Sensoria Pro

Am in beautiful Sheffield today at SensoriaPro. Its in the Electric Works .. posh new building…lovely. So many links to post if I were a ‘proper’ blogger, but too many for me to do, so if you want more info on anything/one in this post, you’ll just have to Google for it!

So much info to take in……some nuggets:

First panel on Sync:

Sheredan Tongue said BBC drama budget for music per hour of TV is between 2000 and 10,000 quid.That’s for EVERYTHING ..for usually 40 mins of music. Often composers have 2 weeks to turn this round. He’s at the top of his game.. he’s done lots and lots of great high profile stuff…often you might get 800 quid.. no set amount

Music tends to be the last thing that directors think of.. ie there ends up being no/little budget for music.

Directors are lazy: they tend to want things that sound like their reference points/personal taste. Or ‘something like the Apprentice Music please’. Or obvious lyrical music describing what’s going on on screen.

Form a relationship with the director early on.

Write for free: work with film makers at the same level as you and help each other up on the way up: posters up at local film college’s.

He wrote the music for the first Steven Hawkins series (on Discovery Channel?): there was the Music budget to go to Budapest to record an orchestra (they can ‘buy out’ the musician’s rights over there but can’t in the UK.. but ‘British musicians are best in the world’): second series: cut the music budget in half.

More and more TV production companies want you to assign publishing rights to them for a buy out.

Vital to be a versatile composer.

Sending demo CDs still important but make it look special: also, get a Soundcloud account (of course!)

Production masterclass: bloody Neil Davidge had to finish some computer game stuff so he cancelled. Git. Luckily I Monster guys took his place.. they were excellent… as was Martin Ware and Alan Smyth : extra nice mention for him.. lovely down to earth stuff coming from his mouth. The famous Artic Monkeys demos which set the world on fire: he said that the timing was heavily fixed in Pro Tools: it took him hours… but it didn’t matter as he knew Alex Turner was a genius.. and once everything was in time it just sounded ‘magic’ : interesting thoughts: he said he wouldn’t normally do that: prefers it if the band can play!

‘Time management and social skills’ most important skills for a producer.

..lots of other good chat …..

ooh, and Martin Ware said he’d heard via Mute and EMI that Apple are trying to (ie will probably) enforce a new HD format onto all labels.. meaning they need to remaster for this new Apple HD format

I missed the session on Binaural sound… a real shame as that really interested me, plus modern trends in Sync.. but glad I went to the 2 I did this morning.

This afternoon I went to the Trends In Fan Engagement session: Dr Nikki Bebbin who worked on Bjork’s Biophilia App album, a nice man from Mobile Roadie who make apps for bands (Madonna, Pixies.. god, loads more… stat of the day : by 2014 7 billion devices will be connected to net…), and someone from Sony Record’s marketing department. She showed a chart which divides the UK consumer up into 4 areas (along with UK numbers according to Sony’s research): Fanatics (5 million), Enthusiasts (11 million), Casuals (12 million) and Indifferents (16 million) : they further divide each category into more… funny names like ‘Xfactor Mums’, ‘Grumpy Dads’, ‘Rock N Roll Football’, ‘WAGs’ : just a rough tag to steer how they plan a campaign: eg Susan Boyle falls under the ‘Indifferent’ category (X Factor Mums sub category): people who might buy an album a year: lots of TV ads are appropriate, but a more modern App-heavy campaign….well, just isn’t.


The Bjork discussion was extremely interesting : the musicians got paid, but everyone else it was a profit share scenario. The album app idea was an attempt to bring the ‘getting the record out of the sleeve, read the liner notes’ type experience. Did it work? Hmmm. I do love the Tuning Fork box set edition. (which I found out today was made in Sheffield)

Mobile Roadie man (with the others agreeing) said you should give away your App, and use it to drive to selling your music, merch, tickets. Pretty sound advice. He’s saying Apps are moving much more towards GPS / location Apps.. so, for example, you enter a gig, scan a QR code to download free content.


Next session, Composing for Film, with feedback. I wasn’t aware that the agency who do the trailers for the big blockbusters allowed Sensoria Pro delegates to download an unseen trailer with dialogue/Foley stems (without current music, obviously)for the new Spiderman Film coming out this year… then delegates could compose new music and submit for comments/feedback from the panel.. full of super top-of-their-game people: a couple from Create Advertising Group (who do all these trailers for a living and supplied the stems for this), someone from Sony, Someone from a video games company and ,erm, someone else: the top 4 got played: all of them were great: the use of sampled orchestras was excellent.. you really couldn’t tell they weren’t real. Amazing. The shortlist made some useful contacts in the panel for sure. What a great opportunity!

Onto the Crowd Funding panel chaired by housewife’s favourite, John Robb. There was someone from The Orchard, Pledge Music and 65 Days of Static (band from Sheffield). Some interesting things cropped up. Pledge are positioning themselves as ‘A Music Company’ (unless they talk to the bank, then they’re a Technology Company!) and they work with labels and the public to devise campaigns. They won’t let anyone do this….. you need to be realistic: if you don’t have 1000 fans on Facebook and want to raise lots of money for your album, it’s a no go-er. Biggest thing that amazed me was the average spend on Pledge : £56 ! Panel concluded that people still love (and therefore will pay a premium for) limited editions and ‘experiences’ .

I had to get my train, so missed the last part … but what an amazing day: I feel thoroughly nourished!

Extra special mention for Sheffield accents which I love and miss… I spent lots of my youth in Sheffield.. going to Warp, FON, the Leadmill. Great days. Grrrr.

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