It’s the Music, Stupid, Part III: Demo Love

Jim recently posted a great piece on music. He mentioned the trap of demo love. Here’s a quick story on how very real this molotov cocktail can be.

A couple years ago, we presented a rough cut to our client. We went to great lengths to explain how rough it was. We vigorously explained that the music (ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky”) was place-holder.
While the edit was coming together, we found an awesome piece that fit spot perfectly (“Energy” by The Apples in Stereo). The Apples song had everything going for it:
  • The lyrics, theme and feel of the music aligned with the spot. “Mr. Bluesky” sounded good, but had nothing to do with it.
  • The album “New Magnetic Wonder” was barely a fortnight old. “Mr. Bluesky” had already been used in approximately 1,732 commercials.
  • The album was getting great reviews, was a breakthrough work for the band, and the client could have ridden that wave.
  • Most astonishingly, The Apples in Stereo were asking $50,000 for unlimited licensing. Jeff Lynne of ELO wanted $250,000 to use “Mr. Bluesky” for six weeks.

So which one did the client pick? Let’s just say Mr. Lynne probably bought himself a case of new shampoo/conditioner, and we weren’t able to help fund one of my favorite band’s European tour. And yes, after the 6 weeks of ELO licensing expired, the client didn’t have enough to renew and we had to use needledrop.
Resist the siren song of demo love. It is very, very irrational. And very, very real.

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