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Don’t forget the music | 音乐制作不容小觑

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Fantasy Music, a music production company based in Shanghai, has successfully crafted the beats behind thousands of TVCs in China for over ten years now.  The company was started by Chris Zhou and Jay Wu who met jamming in a rock band together while attending Shanghai Normal Music Institute. Whether it’s a cheesy jingle, an ominous chant, or a raging party beat, the music behind any TVC matters, yet rarely is much attention paid to the composers and companies crafting each unique melody.  After over fifteen years in the business Chris and Jay have a few stories and reflections about how they built a music production company in Shanghai and continue to thrive in China’s still developing music production market.

十多年以来,上海音乐制作公司Fantasy Music成功打造了上千支中国电视广告音乐。 Chris ZhouJay Wu两位创始人都毕业于上海师范学院音乐系,他们相识于摇滚乐队。电视广告中的各种音乐不论是一个简单的节奏,还是诡异的声音,抑或是派对上的猛烈节奏,都是很重要的,然而却很少有人关注这些独特音乐之声的制作人和制作公司。ChrisJay二人在音乐领域已经有15多年的经验了,他们想要分享一下自己的故事,回顾创立上海音乐制作公司的历程,以及如何能够在仍不完善的国内音乐制作市场兴盛不衰。


China Eastern’s 60th anniversary film, music production by Fantasy Music

Credits | 制片团队
Client | 客户: China Eastern
Production | 制片公司: Gwantsi
Director | 导演: JB Lee
Music | 音乐: Fantasy Music

TAKING OFF  |  起步之初

Chris and Jay separately entered university to study classical music composition but they met as young musicians passionate about rock music.  After graduation Chris and Jay both got jobs working for the same music production company, Sync Music.  This music production company had only started in the late 1990’s as the advertising industry in China was itself just taking off then.  After five years at Sync Music, the two decided to start their own music production company, Fantasy Music. 

ChrisJay不是同一届的学生,但是两个人都是主修古典音乐作曲,两个对摇滚乐充满激情的人就这样相遇了。毕业之后,两个人都去了Sync Music。这家公司成立于九十年代末,当时中国广告业也刚刚起步。在Sync Music工作了五年之后,两个人决定创立自己的音乐制作公司 – Fantasy Music由此而生。

Fantasy Music does not have much name recognition outside of China.  They don’t have a website or even a WeChat account – the equivalent of Facebook in China.  Fantasy Music has gained its reputation by word of mouth based on its successful compositions.  Chris explained they land most of their work through what he called in Chinese, the ‘quanzi’ roughly translated as the ‘inner circle’.  Chris continued, “a director or a producer will see a TVC they like and want to know who composed the music, this is how they find us”.

Fantasy Music在海外没有太多知名度,也没有网站,也没有微信公众号。但是成功的音乐创作让人们口碑相传。Chris说他们的多数客户都是在圈子找的,另外,如果导演和制片人看到某个很喜欢的电视广告,很喜欢里面的音乐,也会打听到我们

2014 was the first year they reached over 100 pieces composed and the numbers have continued increase every year since then. With over 160 pieces composed last year in 2016, there seems to be no reason to adjust their laissez-fair business approach. In fact, business is going so well for their five person team they often have to outsource projects and compositions to freelancers to keep up with the work load.  By the end of 2017 they anticipate over 170 compositions to be completed and aired. 

2014年这一年,他们的全年作品数量第一次超过了100部,此后每一年作品数量也都不断增加。单单2016年,作品就超过了160部,似乎他们没有什么理由去改变这种自由放任的商业模式。实际上,他们的客户应接不暇,五个人的团队有时候应付不过来,就要把项目外包,或者找一些自由职业制作人来帮忙。预计2017年底,公司将有170多部作品上映。

Choir composition by Fantasy Music for Sprite summer 2017 viral video

Credits | 制片团队
Client | 客户: Sprite
Agency | 广告公司: Ogilvy
Production | 制片公司: Breathe
Director | 导演: Melvin Mak
Music | 音乐: Fantasy Music

And it’s not because Fantasy Music is cheap that they get so many jobs, in fact their “fee is much higher than the average music production house based in China” Chris mentioned when discussing the going rate for music compositions in Shanghai.  Fantasy Music’s rates have doubled since 2007.  To a certain extent their prices simply reflect the growing advertising market in Shanghai but it is also a testament to Fantasy Music’s skill and business prowess in the China market.

这么多的业务量靠的并不是低价,实际上他们的收费远远高于中国音乐制作公司的平均收费 – 30秒剪Chris如是描述上海的音乐制作现状。自2007年以来,Fantasy Music的收费翻了一倍。这在一定程度上,也反映了上海广告市场的发展壮大,但是同时也证明了Fantasy Music在中国音乐市场上的技术能力和商业实力。

SURVIVING IN THE CHINESE MARKET | 在中国市场立足

For any new company or individual in the creative industry in China, taking time to build good relationships with clients, agencies, and producers is especially important.  While Chris and Jay joke about certain difficult projects or clients, they clearly understand the nuances and norms of the Chinese system.  Where international music production companies have come and failed in the Chinese market, Fantasy Music has more than survived the difficulties of dealing with Chinese clients.  Massive Music, for example, which started in Amsterdam in 2000, with offices in L.A., New York, London, and Tokyo, came to Shanghai in 2011 but after a couple years decided to close its doors in Shanghai. 

