Seppl Kretz : “When going for a music career in advertising: specialize in a genre!”

Seppl started his career as piano/keyboard player for multiple world-touring bands, eventually bringing him into music production and supervision for advertising. Where he, as Head of Music Production at Sizzer, won multiple awards for campaigns created for brands such as Diesel, Schweppes, Heineken and others. He will be a speaker at this year’s Mastering the Music Business event in Bucharest.

Romanita Oprea

Seppl Kretz

How did you discover your passion for music?

As a kid, my parents were always making music around the house. And I would quickly take part by hammering on the piano. I really don’t know any better than that I had to do something with music.

What are the main learnings in your career from your period as world-touring artist with different bands?

Making music would always start at home, at a friends’ home, or in a rehearsal space.
And once that gains just a little bit of attention, you move on to trying to record your first demo and to arranging your first gig. As your career progresses, the studios get bigger, the producers more experienced, and most importantly: you become part of the music industry. What touring and being in bands brought me was the network and knowledge on all aspects of creating and releasing music.

What pieces of advice would you give to someone choosing this path today?

Depends on the path. When going for a career in music: create what you want to create, not what you think others will like! When going for a music career in advertising: specialize in a genre! Don’t focus on being able to do ‘everything’!

How would you say that the touring scene has changed since then?

In essence it hasn’t really. But a large change came in marketing. Online marketing and streaming platforms became such a big part of a Bands/artists identity. It influences everything from your ticket-sales to number of streams. As a starting band just wanting to make music, it can be quite difficult to get savvy with social media etc.

How did your career take a turn to music production and supervision for advertising?

During my time in bands, I came in a few situations where our music was synced to TV ads (one of which was a Superbowl commercial). During those moments, I got to see the world of brands, ad-agencies, publishing/sync and TV & Film. In particular the way they look at the use of music.

Until that time, music to me was a very direct way of expression and interaction. From musician to audience. But it was during those moments that I learned how music can work on different creative levels and mediums. Needless to say it intrigued me a lot. When my last booked tour was done, I started a recording studio dedicated to bespoke music for ads. Which eventually got me (and my studio) into joining Sizzer whose international mindset in music for advertising inspires me to this very day.

What is the secret of a good song for a commercial?

I wish I knew! Haha. It’s basically an empty piece of paper every time you start.
Projects are so different from each other, that there isn’t one-way-to-go.

What are brands looking for when choosing a song for their commercial?

Comparing brands is very difficult. For instance, the desires of an automotive brand
and a soda brand will be quite far apart. Namely because their target group is already
so different. A car brand will aim for people that are at least old enough to drive (and mostly
older since they need to be able to afford a new car). Where-as a soda-brand can aim at children between 12-18. I could write down some general bullet points (ie. recognition, positivity, inspiring lyrics, etc), but it wouldn’t apply to all brands.

How did their preferences change along the years?

I can answer that question by pointing out the need for a different type of content. For instance, often these days we are also creating different music versions for Instagram and Facebook ads, in addition to TV campaigns. Which are way shorter, as you can imagine (between 6 and 10 seconds). Meaning we have to adapt and rethink music for that format as well.

What are the main trends for the music featured in commercials?

There are always a few music trends coming by. Mostly in the form of certain hit-songs,
a band with a new sound, the upcoming summer song etc. One that pops to mind from last year was tracks in the slipstream of “Makeba”, by Jain.