How to make bland, soulless corporate music

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See also these buggers.



God I love the KLF.


Trailer music is a cousin of “inspirational” corporate music.


When he mentions having to “keep his personality locked away in a cupboard” for his job I note that from the moment I left college I avoided that kind of corporate job. The result is I made less money and was burdened by other stresses.

What he says about the music I’m sure anyone with a basic understanding of theory has already recognized. I probably could have gotten a job composing that kind of stuff, but I would either find my soul even more crushed by making the same song over and over, or get fired for pushing the boundaries too much musically. Surely there must be an AI that produces that stuff by now, no?

And every time he mentions Tottenham Hale station I flash back to this scene:


Thank you (ouch that was sharp analysis) and I finally now have an explanation for exactly why U2 drives me around the bend… from an Irishman… so I’m going to pretend like my attitude is no longer culturally offensive. :smile:


This example immediately comes to mind:

The late, great torrent site had a huge Library Funk section. I downloaded lots of it.

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As a music dabbler, I enjoyed his discussion of theory. It seems it could be boiled down to something like: corporate music follows all the basic composition rules, and only the basic composition rules.

Also, “how do these people survive without punching themselves in the face?” gives perfect expression to a thought that has often wandered through my head.


I didn’t see the video, but let’s see if I got this:

  • Four chord structure
  • Overproduced instrumentation
  • No dynamics, just a constant slightly-too-loud-for-comfort volume throughout
  • Catchy hook but absolutely inane lyrics
  • Written by committee

Bonus points for:

  • The “millennial whoa”
  • Autotune

The Bruton catalogue? That’s an odd choice. I hadn’t heard of it being particularly emotive before.

That said library catalogues aren’t really that different from film compoaitions: themes for particular tempi and emotions in various cue lengths. So there’s no great reason to privilege one over the other as art. I love a Basil Kirchin library record or one of his soundtracks.

Edit: I have a fair few Bruton records and I may have a rather unlucky sampling…

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Thou shall not make repetitive generic music. Thou shall not make repetitive generic music. Thou shall not make repetitive generic music. Thou shall not make repetitive generic music.

Find 3:30 minutes of your life and watch the whole thing. It’s hilarious.


My favourite passage in that book is this implication that it’s impossible for a decent composer to make bland, soulless music:

We await the day with relish that somebody dares to make a dance record that consists of nothing more than an electronically programmed bass drum beat that continues playing the fours monotonously for eight minutes. Then, when somebody else brings one out using exactly the same bass drum sound and at the same beats per minute (B.P.M.), we will all be able to tell which is the best, which inspires the dance floor to fill the fastest, which has the most sex and the most soul. There is no doubt, one will be better than the other. What we are basically saying is, if you have anything in you, anything unique, what others might term as originality, it will come through whatever the component parts used in your future Number One are made up from.


I see your S A W and raise you one

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Who is that scary looking guy, and was he ever on Eurotrash?

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This video feels accurate, and hits very close to home as I am currently digging through a popular stock music site to find music for a corporate video… something that the client might say yes to. It might seem like it’s easy to find the perfect energetic-yet-bland “nothing” music track, but it’s not. It’s fucking hard, and it eats my soul a little every time I go through the process.

Once when working with a big corporate client I managed to get a song by a friend’s band through some of the preliminary stages of review. It was a great track and we were pitching them pretty hard on the ability to license this track from, you know, authentic artists, but in the end they asked for a super bland corporate track by our go-to composer.

Only once did I manage to get a friend’s band featured in a commercial we produced. They were pretty happy to have a well-paying gig, but it’s a shame that’s what many independent artists have to do to scrape by.

Such is life in the land of corporate video.


It all sounds like Coldplay to me.