Welcome to What Emma heard. Now I imagine you’re asking yourself “well, what did Emma hear??”
I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to music that is used alongside some sort of visual media output (TV shows, ads, films, games, etc.). A “sync”, as the music business calls it, is short for a synchronisation license, the license granted by the owner of the copyright of a piece of music, allowing it to be used in a visual context.
Sync is big business – the IFPI’s Recording Industry in Numbers 2013 report calculated that worldwide sync revenues hit $337 million in 2012. But more importantly, the potential promotional value of a sync can be astronomical for an artist. Getting your song on an advert, for example, can mean instantaneous worldwide exposure. Think José González and those Sony Bravia bouncing balls, Feist and the iPod Nano, or that drumming Gorilla…
And thanks to a magical contraption called Shazam, gone are the days when you have to scour online forums to learn which song was playing in that scene. Simply press a button and voila! During the nail-bitingly thrilling Breaking Bad finale last year, Shazam received 43,000 tags of Welsh band Badfinger’s Baby Blue. 5,000 copies of the song were sold in only a few hours, showing just how effective a sync can be in this digital age.
There’s no doubt that the combination of music and visuals can be psychologically powerful. Carter Burwell, composer of film scores including every Coen brothers film, says “music is the subliminal connecting adhesive in film.” As a music lover and avid TV/film watcher I want to explore this audio-visual relationship, and I hope to bring you the best, the worst, and the weirdest.