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How is music for Reality TV shows selected? (made so fast)
Old 1st June 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 

How is music for Reality TV shows selected? (made so fast)

I'd like to ask how licenced music for television and streaming can be made so incredibly fast yet so accurate?

I've been following a few reality TV shows of different kinds. These are largely unknown outside my country but the same concept exists in most countries. They are produced with a tight time schedule and a conveyor belt production fashion. And yet, when you watch them, they've put in well known music parts that fits exceptionally well with lots of different scenes and scenarios in the show.

This is usually not done using a professional composer, but instead with snippets of the most well known pop/rock/EDM songs, but also older music, including classical and jazz parts with a lot of character in them. What strikes me is how spot on exceptionally well they manage to find a song or part of a song to fit the real scenario on the show. They really nail better than 99% it every time (at least what I've seen).

We're not talking about just simply working out some spontaneous ideas out of one's memory, like putting in a part of Strauss Radetzky March when somebody is dancing happily down the street, or BeeGee's "Staying Alive" when somebody is walking confidently down the street, or Beasty Boys "fight for your right to party" when a few guys are tearing up a club drinking. Even I could do things in that fashion.

Instead, we're almost always talking so well matched scenes and selected emotional musical content content that there's no way that 1-3 video guys under a tight conveyor belt schedule can make it this good this fast; not without some kind of method or tool. One Big Brother show I've followed sent one 50 minute show every day, 7 days a week, and there's at least 10 mins of impeccably matched music material in there every day (excluding the title and end tracks).

I'm thinking there must be some kind of database or library, where commercial songs or well known classical music is registered with really carefully worded search tags on them, even including the lyrics of song, that media creators can use to just dial up a number of example of what song/part to put over a certain mood, color or situation? Or some other kinds of tools that may be available to producers working at large production companies and facilities? But since they choose alot of wellknown songs, how the heck do they get licencing for them so fast?

Does anyone have any insight into how reality TV producers can be so fast and yet match musical content so accurately and witty with scenes in a fast-produced TV show?

Would love to hear and learn about it
thx in advance
Old 5th June 2019
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrero View Post
I'd like to ask how licenced music for television and streaming can be made so incredibly fast yet so accurate?

I've been following a few reality TV shows of different kinds. These are largely unknown outside my country but the same concept exists in most countries. They are produced with a tight time schedule and a conveyor belt production fashion. And yet, when you watch them, they've put in well known music parts that fits exceptionally well with lots of different scenes and scenarios in the show.

This is usually not done using a professional composer, but instead with snippets of the most well known pop/rock/EDM songs, but also older music, including classical and jazz parts with a lot of character in them. What strikes me is how spot on exceptionally well they manage to find a song or part of a song to fit the real scenario on the show. They really nail better than 99% it every time (at least what I've seen).

We're not talking about just simply working out some spontaneous ideas out of one's memory, like putting in a part of Strauss Radetzky March when somebody is dancing happily down the street, or BeeGee's "Staying Alive" when somebody is walking confidently down the street, or Beasty Boys "fight for your right to party" when a few guys are tearing up a club drinking. Even I could do things in that fashion.

Instead, we're almost always talking so well matched scenes and selected emotional musical content content that there's no way that 1-3 video guys under a tight conveyor belt schedule can make it this good this fast; not without some kind of method or tool. One Big Brother show I've followed sent one 50 minute show every day, 7 days a week, and there's at least 10 mins of impeccably matched music material in there every day (excluding the title and end tracks).

I'm thinking there must be some kind of database or library, where commercial songs or well known classical music is registered with really carefully worded search tags on them, even including the lyrics of song, that media creators can use to just dial up a number of example of what song/part to put over a certain mood, color or situation? Or some other kinds of tools that may be available to producers working at large production companies and facilities? But since they choose alot of wellknown songs, how the heck do they get licencing for them so fast?

Does anyone have any insight into how reality TV producers can be so fast and yet match musical content so accurately and witty with scenes in a fast-produced TV show?

Would love to hear and learn about it
thx in advance
LOL... oh man... your mind will be blown...

first off... yes... Metadata is key. Every music publisher even famous ones spend crazy amounts of time creating and refining their searchable metadata and then converting that metadata in to multiple destination formats for their clients to use.

Next comes the TV show production... especially Reality TV shows... they shoot about 200 min of footage for every 1 min of screen time. So believe it or not, they are not cranking out an episode every day... they might be finishing an episode every day... but they shoot a season's worth of footage and then spend about a season's length of time editing them into storylines and episodes. The editors, directors and music supervisors are living with these shows for months, constantly tweaking the episodes and re-editing them. They do not edit them as they shoot them most of the time because something may have happened towards the end of production that will change what the director might want to do in the beginning of the season... so they usually wait to start editing until half way through production or sometimes they wait until the end of production to start sifting through all the footage and editing it.

All of the footage is tagged with copious amounts of metadata too. Avid video editing systems are great for this sort of thing. assistant editors have to load and tag all video footage for everything, and transcripts of every word of dialogue are made and tagged in each clip, and dialogue transcriptions are given to the producers... They sit down and try to go through all the transcriptions looking for ways to create character story arcs.

As the story arcs are coming together they are talking about music, especially if they want to use famous music. Music supervisors are constantly looking to find music being asked for and then getting clearances on it, and they are creatively suggesting music as well. The picture editors are cutting music in from libraries and from well known recordings they have loaded into their bins in their avid systems.

So just because there is an new episode every day, doesn't mean they are doing an episode from start to finish in a day.
Old 6th June 2019
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
So just because there is an new episode every day, doesn't mean they are doing an episode from start to finish in a day.
Except in the case of something like Big Brother where it's a day in arrears (we never had that sort of thing in the UK Big Brother though!).
Old 6th June 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
Uh...wrong....

