Neel, Phil, Vincent, Vanessa, and Bruce

How to get noticed by a music publisher with Vincent Degiorgio

Vincent Degiorgio, president of CYMBA Music publishing, joined us to tell tales and give tips to songwriters on getting your songs published. We talked about:

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The Strange, Strange World of “Sound Alike” Songs

Is providing a needed service while exploring songwriting challenges or is it doing something more insidious? Perhaps taking credit for an established artist’s work? You decide…

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a great conference hosted by the folks at HHB Canada where three top-notch TV and film composers talked about their industry. However, the most interesting take-away for me was my introduction to a service that film and TV folks use, known as “Production Music”.

In my day job as a marketing and advertising guy, I’ve used many a stock music track for videos and presentations when the client doesn’t have the budget for a composer to provide a custom score.

The main difference with this service is that it provides “Sound-Alikes” of popular and recognizable songs and artists, among its more generic offerings.

The service provides music reflecting an “era” or a “mood” or to “sound like” an established artist, when the original TV or film production company doesn’t have the budget to license a track by the original artist. Sometimes the tracks are in the background of a scene.

Take for instance, their version of Queen’s Somebody to love:

The Original:


The Sound Alike: Just Belive


And this could be an unreleased Queen track: Runaway Train on Extrememusic

They really nailed it. The voice, Freddy Mercury’s approach to melody and chord structure. Wow.

Apparently, after production each track is sent down to a Music PhD fellow in LA who gives an opinion on whether or not the track is “too close” to the original. If it is, he provides recommendations and they go back, make the changes and then publish it. The tracks are even registered with CAPAC.

Initially, it’s fascinating. Going through the catalog one can’t help but admire the care and attention that the creators of the tracks go through to match the mood, sound, production styles, arrangements, playing styles, vocal style and even the lyrical approach of the original artists, while using different chords and melodies.

I would imagine it’s a blast to create these tracks, and a great way to really understand how these brilliant writers and performers did what they did.

But after a while, it gets kinda creepy… Read more