Neil Gillis On The ‘Pretty Lights Way’

TThis is the full version of Neil Gillis’s commentary for the “Has Pretty Lights Shown Indie Musicians The Way?” article. Neil Gillis is a President of Round Hill Music, American Creative Rights Management Agency.

Neil Gillis

Neil Gillis

Pretty Lights is to be respected for having found a way that works for him and his family of artists. As a music publisher by trade, our “chain of causality” is a bit different, but does intersect with some of his ideas.

Basically, traditional publishers do not make direct income from touring or merchandising at those concerts. We do make indirect performance fees of the songs played at a concert based on Performing Rights Organizations Live Performance rate cards. Additionally, while downloads may be few and far between, the pennies per song per unit help in the overall business model.

One way that publishers can intersect in that “chain of causality” is to connect the dots in the sync world and the branding world, both here and abroad. The creative teams at publishing companies aim to help songs and their productions be more “media friendly.” It’s important for artists to keep this in mind and base their work on lyrical themes that are universal in scope and to shape the quality of their productions so that they meet media standards and tastes. One way for artists to do that is to simply listen to what is being licensed in media and finding the right balance. It’s really important to find a happy medium between staying true to yourself and your sound while meeting the need of the creative media requirement. This way, publishers are then able to bring their recordings to market by everything from email blasts to our rolodex of music supervisors and people who choose music for all kinds of media, to personal meetings with targeted players in that rolodex as the human touch is ever so important in sifting through the clutter out there. We have to get on the short list of these folks so that we receive creative briefs as they have them and, in turn, support those folks by providing the highest quality ideas that enhance their project through the chosen music. This thoughtful approach proves successful, as opposed to simply pitching songs you want to pitch or have to, like in house performances by the band at film studios to ad agencies, etc.

This is but one sliver of the approach – but you get the idea. A publisher’s concept of “engagement” is more on a business to business level as the eyes and ears of potential consumers who will get engaged by seeing and hearing something amazing in a TV show, film, ad, trailer, video game, etc. One essential difference comes from the fact that there is still a free market approach to pricing these opportunities. What this means is that the vehicle for engagement adds economic value to the artist/writers from the business user, and ultimately the consumer then chooses how they’d like to participate. It may not be rocket science, but when done right (and with some hard work and luck), it can benefit all – artists, publishers, and audiences – in the chain.

Read more opinion on the topic at Has Pretty Lights Shown Indie Musicians The Way?