How Hillary Clinton Is Soundtracking Her 2016 Presidential Campaign

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Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton poses with students and faculty after speaking at Rancho High School on May 5, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Indie-centric agency Marmoset Music adds Clinton's White House bid to its roster.

Portland, Ore.-based music supervision agency Marmoset Music has taken on big campaigns for corporate clients like JC Penney, Coca-Cola and Levi's in recent years, and is expected to help independent artists earn $5 million in gross revenue from commercial synchs in 2015 alone. But its latest client is a big spender of a different sort: Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

Beginning with Clinton's April 12 YouTube video "Getting Started" announcing her candidacy (which featured the instrumental track "Scorpio" by indie composer Buddy Ross) and continuing with five other campaign videos in the past two months, Marmoset has been tasked with music supervision and creative support on licenses for up to 50 songs for non-exclusive use throughout the campaign's duration.

"We try to stay away from making any strong statement, politically or otherwise, but in this case, the candidate seemed like one we could get behind pretty easily," says co-founder/CEO Ryan Wines.

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Though TV advertising is expected to roll out later this year, the initial clips have been distributed online to reach a younger, millennial voter. Clinton will no doubt amp up ad spending during the next 12 months, however: Her 2008 campaign laid out $46 million in measured media spend before she dropped out of the race (trailing Barack Obama's $75 million, according to Kantar Media). Other recent licenses brokered (and, in certain instances, composed) by Marmoset's 25-person staff for the campaign include The Little Indians' "Bravo," for Clinton's April 22 online video The Power of Organizing, and "Orange & Red" from Marmoset co-founder Brian Hall's band Sunbeam.

An original score for an online campaign can typically earn an emerging artist anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000, with synchs typically rising to the $20,000 range, depending on length of use, Billboard estimates. Wines declined to comment on the Clinton campaign's synch fees, but noted, "In today's corporate climate, we see big brand with huge pockets and others with strapped budgets. This is typical and expected from what we're used to seeing."

A version of this story first appeared in the June 20 issue of Billboard.

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