Big Sync Music Co-Founder On Judging This Year's Spikes Music Awards
This year the Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity launched ‘Music Spikes’, a new music category celebrating music content and creative musical collaborations. The judging for the awards took place last week in Singapore and the winners were announced during the awards ceremony on 23 September. Andrew Stafford, co-founder and ECD of global music agency, Big Sync Music, was one of five creatives invited to judge music entries from across the Asia Pacific region. President of this jury was the charismatic Prasoon Joshi, Chairman of McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific, poet, songwriter, vocalist and household name in India. Andrew talks about the experience.
Was this your first ever Spikes?
It was my first but definitely not my last.
What are your thoughts on the first year of Music Spikes?
This is a really important milestone, especially in South East Asia, where historically we have not seen the same eagerness to engage with and invest in music as we have elsewhere in the world. It’s undeniable that music has a huge impact on the effectiveness of advertising, so for me, the acknowledgement of that fact, is very much overdue.
How did it feel to be asked to join the music jury?
It was an absolute privilege, both personally and professionally. It’s also, I hope, a signifier of how far Big Sync has come as a company in a very short space of time. We’re just three years old and only opened our Singapore office in 2015.
What did the judging process involve? Can you tell us about the system used?
I was really impressed about how sophisticated the marking system was. We all had our own scoring tablets with notes on each piece of work, along with a jury manager who talked us through every step of the process. So in précis, it was a really thorough and clean, three-stage process:
Firstly, we all marked all the work on a scale of 1-9 without any discussion.
Secondly, we looked at the shortlist that the initial marking gave us and discussed whether additional work should be included or whether any should be removed.
Thirdly, once we had a shortlist we switched to a much more open discussion about the remaining work, with a yes/no voting system about what was and was not award-winning work as well as what should receive the Grand Prix.
If there was a debate on a piece of juror’s work, the juror was asked to leave the room while it was being discussed.
Did the winning campaigns share anything in common?
We awarded work that made us feel as though we’d just watched something special - even ‘magical’ which was very much part of Prasoon’s vision.
Which of the winners really stood out for you personally, and why?
For me the grand prix was the stand out. It was a great track, by an up and coming artist, on a beautifully shot film, with a true and inspiring story. Every now and then you see a film where everything comes together to create something really magical, you can’t explain exactly what it is you just feel great having watched it.
How was the chemistry between the jury?
We had a great bunch and even though we often had different opinions, everyone was very respectful of one another. I don’t think anyone in room thought they were any more or less important than anyone else in the room. Once we were all settled on the awards we got together for a few drinks and there were definitely some friendships born.
How heated did it get during judging?
I would love to tell a story of chairs being thrown across the room or jurors storming out but it was all very civilised and while there were five people in the room that were clearly very passionate about music, it never boiled over into anything more than an animated discussion with perhaps the odd fierce gesticulation!
What was it like working with Prasoon Joshi?
He is a truly inspirational speaker and as the music jury president he led the process excellently.
Did you have any favourites that didn’t make it?
There was one cat-oriented submission that was so goofy that I fell in love with it but I totally understood the group decision for it not to be awarded.
What was your overall impression of the festival?
It was a really well run, diverse festival and the organisers did a fantastic job. The work was also of a great standard so everyone should take a well deserved bow. I met some awesome agency folk from across the region from India, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand to China and obviously Singapore. Can’t wait to participate again next year.
Genre: Music & Sound Design , Music performance , People , Strategy/Insight