Production music
specialist continues to produce music of the highest order for a global market.
SANTA MONICA, Calif.—Killer Tracks, the industry leader in
pre-cleared production music, turns 25 this year, and it’s celebrating in a big
way with the release of a host of great, new music and other sonic ventures.  Among the dozens of new releases the company
plans to issue in coming months is a collection of newly-minted tracks from
legends of the Japanese punk rock movement. It’s the follow up to an earlier release
from Killer Tracks’ popular Artists Series, The
Mutants—Rhythm and Punk Review
, which became a cult hit earlier this year.
Killer Tracks Then and Now

The company has also teamed with one of Barcelona’s top
music producers, SaraoMusic,
a new music library with broad international roots and an eclectic sound. In
addition, Killer Tracks continues to add to its outstanding array of orchestral
music. Among other things, it recently hosted a monster recording session in
Hungary with a 140-piece orchestra and choir for End of
Days
, a new release with an epic, apocalyptic theme.

Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Universal Music Publishing,
Killer Tracks launched in 1989 with a collection of 30 original music CDs. The
company revolutionized a business, that had been dismissively referred to as
“stock music,” by introducing top flight composers and musicians, employing
cutting edge production techniques, and delivering a sound that rivaled popular
commercial recordings. Today, the Killer Tracks catalog encompasses a
collection equivalent to more than 2,300 CDs, with more than 100 new releases
added each year. Artists and producers whose work is featured in the catalog
range from heavyweights such as Chuck D, Rev Theory, Lamont Dozier, Jim
Brickman and Ennio Morricone, to edgy up-and-comers like Shiny Toy Guns, Rare
Monk, and Misun.
Killer Tracks Vice President/Head of Music Licensing Anna
Maria Hall says that the production music business has undergone momentous
change over the past quarter century, and that she and her staff have responded
by constantly upping their game. “People today are absorbing content through a
lot of new channels; they’re no longer limited to big broadcasters,” she
observes. “It’s an era of narrow-casting, and that is creating new
opportunities and niche markets. Satisfying the needs of the market requires
diverse music and the ability to support it on a global basis.”

