Voices

The power of female voices

With more brands commissioning dedicated brand tracks marketers and creative teams have a unique opportunity to elevate fresh female voices.

Lizz Harman, DLMDD

Creative Music Consultant

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In December last year, UK songwriter Fiona Bevan told the BBC that many of the most successful songwriters in the world are unable to pay their rent. Bevan, who has written songs for artists including One Direction, Kylie Minogue and Ed Sheeran, explained that many writers were struggling because of the way streaming services pay royalties. 

When sourcing music for the recent Müllerlight campaign ‘Have it all’, I was reminded of the realities faced by even some of our most talented and successful songwriters, who, for context, are unjustly paid a measly £0.0031 per Spotify stream. A successful sync placement can be one of the most lucrative forms of income for songwriters, so I viewed this as a chance for Müllerlight to stay rooted to their cause of empowering female voices, as well as provide an opportunity to a songwriter who likely wouldn’t often be afforded the opportunity to receive the financial return a song placement of this nature can provide. 

So how did we find the track?

There are many aspects of consideration when embarking on a music search project for an advertising campaign. One of the main concerns is to ensure that the music you’re sourcing and pitching works in cohesive alignment with the advert itself; structurally, tonally, stylistically. Does it hit the right edit points? Does it have a build and release? And so on.

With the Müllerlight campaign, we needed to ensure that the chosen track aligned with the brand’s moralistic values and that it fit the campaign’s purpose, which in this case was to encourage and promote a guilt-free lifestyle regarding women’s food choices. The campaign set out to hero female athletes, therefore it was important to find a track that not only worked for the campaign on a stylistic level, but one that lent the spotlight to a female voice and aimed to champion female talent.

We worked with multiple rights holders to find a track that best met the requirements of the brief, which was “a bold, confident, driving, memorable, catchy, modern pop track with a strong female identity”. We needed to capture this whilst also paying special consideration to finding a track that emphasised and paralleled the tonality of the campaign, namely, supporting the female-empowerment narrative.

While a wealth of fantastic tracks penned by wonderful female songwriters, artists and composers were pitched, the final track selected for the campaign was “Don’t Blink” by song writing trio GOLDENS, and led by Fiona Bevan. Despite her success in writing songs for many well-known artists, Fiona’s publisher made me aware of her struggles in receiving fair due for her work. Knowing this it felt pertinent to advocate on her behalf.

GOLDENS is made up of a trio of songwriters, however the group did not formally exist as an artist (or band) with a commercial presence. “Don’t Blink” was never actually intended for release but was tucked away on the publisher’s shelves, waiting for a potential sync opportunity such as this. Given the track’s catchy nature and sonic relevance to current popular music, we saw this as an opportunity to further amplify both the brand and the track into public consciousness and arranged with the rights holders and writers for its commercial release. The track would then be globally accessible to mass audiences, available to stream, download, Shazam and so on. Further establishing Müller as a brand with its finger on the pulse of popular culture, while hopefully spreading some awareness of the songwriters themselves. 

When campaigns are centred around championing minority voices and stories, it is more important than ever that brands must also work to ensure this commitment is reflected across all decisions, including with whom they employ and across all areas of production.

Lizz Harman, Creative Music Consultant at DLMDD

The truth is, more and more brands are tapping into the power of commissioning an artist to create a brand-track. Take, for example, Coca-Cola’s recent “Open that Coca-Cola” campaign, the music for which was written and produced  by Tyler, the Creator            specifically for the campaign. But what if brands utilised their power to lend their platforms to songwriters, composers and artists who, although not necessarily able to offer a brand the same visibility that an artist like Tyler can, are still fundamentally essential to sound-tracking stories across all forms of media, bringing with them a wealth of talent and storytelling experience of their own. 

When campaigns are centred around championing minority voices and stories, it is more important than ever that brands must also work to ensure this commitment is reflected across all decisions, including with whom they employ and across all areas of production. If for example your campaign explores experiences of persons within the LGBTQ+ community, in order to authentically tell these stories you must ensure the various creative teams, cast, crew, directors, editors, are also made up of LGBTQ+ peoples. Employ minority people to tell - or assist in telling - minority stories.

With the Müllerlight “Have it All” campaign, which is all about championing some of our greatest female athletes, this meant ensuring a female songwriter was given the opportunity to have her voice heard, while - crucially - being remunerated fairly for her work.

Guest Author

Lizz Harman, DLMDD

Creative Music Consultant,

About

Lizz Harmann is Creative Music Consultant at sonic branding and music production agency DLMDD, working with clients from top ad agencies and brands across various bespoke composition and creative music search projects. Since graduating from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in 2016, Lizz spent thebetter part of 3 years writing and releasing music before diving into the world of sync in 2018, first cutting her teeth interning for an indie publisher, followed by a music consultancy job at one of theUK’s biggest music catalogues, where she placed tracks across campaigns for multiple global brands such as Nike, Amazon, IKEA, Tesco, Mercedes & Samsung, plus TV series such as Giri/Haji (BBC), Sex Education (Netflix) and more.

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