Engineering sound, composing and recording music, building a mood that provokes the listener with a face full PAY ATTENTION without the monster truck treatment. That's what I do. Oh, and without spending a fortune on studio musicians, voice talent, stock music, and sound effects. I do that too.
I get excited about the opportunity to create original music for commercials. It's a service we offer exclusively to clients. Music in video or accompanying broadcast visuals is a far cry from music in radio spots. In radio, I try to think of the narrator as the poet, and the music, his catalyst.
Here is an example of a catchy radio commercial I (shameless self-promotion) produced in-house with my original music:
No high-end budget. No studio musicians. Oh the things you can do... It's light, fun and I daresay, moves well with the dialogue. When mixing the audio, I imagine the voiceover as the singer, the way a vocal track is treated. A slight tweak in the mix can bring the voice forward as the melody flows with the harmony. Pauses in the music make for a dramatic twist, emphasizing where the subject can lead you next. Once all audio is edited and mixed along with the music, it’s time to finalize the work.
Mastering music is a key component of the final mix, like boosting the volume -- aka pumping up the jam -- without blowing the listener's ears off. This is accomplished in mastering, using techniques such as dramatic range and compression.
Shakespeare would say music is the food of love and brevity, the soul of wit. Therefore, comedy in radio is a natural twosome. So the real challenge is to combine the funny stuff with music -- parody with harmony, so to speak -- and produce for local media without "sounding local". Here is another radio commercial of ours attempting to do just that.
A little bit cute, like a female Billy Joel acting out the part of the piano man. The session was such a blast. I hired actors who had experience in regional films and theater. It's also refreshing not to take music too seriously.
Having the tools and knowledge to produce music gives us the ability to "own" it. Publishing rights are exclusively ours-- I take pride in that. To most, music is a foregone conclusion. Since loop and stock music is readily available, most budgets won't allow for original music, especially in regional broadcasts.
Original music is a valuable tool in marketing and advertising. It is a great outlet for promotion and/or self-promotion (shameless or otherwise). What better way for people to remember you or your product than by having your riffs drift through their ears into their minds and hearts? A love affair of creative media.