A quick glance at Killer Tracks’ upcoming releases reveals
just how diverse and globalized the company’s offerings have become. Tokyo Surf Rock is a collection of new
tracks from Japanese punk bands Guitar Wolf, The Let’s Go’s, Mr. Pan, Chigwo
and others. It was produced by Chris Constantinou (Adam Ant, The Wolfmen, Sinéad
O’Connor), the creative force behind The
Mutants
, which featured a literal Who’s Who from the ‘70s punk era: Paul
Frazer (The Prodigy, Black Futures), Rat Scabies (The Damned), Neville Staples
(The Specials), Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers) and Wilko Johnson (Dr.
Feelgood). Released by Killer Tracks both through its Artist Series and,
commercially, via iTunes, The Mutants – Rhythm
and Punk Review became
an instant classic, garnering radio play in the U.S
and the U.K.
“We’re very pleased, not only with the success of these
projects, but with the quality of the creative product,” says Vice President/Head of
Music Production Carl Peel. “Chris Constantinou and Paul Frazer did an
excellent job in pulling these artists together and making great songs that
people were excited about.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum, End of Days is a collection of dark orchestral music from composers
Robert Leslie Bennett and Tobias Enhus, released earlier this month. For that
project, producer Jason
Steele traveled to Budapest to record more than a dozen tracks with the 140-piece
Hungarian Studio Orchestra and Choir, renowned for their work with Michel
Legrand, Michael Price, Patrick Doyle, Richard Harvey, David Buckley and
others.
In
its quest for diversity, Killer Tracks is constantly seeking new artists and
musical collaborators. That effort recently led the company to Barcelona where
it joined with local music producers SaraoMusic, a music library covering such
genres as electro ambient, Balkan, Gypsy swing, pop, dubstep, Latin and lo-fi.
Teresa
Carbonell, general manager of the new venture, says that their focus is on
“hand-crafted” music produced by local composers and musicians. “Our aim is to
create music that is authentic, beautiful and emotionally engaging,” she notes.
“When you listen to our music, you hear a depth of sound in every note. The emotion
of each performance comes through in the final product.”
“Authentic”
is a word that has often been used to describe the music produced by Killer
Tracks. The company’s commitment to high quality, genuine music dates back to
its earliest days and its founder, music publishing executive Sam Trust. Trust
had a vision for transforming production music, an overlooked part of the music
business, through the use of high caliber composers and production techniques.
Sam Trust
Taking
out mortgages on his homes to finance the venture, Trust teamed with Killer
Music, a Hollywood-based commercial music company, to produce an initial
catalog of 30 CDs. By all accounts, the product was very good, head and
shoulders above current standards for production music, but the company’s timing
was less than ideal. “It was 1991 and Desert Storm had just begun,” Trust
recalls. “No one was buying anything.”
Despite
the lack of initial success, Trust remained confident in the concept of quality
production music and came up with a novel plan to convince others of its value.
He compiled a list of the country’s top 100 production companies and sent each
of them a copy of the complete library, free of charge. “We told them that they
could have the library for 90 days and if they didn’t like it, they could send
it back,” Trust recalls. “Only one company sent back the disks—and two weeks
later the guy called to say he had made a terrible mistake. By the end of the
year, those CDs produced $900,000 in revenue. It saved the company.”
Killer
Tracks went on to become a go-to source for music supervisors, advertising
agencies, film and television producers and others, attracted not only by the
quality of its product, but by its savvy, taste and knowledge of the global
music scene. Trust eventually sold the company to BMG Music Publishing, which
in turn was purchased by Universal Music Publishing.
Meanwhile,
its collection grew exponentially as did its connections with musical talent
worldwide, and its placements in films, television shows, ads and other media
of every description. The company’s notable licensing coups includes the
signature track from Lexus’ December to
Remember
ad campaign, now in its eleventh year, and the theme song for the
HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. Crazy,
the single that launched the career of Gnarls Barkley, began from a Killer
Tracks sample of the track Last Men
Standing
from its Spaghetti Western.  The song went on to win a Grammy for Best
Urban/Alternative Performance in 2007 and named Best Song of 2006 by Rolling
Stone.
“Killer Tracks has grown immensely and compliments the other
industry leading businesses within the Universal Music Publishing Group,” says
Gary Gross, Worldwide President, Universal Publishing Production Music Group.
“It starts with creating great music—I can’t overestimate the importance of
that. We’ve never sacrificed quality. We’ve also hired great
people—hard-working dedicated people who work together as a team, with the goal
of exceeding their client’s expectations each and every time.”
Misun
Indeed in a music industry often marked by upheaval, Killer
Tracks represents an island of stability. Many of its staff members have logged
ten years or more with the company. A few have been on board much longer.
“We’ve been a notch above since the very beginning,” recalls senior account
executive James Frangipane, who was one of Trust’s first hires back in 1989.
“While others were putting out stock music, we were all about compositional
integrity, musicianship and customer service. Even the artwork was great. It
caught on. People were impressed—they still are.”
Twenty-five years in, Killer Tracks shows no signs of
slowing down. The company has steadily been bolstering its presence on the web,
adding state-of-the-art software and networking technology to make its catalog
easy to use and accessible to music buyers around the globe. “We’re investing
millions of dollars into our website to fully enhance the user experience
though faster downloads and efficient searches to ensure that the music search
experience for our clients is the best in the industry,” says Hall. “We have
all this great music and we want to be sure that our clients can find what they
need. This company has a legacy, not only of great music, but also of great
service. We do whatever we can to accommodate our clients, understand their needs
and act as their partner. We carry that passion with us every day.”
About
Killer Tracks
Killer Tracks is a leading provider of music for use in
film, television, advertising and interactive media.  With over 2,300
digital albums from 23 global libraries, the Killer Tracks catalog represents
every major genre and features original works from the industry’s leading
composers, artists and producers.  Killer Tracks continues to enhance its
premium catalog with regular new music updates, complimentary music supervision
services, and convenient music access online, on interactive hard drive and on
mobile devices.
For more
information, visit www.killertracks.com
or follow on Twitter @killertracks
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