As we approach the new year, it's important  to look back and reflect on 2021 - a year that began with so much promise. A new president, new vaccines, a new Space Jam movie, this year was going to have it all. And while we did technically get all of those things, somehow they didn't make everything better. As a matter of fact, things are still quite bad! Despite this, though, I was  able to accomplish the goal I set for myself last year which I believe is a testament to the power of setting goals and holding yourself accountable. 


Nevertheless, I will not be doing that this year. This year it's all about coasting. Just keeping my head above water. Don't try to do anything too crazy, just keep things steady. That new hobby you had your eye on? Maybe next year. A vacation? Venice isn't going anywhere. Was this going to be the year you finally got in shape? For what? To live longer? No thank you. Ideally I won't even remember I lived through 2022 at all, it'll just be a series of new wrinkles on my face with no stories.


But before that sinks in it's time for the 47th SAS Composer Newsletter. News, Recent Work, Trends/References, Q&A - the bedrocks of a nice, stable, normal, forgettable 2022. 






This month, inspired by Small Business Saturday, we embarked on an ambitious journey with DentsuMB and American Express to create 100 jingles for 100 small businesses across the country. These are the projects we get most excited about because we get to work with so many talented folks at once and do something that's never really been done before. 


It was certainly quite the undertaking with a lot of moving parts but it came together in a way we're super proud of - huge thank you to everyone involved!





Recent Work

This trailer for American Underdog features a soaring, inspirational cue by Max Farrar off of SAS Trailer Mixtape #22. I won't be watching the film because it looks like a sports movie and it isn't Mighty Ducks.


This spot for the San Diego Zoo's holiday exhibition, Jungle Bells: Aurora, features a whimsical and wondrous track from a(n) SAS Composer who prefers to remain anonymous. But they are great and this track is great!






Pastor T.L. Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir - Like A Ship

Pastor T.L. Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir - Like A Ship - Before Pastor Barrett was charged with orchestrating a pyramid scheme in the late 80s, he wrote and recorded this soulful gospel song! Recently this track has been featured in all sorts of stuff ranging from AT&T commercials, to HBO series credits to DJ Khaled songs. It has an uplifting energy, a killer bass line, and heavenly vocals from the Youth For Christ Choir.


Submit ideas inspired by this ref HERE with playlist name "#47 Pyramid"

The Beat - Rotating Heads

The Beat - Rotating Heads - You may recognize this fun, upbeat track by 2 tone ska band, The Beat (or The English Beat in the US) from the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, where its infectious brass melody was the backdrop to Ferris's parade of trespassing in the film's conclusion. This track is very 80s, very ska, and while the bouncy bass line keeps the energy up the star of the show is clearly that goofy brass.



Submit ideas inspired by this ref HERE with playlist name "#47 2nd wave"

Billie Eilish - you should see me in a crown

Billie Eilish - you should see me in a crown - I assume every song on this album has made it onto a reference list at some point over the last few years but this dark, driving track has popped up a few times in our inbox recently. It features some aggressively distorted sounds and has a sort of spooky vibe to it but the chorus still feels energetic and danceable.


Submit ideas inspired by this ref HERE with playlist name "#47 Queen"

Jake Bugg - All I Need

Jake Bugg - All I Need - This upbeat, fun, and catchy track from English singer-songwriter, Jake Bugg, features gospel harmonies, plucky guitars and booming percussion with an infectious beat and feel-good melody. It also has that  pizzicato sample in it for some reason, which I guess it works okay?



Submit ideas inspired by this ref HERE with playlist name "#47 But does it?"





Where and how and why should I submit stems?


What a sneaky way to get three questions into one question, but since it's the holidays I will indulge all three. However, since I am a world-renowned stinker myself, I'm going to answer them in reverse order. 


WHY? Clients will often request stems to give their editors more independent control over the various instrument groups so the track can be more tailored to the picture without needing you to make custom edits. This is especially common in trailers, as editors will get very granular and even mix and match stems from multiple tracks and then continue to layer further with sound design. In fact, sometimes all that's left in the cut after they do their thing could be a single sound from a single stem. Because of this, it's important to label your stems clearly in the file name so they know who to get in touch with to clear that sound. 


HOW? At SAS we have a very specific format we like all composers to use when submitting stems. This has been updated a few times over the years so if this looks new to you don't stress - this is why we A Qs! 


First thing you'll want to do is decide how granular you want to get. Our usual recommendation is that instrument groups (Brass, Percussion, Strings, Guitars, etc) should be fine, but if you want to go down to the individual instrument level (Trumpets, Drumkit, Violins, Rhythm Guitar) that's fine too. There isn't generally a need to go too far beyond that unless it's to separate out individual notes of a chord or harmony, but editors don't need the bottom mic of your snare drum, or the 4 separate violins playing in unison. 


From there, print high-res AIFF or WAV files of each stem. As I mentioned, labeling is key, so each stem should follow the precise naming format below to ensure the stem is traceable back to us and to you: "SAS_[Artist Name]_[Song Name]_[Instrument(s)]_Stem.AIFF"


Next, and this step is key, put all the stems from each song in their own folder and zip them up into .zip files with the name: "Score a Score - [Artist Name] - [Track Name] - Stems." This is the file or files you'll submit to us. So for a full album of stems, we should receive one zip file per song. But where to send it, you ask?


WHERE? Okay this one is easy, just go to to submit them to us. We'll take it from there!



This is the last thing I'm doing before I take a little holiday break and spend some time with the family for my daughter's first Christmas. She won't remember it, but I might! Before I log off, though, I just wanted to say that this was Score a Score's best year ever. We grew as a team, we worked on a ton of incredible projects, and we played a lot of Zoom trivia, but the thing we're most proud of is that we helped to get more talented artists paid more money for their work than any prior year in SAS history. 


We are so incredibly grateful that we get to work with a roster as talented and hard working as you all and cannot wait to continue breaking records with you in 2022. If this will be your first full year working full-time as a composer, we know it can be scary and we've got your back! If you're still trying to get there, let's figure out how to make it happen together! And if you've been doing the damn thing for years, you already know we're here for anything you need. 


Now it's time to watch the new Matrix movie and if it sucks I'll cry DON'T TELL ME IT SUCKS.


Happy Scoring Everybody!



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