Music Dealers honors its “Great Unsigned” composers

Winners Aynzli Jones and Metis, for their Coke Zero’s Make It Possible Campaign

Licensing company Music Dealers connected some 200 of its musicians with 200 of its visual media production clients, to get to know each other, swap stories, and give out a few awards.

The recent first annual Music Dealers Visual Sound Awards was held at Music Dealers’ spacious West Loop headquarters. 

The awards ceremony was not just based on the creativity and success of the spot, but of the impact of the work on the lives of the artists.  Music Dealers calls them “The Great Unsigned,” “designating a community of artists around the world instead of a database of music,” said Jonathan Sheinkop, company chairman and EVP/business and strategy. 


“[Music Dealers] was the catalyst,” musician Metis told the crowd when he accepted his award for Coke Zero’s “Make It Possible” score. “It led to multiple record deals, a whole bunch of other opportunities” and many prestigious awards all because of “one company believing in us.”


Music Dealers founders Eric Sheinkop, John Williamson and Jonathan SheinkopThat belief had its genesis in frustration, when CEO Eric Sheinkop, music consultant for Leo Burnett, thought he had all the music set for a fast food company spot, only to learn that the composer didn’t want his music used.

This led him to create a company, with co-founders John Williamson, chief operating officer, and his brother Jonathan, that pre-signed artists (and pre-vetted their commercial restrictions), so that licensing could happen at the click of a button.

“When producers like a song, they can license it without additional negotiations and additional hassles,” said Jonathan Sheinkop.

Strategic partnership with Coca Cola Company

In 2011, Music Dealers went a step further in forming a strategic partnership with the Coca Cola Company to provide custom music for particular branding campaigns.  They use crowd sourcing to put the specs out to artists, then present the result to Coke executives. That’s how Metis got the “Make It Possible” campaign.

Jonathan Sheinkop said Music Dealers is looking for more strategic partnerships in the future. “We give them an organized method of analyzing artists and vetting them.”

At the awards, producers got a great show, as many of Music Dealers’ “Great Unsigned” performed their non-commercial music.

“We wanted to highlight that what seems like a minor decision in [the producer’s] lives has an enormous impact on these emerging artist,” said Tara Flocco, Music Dealers’ PR director.

2013 Music Dealers Award winners 

Six awards were given out for the evening, chosen by a group within Music Dealers. The group’s criteria, Flocco said, was primarily “how well the music supported the visual story being told.”

But also important to their decision was “the impact of the interaction on the artist.”

   Best Music Use in a TV Ad: Grey Group and
 composer Salme Dahlstrom for “Covergirl: Intense Shadow

   Best Music Use in a Web Ad: Greenpoint
Pictures and Zyme for “Nike+ Presents Track My Game

   Best Use of Indie Music by The Coca-Cola Company: Coke Zero and Metis for Coke Zero’s “Make
It Possible.”

   Best Use of Indie Music in TV & Film: Whitehouse Post, Cap Gun Collective and Bronze Radio
Return for “Discover Card: NHL’s Day with The Cup.”

   Best Music Experience: Coca-Cola for The
2012 Olympics Beats Lab  Best Use of Custom Music: Marbles: The
Brain Store and Renald Francoeur for “Marbles Brain
Beats” Series.


Carrie L. Kaufman is the former editor/publisher of PerformInk. Contact: