How To

Dropbox. WeTransfer. iTunes. Do they meet the needs of creatives?

Photograph of the blog post author, Jon Skinner

Jon Skinner


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When Dropbox announced itself as the ultimate file-storage/sharing solution, without a doubt, it absolutely nailed the concept. A ‘ball out the park’ homerun moment, where their legendary referral data program saw people running around to get more data like Pac-Man out of the traps!

Apple tried to buy them, but failed. Hats off to them for keeping their nerve. Amazon have dominated the storage space for business, fighting it out with those lovely San Fran chaps at Google. But we all know that like so many massively popular software systems, while simple, can suffer from a lack of nuance. From personal experience and from the clients we work with, there’s quite a few boxes that aren’t ticked when it comes to meeting the rigorous demands of Creative Professionals and the wider artists, bands and creatives working within the Music Industry.

Whether you work in TV, Film, Advertising, Gaming or Music, in most cases you are handling large file sizes, multiple times a day. From sending music, video and media to clients, to pitching to Music Supervisors and Record Labels, Publishers and Management. It’s a never ending game of duplication and inefficiency.

“Time is an absolute killer. As Music Supervisors we are constantly up against tight deadlines and client demands. Licensing issues cause headaches and slow things down and there’s the balancing act of wanted to stay creative and listening to music from your trusted sources.” 

Jonathan McHugh. Secretary – Guild of Music Supervisors

Let’s talk about pitching from your folders!

Some people use cloud storage systems to send and pitch their music to their clients. You can share a link to a specific file or a folder, but there’s a few issues to consider.

1. If you share a folder (without setting a ton of permissions) you give the person receiving the files access to this folder and everything in it. By default, they can download, access, delete and share your music to anywhere. Security is a major concern for starters. To combat this, what a lot of people do (and I’ve done it myself before) is create a new duplicate folder, copy the files into it, make sure it’s outside your core folder structure and share that

2. When you share music and video files from folders, they are designed to be listened to online, high res wav format audio won’t play in a browser, (it’s the same for video). If you receive MP3 audio files, once you click to play, Dropbox displays a lightbox screen and gives you a basic play and timeline to skip through. If you want to listen to the next track, you have to close the window, remember where you were at and re-click the next file. Do that 20 times and you will literally go mad!

So, no permanent link, not designed to play in the browser, no metadata (unless it was pre-populated locally on your computer), duplication of folders and files, all of which wastes you and your clients a huge amount of time. 

Surely, you agree that your time is super valuable? Well so is your client’s time, even more so. If you waste their time compared to your competitors, well you know that over time (no pun intended) they will move on.

I wrote an article about the best way to pitch to Music Supervisors with advice from the very best in the business, check it out here.

The fact is that storage isn’t designed for pitching. We have developed a specialist tool for you to create custom, personalised playlists for both Music & Video. You can check out it’s benefits and features here.

Let’s talk about using iTunes as a library tool

Everyone loves apple, don’t they? Well yes most people do, it’s definitely a marmite scenario considering Samsung now have the market share lead and competitively priced.

Last year (2016) iTunes updated their popular iTunes library and it’s all gone pete tong! In respect of how high level music supervisors and creatives used the tool for searching their music and accessing saved playlists.

But do not despair! We have only gone and created your ‘Desktop In The Cloud’. In fact we’ve got a few steps further than that, we have developed our own niche, 360 degree solution for creatives everywhere.

– File Storage System (think Dropbox but better) tailored to your needs.

– Global metadata tools to handle those pesky MP3 (ID3 Tags)

– A WeTransfer style bulk file sending system

– An Audio Library Search (think iTunes) but better

To learn more about our tech tools, take a look here.

All the above tools are fully integrated, meaning you save time and your clients are super happy!

Working in Sync Licensing and with Members

of the Guild of Music Supervisors

Here’s some wise words from Georgette Bivins at 72 and Sunny advertising agency, whose clients include Adidas, Google, Smirnoff, IKEA and here’s some more case studies.

“Metadata. My love and hate relationship with MP3’s. It’s so important for people to understand that pitching and sending music without the correct data contained within your files, can ultimately be the difference between obtaining a sync or not when it comes down to a deadline or legal clearance.”

Georgette Bivins. Music Supervisor – 72 and Sunny

There are two main Guilds, the original LA based one which was founded in 2010 view here and the UK & European Guild of Music Supervisors, which was founded in April 2017 view here. We have been working alongside music supervisors for years and understand how they work, why they work the way they do and what their needs are.

Getting your music placed within TV, Film, Games and Adverts is a highly sort after prospect, and in-turn highly competitive. To most, it can break an artist or band, get them a publishing deal or record label backing. We offer representation as well through the site if you can’t handle the bandwidth to deal with the super tight deadlines the supervisors work to, check out our Sync Licensing Portal here.

Music Supervisors, Ad Agency Creatives, Heads of Music, Heads of TV, Film & TV Directors, Movie Editors, Music Editors, Studio Producers and Executives all need to use music and video everyday.

Now the boring bit (but bloody important). The Guild announced two years ago a standard / best practice way of setting out and entering your file MP3 metadata into the ID3 tags.

Our solution has incorporated these standards and allows you to access global metadata tools, helping to you manage your catalogue like the professionals do.

Why is the metadata so important?

It’s a ball ache I know, but it’s vital to you landing a sync placement. If a supervisor receives your music, they will normally do one of these things:

– Ignore it (because they don’t receive unsolicited approaches).

– Ignore it (because you haven’t provided any context or relevance to your approach).

– Receive it, and if it’s relevant, file it for later

– Bam, you got their attention, it’s relevant, they click your link and then….. They can’t listen, have to login somewhere, they can’t download the files, it doesn’t display on mobile correctly.

Don’t do this to yourself! It’s hard enough as it is that you have a million and one people pitching to these high-level gate keepers.

You have to give yourself the best possible for them to see you as a trusted source, a go to guy (this is an industry term so male or female) so be the best you can and use the right tech to get ahead. It’s that simple. You need to consider the time to invest in your research. Now not everyone has time on their hands, which is where we can come in with our Sync Licensing Portal, where we act as an agent on your behalf and proactively pitching and supplying music to our clients.

Bottom line is this…

We want to save you time, give you the right tools to give you the best chance of being successful and if that’s not enough, you can have us do it for you. Do we have a deal?

I hope you enjoyed the article and my cheeky side. We built our solution from the ground up with a bucket load of knowledge, passion and experience. We rocked our socks off, so hope you like what we have created, if you do, well jolly well sign up here then 🙂

Thank you for reading. Jon x @ Music Gateway.

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