 3 can charge more because you can't get their vision elsewhere. In other words, most of what you should charge for and offer to clients takes place before your hands ever land on the equipment.

When you work at level 2, the client is always right, when you move to 3 the client is not wrong, but looks to you to make them right.

Frank













___________________________
Franklin McMahon / Host
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frank@fmstudio.com
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Mike Cohen
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 4:29:16 pm

Another great and accurate post from Franklin.

Clients should pay a vendor for their expertise, and then trust the vendor to give them that expertise, and trust the expert advice. Sometimes, clients push back against the expertise they are in fact paying for, until they realize that the expertise is in fact what they want.

Sometimes they do not realize that they are getting what they are paying for until they actually see the end result. Then they pat themselves on the back for giving you all the right input to make you, the button pusher, give them the exact end result they have paid for.

Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and let the client believe that they had the best ideas, even if you the vendor did most of the work.

Such a compromise is only allowed if you are being compensated adequately. You lose a little bit of self when you let the client get his way, despite your best advice, and you charge at level 2.

You lose less of your self when you do the same at level 3, and hopefully the end result of level 3 work is what you believe is right for the client, even if the client either, A does not realize this is the right approach until the end product is delivered, or B the client gets what he wants because of his own expert input which may in fact be a regurgitation of your own expert input. Sometimes C happens, and the end result is something you would not have recommended, but it is exactly what the client wants, or thinks he wants.

Again, although the client comes to you for your expertise, perhaps your opinion of what constitutes your expertise(expert at enhancing marketing campaigns) is different that the client's view of what constitutes your expertise (expert at photoshop and shooting video). Your client's view of your expertise may in fact be accurate, because this is something they themselves cannot do, but perhaps they do not see the bigger picture that you see.

In the end, you as the vendor know that you have done your absolute best, using all of your expertise, even if the client only acknowledges certain aspects of your expertise. But we are not looking for validation or recognition, we are in business to earn a living.

Hmm, this would make a good blog post...

Regarding the music issue, I agree that using timely music seems to date a project. I recall back in 1992 or so the Van Halen tune Right Now was used in a Superbowl Ad and was quite popular. A local technology company in Hartford licensed the music to use in a corporate event intro video, which our studio edited. The editing took days on the flaky Abner editor, but the client was happy. Since the event was so close to the Superbowl, presumably a few people in the audience recognized the music.

But this is an example of a client who knew exactly what they wanted, not what this thread is about.

You as the vendor need to be an expert in client management. A client does not come to you because you are an expert at managing your clients, but that is precisely what you need to do, and what they NEED you to do, though they don't know that that's what they need.

Good Luck.

Mike Cohen


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Mark Suszko
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 6:35:16 pm

Franklin, I may have said it first, but you articulated it much better, kudos.


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John Cummings
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:24:39 pm

Franklin-

Love the list. What would #4 say about the flying logo?

(I'm thinking "Sorry...I don't do flying logos in MY videos"!)

J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Franklin McMahon
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:11:25 pm


Yeah no flying logos for #4 haha

Frank

___________________________
Franklin McMahon / Host
CreativeCow.net PODCAST
frank@fmstudio.com
Creative Cow Podcast Page
Creative Cow Podcast in iTunes

Franklin on Facebook
Franklin on Twitter
Franklin on LinkedIn
FranklinMcMahon.com



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grinner hester
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 5:45:46 pm

The customer is only always right when they are ordering a cheeseburger. When they are ordering a video, they are admitting they know nothing about making them...hence the hiring of profressionals.
You have to make a cheesburger their way because they usually really do know how to make one.
Good video is made by asking the client how much they have to spend and when it's gotta be done. That's all they need to have answers for. If they have more than that, that can grab a camcorder and a laptop and have their son crank it out for em.
Allowing a client, in this case, to prolong and consfuse the issue with a mute point only prolongs and consfuses the issue. They want a video. Make em one.




