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Strike the Right Chords: Mike Constantino, Homonym co-founder and managing director, reveals a music first approach to creativity

Mike Constantino, Homonym co-founder and managing director, reveals a music first approach to creativity.

Words by Mike Constantino


History has well established that language and technology progress together, complementing each other and opening new avenues for each other since time immemorial. As the debate still rages over which came first—music or language—one fact is clear: music has likewise progressed along with the evolution of language and technology. One may argue that language is the art part of music, while technology is the science or business side, but what I’d like to tackle is how the combination of—and their relationship with each other—have effectively changed how we, as marketers, can now develop our concepts and ideas.

Since we founded Homonym, we have been espousing a music first approach to ideation and creation. For the past two or so decades that I have been in the industry (and surely even longer), the process has pretty much been the same: an art director and copywriter get together to develop a concept that morphs into a storyboard, which is shot and edited then passed on to a composer or music scorer who will try her/his best to tie it all together. Music is an afterthought. In markets like the UK and the US, they oftentimes start with the music before anything else. New roles within agencies have emerged wherein apart from the art director-copywriter combo, there are technology/innovation leads and music strategists that give a fresh, new depth to ideation.

There are many advantages to a music first approach. The right music—or music that’s scientifically matched with the brand’s identity and its intended audience—allows the creatives involved to immediately visualize the imagery, location, talents, mood and overall feel of the idea. If exposed to the right music, the creatives can even get inspired by the sensations and emotions that the music evokes. If given the music beforehand, the director can better imagine what kind of shots she/he would need to take, making the job much easier for the editor. The director of photography and production director can better understand the setting that needs to be prepared. The lighting director knows the mood that’s needed. The caster knows what vibe the talents should have.

Furthermore, determining the music beforehand gives the producer enough time to license the song if it’s an existing one; or gives the composer more time to truly create towards the brief—something that’s on-strat yet still gets the tone right – instead of the usual style of altering the notes to avoid copyright infringement to which we traditionally have to resort. It’s a common experience to have your videos taken down on Facebook or YouTube because the music wasn’t properly licensed. I can’t tell you how many times we get requests for music from clients and agencies that they needed it yesterday, because they literally just thought of it yesterday.

Based on the campaigns we’ve worked on so far, we’ve proven that a music first approach is a better, more efficient way of creating. It saves on time and resources that we all need to use ever so wisely in this digital age of content production. With dwindling budgets amidst a call for more and more content from our beloved clients (because our beloved audiences demand it), we need to produce tons of content – which means we need tons of music to support that content. And oh, did I mention we need to produce them fast? This is where technology comes in.

A key partnership fuels our push for a music first approach. Homonym is the official partner of in Southeast Asia. Songtradr is the most robust music licensing and synchronization platform out there today. With over 350,000 expertly-curated/metadata-supported songs to choose from, you can instantly license music for immediate use for your content.

This is our innovative answer to take down requests and steep licensing or composing fees. As we activate independent Filipino artists on the platform, this music solution is positively disrupting the local landscape and is by far, the best combination of language, technology and music that you can use as that much-needed shot in the arm to your creative process.

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