Criminal Music Launches, Bringing Composers Closer to the Target


Last Updated: April 19, 2013 6:09 pm GMT
(Los Angeles, California--April 19, 2013) Rachel Dunn and Tera Uhlinger have launched Criminal Music, a boutique full-service production company dedicated to ensuring quality in commercial music by fostering true collaboration between the agency and the artist. The company opens its doors with a roster that includes DJ Cheapshot & Bridge Compositions, Tony Bevilacqua, Jeremy Simmons, Jesse Novak, Christopher Lennertz, Transcenders, redCola, and Brandon Arnovick for exclusive representation in the branded arena.

“We formed this company because we saw frustration on all sides of the equation,” said Dunn, a 17-year veteran of the advertising industry who has worked on both the Agency and the Vendor sides of the business. “We reject the idea of this farming out process where music companies send projects to dozens of freelancers everywhere. How can you expect the composers to invest their passion into a project, when they know they’re one of 100 guys working on it?” Uhlinger, a management and production vet, recognized the same disconnect on the part of artists in the music industry. Criminal works exclusively and in partnership with a roster of talent, creating an atmosphere of trust and mutual commitment that results in music of the highest possible quality.

Dunn and Uhlinger spent six months building their team, a cross-section of creative collaborators. “It’s a music veteran, a tastemaker, a DJ, an award-winning film composer,” explained Dunn, who has worked with some of her artists for over a decade. “There is trust here, there is value in their names, so each piece of music we send is something that has a creative brand attached to it. There is accountability on both sides. It’s a collaboration, not a shotgun approach.”

The Criminal model is also influenced by Uhlinger’s experience in the music industry. "After 9 years in the industry, I started to feel like a lot of the creativity and freedom I once found in music was gone," said Uhlinger, who has worked with artists such as Katy Perry, Adele, Avril Lavigne, and John Mayer. “The idea of being close to the process with our composers and creating music that contributes to the emotional experience of the picture is exciting to me." Further, Criminal allows her to bridge the agency-artist relationship. “The closer we bring artists to the bullseye, the more inspired they are to go the extra mile, and the better quality of music you get in the end,” she said.

In addition to quality, Dunn and Uhlinger have their eye on the agency’s bottom line. “I understand how many hurdles have to be jumped to get to the finish line,” said Dunn, who began her career as the second employee of the Deutsch LA office. Moving to the vendor side with Ten Music, she was able to push boundaries while working on projects for global brands including Nike, Target, Microsoft and BMW. After a successful seven-year run, she went to work for DeepMix, and most recently, as a Miami-based freelance producer. Dunn has worked with diverse artists such as Tegan & Sara, Thievery Corporation, Dan The Automator, Diplo and Donavon Frankenreiter. “We are partners the whole way, representing the artist and protecting the agency,” Dunn said of the Criminal Music approach. “The only means to meeting the objective within the budget is tenacity and resourcefulness.”

Like Dunn, Uhlinger has always been driven to take the initiative in overcoming any obstacle. As a teenager, she talked her way into a job as a staff writer for Rant Magazine. Fake ID in hand, she covered shows for Rant, including Hot Hot Heat, At The Drive In and Deftones. She ran an indie label in college, and after graduating took her first job with Nettwerk Music Group. At 21, Uhlinger found herself on a team managing artists like Dido, Jars of Clay and Sara McLaughlin. Two years later, she began running one of Los Angeles’ premier music venues, The Hotel Cafe. Producing events with A-list artists, she met the talent behind the talent and started managing writers, composers and producers. Assembling a “swiss army knife” of clients, she has found the greatest satisfaction in creating music for commercials. “Rachel and I both understand the importance of project management from inception to delivery, and we both value the artist,” Uhlinger concluded. “We do all this with one thought never far behind: Enjoy the process.”


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