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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Aug 6, 2009 at 11:44:36 pm

Thank you for reminding me that it was there, now I can cheat and get my next magazine column done very quickly.

;o)

Ron Lindeboom


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grinner hester
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 5:41:21 pm

dewolfemusic.com is your friend.
Make your own selects and let em watch the finished video. Much easier and quicker this way.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 7:41:29 pm

We used to use DeWolfe a lot, it was very nice, but it got too rich to keep signed up.

Nowadays, we mostly use a buy-out library of Music Bakery stuff or more and more often, we roll our own using Sonicfire Pro or Garage Band.

Sounddogs is a very neat source online, especially when you need an obscure yet afordable sound effect at 1 in the morning, but they have some nice music cuts as well.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:28:56 pm

[Mark Suszko] "We used to use DeWolfe a lot, it was very nice, but it got too rich to keep signed up"

I believe what Mark is speaking of is an annual blanket, wherein your annual usage of music is estimated and you pay a fixed fee per year.

Yes, for some this can get pricey. Especially during unsure market conditions.

I don't know about DeWolfe but, as an alternative, many companies offer music for a "laser drop" fee. (From the days of vinyl 33rpm records of production music when a "needle drop" meant an individual selection.) With drops you pay for music as used and relative to the distribution.

For example many of the kinds of shows we create are for use by corporate sales people and fewer than 500 copies are ever made. On this type of use we pay (without looking it up) say a $100 for a use of a single track. More often than not our shows are several minutes in length and we purchase a "production blanket" which gives unlimited use for up to ten minutes, for, something like $350. If the client wants to put the show on the internet -- therefore reaching potentially many more people -- the cost jumps to about $750.

The other end of the spectrum would be a producer who wanted to use production music in a theatrically-released feature film and the fee would be in the tens of thousands.

Production music is a valuable resource that can be as simple and cheap as something you create yourself in SonicFire and as complex as a hiring a music house to write and produce a piece, using the London Philharmonic orchestra so in the end you and your production alone own it. It all depends on what your budget is.


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grinner hester
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:35:28 pm

What makes dewolfe cool is they haggle and are happy to charge one blanket fee per production. No need to even count needle drops when that is the case. Unless a client requests a specific "raindrops keep falling on my head", they simply don't register it otherwise.



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Eric Christians
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:35:50 pm

I have an alternative approach to this problem. It's not too client friendly but does eliminate your headaches, fustration, and the hours you will spend in researching alternative music.

If you have an ulimited usage contract with an online music library (such as grooveaddicts, killer tracks, etc); give the client the online search engine web address for your music library and have them find the exact track that they want to use. Once they find the music they like, have them send you an email with the CD title and Track Number that they picked out.

Most online music libraries will allow most anyone with internet access to search and listen to their music tracks but require an active account to have the ability to download them.

Like I said this is not a client friendly approach to the problem, but it will relieve your headaches and stress. And it will also motivate clients, who have grinders and control freaks mentality, to invest their own time in searching for music or accept your original professional recommendations.

I have only applied this approach twice in my career. Once for a client who was dragging their feet on a project for a better part of 6 months and once for a client who wanted to control every aspect of their video project.

Thought I throw my 2 cents in, hope it helps.

Eric Christians



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Mark Suszko
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 4, 2009 at 5:33:53 pm

I used to do something like that in the old linear editing days, when each edit took longer to do. If a particular client was slowing me down or otherwise being an impediment, I'd send them off to a nearby room to screen a stack of about 25 CD's for a music cut they liked. Good for at least an hour's uninterrupted, peaceful work:-) It also made them feel like they were doing something useful, and within their technical ability, and really, they were.


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cowcowcowcowcow
Nick Griffin
Re: Music for client--Pulling Hair Out.
on Jun 4, 2009 at 5:39:24 pm

You mean all those times when I was sent into the next suite to "audition music..." Hey? Wait a minute!


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