When we launched Crucial in 2006, it was with a catalog of 200 songs from pre-existing relationships. If you build it (website) they will come - at first the submissions trickled in but now we receive hundreds of songs a week thru the site, and hundreds of songs a week on cd. In 5 years we have probably listened to over 40,000 songs (yes every song is listened to), and yet our catalog is only several thousand deep. The reason for this is that we are committed to taking only those songs that we think we can place. Our standard for each song is very high, taking into account the vocal performance, the mix, the production, the genre, is the production accurate to the genre, are the lyrics universal and not hokey, possesses strong hook/chorus, great melody; essentially it’s the same thing that major labels look for when releasing songs…is it a hit song? Of course in our case it’s about being a hit song for the application: supporting dialog and enhancing the mood. What sets us apart from our competitors is our ears…our ability to identify those songs that will work for audio/visual productions.
It is this commitment to quality and usability that has gained us credibility with the music supervisors. They know when they call Crucial for a search, they are going to get a set of hit songs that apply to their need. Our skill and speed in selecting the songs that work for specific scenes and within the artist range they have detailed, has served us well with continual placements. We also deliver the music immediately, not tomorrow. Believe it or not, we hear from supervisors that many of our competitors deliver the music days after the request and deliver music that doesn’t match the temp. This wastes the supervisors’ time and so those catalogs eventually get dropped from the next call out. Supervisors are only going to listen to the first batch of songs they receive, and find what they need from that. If it takes you days then you have lost that opportunity. In addition, we watch every show that our supervisors are working on…so that when we are pitching songs, they are within the musical direction of the show. We also possess a deep knowledge of music genres and commercial artists. So when a supervisor needs something that sounds like 1940s big band, we are pitching tracks that sound like Harry James, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and not Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Knowledge, skill, and speed are the foundation of our intense commitment to customer service. And finally, we are flexible with our pricing. Sometimes a supervisor just doesn’t have the budget for each song, and we work with their budgets.
For the artist, we believe we offer integrity and the ability to really make money with their music. Some of our artists have made thousands of dollars over the years with us. We have been told by more than a few that even though our deal is non-exclusive, they have dropped their other reps because they couldn’t deliver the placements and dollars. Our goal from the beginning has been to get every song a placement … and we continue to work hard at achieving that goal. We will never license a song for free; that devalues the music. We believe we are guardians of the artists’ songs, and we want to make sure we can get the most dollars within the constraints of falling music budgets (which is a reality). Our strong relationships have delivered high profile placements. These aren’t your wallpapered uses for Discovery Channel (cable) shows. Many are feature placements that have resulted in heavy traffic to the artists’ websites resulting in artist awareness and digital downloads. We deliver the goods!
CEO, Crucial Music Corporation