Music You Can't Use: The Built Environment Soundtrack

Finding your way through rights for music

Finding your way through rights for music

A couple of years ago an interior designer came into the office and wanted a new website design with a music video on her home page that would aesthetically match her aesthetic and culture of her firm.

I loved this project from the start and thought it was a great visual marketing strategy. The look was going to be Americana, burnt umber, soft focus and a bit dark at the edges in an enveloping, comforting sort of way. Think of a warm fire in a family room at dusk during a late November snowstorm using an Edward Hopper palette. In choosing the music we decided upon contrast. Home, This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) written by David Byrne and performed by the Talking Heads was our first choice but we wanted to have a bluegrass-influenced country and western or singer songwriter performance of the song. We sought a perfect blend of Richard Thompson and Del McCrory; someone like Griffin House on his song "Give a Little Love". We wanted an original recording and we began searching MySpace for musicians. Having been a photographer who shot for the Grateful Dead, I've had images appropriated (stolen) on more than one occasion. So we immediately sought the rights to use the song. Right's clearing houses are notoriously slow unless you're a big media company with a big budget and this was no exception. It took three months and a half dozen phone calls for the rejection to be handed down.

The Moral of the Musical Story:

Starting a new search for music became a serious impediment to wrapping up the project. Nothing felt quite right after having set upon a specific tune and having our hopes dashed. Dozens of artists were put forth but they weren't the right blend of New Wave Home like lyrics and Americana, Decemberists like sound. The project lingered and eventually died.  So as a warning I've decided to pull together a list of a dozen songs that may be the perfect soundtrack to your marketing plan but due to cost, conflicting interest or the prevention of commercial usage, may not be available to you. If you are an interior designer, architect, landscape or design-build firm looking legally acquire the rights to put music on your website, Don't Even Think About Using These Songs! Unless of course your Gensler Architecture and Design, Parsons Brinckerhoff WSP or Bechtel. They might have a chance.

About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition. Contact me for a free-of-charge consultation and marketing review. It takes about 40 minutes and you'll be provided a list of actionable improvements designed to solve your specific marketing problems.

Print Friendly and PDF