‘Stranger Things’ Happened: How Sony Music Publishing’s Amy Coles Resurrected a Kate Bush Classic; In the Studio With Producer Ricky Reed

Music syncs — synchronization of a song with a visual medium like a film or TV show — have long been a powerful tool for exposure when it comes to songs. There’s Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in the Netflix movie “Someone Great” and Apple’s use of U2’s “Vertigo” for an iPod ad. The Fray’s “How to Save a Life” may forever be linked to “Grey’s Anatomy,” not to mention Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.” These songs not only made for big movie and TV moments but found continued life after the peak of the projects that featured them had passed.

Which brings us to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” which was released in 1985 and ends 2022 as the 12th most-consumed song of the year. How did the song end up sitting alongside hits by Drake and Dua Lipa 37 years after its original release? “Stranger Things” happened. Season 4 specifically, which used “Running Up that Hill” as a musical theme connecting to the character Max, and repeated it on multiple episodes in its original form and as an orchestral version.

The road to clearing the song’s use on the Netflix hit was a long one, and started with convincing the elusive Kate Bush to agree to its placement. On this episode of the Strictly Business podcast, Sony Music Publishing’s VP of Creative Amy Coles, who Variety has named its Hitbreaker of the Year for 2022, took us through the process of a successful sync and explains the unique role she plays in the music for screens ecosystem.

This episode coincides with Variety’s annual Hitmakers issue which highlights the biggest songs of the year — another of which was Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” produced by this episode’s second guest, Ricky Reed, Variety‘s Producer of the Year for 2022. The Grammy winner and entrepreneur sat with Variety’s deputy music editor Jem Aswad in his Los Angeles recording studio, taking him through the musical elements that served as the building blocks to the song, which not only marked Lizzo’s return to the pop charts, but the world’s return to living after COVID.

Listen to the episode below.

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