Extreme Music
IndustryMusic production
HeadquartersLondon, England
Area served
Number of employees
ParentSony Music Publishing

Extreme Music is a production music arm of Sony Music Publishing. The company creates and licenses music for use in television, film, advertising, and online media. Their library includes music from artists and composers such as Quincy Jones, Hans Zimmer, George Martin, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Junkie XL, Labrinth, Ramin Djawadi, Timbaland, Ricky Reed, Brian Tyler, Blues Saraceno, Rodney Jerkins, Eddie Kramer, John Debney, Two Steps from Hell and Dweezil Zappa. Extreme Music is headquartered in London, with its creative operations based in Santa Monica, California.[1][2][3]


Extreme Music was founded in London by Russell Emanuel and Dolph Taylor in 1997. Emanuel had played bass with a punk band, Class Ties, and worked a day job as a studio assistant at MCA Music Publishing and Abbey Road Studios. After leaving MCA, Emanuel worked at Bruton, a production music library which produced sound-alike music that was recorded, produced, and licensed inexpensively. He recorded one sound-alike album for Bruton, and financed his band’s touring through the royalties the album generated.[2][4]

Emanuel also managed bands, including Stiff Little Fingers. After beginning a job at a third production library, MatchMusic, Emanuel and Stiff Little Fingers drummer Dolph Taylor began to compose music for MatchMusic together. They built a MIDI suite, and when not on tour, they recorded original tracks that reflected their own musical sensibilities. "We were forever knocking our heads against old-school attitudes and being told that 'This is what the marketplace likes.' But we were seeing a new generation of editors coming into the industry and going to clubs and hearing all these thumping records, and they wanted to know why production music didn't sound like that," Taylor said in a 2003 interview. Taylor and Emanuel decided to approach commercial artists, some of whom they already knew, and ask them to record production music tracks.[4]

With a $100,000 investment from angel investor Mark Levinson, Extreme Music was founded in 1997. The company was positioned to reflect the punk rock ethos of its founders; for example, they mailed condoms to 1,000 music industry executives with packaging that read "Extreme Music: The Only Safe Thing You'll Ever Get From Us." With a focus on production, they "upped the industry ante by using professional recording studios and top-notch musicians."[2][4]

In August 2005 Extreme Music was bought by Viacom, the then-parent company of CBS, UPN, and Paramount Pictures for $45.1 million, and in 2008 it was acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing (now Sony Music Publishing). The terms of the sale were not disclosed.[2][5][6][7]

In January 2013, Extreme introduced Customix, a web application created specifically for music supervisors to quickly customize songs from its library.[1][8][9]

Extreme Music tracks have been licensed by editors, music producers and music supervisors at production companies, networks and advertising agencies, including A+E, Fox, BBC, HBO, the NFL and Apple. Among other productions, music from the Extreme library has been used in Mad Men, Ray Donovan, Dancing with the Stars, Birdman, Creed and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.[2][10][11]

In August 2013, Extreme partnered with composer Hans Zimmer and his business partner, Steve Kofsky, to launch Bleeding Fingers Music. A joint venture, it creates show-specific libraries and scores for unscripted, reality, documentary and light drama television shows. In 2017, it was ranked as the leading custom music scoring company in the industry[clarification needed].[12][13]


  1. ^ a b Gray, Tyler (August 9, 2013). "Can Hans Zimmer Make Reality TV Music Suck Less?". Fast Company. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Aswad, Jem (November 19, 2012). "Russell Emmanuel: Taking It To Extremes". Billboard. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  3. ^ Matthews, Christopher M. (July 28, 2015). "When Things Get Real on TV, Music Pays Real Well". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Inglis, Sam (June 1, 2003). "Russell Emanuel & Dolph Taylor Of Extreme Music". Sound on Sound. Archived from the original on June 6, 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2016.((cite news)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ Butler, Susan (April 28, 2007). "Famous Price Could Hit Half a Billion". Billboard. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  6. ^ Mair, Bob (June 14, 2011). "Music Libraries: From Last Resort to Power Players". Film Music Magazine. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  7. ^ BMN staff (May 22, 2002). "Technology & facilities - EXTREME MUSIC VENTURE". Broadcast Music Now (subscription required). Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  8. ^ Berkman, Fran (January 23, 2013). "New Web App Customizes Music for TV and Movies". Mashable. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  9. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (January 23, 2013). "Extreme Music Launches Music Editing Tool". LA Business Journal. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  10. ^ Morris, Christopher (April 21, 2011). "Timbaland and Mike "Daddy" Evans make Extreme pact". Variety. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Extreme Music". imdb.com. IMDb. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  12. ^ Grieving, Tim (24 August 2016). "Bleeding Fingers Stretches Its Grasp With 'Planet Earth II'". Variety. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  13. ^ Galo, Phil (August 12, 2013). "Sony/ATV's Extreme Music and Hans Zimmer Form Joint Venture: The Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop". Billboard. Retrieved 5 July 2016.