De Wolfe once provided scores for Monty Python’s Flying Circus and episodes of Doctor Who. Its library included pieces by famous early 20th-century film composers (though not seminal works). The New York office I landed in sold access rights to these songs, but also trafficked in the great American tradition of low-value, high-demand knockoffs: recordings that imitate popular songs but deviate just enough to scrape past copyright infringement. On any given day, a video game designer or a pastor or an assistant to the director of snack food commercials would call to find out if, for example, we had anything that sounded like the new Lady Gaga song (we did), or a good substitute for “Bittersweet Symphony” (we had that, too).
De Wolfe’s library had four major categories: Genre, Mood, Instrumentation, and Usage. Each had subsets. Usage, for example, had 36 subcategories, such as Cooking, Historical, or Slow Motion. Querying the system for, say, Cool Lifestyle would turn up songs including “Travelling Backwards” (described by file metadata as “Stylish, Rhythmic Late-Night Jazz With Flute”) and “Take It Home” (“Funky & Slick, Cool & Confident”).
via PS Mag (via MediaREDEF)