在中国的创意产业,不论是刚入行的新公司还是个人,都需要时间跟客户、广告公司和制片人建立良好的关系。ChrisJay有时候爱拿一些很难搞的项目和客户开玩笑,但是他们其实对中国体制的规矩也是了如指掌的。很多国外的音乐制作公司来到中国都以失败而告终,但是Fantasy Music却能够游刃有余应对难搞的中国客户。比如,创立于2000年的阿姆斯特丹音乐制作公司Massive Music,就是一家遍布洛杉矶、纽约、伦敦、东京的大公司,它2011年进驻上海,但是却没几年就关门歇业了。

Chris and Jay unabashedly share how good they are at building and maintaining client relationships.  For any given project they might end up revising a composition more than several times to please the client or director, but they do so with speed and precision.  Their responsiveness to Chinese clients and attention to detail has paid off.  The volume of work they churn out is surely enviable to local and foreign music production companies in China.

ChrisJay落落大方地表示,他们非常擅长建立和维护客户关系。任何一个项目,都可能改上好几个版本,才能让客户或者导演满意,但是他们却能做到精准迅速。对于客户,他们有求必应,专注细节,这一点也不是徒劳。他们的业务量之大,也让国内外音乐制作公司望尘莫及。


EDM style music by Fantasy Music for War Horse’s first TVC

Credits | 制片团队
Client | 客户: War Horse
Agency | 广告公司: JWT
Production | 制片公司: 北京花开富贵
Director | 导演: JB Lee
Music | 音乐: Fantasy Music

A CHANGING CHINESE MARKET | 中国市场格局改变

A couple years ago Chris and Jay noticed there was a growing demand for EDM, dubstep, techno style music in Chinese TVCs.  They quickly built a relationship with a Japanese DJ, Ryoji Takahashi, who they found spinning EDM tracks at clubs in Shanghai.  Ryoji has been a freelance music producer for Fantasy music for over a year now.  He speaks limited English and even less Chinese.  Chris speaks a little Japanese but it doesn’t seem to matter for the relationship, this job doesn’t require perfect language skills, it requires perfect pitch. 

几年前,两位创始人看到,中国电视广告对电子舞曲、dubstep电子乐和高科技舞曲的需求越来越多。所以,他们找到了当时在上海club里打碟的日本DJ Ryoji Takahashi,并且很快建立了良好的关系。现在,RyojiFantasy Music合作已经一年多了。他的英文有限,中文也不会说几句,Chris会说一点点日文,但是语言并不影响他们之间的合作,音乐作品不需要完美的语言水平,只需要完美的音调。

Fantasy_Music_Team_.picRyoji Takahashi, Chris Zhou, and Jay Wu (From left to right)

Ryoji still does TVC work in Japan, puts out EDM tutorials in DJ Magazine, and occasionally DJ’s in Shenzhen or popular clubs like M2 in Shanghai, but he enjoys the challenge of working in the Shanghai advertising music scene, which is “still growing up” he says with a bit of smile.

Ryoji也仍然继续做日本的电视广告音乐,还在DJ杂志上发表电子舞曲教程,有时候还会去深圳和上海的知名clubDJ,比如上海的M2,但是他却很享受在上海的广告音乐创作所带来的挑战,他说,广告音乐还处于成长阶段,说这句话时,他脸上带着大大的笑容。

Chris and Jay remember when they first started and were only working with local brands and production companies in China.  Jay couldn’t hide his childish grin as he recalled the almost “silly jingles” they used to put together for local TVCs.  China’s advertising scene, along with Fantasy Music has changed a lot since then. 

ChrisJay还记得最开始的时候,他们的客户只有中国本土的品牌和制作公司,Jay还记得当初做的电视广告音乐有点愚蠢,他难以掩饰流露出的幼稚。而现如今,不论是中国的广告制作,还是Fantasy Music公司都变化太多了。

Music production might not be the most glamorous or recognizes field in the advertising world.  Indeed, it can often be the final element fought over in the creative process, with little say given to the music producer.  The job does not come without its share of frustrations.  For Chris and Jay though their original love of music still shines through in their daily commitment to composing quality music for each and every project. 

在广告业,音乐制作可能并不是最光鲜亮丽,最为人称赞的领域。相反,它很可能是整个创意流程中最容易被忽略的因素,音乐制作人往往没有什么话语权。音乐制作也不是没有让人很崩溃的时候。但是,对于ChrisJay而言,正是那份最初对音乐的热爱,依然让他们每天都能够全然投入,为每一个项目创作出优秀的音乐。

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