Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Boutique Music’s Changing Landscape Pt 1: Pacific Soundtracks

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You’ve probably come to know our artist features fairly well by now, so we’ve decided to branch out a bit and explore one of music supervision’s niche markets; boutique music. The prominence of music collectives and licensing houses has certainly shifted over the years, with its market seeing both extreme highs and low-lows, but with the infamous decreasing of budgets, tightening of timelines, and increasing of pressure on supervisors to license stellar tracks quickly and within budget, libraries are coming up in the world.PS Sign

To recognize the industry facilitators at these libraries, over the next few weeks we’re going to be exploring how several of our favorite successful music libraries and music houses operate, starting with our friends at Portland’s Pacific Soundtracks.

According to SonicScoop, “Pacific Soundtracks provides music supervisors with a direct channel to the inimitable sounds of the great Northwest.” PS was founded by prior ad executive, Michael Wolfson and is “a collective of independent musicians who write and record original music to synch license for TV, films, videos, games, and new media (SonicScoop).”

Wolfson claims that the idea, facilitated greatly by “increasingly user-friendly recording software,” was inspired by hit houses of the past like Motown, the Brill Building, and Tin Pan Alley, but with a modern twist, of course.

Wolfson also touts PS’s “brand new model,” saying that “We license music that’s made by artists and bands from Portland’s overwhelmingly talented and plentiful music community as well as songs that are recorded in our collaborative recording studio.”PS Studio

However, Pacific Soundtracks isn’t an exclusive or illusive community of musicians, they’re “always accepting submissions and licensing inquiries,” so whether you’re a musician or content creator there’s something for you at the PS compound (Which is really just an incredible house, home to state of the art recording technology and rad musicians).

We caught up with Michael earlier this month and picked his brain about some of our favorite topics including why he started PS, how he feels about the music for media movement, and his favorite music supervision moment (with which we agree…is “golden”). Check out his responses below.

Year we started Pacific Soundtracks and why we were crazy enough to do it…

Pacific Soundtracks launched in the summer of 2013. In fact, we just celebrated our 1-year anniversary!

Why were we crazy enough to do it? I wouldn’t say it was craziness that made us do it. More like passion. We were passionate about providing new opportunities for independent musicians. And we still are.

I think some of the benefits of licensing from music collectives (as opposed to original score, or pop tracks) are…

On the practical side, licensing from our music collective is beneficial because all of our musicians are independent and own their own writing and publishing. This bypasses old music business models by cutting out labels and third parties, making PS a quick and easy one-stop shop for music supervisors, filmmakers, post-production houses and producers.

On the creative side, licensing from our music collective is beneficial because you’re getting access to music made by local independent artists and bands. It’s music that adds emotional impact to visual storytelling and speaks from and to the heart.

I think the “music-for-media” movement benefits…because…

At PS, we believe that making our music available for media benefits everyone involved. Our clients have direct access to music made by real artists. Audiences experience a more authentic music experience. And our artists benefit because they have a new resource that exposes their music to new listeners.

I think the landscape for boutique music has changed in the last 5 years by…

The landscape for boutique music has changed in the last five years with the development of high quality, user-friendly recording software. It’s become easier for independent musicians to record their own material.

At Pacific Soundtracks, we make it possible for independent musicians to license these recordings, as well as the music we make together.

Our favorite music supervision moment is…

Our favorite recent music supervision moment was the final scene of Breaking Bad. We are huge Badfinger fans and their placement of “Baby Blue” was golden.

To submit or request music head to, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To read more about the background of this incredible start-up (who’ve just celebrated their first anniversary) check out their piece on SonicScoop, and follow their happenings on Twitter, Facebook, and Vimeo!

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