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Quick Chat: Andy Donahue from Killer Tracks

Many of you are already familiar with 27-year-old Killer Tracks. This online resource offers pre-cleared music for film, television, advertising and interactive media. Their catalog spans many genres and features original works from award-winning composers, artists and producers. Their premium catalog is continuously updated with exclusive recordings and new music updates. They also have a dedicated team of music search specialists and licensing experts to help users find what they need.

We reached out to this industry mainstay’s Andrew Donahue to find out more about their offerings, but also learn about trends going on in this part of the business.

Can you talk about how you’ve seen your segment of the industry change over the years?
Over the past five years, the production music industry has changed tremendously. It’s a much more competitive marketplace. We need to continue to innovate with music and technology, making it easier for our clients to find the perfect track for their projects. One way Killer Tracks is doing this is through our new track customization tool, Score Addiction. It allows you to edit tracks, change track tempo and sync video with the track.

What is it that clients need or are requesting currently?
Clients increasingly want to have options for stems, shorter edits and stings — 30, 15, 8 seconds, or even less. Social media is making shorter edits the norm. Clients are also becoming more reliant on metadata. It’s crucial for data to be immediately accessible and accurate.

How do you decide what type of music to compose/record next? Do you poll your users? Do research?
Killer Tracks has a production team that understands the needs of our clients. We determine what genres to produce based on download, licensing and search reporting data. We are constantly receiving feedback from clients, our music search specialists and our licensing team, and always maintain awareness for what is happening in pop culture and trends in music, advertising, TV and film.

We try to spot trends before they’re big. We have been willing to stick our necks out to produce something that seems crazy only to have it become a top download — months later it’s suddenly the sound everyone wants. Our aim is to have music ready when a style becomes popular.

How do you find composers/talent?
Our production team has a pool of composers who produce music from every genre. Most new composers come to us through referrals from composers and musicians they currently work with.

What are some questions a client should ask or consider when they are looking for music for their project in order to help the process go smoothly?
When you are conducting a music search, be as specific as possible. If you have a song in mind, that’s great, but descriptive terms (tags) can be even more useful, e.g. “uplifting,” “motivational,” “medium tempo,” “building,” “violin but no guitar,” etc. Clients can also take advantage of our music search team and let them suggest tracks based on a description, reference track or link to a scene.

Any misconceptions about these types of libraries?
Many people think that all libraries sound the same, and that library music isn’t very good, unless it’s custom. Nothing could be further from the truth! We work with artists and composers who create outstanding, original work. We have everything from classic English punk from The Mutants to jazz- and classically-influenced orchestral work from cinematic legend Ennio Morricone. You hear our work everywhere without even realizing it. For example, we provided the theme song for Curb Your Enthusiasm and the soundtrack for Lexus’ “December to Remember” campaign.

You recently introduced Legacy, which was recorded by an 81-piece orchestra. Is something of this scope typical for Killer Tracks?
Legacy is a follow-up to a prior release called Shock and Awe. Currently, there is a lot of demand in the trailer world for tracks with vocals over live orchestra. Legacy is our response. It was recorded live with a full orchestra.


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