The history of pop is rarely written by the background players - and even today, when film composers, session musicians, and freelance songwriters eventually get their due, there's still something a bit mysterious and dusty about the field of library music. In short, library music (aka production or stock music) is music recorded in a multitude of contexts and styles by work-for-hire musicians, owned by music-library labels, and lent out to commercial enterprises in TV, radio, and film. Sometimes this music sticks - for instance, the themes for both "Monday Night Football" and the UK sports program "Superstars" were both sourced from "Heavy Action", a 1974 recording on the KPM Music label. And sometimes they're revived as period-piece fodder, like the Adrian Younge-sourced soundtrack to the blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite. For the most part, however, their influence comes through after they've been repurposed and recontextualized even more than their creators ever expected: To take one example, the works of drummer and composer Brian Bennett have been flipped by everyone from Mike Will Made It to Kanye West to the Alchemist.
Typically relegated to crate-digger curiosities for their role as sample fodder, library music records of the 1960s and '70s tend to hinge more on utilitarian mood-setting than distinct personality. Composers could labor under multiple pseudonyms, artist names were frequently relegated to the back sleeve, and some labels - particularly London's KPM, which released almost every single one of their LPs in the same olive-green sleeve - thrived while putting their own brand over a musician's particular identity. Call it the other side of poptimism: Just as the super producers, TV talent-show alumni, and focus-grouped songwriters of the Hot 100 are capable of making transcendent songs from their so-called "assembly lines," so too were the under-attributed composers and studio orchestras of previous eras, whose biggest hope was for their work to find its way into the score of a low-budget sci-fi film or a two-season cop thriller. (Or, more infamously, in a porno - that stereotypical "whock-a-chicka" cue had to come from somebody.)