Active Production Music, formed in January 2005, is the largest non MCPS production music library in the UK.
With over 55,000 pieces of music, including an award winning classical and opera section, Active provides a vast amount of music that covers just about every AV requirement.
Why is it non MCPS? Founder of Active, Marie Penlington explains…. “For sometime now the UK production music industry has been dominated by two enormous catalogues. Although there are over one hundred and fifty other libraries in the UK the main two companies are in a much stronger position to gain favour from clients. Therefore the remaining libraries are dividing a much smaller pie.”
She continues… “We made the decision to compete for market share on price and the only way to do this was to become a non MCPS library. This in effect means we are able to create our own pricing whereas all the other libraries operate from a fix rate card produced by the MCPS. Our way of working is similar to how production music is sold in America.”
Active’s basic price structure provides at least 50% savings on what you would expect to pay by using MCPS controlled music. Marie is quick to point out that reducing the price does not mean reducing the quality “Our music maybe cheaper but it’s in no way inferior. We have music used in programmes such as Desperate Housewives, Lost, Punk’d, Pimp My Ride, Megastructures, West Wing, The Simpsons, American Idol, Hollyoaks plus films like Mr & Mrs Smith, Kill Bill vol 2, Bad Boys 2. We have also provided advertising and corporate music for Vodafone, Wendys, Specsavers, Jeep to name just a few.”
Active’s catalogue is available either online or via hard drives distributed solely by the company.
Marie says “A decision was made in the beginning not to distribute our music on CD’s since, not only is it a dying method of distributing music we didn’t want to see our products for sale on Ebay!” (If you look on eBay at any given time you will find endless production music CD’s for sale for a Pound).
“By making music available online we can get it to the clients almost the same day as it comes out of the studio, whereas, were we to distribute it on CD, we couldn’t get it to clients until an entire CD’s worth of music was recorded.”
The diversification of Active’s catalogue is an integral part of the companies growth plan ” There are countless CD’s of music available to AV customers that contain the latest Hip Hop or Dance Music. There’s a very stereotypical output from most libraries that produce what they assume everybody wants.Because the nature of television broadcast content has become youth orientated there seems to be an obvious demand for youth music. However, despite the fact that we have top quality dance music, we think a successful library must have a diverse palette of musical styles in order to accommodate the entire AV industry.”
Active sites recent licensing deals with companies such as Wild Goose Productions who are a specialist folk music label. ” Our deal with Wild Goose means we can offer authentic English period music, perfect for drama productions. It’s possible this won’t appeal to the majority of programme makers but it epitomizes our ethic which is to provide as diverse a choice of music as possible and cater for everyones needs.”
In addition to this Active has a talented group of UK writer producers that are able to specially compose music for clients wanting a bespoke creation. Names to watch out for are Vernon Woodward, Cypher, The Futz Butler, Sion Littledyke, Ballistix Twins, Spectral, Stuart Churchill and Christopher John.
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