Music for Business Films
You’ll have guessed from previous copyright-free music album reviews that I’m a sucker for them. Having a wide collection to hand is great for my line of work as I can quickly audition, ingest and edit my music score and, most importantly, distribute my completed works pretty much anywhere and anyhow without thought to obtaining further permissions and paying potentially expensive licence agreements. The more copyright-free albums the merrier in my mind – and as wide a variety as is imaginable.
With most of my work being in the business films sector I keep a special ear open for anything new that’s been composed for this purpose. Whilst music suitable for business films is a very broad genre, it is the middle of the road stuff that you’ll need most of the time – and this new album from AKM Music, AK157 Positivity, fits the bill perfectly.
Available on Audio CD, CD-ROM and download, AK157 contains 12 full tracks which are all uplifting, inspirational, joyous and triumphant (with one exception which you’ll read about later). AKM describe this as “feel-good” music and that’s pretty much what you’ll get – with all tracks building to a positive conclusion. There’s certainly enough variety, mood and pace with each track having a slightly different feel to it making the collection suitable for a wide variety of business film commissions.
Track 1 – Positivity 4:55
I guess as the title track this is the score that started it all off. With a gentle and repetitive piano intro which leads to an uplifting strings section, and then back down to the calm of the piano. Waves of this seem to come and go before there’s a change of feel about half way through with the introduction of electronic synth instruments. This score is typical of much of the music produced for business films and usually ends up well under the main soundtrack – being inoffensive and unobtrusive but at the same time adding a bit of warmth to the pictures. I don’t think this is the best track on the album – but it’s got a strong opening and closing so I’ll probably use it one day.
Track 2 – Aspire 3:20
Think of a Lloyds Bank commercial and you’ve got this track playing in your head. A classic orchestral strings and piano piece with medium-paced soft rhythmic beat that you can imagine a middle-aged VO voice popping through every now and then telling you what a lovely bank they are. But hang on… Midway through it gets a little bit weird (I like it when it does that) and goes all Blade Runner – before getting back on with the job of helping you to tell a feel-good story for the bank. Great ending.
Track 3 – Celebration 4:08
‘Together in Electric Dreams’ with the Backstreet Boys doing the dance routine. Sad but true – well in my mind anyhow. With its Euro Pop-style synth beat and keyboard passages I could really see this being used on the Eurovision Song Contest trailer. I would say its medium-fast pace, but with breaks of orchestral strings stabs that would be neat to cut to. I can’t think of anything I’ve produced to date that this would fit – but who knows what business films are round the corner?
Track 4 – Climbing High 3:04
Your head lifts from the pillow and the sun sprinkles its dappled pattern across your face. Ahead of you a day full of hope, kind faces and happy thoughts. I just can’t get ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ out of my head when listening to this but not the original BBC drama, which was one of my favourite TV treats as a child, but rather an updated modern version produced by Channel 4. I can imagine lots of gliding, craning, sliding and certainly aerial shots over a green landscape of opportunity.
Track 5 – Corporate Technology 3:38
A strong beat leads you through this one. Again lots of big orchestral string sections but backed up by an electronic swirling underscore which I’m sure is the inspiration of its ‘Corporate Technology’ title. It does go a bit ‘Do the Hustle’ in parts but never strays too far into the world of disco beat. Quite fast paced, but I would tend to use the slower swirling string parts as my inspiration to edit with this. Could be a bit more ‘Techie’ for my liking.
Track 6 – Green Day 2:49
Oh out come U2 again. What is it that makes U2’s music the inspiration behind a lot of business film music scores? I’ll tell you – much of U2’s is very anthem-like – and that’s often what you need in order to give your film a positive, uplifting feel. It doesn’t get all rocky, but more of a gentle guitar and drum driven tune with a nice subtle keyboard lift that builds. At its crescendo orchestral strings drift by driving the rhythm onwards. It doesn’t have a pronounced end to it though, but rather drifts away.
