Middleton, Burnelle Found New Music House, Diplomacy Music
August 8, 2012 by Andrew Schneider
Mike Middleton and Daniel Burnelle have partnered to form a new music house in Chicago, Diplomacy Music.
Only about two months old, the fledgling company has already produced music to accompany a new web campaign for the The Beef Checkoff, ditching the traditional Aaron Copeland orchestral arrangement for “Rodeo” for what Middleton calls a “jazzy piano” version.
“I’ve grown up in this industry and I ran into Dun Burnelle,” Middleton says. “He’s a young composer and I started to realize that I looked at this older companies, that we can have a new way of doing business.”
That means flexible work schedules and low overhead: Diplomacy has a rehearsal space and studio in Chicago’s northwest side neighborhood of Bucktown and the two partners, both accomplished studio musicians, work as necessary on location at whatever hours their clients require.
“With music, most of the work is now transferred online,” Middleton says. “A lot of people aren’t visiting the music houses, it saves them time. So ninety-nine percent of the market on the web.”
So working without the overhead of a major music house, the two partners says they’re flexible enough to “lose sleep on projects.”
“Without that overhead and all that other stuff going on in a major office, we lose sleep over projects, but in a good way,” Middleton says. “We get work in at 2 a.m., on Saturdays and Sundays. We don’t really thinking in a nine-to-five sort of way, it’s a guerilla way of going at it.”
And they like working in a way that’s convenient to their clients.
“In one case, we were at Leo Burnett in ten minutes with a computer powerful enough to make revisions right there,” Middleton says. “We were able to move things along and we didn’t have to have the agency creatives waste an hour of their day commuting back and fourth from a studio.”
Between the two partners, they have most of the instruments covered, and Burnelle stays current and involved in the indie scene through his band, the Gemini Club. He currently has two singles on the iTunes electronic charts in the top ten.
“Being up and coming on the scene of music being creates a different perspective for us,” Middleton says. “Instead of looking at it from the commercial point of view, we have, I think, a better way of being in touch because we’re really living in the music world.”
Most of their early work is coming out of Leo Burnett, but the duo have also found some longer-form work through a Los Angeles-based production company. And, of course, they’re busy pitching other agencies.
"I feel like Dan and I are just lucky to have immersed ourselves in live music and recorded music and scoring music from all angles for so long now and remain truly passionate in our craft,” says Middleton. “It’s given us the advantage of being able to create music that feels genuine and authentic to the youthful demographics that brands are wanting."