About ALIBI

A Look Inside ALIBI Music Library - Exclusive Q&A with Founder Jonathan Parks

5 Minute Read |

Kent Carter

's robust, versatile and expertly curated catalog features music and FX produced, structured and crafted for storytelling and is available to license for advertising, trailers, promos, programming, video games, all other forms of multimedia content. Founder/Executive Producer Jonathan Parks talks about how ALIBI Music Library got started and the future of the company.

How ALIBI Music Library Got Started

ProductionHUB: Can you talk about ALIBI and how it got started?

Jonathan Parks: When I started ALIBI Music Library in October 2011, I had been in the music licensing industry for seven years, and that firsthand experience – along with prior work in digital asset management for EMI/Capitol – helped me recognize the opportunity to fill a void in well-produced, well-structured and highly searchable production music.

I began by producing 90 of the most common genres of music utilized for advertising, trailers and promos. Within the first week of our ALIBI catalog launching, we licensed our first trailer (“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”), our first promo (“American Horror Story”) and our first commercial (“SuperValu Club”).

We set ourselves apart by focusing more on the design and structure of our audio assets than any other catalog I’ve seen. We produce music that evolves and builds, refraining from repetitive cut-and-paste portions within our tracks to create as much versatility as possible within each piece of music that allows it to be used in numerous ways. We also pride ourselves in producing numerous stems and alt versions that allow editors to customize our tracks to fit the unique needs of their projects.

Since our launch, the business has grown exponentially, and we now have a full-time team of 12 with presences in London, New York, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland. We have produced 900+ albums of music and sound FX and have worked on countless national commercials (including Super Bowl spots), feature film trailers, scripted and unscripted TV promos, digital campaigns, video games and nearly every other type of medium.

What Are the Challenges of Providing Music to the TV and Film Industry?

ProductionHUB: What are the challenges associated with providing music to be used in TV/Film?

Jonathan Parks: The biggest challenge facing our industry is tracking performances and being accurately compensated by the performing rights organizations (PROs). Studios and networks will want to license for low fees with the understanding that licensors will generate public performance royalties, which we are dependent on for income and have to fight to collect.

ProductionHUB: Can you talk about some of the projects you've been able to work on and assist with?

Jonathan Parks: As I noted, we have been fortunate to have provided music tracks and sound effects for an extensive list of film, television, streaming, commercial and video game clients. Among the recent projects we’re most proud of are the special trailer for HBO’s “

,” Blue Wilderness’ latest commercial for  and the trailer for the popular video game , to name a few.

How Music Enhances Video Production

PH: How does music enhance production?

Jonathan Parks: Very simply, music is the heartbeat giving life to visual production — eliciting emotion, driving the pace, commanding our attention and holding us there.

PH: What is the future of music production going to look like (in your opinion?)

Jonathan Parks: From my perspective, technology will continue to fuel the biggest changes in the business of production music, whether it’s how we create music, how we deliver music or how we track music usage. We’re already seeing new tools and software pop up nearly every week that make our processes quicker, more efficient and higher quality, and I don’t see that progress going away any time soon. These advancements are enabling us to do things on laptops once limited to those working on chart-topping hits – we can compose music with orchestra-level sonic quality, for example. The delivery of files is far simpler and – thankfully – we’re beginning to be able to more accurately track what and how much music is used, the challenge I touched earlier.

PH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Jonathan Parks: Look for exciting changes to the ALIBI Music Library in the New Year. I will leave it at that, so you’ll have to stay tuned and keep checking our

for more info! 

“I think way more emphasis has been put on this idea of licensing than ever before,” Alec told us. “At the beginning, it was mostly out of necessity to survive, but I think the music industry is coming to the ad industry with way more interest than ever before.

, something that could be beneficial, and something that could be creatively fulfilling if done correctly.”

So, the real question is, why should you care as a filmmaker? Well, you should care because while you may not have a music supervisor of your own, it’s a better time than ever to be your own music supervisor.

than ever and artists are seeing film as a more viable and fulfilling medium.

We built our entire platform on the idea that filmmakers could use better music in their projects and artists were more willing than ever to let them use it.

While all of this is true, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. That’s why we tracked down Alec. He’s placed music for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Jeep, McDonald’s, Miller Lite, and more. He knows how to track down not just a good song, but the perfect song. He knows how to read clients’ minds. In other words, he knows what it takes to be a music supervisor. So, he offered to share his insight on how you can do the same and in turn transform your films and make your clients happier than ever. Here’s Alec on how to be your own music supervisor.

video editors reviewing footage

It’s All About Articulation

Something that has served me very well from actually being a composer is the ability to articulate music. Just knowing how subjective music is, it’s so difficult to get two people, let alone 50 people, to agree on one piece of music for any project. The ability to verbalize music in a way that makes it a little less subjective has come in very handy for me.

So often in this business people will say, “I don’t know why I don’t like it, but I don’t like it.” There are certain keywords that get thrown around all the time, like “upbeat” and “aggressive” and “powerful.” If you tell five people that you want a piece to be more powerful, you’ll get five very different results. It’s important to build a lexicon of genres, styles, instruments, and music references at your disposal so you’re able to say, “Okay, when you say powerful are you thinking distorted guitars and heavy drums? Or are you thinking about a more emotional gut punch, like something with cellos and more strings?”

It’s important to guide people, using language to describe this thing that is in so many ways indescribable, just to get all of the decision makers on the same page.

“ At the beginning, it was mostly out of necessity to survive, but I think the music industry is coming to the ad industry with way more interest than ever before.” Sarah Yuo Assistant Creative Director, HBO

Authenticity is King

Something that has served me very well from actually being a composer is the ability to articulate music. Just knowing how subjective music is, it’s so difficult to get two people, let alone 50 people, to agree on one piece of music for any project.

Sub-Section One

The ability to verbalize music in a way that makes it a little less subjective has come in very handy for me.

Sub-Section Two

So often in this business people will say, “I don’t know why I don’t like it, but I don’t like it.” There are certain keywords that get thrown around all the time, like “upbeat” and “aggressive” and “powerful.” If you tell five people that you want a piece to be more powerful, you’ll get five very different results.

Sub-Section Three

It’s important to build a lexicon of genres, styles, instruments, and music references at your disposal so you’re able to say, “Okay, when you say powerful are you thinking distorted guitars and heavy drums? Or are you thinking about a more emotional gut punch, like something with cellos and more strings?”

  1. It’s important to guide people, using language to describe this thing that is in so many ways indescribable, just to get all of the decision makers on the same page.
  2. It’s important to guide people, using language to describe this thing that is in so many ways indescribable, just to get all of the decision makers on the same page.
  3. It’s important to guide people, using language to describe this thing that is in so many ways indescribable, just to get all of the decision makers on the same page.
  4. It’s important to guide people, using language to describe this thing that is in so many ways indescribable, just to get all of the decision makers on the same page.

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