After 20 years in the music business, there isn’t much that Timbaland hasn’t accomplished — but after releasing his memoir The Emperor of Sound last November, the Norfolk, Va. native isn’t interested in the past. Timbaland has been steadily, stealthily expanding his influence, working as executive producer of music for Fox’s breakout series Empire, signing a new label deal with L.A. Reid and Epic Records covering his Mosley Music Group imprint and releasing his first-ever mixtape, King Stays King, on Christmas — complete with a previously-unreleased Aaliyah track.
Timbaland and ole-owned licensing company Jingle Punks have big plans, launching a new partnership that hopes to bring the artist’s resources and songwriting skills to bear on original music for brand synchs, television and film scores, video game soundtracks and sponsorships — every and anything on or in which his music could be used. The new endeavor arrives a few months after Tim expanded his administration deal with ole into a worldwide co-publishing agreement, and comes with the stated goal of turning the super-producer-turned-artist-turned-executive into a one-stop music marketing shop.
“Instead of Jingle Punks walking into a room and pitching all the core services we do in 2016, we are now going to be up-selling Tim’s brand as a product, Tim as a marketing personality,” says Jingle Punks president and CCO Jared Gutstadt, “so that we can introduce him into the conversation — whether it’s film scores, activations with brands and TV/film soundtracks.”
While the new partnership is unprecedented for Timbaland, the pair have worked together successfully in the past. In a bit of corporate-driven serendipity, ole — which first signed a publishing deal with the producer in 2012 — purchased Jingle Punks last March to bolster its production library. Then, in September, at the urging of ole chairman/CEO Robert Ott, the two came together, resulting in Timbaland’s remix of ESPN’s famous SportsCenter theme for the sports conglomerate’s midnight edition.
To hear Gutstadt and Timbaland tell it, that SportsCenter theme is just the beginning; there are plans to open up Timbaland’s vault of unreleased music in addition to having him produce original songs for targeted campaigns. “I have a factory of music — I have sounds, I have everything, I have songs I haven’t used yet,” says Timbaland, who never shies from issuing grandiose statements. “The issue is, there’s so much more than just music… I already paid the dues of doing the work myself. Now what I’m building is an empire.”
Jingle Punks is looking to have a film score and beverage brand partnership locked in for Timbaland by early 2016, Gutstadt says, though nothing has been announced just yet. (The producer’s just-revealed remix of The Daily Show theme is not part of this partnership). Timbaland himself is planning to begin shooting — and acting in — his own television show in the new year, with plans to use the project as a vessel to release new music outside of the traditional industry cycle.
While Timbaland says he simply wants to build additional outlets around his own brand, he’s likely looking at some of his peers in the production world who themselves have opened up new revenue streams. Fellow Virginia native Pharrell has several clothing and apparel ventures to his name, as well as a collaboration with Adidas and several film projects under his belt. Swizz Beatz has his own art collective in The Dean Project in addition to his work with brands such as Reebok, Kidrobot, Monster and Aston Martin. And Dr. Dre‘s personal wealth ballooned after he and Jimmy Iovine sold Beats to Apple for $3 billion in 2014.
“At the end of the day, we look at Tim the same way that people look at Jimmy Iovine,” says Gutstadt, whose company has also provided original music for campaigns by Burger King’s World Peace Day celebration and Pepsi’s The Future Is Now push among dozens of others in its eight years of existence. “Tim, as an ideas guy, he brings a lot of the biggest musical ideas to life, and we want to be a facilitator for that in a much bigger way.”