Famed Producer Steve Lindsey Launches A-Tone Recordings, a New Revenue Concept Focused on Synchs

Billboard

Music production firm Extreme Music, the self-declared "undisputed heavyweights [sic] of production music," has created a partnership with producer Steve Lindsey, dubbed A-Tone Recordings, in an ambitious effort to develop music for synchronization which they hope will provide another revenue stream for artists, songwriters and musicians struggling in the digital music landscape.

Lindsey, who has produced music for Elton John, Leonard Cohen, Aaron Neville and Chris Botti, among others, is bringing together a collective of some of the best session musicians and artists in Los Angeles, who will write and record music intended not for consumers, but with the primary goal of securing its placement and usage in films, TVs and commercials.

It seems Lindsey may be on to something -- A-Tone has already done a deal to provide tracks for the new season of Masters of Sex.

The collections, which may eventually be issued to online stores through TuneCore, will come out under the brand A-Tone Recordings, and will include releases from such well known session players and composers as Dean Parks, Jim Cox, Larry Klein, Larry Goldings and David Baerwald. The initial effort from the A-Tone collective comes from Vagrant Records singer/songwriter known as LP, who has covered such songs as "Amazing Grace," and "Down In The Valley," for his Pretty Little Horses EP.

"I try and think ahead of the curve," Lindsey says in describing the creation of the A-Tone concept. With the way streaming services are paying, "writers and artists are actually scared" for their economic future, he says. 

Lindsey says the goal is not to make production music for a library, but to make "incredible records that stand on their own two feet."

A-Tone will own the publishing and recordings, but unlike traditional record label payment agreements, the artist making the recording will have a 50 percent share in the master recording licensing proceeds, just like the songwriters already get from those type of deals, Lindsey says.

But in order to bring the music of A-Tone Recordings to the marketplace, Lindsey sought out Extreme Music, a unit of  Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

Extreme Music CEO Russell Emanuel says that A-Tone fits nicely into the branding efforts at Extreme, which tries to set itself apart in the production music industry by offering music through 15 or so labels and brands to make its catalog more east to navigate for licensees looking for music for their latest film and TV productions.

In starting a collective, "you look at what you have around you, and [Los Angeles] has the best musicians and composers in the world, because all of the work is here," Lindsey says. "The greatest musicians in the world come here to make it and their talent level is amazing. Some of them might be people that [the average music fan] might not know, but they have been doing other [well-known artists'] homework for years."