Track 7 – Inspiration 4:03
We’re back at Lloyds Bank with this one, but with an urgent beat generated through stabs of orchestral strings that make things appear a bit more serious and upright. Lots of edit points in this one as the stabs continue and are joined by more strings in slow swirls. I like tracks with this feature as you can cut them down easily without any seams. More and more instruments join these repetitive passages until they finally burst and then fade to the twinkling sound of symbols. Phew – I’m glad that’s over! The full track is a bit much but edited it’s got a lot of potential.
Track 8 – Opening Up To Grace 3:14
I didn’t know what to expect when I read the title of the track. On listening to it I can see the point entirely. The soft, slow, thoughtful opening passage with solo piano, choir-voice and low orchestral strings had be thinking of some deep-voiced classical actor reading the Ten Commandments. Just when you think they are going to go one and read the whole flipping Bible, a crash of symbols breaks the pace and lifts us into a more positive tempo with string and choir-voice stabs. The main feeling I got from this track is one of benevolence rather than conjuring up a ‘Seen the light’ experience. It’s therefore really suitable for charity-based business films where you are trying to win the hearts and minds of your audience. Massive ending which is spot on for a, “donate here” call to action.
Track 9 – Orange Sky 2:50
This starts with a melancholy piano solo telling a story or woe and despair which is not the kind of stuff you’d expect on an album called ‘Positivity’. More instruments join the gloom but the story doesn’t get any happier – just more gloom. The final part to this track is back with the poor old lonely and depressed piano soloist who just plays on till he drops. If this music was used in a film about Bob, the old faithful pet bloodhound, I’m sorry to have to tell you that Bob dies in the end. Maybe not right for this album but a proper bonus track if you are ever commissioned to make business films about sad and hopeless causes. Filmmaking is, after all, about message and story.
Track 10 – Rising Up 4:04
Do you ever dream about running across the finish line in gold position at the Olympics? If you do the opening of this track is probably akin to the music going on in your mind at the time. It’s got a very positive feel about it and has similar electronic passages as the Euro-pop styled ‘Celebration’. Again there’s lots of edit points in this if you need to pad out or reduce the music length logically. Didn’t think much of the ending though – it kind of just ends.
Track 11 – The Perfect Moment 3:45
We’re halfway between Lloyds Bank and All Creatures Great and Small’ here. It certainly has a countryside feel about it. I could easily imagine this track being used on a documentary about a country house – which in turn would make it great for a top-notch country house hotel promo. Musically it’s another blend of orchestral strings and piano with a swirling upbeat rhythm. Words that come to mind are ‘quality’, ‘expense’, and ‘luxury’ so it could work well on a promo about other luxury goods or lifestyles. Neat and tidy on the end too!
12. Trust 4:40
Our final track tells the alternate story of Bob so wickedly written off in track 9. Here Bob not only avoids demise but he gets a whole lot better and goes on the win the ‘Bloodhound of the Year’ competition seven times and then fathers lots of competition-winning pups. The story finishes with Bob walking off into the sunset with his master – a contented dog. To be honest this one got on my tits a bit after a while – but in the vein of Positivity this track has it oozing out of every crevice. I’m sure it will go down well State-side.
This is another welcome addition to my copyright-free music collection – and I’d hazard a guess that one of the tracks will be used on my next film. This type of music is always useful as nearly all business film commissions are about telling a positive story – and this has it in oodles. It will certainly be one of the first places in my collection that’ll look.
From early October onwards you’ll be able to download the tracks individually for just under £11 inc. VAT each but you might as well go the whole hog and buy the entire album on CD (Audio CD format) or Download (WAV format) at £36.00 inc. VAT (£38 if you want the WAV file version shipped on a CDROM). As with all AKM Music albums you can preview AK157 on their website (www.akmmusic.co.uk) and the cost includes the all-important commercial licence to use the music on all your future business films.
Kevin Cook F.Inst.V. (Hon.)
Notes: You can get 10% off this new release by using the following promo code at the online checkout (www.akmmusic.co.uk) or when calling AKM Music on 01926 864068 : AKM5XA