We chat to Charlotte Seibert, Synch & Licensing Manager at our client Silva Screen Records / So Recordings, about recent sync placements, being the go-to source for film music, and future plans for the label.
Hi Charlotte, can you tell us about Silva Screen’s recent placement of The Apache Relay’s “Lost Kid” in the new HSBC advert?
The original brief, which we received at the end of November, was open in terms of style and genre, but referenced a folk band which first made me think of The Apache Relay. I pitched a handful of tracks which lyrically fit the theme of the ad, including three by the band. “Lost Kid” was shortlisted and when seeing the full script, it became obvious what a perfect match the track was for the ad.
The ad features a boy who is desperately trying to play with the older kids and gets lost trying to keep up with them. When he finds their secret den in the woods he is seemingly unable to get in, until he discovers that his voice is his password and finally joins the other kids in the tree house. From the first lyrics ‘Sometimes I feel like, I’m just a lost kid. Stumbling through these towns…’, to the change of mood towards the chorus when the boy finally accesses the den, song and ad were a brilliant fit for each other.
As is often the case, the final approval was required at very short notice and just before Christmas – not an easy one when the band has split up and the members are all over America! Still, we managed to turn everything around in time and all of us here at So Recordings and Silva as well as the band were super excited to see the final result at the beginning of the new year!
Can you tell us about any other recent placement highlights?
Silva Screen recordings were used on a number of ads in the last year, including the Halifax adverts featuring Top Cat and the Flintstones themes, as well as for example ads for Aldi, Churchill Car Insurance and Specsavers. Another highlight was the use of four tracks by the Red Army Choir on the Coen Brothers film Hail, Caesar!, as well as film trailers such as War Dogs and Kung Fu Panda 3.
So Recordings highlights included Fenech-Soler placements on adverts for Deezer and Kaleidoscope Fashion, The Chevin being used on the trailer for “One More Time” featuring Christopher Walken and Amber Heard and a Radio X advert featuring Meteor by Broken Hands. We also had great support for our bands from the UK broadcasters and had tracks featured on shows such as Made in Chelsea and TOWIE.
Silva Screen’s repertoire spans a huge collection of leading film and television soundtracks. How do you go about managing such a large and well-known catalogue for licensing?
Original recordings of film and TV music, usually controlled by the film companies and broadcasters, can be very difficult to license. Additional fees on top of the sync often apply, sometimes even the actors from the film will need to approve the use and in many instances the masters simply aren’t licensable. That’s why Silva Screen has been the go-to source for clearable, high quality re-records of film and TV music for many years and a lot of the time music supervisors and broadcasters will come directly to us. We also work closely with all major publishers, who in most cases control the publishing rights to the themes.
For me personally film and TV music was a relatively new area when I joined Silva Screen last August. Having lived in the UK for 7 years, after moving over from Germany, I was sometimes unaware of popular themes as the shows simply hadn’t been broadcast in Germany, but dealing with daily request from licensees and having spent a lot of time exploring the catalogue has given me a good overview of the most popular themes. I’ve also had a lot of support from my colleague David Stoner who helps me whenever I get stuck – he has worked at Silva for a remarkable 28 years and is an absolute expert in all things film music.
What does the Silva Screen team look like?
We’re a team of twelve here in the London office, including three people working mainly for So Recordings, although most of us work across the two catalogues. We have another four people in America, three in our New York office and Doug in New Orleans who handles sync for America.
How does So Recordings, your label imprint, differ from the film and TV side of the label? Do you have a different licensing approach for this catalogue?
The So Recordings catalogue couldn’t be more different from the Silva repertoire as the roster mainly consists of Rock, Indie and Alternative bands. While Silva Screen’s TV and film re-records fill a niche in the sync market, the So catalogue is perhaps more difficult to place, as we’re competing with numerous other labels.
People would sometimes get confused when we promoted So acts as the name Silva Screen is so strongly associated with film music, so one of the objectives when I was hired was to raise So Recordings profile in the sync world. As part of that I have started a regular mailout to sync contacts and we’re also about to launch So Recordings own Synchtank platform. The key thing however is to talk to people about the So label and stay in regular contact to keep our artists front of mind.
How important is sync to you as an independent label?
Very important. Sync was not on anyone’s mind when Silva was founded 30 years ago, but due to the high demand for clearable film and TV music it has since become an integral part of the business.
Silva Screen is an exclusive worldwide partner for BBC soundtrack releases. Can you tell us about this relationship, as well as recent highlights?
We have been releasing soundtracks for the BBC for about 10 years, but the Planet Earth IIrelease was definitely the highlight of the past year. The series had an incredible reception across viewers of all ages and even David Attenborough remarked in a recent interview with the Independent that part of the success was due to the incredible soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and his team.
Film/TV soundtrack popularity seemed to boom in 2016, as did vinyl sales. Have you noticed a difference at Silva Screen?
Yes, definitely. A few years ago, the team here was thinking more in terms of licensing titles out to the emerging vinyl labels rather than getting involved in manufacture and distribution, but Silva Screen has now built a strong vinyl label presence with over 60 titles currently available.
What can we expect from Silva Screen in 2017?
Planet Earth II is about to be released across Europe and America, and we’re working on various new soundtrack releases including the new Sherlock series as well as exploring the archives of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The Doctor Who brand will see a selection of past stories being given new album releases (many for the first time), and there will be some choice 1970s cult thriller soundtracks and classic horror / sci-fi titles. We’re also looking to further expand the Silva Masters catalogue with approximately 80 new re-records of film and TV themes.
2017 is set to be a big year for So Recordings. Deaf Havana, Fenech-Soler and Secret Company are all releasing new albums in the first quarter of the year, Dinosaur Pile-Up are currently on a worldwide tour and Demob Happy are also working on new material to come out later in the year.