Christopher Buttner: Movies, music and more 

At 22, Christopher Buttner was the bass player in a rock band in New York City. After discovering he was better at promoting the band’s shows than actually playing his instrument, Buttner, now 44, redirected his efforts to public relations and marketing.

In November 2006, the rock star rose again as founder and president of PanoraManiacal Soundscapes, a company that represents film, television and video game music talent.

"PanoraManiacal" is a contraction of "panorama" and "maniacal." "It’s widescreen action for music," Buttner said. "It’s that awesome experience when you’re sitting in the middle of the theater and the action’s happening."

Buttner works with four artists: vocalist and producer Jay Gordon, chart-topping singer-songwriter Greg Kihn, keyboardist Jordan Rudess, and film-score composer and sound designer Frank Serafine. He licenses his clients’ existing body of work, as well as lands contracts for original work. "People are looking for new ways to bring music to the masses," Buttner said by way of explanation for his non-traditional approach.

"Fact: we all get older," Buttner said. "The broadcast industry is over a $100 billion dollar industry. Most of the work is there." Buttner notes that cell phone ring tones compete with music for chart listings — in 2004, NPR and the BBC reported new charts specifically for cell phone ring tone downloads were being created to combat this issue.

The market is also changing on the production side. "Anybody that has any musical skill can record really good stuff on their computers with software packages," Buttner said. Case in point: Buttner’s client Serafine sold his multimillion-dollar studio last year and records everything at home now.

According to Buttner, a lot of really great talent will also work for free if it means their work is used in a major motion picture. But he counters that the professional artists, like the ones he represents, still ask for payment — and it is in the company’s interest to use them because of their reputation, awards, and pre-established fan base. As more people use TiVo, satellite radio, iPods and other devices that block out traditional advertising, musicians who can draw on reputation, awards, and a pre-established fan base become even more important.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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