Charlie Inskip

Music in the movies: An investigation into creative music search (24/11/09)

Music has been used to accompany moving images since the days of silent movies, when a pianist or orchestra performed to enhance the action and emotions portrayed on-screen. Collections of music have been organised for this purpose by descriptive facets (‘Chase, Impatience, Happiness’) since the early 20th century. Record companies and music publishers attempt to place music in films, TV and commercials to generate income and promote their artists. This process, known as music synchronisation, benefits both the music Owners and the film-making Users, who are frequently not looking for known items and search for unknown music using verbose and subjective queries. Although attempts have been made to disintermediate the process using bespoke B2B music search engines these do not appear to be widely used by creative music searchers, who rely on relationships, in-depth product knowledge and ‘gut feeling’ to source music. On investigation of the organisation of the music in these search engines and in depth analysis of a collection of real queries, it seems that there is a mismatch of meanings between the User and the Owner. However, although the development of these tools would benefit from a more detailed domain analysis, there is a will to disintermediate, as evidenced by the very existence of these search engines and their increasing sophistication. The development of creative music search is not restricted to professional use. General users would also benefit from improvements in this area, for finding music to accompany slideshows and home movies as well as unknown item search when faced with the difficult decision of what to listen to next from their digital music collections. This seminar will present an overview of the music synchronisation process and discuss the information behaviour of a group of professionals involved in creative music search. The aim of this investigation is to contribute to the over-looked area of user information needs in music information retrieval and gain insight which may be used to inform systems development in this area.

Department of Computing, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW

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