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Inside View: Megatrax

Ron Mendelsohn
President and CEO – Megatrax Production Music • North Hollywood, Calif. • www.megatrax.com

Markee: What challenges are facing Megatrax today?
Mr. Mendelsohn: “New competition in the form of aggregators. We’ve seen it in other industries too: companies that set themselves up as third-party aggregators soliciting content from everyone, sometimes without any kind of QC. This has been building since the dawn of the Internet; most have failed but a new crop seems to be proliferating. To make matters worse, many of these aggregators broker content that is non-exclusive or ‘re-titled.’ We have consistently heard from professional music users that they shun ‘re-titled’ music due to the confusion and hassles that can arise from the use of such content.

Markee: How do you combat this challenge?
Mr. Mendelsohn: “It has taken us over 20 years to build and curate our content. We have to make sure our clients are aware of what sets us apart. We commission new original music after identifying needs in the marketplace or learning about clients’ needs for a particular style of music. We operate fundamentally differently from the aggregators.”

Markee: Are there any trends among clients?
Mr. Mendelsohn: “A long-term trend that’s still accelerating is clients wanting tracks that sound like whatever is current and trending in popular culture. That means the lines between production music and commercial music have been blurring. Libraries are working more and more with commercial artists, and the quality of our tracks is often no different from commercial recordings. We’ve accelerated our production cycle so we can jump on new trends and turn around music much more quickly.

“In fact, we’re one of the few libraries that maintains state-of-the-art recording studios on the premises, so we have the ability to record a live orchestra, rock band or big band right here.”

Markee: Have you carved out new markets for your music?
Mr. Mendelsohn: “There’s more production happening now in online media:

New channels are launching on YouTube and other online sites, plus mobile devices and smart phones. The real challenge has been educating this market to respect copyright laws and pay proper licensing fees – it’s sometimes assumed that music is free. Megatrax is also very active in emerging markets around the world where economies are coming of age and broadcast networks are at a point to take advantage of our products and services.”

Markee: Where else has your music been heard recently?
Mr. Mendelsohn: “We’ve had music in recent trailers, including The Croods, Brave, Frankenweenie, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Django Unchained and Paranorman. Our recent TV placements include Nashville, Necessary Roughness, Chicago Fire, 30 Rock, The New Normal, Blue Bloods and Zero Hour.”

Markee: What’s new to the Megatrax catalog?
Mr. Mendelsohn: “Deep East Music is our most exciting news item right now: It’s our largest new catalog launch in over 10 years and our first UK library. Deep East is a hip, young-skewing collection with a custom indie sound. It has 82 albums of indie rock, cinematic, orchestral and inspirational tracks. The UK has a long history of producing great music, and Deep East is already garnering overwhelmingly positive feedback from our clients.

“We also launched the new Sound Adventures catalog last year. It’s a premium trailer catalog recorded in Europe with live ensembles, including the Vienna Boys Choir and the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra.”

Markee: What’s the secret to Megatrax’s success?
Mr. Mendelsohn: “To be relevant today, libraries need to be music curators, not aggregators. We help clients find the right tracks for their productions using not only our advanced search system, but also the assistance of our team of trained music supervisors on staff. Our music supervisors, who are available via email, phone or live chat, scour our vast collection to find the exact tracks fitting the sound and mood for a particular production.

“We’ve also put a lot of time and effort into our search system and are constantly refining it. Everything is tooled to find the right tracks as quickly as possible.”

Markee: What’s the significance of having a booth at NAB?
Mr. Mendelsohn: “We have been exhibiting at NAB for more than 15 years. It has become our most important trade show of the year since we have the opportunity to see many of our broadcast clients, international distributors, industry colleagues and vendors in one place. In addition, NAB is an important meeting place for the Production Music Association (PMA), of which we are a founding member. This year, the Megatrax booth will be in the Lower South Hall, SL7920.”

January 17, 2013