Kabbage Helps ScreenSound Alliance Bring Music to the Small Screen
Even though he’s worked for himself for 26 years, award-winning composer Robert Miller never stops studying ways to keep his business healthy. “Talking and learning about business is something creative people need to do more,” says Miller, who’s written scores for 65 films. He’s also scored upward of 2,300 commercials for brands like Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz, in addition to music for the stage and concert halls.
Robert seeks help from experts when he’s thinking of ways to grow his business. In 2016, he started ScreenSound Alliance, which gathers talented composers from around the world to collaborate on original music for commercials.
“I absolutely love the idea of growing a community of composers,” Robert says. And he has. ScreenSound Alliance currently includes Berlin-based composers, a violinist from Spain and a producer for bands like Everclear and Weezer. Together, Robert’s team composes the music for about 50 commercials each year.
Crisscrossing the Country to Generate Leads
Although Robert has a high profile in the music industry, the competition to score music for commercials is fierce. He works hard to build relationships with creative directors and brand managers, traveling across the country to promote ScreenSound Alliance’s work and network with new contacts.
“You set up meetings, you screen the work, and you buy lunch for everyone,” Robert says of visits to agencies like Portland’s Wieden+Kennedy. “That’s a lot of flights and hotels. Since late last year, I’ve probably done trips like this 20 times.”
Through his interest in the TV show “Shark Tank,” Robert learned about Kabbage, which hosted a competition to award a small business with the best elevator pitch. He saw a Kabbage credit line as a useful tool for keeping cash flow healthy. “The loan helps us take risks as we’re trying to grow,” Robert says.
Business Growth Hits 20 Percent
Robert uses Kabbage to cover the cost of networking trips, as well as staff time spent on following-up with new composers. “I’ll bring back 10 or 15 contacts from each trip,” he explains. “Then we spend time nurturing those relationships.”
The Kabbage line of credit also helps pay for maintenance and design for the ScreenSound Alliance website, such as adding work samples and news about projects. “It’s critical that our website is up to date and easy to use,” Robert says. “It has to be attractive and reflect our creativity.”
Since Robert began using Kabbage to fund more networking trips, new projects have grown by 20 percent. “I’d like to double our billings by the end of this year,” Robert says. With productive networking trips under his belt, he can also find time for personal projects, like composing music for the New York City Ballet.
“I’m a solo owner, so I do a lot of things myself,” he says. “With Kabbage, I feel like I have a partner I can turn to when I want to invest in the business.”