Do you despair when someone wants to license a Beyoncé track with a budget of £30,000? Or do you marvel at the resilience of belief of the creatives and the TV department in the face of impossibility?

With many a commercial’s music choice being powered by “I’ll know it when I hear it”, it’s easy to hear the perfect track and side-line the practicalities: Why someone at the agency or brand is not asking the following questions remains a conundrum for us at soundlounge:

Does the artist actually license their work? You can take Adele, Radiohead and Coldplay off the table. Yes, we regularly get asked for them. And then watch clients contort themselves trying to be the creative team that succeeds where none have before. In the time that is allowed for music decisions, our best advice is: Move on to your next choice!

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Do you have the budget? Yes, we have been asked to license Beyoncé for £30,000. Be practical! To paraphrase the super-models of the ‘80s, Beyonce doesn’t get out of bed for £30k.

Is your timeline practical? Don’t expect anyone to get a result from Metallica, who all have individual managers and lawyers, within two days. We’re very good at doing the near-impossible, but no-one tells Lars, James, Kirk and Robert what to do. They’re Metallica!

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The truth is we deal with these challenges on a regular basis and our job is to find solutions. So as a heads up from us, before you fall in love these are some of the other pitfalls to avoid:

The Lyrics

The latest example of thinking that the music in an ad is just some aural wallpaper is the new Domino’s Pizza commercial using Soulja Boy’s “Tell’em Crank That”. Surely someone must have done a 10-second check of the lyrics and the Urban Dictionary and raised a red flag. Obviously not!

Guys! When the world is finally addressing the equality of women you really need to rethink using a song that boasts “Superman that hoe”.

Two Brands Use The Same Track At The Same Time

When you hear something you want, it pays to save embarrassment and check that it hasn’t been licensed by another brand in the previous 12 months. Or worse, due to go out on air at the same time as you. This is even more important when the track that captures your imagination is highly memorable. Chances are other people will notice that too.

Case in point: Innocent Smoothies and Samsung both used the instantly memorable “Get Dat” by Rayelle within the last eight months of each other.

There is an easy way to avoid these pitfalls. Platforms like our Traffic Lighting or Music Mapping can make your life easier in ways no-one else can – providing everything you need to know about track availability, costs, and UK sync history. Or, of course, you can go out on air and take your chances that nobody will notice your mistakes. But then it begs the questions of what’s the point of broadcasting that ad?!

– John Ingham, Head of Creative Product.