Advertisements require music; sourcing professional music for commercial use from reliable sources is essential, from a delightful jingle to an intense backing track.
Working in the commercial voice-over industry means encountering musical challenges consistently. An outstanding source of music tracks is essential to giving any commercial a big boost, so we are talking to an expert, Epidemic Sound's Märta Strokirk.
Märta Strokirk is Acting VP Brand and Creative at Epidemic Sound, the tech company making music licensing simple and quick for content creators of all kinds. In her seven years at Epidemic Sound, Märta has built the company's ambassador program from the ground up. Working with some of the world's leading content creators, facilitating global creative campaigns, and building an internal team passionate about helping Epidemic Sound's creative community thrive through music.
Read on to learn more about how Epidemic connects with businesses, artists, and trends through their catalogue, Ambassador program, and beyond!
Q: I'm excited to kick off the interview with you! Are you working from home or back in the office?
Märta: Likewise! I'm in the office a lot at the moment as Sweden has opened up again - I'm loving the energy you get from interacting with people IRL again.
Q: The past year has given us all some time to develop ourselves - what one personal skill would you like to have and why?
Märta: I'd like to get better at cooking and baking so I can whip up something simple and magical. I'm not quite there yet, though I tried the banana bread trend, it almost exploded in my oven!
Q: Can you describe the service you provide at Epidemic Sound?
Märta: Absolutely. We make music licensing simple, safe, and enjoyable by providing content creators with an easy way to discover and use music in their productions. We serve everyone, from the hobby YouTuber creator to some of the world's biggest brands, production agencies, and freelancers.
Q: There are countless excellent music services out there; what makes Epidemic Sound stand out from other sites?
Märta: Two things. Quality: for the past 12 years, we've been working with emerging artists and world-class music creators to create our catalog of over 35,000 tracks. And secondly, our music discovery: we've continuously looked to improve and build music discovery tools that help content creators find what they're looking for quickly and easily, enabling them to spend more time creating content.
Q: What goes into the artist selection and curation of your catalog?
Märta: We look for talented, independent music creators who are keen to develop and hone their craft with us. We get a lot of music submissions every month and only begin collaborating with about 1% of those who apply to work with us - we're immensely proud of the talent within our roster of music creators and artists.
In terms of the curation, we pride ourselves on making our catalog as easy to navigate as possible, so creators can easily find the track they need. You can filter by mood, genre, tempo, vocals and also check out innovative machine learning tools that provide you with personal recommendations.
Q: How does Epidemic Sound appeal to artists?
Märta: We focus on helping them get paid, get heard, and grow as musicians. We support them financially by paying $1000-5000 per track they create for us whilst splitting all revenue from music streaming platforms 50/50 and offering a share of our $1m Soundtrack Bonus.
Our huge community of content creators also means we have a distribution engine that sees artists' tracks heard all over the globe in productions from some of the world's leading content creators. This, in turn, helps them to be discovered by new fans who often Shazam content and then start listening on music streaming platforms.
And finally, our in-house music team is dedicated to helping artists develop. This means our musicians can grow by working with a team that includes Grammy Award-winning and nominated producers, who have worked with the likes of DJ Premier, Miley Cyrus, GLEE, Cee Lo Green, Axwell, Patti Smith, Kid Rock, Neko Case, and Elvis Costello.
Q: What would you say to convince someone to use your platform when looking for music for commercial use?
Märta: We're here to help you thrive through music - our Commercial Plan is built to help freelancers, agencies and brands easily find and license the music they need for their own and their clients' projects. Besides knowing that all our music is safe to use in your content, there's a ton of tools to help you find the soundtrack to your content amongst our catalog of 35,000 tracks and 90,000 sound effects.
Q: How do you stay on top of trends?
Märta: We drive them. We know what the internet sounds like as our music is heard over 1.5 billion times a day on YouTube alone. We can see trends and demands for different genres of music as they emerge, which guides us in our music creation process with our artists. We're incredibly privileged to be in that position.
Q: Can you tell us about the Ambassador program?
Märta: Sure. The program is geared to encourage creative interaction between our community of content creators and our network of artists. Whether that's something as simple as sharing referral links to the catalog of our artists' tracks, or facilitating creative summits and meetups, right the way to fostering creative collaborations and projects where they can co-create together, such as this project from YouTuber Peter McKinnon and Epidemic Sound artist, Ooyy.
Q: Is there a noticeable difference in selection when someone is sourcing music for commercial use versus YouTube or Influencer content?
Märta: What unites our entire content creator community is a shared passion for driving emotion for their target audience. It's more dependent on finding a sound that will resonate with a creator's target audience, so I'd say it's less dependent on the creator and more focused on their audience.
Q: I'd like to learn more about you! What is your favourite musical instrument?
Märta: Tough question! I love a good pulse and groove, so I'd have to say the whole rhythm section - I can't decide between drums and bass. Can I have two?
Q: What book or film has had the most significant impact on your life, and how?
Märta: It has to be the Narnia books. I'll never forget reading the first book when I was nine and being completely mesmerized by this new, magical world. It sparked my love for storytelling, and whenever I get that feeling these days, I know I'm on to something amazing and pure.
Q: What attracted you to work with Epidemic Sound?
Märta: There were two main factors for me. I'm a firm believer that creative expression is THE way to connect and bring people together - this matched totally with what Epidemic Sound was empowering both music and content creators to do.
Secondly, I joined right when YouTube was starting to explode, and I was given the opportunity to work with our community of online creators and build our Ambassador program. I loved the challenge of building something entirely from scratch, and it's been a pleasure to see us grow our presence on the platform, empowering more and more creators over the last few years.
Q: Where do you see the next step for Epidemic Sound being, and how do you feel you will help achieve it?
Märta: We've been around for over 12 years now, and in recent times there's been an accelerating video-first trend. As this acceleration continues, we're doubling down on our product experience to make it as easy as possible for creators to find the music they need to tell their story their way. I'm super excited to work with more and more creators worldwide to help them thrive creatively through music.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add before we wrap things up?
Märta: Check out our music here and if you have any questions, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come Soundtrack the World with us!