A Super Connection: Prof. Jason Menkes brings strategic branding experience to classroom

When he’s not teaching or advising Music Business students, Clinical Assistant Professor Jason Menkes runs COPILOT Strategic Music & Sound. Recently, COPILOT worked alongside strategic branding and advertising agency BBDO to create an original musical score for an AT&T television campaign that debuted during the Super Bowl pre-game show. To complement the focus of the advertisement, which highlights the ease and connectivity of AT&T’s global network, COPILOT partner Ravi Krishnaswami produced a score that uses hand-played string and percussion instruments (e.g. kora, bazouki, marimba) to create a dynamic musical backdrop. The ad can be viewed at COPILOT’s website.

Professor Menkes is currently teaching Strategic Music & Branding, a brand new course that focuses on emerging licensing opportunities for music in film, television, and interactive marketing campaigns.

COPILOT specializes in strategic branding for television, radio, interactive, and gaming by composing, producing, and licensing music to fit each client’s campaign uniquely. Over the last several years, COPILOT has provided music for a variety of clients, ranging from Cadillac to Coca-Cola and Microsoft. COPILOT’s other recent projects include campaigns for the new Volkswagen Jetta as well as Macy’s, both of which can be also be viewed on the company’s website. (Photo credit: ChrisK4u)

Collegium 2/16: The Business of Music in Movie Trailers

(From left: Yoav Goren, Robin Joseph, Orlando Rotundo, and Kellie Maltagliati)

Collegium on Wednesday, February 16th featured a multi-dimensional look into the world of film trailer music. Led by Kellie Maltagliati of Trailer Music Live, the panelists discussed writing, licensing, and editing music for movie trailers. Trailer music by nature complements the film and aims to inspire movie-goers to make the trip, and the panel included a variety of industry professionals who work closely on distinct aspects of placing music for movie trailers.

Representing the creative side of trailer music was Yoav Goren, an accomplished film music composer and music publisher with nearly 20 years of experience. His company Immediate Music has provided over 2,500 licenses and is one of the foremost production music libraries for licensing and custom scoring in Los Angeles. In 1992, Mr. Goren relocated from New York to Los Angeles and began writing commissioned custom scores for movie trailers and constructing a library of licensable music for film. More recently he has composed exclusively licensed, custom trailer scores for box-offices hits such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Avatar, and Toy Story 3. During the discussion Mr. Goren also noted that over the years, the affordability of recording technologies has had a dramatic impact on the amount of trailer music that studios have to choose from, and that there is an increasingly high awareness with regard to styles and trends in trailer music. As a composer, he must master a range of musical styles to fit different films and create value in his library.

As Creative Director of Film & Telvision at Primary Wave Music, Robin Joseph works to find sync opportunities for her artists’ songs in television, films, and online. Her music clearance credits include films such as The Notebook and Wedding Crashers, and television shows such as Queer Eye for The Straight Guy and American Gladiators. During the discussion, Ms. Joseph noted the difficulty in pushing new music to trailers and getting a placement as many studios will choose commonly used music or license from a library. As a music supervisor she must also be very familiar with Primary Wave’s library so that she may direct the appropriate music to each project. She and Mr. Goren both agreed that one of the most prominent issues for placing trailer music today is that of money and budgeting, which often leads studios to explore any number of options and in turn creates competition among artists and composers in search of a placement.

Orlando Rotundo of Giaronomo Productions brought to the panel experience as an editor of film trailers. Giaronomo has won numerous awards for its work in creating trailers for some of Hollywood’s most successful films, such as No Country for Old Men, The Departed, and Pulp Fiction. One Mr. Rotundo’s primary responsbilities as an editor is to screen music and experiment with different audio-visual pairings to find the best, most effective match. In other instances, however, he must cater his work to a studio’s musical selection. Mr. Rotundo also commented on how advancing technology is speeding up the entire editing process and shortening project deadlines. Like Mr. Goren and Ms. Joseph, he cited shrinking budgets as one of the trailer industry’s primary issues as artists like Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and Guns N’ Roses are notorious for charging six and seven-figure licensing fees.

On Saturday, February 19th, Yoav Goren’s music was performed live at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts as part of Trailer Music Live, produced by Kellie Maltagliati. The event marked Trailer Music Live’s New York premier and featured the NYU Symphony Orchestra and the New York City Master Chorale conducted by John Graham.


MUBG Alum, Undergrads judges in annual SongCircle contest

This past Fall, The New York Songwriter’s Circle held the 5th Annual Song Circle Music Songwriting Contest in Lower Manhattan. The Music Business Program is no stranger to the local Song Circle community as several of its past contest winners and contestants were guests at our weekly program meeting last semester. 

Ben Sheehan (G ’10; pictured) along with current sophomores Aaron Marks, Diana Yu, Justin Krim, Sarah McCalla, and Danny Chang made up more than half of the preliminary listening team. From August to November, each member listened hundreds of submissions and met monthly with Song Circle Music Artistic Director Tina Shafer to discuss their favorite entries and select winners.

The group’s final 12 selections performed their songs live on November 18th at The City Winery in Tribeca before a panel of judges comprised of producers, publishers, and other industry figures. Barnaby Bright’s “Don’t Look Down” was awarded the 1st Place prize, and NYU’s own Flearoy won 2nd Place for their song “Hey Brother.” More information on SongCircle and its songwriting contests can be found here.

(On a related note, Ben Sheehan was so impressed with Todd Alsup, one of the artists selected for the contest’s final round, that he wrote to Bob Lefsetz, the figure and author behind the renowned music industry newsletter The Lefsetz Letter. Todd Alsup is one of NYU Steinhardt’s own as a graduate of the Vocal Performance program, and Mr. Lefsetz was impressed enough to dedicate an entire letter in praise of Todd. The article can be viewed here.)