Posts filed under Music Licensing

Behind the Music Service: Customizing a Song from Start to Finish

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Ever find a song that sounds perfect on first listen — only to discover after pairing to picture how it's not quite hitting the cuts on cue? Don’t worry, that’s something the art of customization can help you fix.

Apart from partnering with and collaborating with our talented roster of artists, we also dabble in creating original music in-house for feature films, creative campaigns and more. Need sound design, customization or an original score? Nothing makes us happier than jumping into the studio to bring our clients’ creative vision to life (in an audible medium of course, wink).

While you may already be familiar with what scoring music entails, customization may not be as comprehensible to some. So we sat down to chat and learn more from our in-house Creative Music Editor & Composer, Greg Jong.

Find out what it takes to customize a song from start to finish — click play for a behind the service customization breakdown!

Say Hey to Jené and Diana: Talking Diversity and DJing with Noche Libre

Creative Music Coordinators, Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez — photography by    Kale Chesney

Creative Music Coordinators, Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez — photography by Kale Chesney

Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez are two of Marmoset’s Creative Music Coordinators by day, swooping in to support clients with music searches and clearances for every kind of project under the sun. By night, the two host one of the most buzz-worthy dance nights in Portland —Noche Libre.

Assembled of Jené, Diana and six other DJs, the Latinx collective’s mission challenges Portland’s mainstream nightlife scene, where typically only a small demographic is made to feel seen, welcome and safe. Instead Noche Libre cultivates community, creating space for Black, Brown and Indigenous groups.

Illustration by Noche Libre collective member,    Yuriko Xolotl

Illustration by Noche Libre collective member, Yuriko Xolotl

Spinning everything from cumbia and quebradita to dancehall and perreo, the inclusivity starts with the collective’s music selection. “We’re not super genre specific,” says Jené. “We definitely have a vibe but we’ll still play hip hop and a lot of different genres, there’s really something for everyone.”

It’s a reflection of their own musical tastes, everything they enjoy jamming to while also encompassing and honoring their Latin heritage and upbringings.

“I think what's really cool about something like Noche Libre is it’s just part of Latin culture — to get together and listen to music with your family and friends,” says Diana. “I really feel like it just feels like family get-togethers, everybody's just here for each other and here for a good time.”

The importance of Noche Libre’s presence — other than hearing mixes en fuego — is its movement toward building opportunities and spaces for artists of color within the music industry. With Jené leading Marmoset’s internal Diversity & Inclusion Team and Diana supporting the team’s overarching initiatives, their mission is to disrupt problematic systems to pave way for new processes.

From redefining how composers are brought onto creative projects to integrating diversity focused mixers into marketing trips — the team leads objectives that not merely benefit the underrepresented, but the entire company. It’s endless work, but indicative of genuine desire for positive change within an industry that upholds barriers for those who are non-binary or people of color.

Jené and Diana daily facilitate interpersonal conversations with other teams, including music producers and members of leadership (among community leaders). There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s mindful development toward progression.

A floral shrine created by Diana (IG photo credit: @    stoneanvil     )

A floral shrine created by Diana (IG photo credit: @stoneanvil)

When not attending workshops and programs like Partners in Diversity’s Say Hey night or DJing around town as Noche Libre, Jené and Diana keep busy with their side creative missions. Diana being an experienced florist, she’s responsible for cultivating Y La Bamba and Sávila’s dreamy stage designs — the floral arrangements while laborious, only add to the feat of strength that both Latin American musical groups deliver through their performances. You can also catch Jené co-hosting Everyday Mixtapes on XRAY.FM every Saturday night from 5:00-6:00PM (PDT) — listeners will be pulled in with a mix of throwbacks from R&B, hip hop to funk and vintage gems.

So if passing through Portland and catching Noche Libre in action, what can one expect when out on the dance floor?

“We find a way to fit it altogether. Like I’ll play an Asian psych song and then a chicha song, which leads to a cumbia song,” says Diana. “Because we’re all so different and made up of so many different experiences, that’s what makes it interesting.”

Part of Noche Libre’s mission statement is “to celebrate our family’s roots and rituals by carrying on the tradition of puro pinche pari” — it’s an embodiment of finding strength in identity and to not only live in it, but to celebrate it.

The Music Behind Givenchy's Spring Summer Campaign

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Givenchy’s Spring + Summer 2019 Campaign is a blend of avant-garde and retro culture — a crisp black and white landscape, where the characters look as though they were plucked out of Andy Warhol’s studio, the Factory.

Alongside the androgynous collective, Givenchy features Marmoset artist, Damon Boucher’sK I N” as its musical backdrop. Electronic synth beats, the music ensures the seasonal campaign reaches full circle. To learn more about Boucher’s musical journey, the fashion undercurrent of his LP — N K I and where he’s headed, we connected with the artist earlier this month.


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Marmoset: Could you tell us a little bit how you first got into making music?

Boucher: I grew up taking classical lessons, and performing contemporary music in a Pentecostal Christian church. In church, I learned to improvise pop music, although church also kept me closeted. But, I’ve been writing music since that time. I played and wrote music all throughout college; then began to produce music after I graduated in 2008.

M: Listening through NKI, your music has such a dreamy kind of presence along with an energetic pulse to it. How would you describe your music to listeners? What kind of visuals come to mind?

B: I try to make it watery, but clean. Clean can sometimes mean dry and airy which plays off the watery thing. Visually, I always think of clean, stark contrasts; light and dark meeting in balance. I think of an ocean horizon, fashion runways or queer nightlife culture.

M: Do you collaborate with your work or do you tend to flourish more as a solo creator? Yes! Most of my work is collaborative. My main project for the past few years has been producing music for Chanti Darling. I’ve also worked with The Last Artful, Dodgr, Maarquii, Natasha Kmeto, Nafisaria, The Portland Cello Project, Ripley Snell, Neill Von Tally, DJ Sappho, Pocket Rock-it and many more. (Click here to listen).

