- Friday, Oct. 27, 2000
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A little more than six months ago, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) and the Association of Music Producers (AMP) entered into a strategic alliance (SHOOT, 4/14, p. 1). Now, the first major development nurtured to some extent by that partnership is a set of AMP Music Production Guidelines. These guidelines propose to develop a better understanding of, and a protocol for, every stage of the music process—from demos to bidding, from legal risks to project cancellation (see separate story, p. 1).
Currently being circulated to music/sound design houses and ad agencies throughout the country, the guidelines also will be published in the 2001 edition of the AICP Membership Directory, which will additionally contain a tabbed section with listings of music- and sound-design houses that are AMP members.
But the AMP-AICP relationship goes well beyond music guidelines and listings appearing in an AICP publication. AICP president Matt Miller observed that the music guidelines are, in a sense, "taking a page out of what the AICP has done," alluding to the success of the longstanding AICP production guidelines. He described the AMP guidelines as outlining how the music and sound business functions, which "should prove to be a useful resource for agencies. The AMP guidelines also reflect a position and philosophy about how that business runs—and how to get the most out of it … It represents a very strong position for a young organization."
AMP's desire and its initiative to develop guidelines predates its relationship with AICP. Guidelines have been a charter goal of AMP since its inception in 1998. But, as AMP president Lyle Greenfield observes, the alliance with AICP "helped to invigorate our completion of the process." Greenfield said that AMP was inspired by the AICP's ability to establish guidelines that eventually became the foundation for standard industry practice. And to have AMP guidelines in the AICP directory—which contains the AICP guidelines—places a special stamp of legitimacy and validity on the AMP document.
AMP also hopes that its guidelines—like the AICP guidelines upon their introduction—will stimulate dialogue with ad agencies on business practices and key issues. Such discussion would be particularly relevant in the area of music rights agreements and indemnification. In this litigious age, claims of music copyright infringement seem to be on the rise. Word is that several major agencies have become acutely aware of the problem, leading them to set a policy that no film—not even a test piece for concept presentation purposes—goes to the client with copyrighted music unless there's strong intent to license that music. On the flip side, there are agencies that—perhaps unknowingly—engage in risky behavior when trying to specify a music model for a project. The AMP guidelines cite those risks and offer suggestions as to how they can be minimized or eliminated.
However, AMP didn't wait for the completion of the guidelines to enter into conversations with agencies. In fact, early drafts of the guidelines were run by several agency music producers to gain their input and feedback, so that the document would be responsive to ad shop and client needs. And the intent now is to update the guidelines at least annually, to reflect changes in the marketplace, as well as continuing industry feedback.
"Having a document out there that kind of parallels what AICP has done is great for both organizations," observed Miller. "Music guidelines help to professionalize the overall business. And the relationship with AMP, being able to hear those people's thoughts and concerns, has had a positive influence on the AICP, giving us a more complete big picture of the industry."