InSync with… Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Buma Music in Motion is all about making meaningful connections between the music and media industry. InSync is a new, recurring column where music agencies, sync agencies and composers get the chance to talk about their top-notch productions of 2020. We will deep dive into their work, unlock behind the scenes information and plunge into their creative processes. Today, we’re InSync with Karolien Mazereeuw-Coolen, Head of Sync at Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

Hi Karolien, can you tell us a bit more about Sony/ATV Music Publishing and your team?
Sony/ATV Music Publishing is the leading global music publisher with a diverse catalogue of iconic songs written by legends such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Queen and the Rolling Stones, as well as contemporary superstars such as Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, P!nk, Sam Smith, and Ed Sheeran. Our local Benelux office, based in Amsterdam, represents songwriters such as Duncan Laurence, Jacqueline Govaert, Danny Vera, Son Mieux, Lil Kleine, Yung Felix, Ir Sais, Hooverphonic, Jonathan Hendrickx, Kovacs and many more.

Our Creative Sync team consists of Hans Schlatmann (Senior Marketing and Sync Manager, David Reijns (Junior Sync Manager), Marc van der Haas (Head of EMI Production Music) and myself (Head of Sync).

You mentioned that KPN’s “Ode aan Nederland” is Sony/ATV’s top-notch production of 2020, can you tell us more about this project? (briefing, goal, styles etc)
The campaign “Ode aan Nederland” by telecom provider KPN was a tribute to the people in the Netherlands. According to KPN, it appeared that when the Covid19 pandemic first hit the country that people were more connected than ever before. With this video KPN wanted to give everyone in the Netherlands a big compliment, seen through the lens of webcams, chats, video calls, team sessions, vlogs, posts and stories with a powerful message ‘Houd afstand. Houd contact’ (Keep your distance. Stay connected)

Why do you think this sync works so well?
This commercial was first broadcasted right after The Netherlands initially went into lockdown as a result of the pandemic. People were adapting to their new reality, full of uncertainty, challenges but also new opportunities. Staying connected virtually was more important than ever before. I believe this commercial perfectly reflects what the Netherlands was going through in uncertain times and the overall sentiment. However, the tone is extremely optimistic. The music and lyrics from Danny Vera’s Roller Coaster (“Here we go. On this rollercoaster life we know. With those crazy highs and real deep lows”) brilliantly captivated the rollercoaster of emotions people were feeling and have been feeling ever since the pandemic hit.

You mentioned that the song perfectly captures the sentiment of the pandemic. Is that why, in your opinion, this song was so syncable or were there other factors that contributed as well?
This song is full of emotion. The pace changes within the musical piece, which allows for more options in the editing process. The lyrics are very relatable, especially for the rollercoaster of events this past year. What I love about the effect of the commercial is that “Roller Coaster” truly became a pandemic anthem. It helped relaunch the song in a different way and now more than ever, gave people comfort in uncertain times. It speaks to a large audience, from kids to our grandparents.
For me that truly shows this song was a perfect fit for the images in the campaign and topic at hand.

The result is a well-known campaign with a song that most people recognize. Who was the music supervisor for this campaign? And who contributed to this?
The Music Supervisor on this project was Steve Johnsen, Founder and Music Producer at Never Square Music, who was also responsible for music production. We’ve worked with Steve before on several other projects, including the previous KPN campaign which features remakes of the classic Beatles song “With a Little Help From My Friends”. dentsuACHTUNG! & Wefilm were responsible for creation and production of the campaign “Ode aan Nederland”.

What was the creative process like for this campaign?
The song had been on the table in an early stage. During the negotiation process, we looked at some alternatives with Steve. Good solid, soothing options which also covered the emotional layer that Roller Coaster did. However, it soon became apparent that Roller Coaster served the message of the commercial and the various scenes best, lyrically and in pace.
Danny Vera has strong beliefs about what projects he wants to license his music for. We served as a mediator between him, his wishes and the client. It quickly became apparent that the commercial also served a more social purpose as we went through the video content with him. We came to a point where the music served the images and the content of the video did the song justice.

With the last months of 2020 coming up, we were wondering… Are there any interesting syncs coming up in the near future?
With such an extensive catalogue, there are always interesting syncs coming up. Christmas is coming up and it’s fair to say we should be seeing/hearing some iconic Christmas song(s) in a major advertisement nationwide. We are currently working on a campaign for one of The Netherlands’ biggest retailers.

Some of the ads that are currently on air with our music, are campaigns for Sodastream (“Think“), Rabobank (“Where Everybody Knows Your Name“), T-Mobile (Madness’ “Our House“), Jumbo (“Singin’ in the Rain“), Google (Ofenbach’s “Rock It“) and Facebook (Bongo Band’s “Apache“). Our music also features in several Netflix trailers such as Suburra Season 3 and Barbarians.

Additionally we just completed the music supervision for the movie Casanova’s. Like with most of the music supervision projects we do, we provided the songs in the movie (from our commercial catalogue, as well as our library catalogue) and were also involved in the creation of a remake version, performed by Re-Play, of “Casanova“, the theme song of the movie. Within 2 weeks, the movie reached the Gold status, so that’s great news, especially now! Watch out for more of our upcoming projects on our socials…

If you had to describe your own business in a music production, what would you say?
Our services vary from one project to another. Our team is responsible for all creative licensing aspects for Sony/ATV’s catalogue (over 4 million songs). Unique to our territory is that we also handle the exploitation of the Sony Music master catalogue. We are the only territory in the world to work on both catalogues, often serving as a one-stop shop for our clients.

In some cases we serve as the music supervisor on a project, on other projects we work closely with a music supervisor to find the right music and then we have all the clearances and negotiations that we handle for the use of our music in various projects. We are constantly connected to our clients to service their musical needs, without ever losing sight of the interests of those that we represent, our songwriters.

Thanks, Karolien, for your answers and inspiring campaigns.

Full credits KPN “Ode aan Nederland”: Client: KPN | Campaign: ‘Ode aan Nederland’ | Agency & Production: dentsuACHTUNG! & Wefilm | Director: Jan Boon | Music Production: Steve Johnsen, Never Square | Music Sound: Remko Keuter, Audioville