I’ve also had a chance to teach and collaborate with several of my students over the years. I’ve taught piano and composition at School of Rock since 2010 and have directed over 40 shows there; and since they let me keep my studio inside their building, all of my projects are made out of there. I call that studio Zip Zap Studios.

I’m super proud of the work I’ve done with others. However, even though I’m often in collaborative environments, I find that I work best alone. When producing music with others, I oftentimes meet to record, then polish the songs when I’m by myself. There’s less pressure when I’m alone so I find those times to be more experimental and fruitful.

M: Who are some artists you've been listening to this year?

Current new stuff from: The Internet, Roisin Murphy, Against All Logic, Travis Scott.

Older stuff from: Missy Elliott, Gary Numan, Four Tet

M: What went through your head when you heard your music being featured on the Givenchy Spring/Summer campaign?

I sincerely wanted that music to be used for fashion so I was excited to see it used in that capacity! A lot of the track names on N K I have fashion related titles, all for the reason that I imagined this record being used just as you now see it.

M: What inspires you about the Portland music scene?

Someone once described Portland to me as a great “incubator” for creative ideas, which I think is both bizarre and accurate. It rains forever so I want to stay inside and work on music until the weather’s good. I am completely privileged to be able to work on music with the setup I have in Portland and I am forever grateful for that. I would not be able to do that in a variety of other places or lives.

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The Spring Summer 2019 Campaign

Monday’s New Music Mixtape

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While we can’t completely fix the downer vibes of Monday, this Monday mix of new music is sure to help launch your week in the right direction. From the release of Y La Bamba’s new album, Mujeres a vibrant work of Latin-pride and abrogating machoism to the new Fritzwa & J. Brodsky collaboration — their single The Best makes us nostalgically recall our fave throwback jams.

New music hitting the Marmoset catalog of music now — start with these five songs first:

Cruel 2 B Kind” by Mïrändä

Boss” by Jike Junyi

Mujeres” by Y La Bamba

The Best” by Fritzwa & J. Brodsky

Syntax” by Duncan Burnett

Dig into the rest of Marmoset’s new music mixtape below:

Spotlighting Music Licensing Creative, Marissa Hernandez

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A tried-and-true commitment toward community betterment and keen ear for awesome music, Marissa Hernandez is the kind of woman anyone would be lucky enough to have on their team — or grab a coffee with (one of her favorite things to do).

Having a natural instinct toward music and being able to “feel” what works with a creative project isn’t something that can necessarily be taught. But it’s something that Marissa one of Marmoset’s Music Licensing Creatives has a serious knack for and a skill she exercises every day for clients.

Music is in Marissa’s blood — her father being a self-taught musician who plays numerous instruments and her mother, who plays both the piano and guitar; her childhood inarguably ran deep with positive music reinforcement. Such an underlying presence prompted Marissa to expand her own music preferences and taste, using the music her parents played for as a child as the springboard for discovering her individualistic musical tastes.

“I've kind of found that I don't really like being told what to like. There's a lot of music that my parents would listen to and make me listen to when I was younger. But now that I’ve come back to it on my own, I'm like, oh, I love this! So it's almost like I needed that sort of freedom to make that decision on my own.”

Naturally the arts and music were a driving force in Marissa’s life and underlying motivator in college. Inspired by The Current, a public community-focused radio station in Minneapolis, Marissa set her initial sights on music as her career path.

“They play a lot of independent bands and artists, which really helped facilitate my love for indie music,” says Marissa. “There's not really a strong equivalent to that here in Oregon. And so I went to school thinking, I'm going to start a radio station. And then I thought, well, radio's a dying industry so I probably shouldn’t — that's probably not a great business decision.”

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With other interests in writing and graphic design, Marissa began scouring how music would fit into her professional pursuits. It was when she discovered her niche in music supervision that she secured her dream job overseeing music to picture — her very first sync and catapulting moment when she pitched a Santigold song, successfully landing it on a Summer Olympics commercial.

Aiming to provide exposure to talented, lesser mainstream artists and helping them advance in the music licensing world, Marissa focuses on the bigger picture when pitching music for ad campaigns, films, TV shows and other visual media.

“It’s always really rewarding whenever we can help an artist continue to work and do what they love for a living,” Marissa says. “I feel like it's more direct here [at Marmoset], it's clear to me when we’ve had an influence on someone’s career.”

After acquiring a wealth of experience in music supervision, Marissa began searching for a place where she could share her passion for community alongside music, eventually making her home at Marmoset as a Music Licensing Creative.

“I feel really good about the fact that we have initiatives to help the community here because that was something I really struggled with working in advertising — the question being, am I really making the world a better place? That's something that's really important to me overall in my life.”

Leading her team in internal searches through Marmoset’s catalog of artists for creative projects, Marissa expertly navigates external searches too — a muscle she flexes when a client has ultra specifications for a song they want to license but can’t find it on the Marmoset music roster. Using her knowledge of the music industry and with wide range of resources, Marissa scours and obtains songs that others may not have the same access to or perhaps a lack of insight to inquire about.

With her involvement on Marmoset’s Eagle Scout Team — a group dedicated to discovering and recruiting more obscure artists — Marissa also invests her time and leadership on Marmoset’s Greater Good Team, an internal group focusing on community partnership.

Her wealth of industry knowledge makes Marissa a force to be reckoned with, being able to interpret a client’s asks and vision, offering up her creativity, guidance and expertise in the most genuine of fashions. At the end of the day there’s no question about it, Marissa makes Marmoset and her community a better place.


Listen and play through Marissa’s “All Time Faves” playlist on Spotify.