Editors note: I am always on the look out for cool and unique ways for musicians to make money with music. When I saw this guest post submission I thought that, despite its slightly jaw dropping length, it was a great case study for musicians with solid production chops. The site, NeedaJingle.com, is a music licensing platform that uses a business model that you will recognize if you are familiar 99Designs.com (offers crowdsourcing in the graphic design space). Anyway, check it out. It is worth the read because it should inspire you and get your wheel brain wheels turning.
NeedaJingle.com is an online marketplace for crowdsourcing custom music and creative sound. It’s a place where composers, musicians and audio producers from around the world compete to have their tracks selected for use in media productions in exchange for a licensing fee set by the client.
Music crowdsourcing is a relatively new concept that has been gaining momentum since the launch of NeedaJingle.com earlier this year.
One recent music contest hosted by NeedaJingle.com offered a US$1,250 cash prize and received over 80 bespoke entries. These submissions came from all corners of the globe and were created specifically for upcoming Dubai-based fashion brand, Spirit of Arabia.
Spirit of Arabia needed a unique 10 second sound identity and engaged the diverse base of composers and sound designers accessible through NeedaJingle.com to provide this. “Before the competition I did not have any particular sound in mind. I just knew the sonic logo had to reflect the quality of the brand and had to be memorable,” said Arshed Mohammed, founder of Spirit of Arabia.
The winner of this contest was Romanian composer, Ionut Cosmin Grigore. His prize was effectively a US$1,250 licensing fee which in turn provided Arshed with an exclusive, perpetual license to use the winning track as required.
Ionut has always been into music. With a strong mathematical background, Ionut started playing classical guitar at the age of 10. He won a music scholarship in Vienna at the age of 15 and for the following 8 years he attended master classes every summer with some of the world’s best classical guitar players.
Moving on to study bass guitar and jazz, Ionut performed live around Romania with many pop-rock bands and also worked extensively in music composition and sound design for advertising, film and gaming companies such as HBO, Ubisoft, Publicis, McCann Erikson, DDB and Saatchi & Saatchi.
When Ionut discovered NeedaJingle.com, he saw it as a great challenge and a unique opportunity to pitch on international creative campaigns that are often difficult to access. “What better forum to test your music composition and sound production skills than on the world stage, pitching on professional campaigns alongside some of the world’s top composers and audio producers.”
You never know how long the creative process will take, but in this case the winning track took only a few hours to complete. Ionut confirms, “To create the winning track I used real instruments like guitars combined with virtual instruments from Komplete 9 Ultimate, Nexus and Virus. Timewise, it took me about 2 hours to compose the track and the revisions were fairly minor. There were, however, quite a few revisions in order to find the winning voiceover tag. The client’s requirements in terms of voice were very particular and this took some time to find a perfect match.”
Ionut initially submitted three different versions. “I liked different elements from two of these submissions and asked him to try ‘merging’ them,’’ Arshed explained. “I was impressed by the fact that Ionut asked me many questions to better understand my requirements. I liked the energy of Ionut’s submission and his was also one of the few that had the brand name, Spirit of Arabia, sung rather than just spoken. He managed to merge the brand name seamlessly into the melody. He also managed to fuse a horse sound with the music in a subtle way. This is important as the horse is generally considered to symbolise the spirit of the Arab region. This will work well with the video trailer that is to be produced.”
Arshed went on to comment, “I felt the original sound needed to be ‘softened’ to reflect the product and to have more appeal to my mainly female customer base for the new collection of exquisite scarves we are planning to launch soon. I explained this to Ionut and he gave me some options. We went through a few cycles until I felt the music was right for the brand. We took out the percussion, added a flute, and added a repeating female harmony.”
Arshed continued, “I was insistent that we get a good voiceover for the tagline. I rejected the initial male voices that Ionut provided. He then found a Frenchman who had done L’Oreal voiceovers and I almost went with him. But Ionut also suggested an English artist who had done Nivea voiceovers and this was the one I selected. I opted for his cleaner voice that I believe has international appeal. Ionut recorded many takes, the one you can hear now on the site is the performance I thought best.”
When asked if there were any tricks to creating a unique submission that stands out to the client, Ionut said, “There are no tricks, just hard work. Everything starts with a good understanding of the client’s brief followed by a research phase. In this particular case, researching the culture, traditional instruments and original sounds. Obviously, inspiration plays a decisive role as well as previous experience in creating music for advertising where everything has to be professionally produced within extremely short deadlines.”
When queried on what artists should try to focus on when pitching on NeedaJingle.com Arshed provided these tips, “I think artists need to carefully read and understand the brief before submitting entries. They should not be afraid to approach the client for clarification if that will help them understand the requirement better. My brief stated I expected a sonic logo around 10 seconds in duration, yet I received some entries that were many minutes long! Some artists clearly did not understand the concept of a sonic logo. Equally, clients should provide as detailed a brief as possible, update elements during the contest that were perhaps unclear at the outset, respond to questions from artists, and provide feedback on entries submitted to allow improvements to be made.”
“The sonic logo will be used as a ringtone and also as the music in a video trailer for Spirit of Arabia. Both these elements will help us achieve greater brand recognition around the world. The final track fulfills the brief, conveying an image of sophistication for the brand. I am pleased with the result and really appreciate the effort Ionut and all the other composers put into submitting their entries,” said Arshed.
Ionut relished the experience of working alongside Arshed via the NeedaJingle.com platform, “Arshed is a fantastic guy. He knows exactly what he wants and exactly how the final product should sound. I really loved the multicultural experience of this project. NeedaJingle does a great job indeed in bringing together wonderful creative people from all over the world and giving them the opportunity to share their creations and learn from each other. I really enjoyed this experience. The community is wonderful and I look forward to the next contest on NeedaJingle,” said Ionut.
Arshed was impressed with the diversity of submissions received via the platform. “NeedaJingle provided access to ideas from many artists at the same time and I was able to choose the most appropriate. This saves a great deal of time and money for any client, but is even more valuable for a startup brand with very limited resources. For me this was well worth the investment, and I have learned how to work with musicians. I wish the best for the NeedaJingle team and success for the platform and the artists who offer their services.”
You can hear the winning submission here (please note: As this is a Private Contest you will need to register with the site before gaining access).
NeedaJingle.com is 100% free for artists now and always.
Guest post: Evan Buist from NeedaJingle.com.