My team wrote via cue orders for pretty much every reality show on SPIKE TV, Discovery and a bunch of others.

Every "Top Chef" Every "Real Housewives" all that crap.

We got cue orders, we wrote to spec and we wrote FAST....every cue I submitted was used and re-used...and are STILL getting reused, when I get my PRO statements, cues I don't remember (I don't really remember any, there are 100's) are being used in shows I've never heard of.

So in my experience, they asked for what they wanted and we gave it to them...FAST.
Old 6th June 2019
  #5
Well, I have had only my production music in several shows and multiple episodes. Didn´t even know that someone actually write music for certain episodes (nowdays).
Old 6th June 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
Uh...wrong....

My team wrote via cue orders for pretty much every reality show on SPIKE TV, Discovery and a bunch of others.

Every "Top Chef" Every "Real Housewives" all that crap.

We got cue orders, we wrote to spec and we wrote FAST....every cue I submitted was used and re-used...and are STILL getting reused, when I get my PRO statements, cues I don't remember (I don't really remember any, there are 100's) are being used in shows I've never heard of.

So in my experience, they asked for what they wanted and we gave it to them...FAST.
That’s what’s up. How can I join your team?
Old 6th June 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
We got cue orders, we wrote to spec and we wrote FAST....every cue I submitted was used and re-used...and are STILL getting reused, when I get my PRO statements, cues I don't remember (I don't really remember any, there are 100's) are being used in shows I've never heard of.

So in my experience, they asked for what they wanted and we gave it to them...FAST.
Yep, same here! There's even been times where I've made tracks the day before they go on air.
Old 7th June 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
Uh...wrong....

My team wrote via cue orders for pretty much every reality show on SPIKE TV, Discovery and a bunch of others.

Every "Top Chef" Every "Real Housewives" all that crap.

We got cue orders, we wrote to spec and we wrote FAST....every cue I submitted was used and re-used...and are STILL getting reused, when I get my PRO statements, cues I don't remember (I don't really remember any, there are 100's) are being used in shows I've never heard of.

So in my experience, they asked for what they wanted and we gave it to them...FAST.
Not sure who you're are saying is wrong...

But I have a ton of cues in Top Chef, I have a ton of music in a bunch of Discovery and Discovery ID shows, I have a ton of stuff on Spike, TruTV, Lifetime, etc... None of it was custom written to spec. It was all from them searching metadata in search systems.

I ended up doing 20 cues with a couple of composers, we did them as a custom thing for Pat at Discovery Networks... we wrote to her briefs, she gave comments and feedback and asked for changes... We turned it around very quick, she was actually impressed at how fast we were. Said something to the effect of they've never had someone turn around the music that fast... then it took 6 or 8 months for those cues to even start airing from when I turned in the finals. And now they are airing in a bunch of different shows, not just the initially intended show. Because they are now searching on the metadata we tagged the cues with and the editors have added some of them to their bins.

Some companies like Vanacore and the like also offer music supervision services to the client... so Nathan at Vanacore is not only coordinating the custom music for the shows, he's helping spot and place music in the shows... With some of those companies you can get music into the show...

But if you are writing music and submitting it a day before the episode airs with your music in it... then something went completely FUBAR on the production schedule and that show runner is probably in jeopardy of losing their jobs from all the OT they are paying the post house to try and mix and finish the episode in less than 24 hours.

I do a lot of stuff for Warner Bros TV and Dreamworks TV and have worked for several reality TV production companies in the past (Bunim/Murray, Pie Town, Gurney, Collins Ave, etc). Very rarely do they leave everything until the last minute, especially since there are usually a large list of people that have to sign off on every final of every episode.
Old 7th June 2019
  #9
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
In my experience - not saying it's everyone's experience, just mine - last minute calls for reality TV are usually 2-3 weeks out from airing. I've got thousands of placements in RTV in dozens of series across multiple networks.
Old 7th June 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Amber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Not sure who you're are saying is wrong...

But I have a ton of cues in Top Chef, I have a ton of music in a bunch of Discovery and Discovery ID shows, I have a ton of stuff on Spike, TruTV, Lifetime, etc... None of it was custom written to spec. It was all from them searching metadata in search systems.

I ended up doing 20 cues with a couple of composers, we did them as a custom thing for Pat at Discovery Networks... we wrote to her briefs, she gave comments and feedback and asked for changes... We turned it around very quick, she was actually impressed at how fast we were. Said something to the effect of they've never had someone turn around the music that fast... then it took 6 or 8 months for those cues to even start airing from when I turned in the finals. And now they are airing in a bunch of different shows, not just the initially intended show. Because they are now searching on the metadata we tagged the cues with and the editors have added some of them to their bins.
20 mins in 3 days, that was fun! And Pat was great. Seeing them show up a lot more lately especially.
Old 7th June 2019
  #11
Mrx
Gear Addict
 

I've done my fair share of reality tv music and it has happened 2 different ways:

1) Some tracks I have with exclusive libraries keep finding their way into reality tv.

2) I work with a few non exclusive libraries that occasionally send me a brief of urgent requests for specific shows. The briefs will usually say that the tv show is in editing mode and are looking for genres like xxx.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
TVPostSound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
Uh...wrong....

My team wrote via cue orders for pretty much every reality show on SPIKE TV, Discovery and a bunch of others.

Every "Top Chef" Every "Real Housewives" all that crap.

We got cue orders, we wrote to spec and we wrote FAST....every cue I submitted was used and re-used...and are STILL getting reused, when I get my PRO statements, cues I don't remember (I don't really remember any, there are 100's) are being used in shows I've never heard of.

So in my experience, they asked for what they wanted and we gave it to them...FAST.
Dave?
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