I open this thread because I think we can all benefit from people who really are pros with some experience on their back and they can offer their thoughts on the industry , the way one has to work to make money out of music and gain respect from his audiance.
If you are this kind of person, and you are not feeling comfortable opening a new thread and posting your opinion, use my thread as an excuse to share your experience and offer your advice. You can talk here for anything you like , is bothering and interests you as long is music releated .
Does not matter what type of musician you are and what type of music you make, sharing experience can benefit any of us.
If you are not this kind of person, you can still post your questions to those poeple and invite them to join the discussion in this thread.
Please support this thread because I think it really deserve to be long enough to be a sticky.
Thanks on advance.
Following this is a post by the forum member gongbass
I'm lucky in that I've been able to make a living in the music biz for the last 10 or so years (I'm 36). I'm not a name many would recognize however I've composed hundreds of jingles and scored lots of TV/docs, etc... As a session drummer I've again played on hundreds of recordings, from "ghost drumming" on major label releases, sideman on hundreds of indie, grassroots, soundtrack releases.
I was a "staff composer" with a private boutique music production house in NYC from 2001-2006. It was the greatest job I've ever had. Comfortable weekly paycheck, work from my home studio and "comfortable" deadlines. Learned so much in terms of what works and what doesn't scoring to picture. Also learned the ropes as to how you deal with the creative team of an advertising campaign or producer/director of a show you are doing music and cues for.
Eventually I left that job for the horrendously difficult world of freelance. There are many that make their living this way (and as a session drummer I guess I do still freelance) but its a hard road. After a few years of that I became a partner in a start up music licensing/custom music company (FlikTrax Home - Premier Production Music Licensing -
). We have a vast online library that is constantly updated and "meta tagged" as well as a team of in house composers to handle any custom scores, jingles or sound alikes that come in. We built the company the right way and have had surprising success with the current state of the industry. That being said its a "sh!tload of work", we want to do right by and for our artists so we are constantly marketing ourselves. We do as many industry conferences as possible, we meet with respected industry supervisors and network producers but happily deal with local advertising companies for local ads as well as independent film makers.
I've learned more than I'd ever thought I'd know about this business and for better or worse this industry will be what I do for the rest of my life. I continue to gig a bit, teach and as I mentioned do session work as a drummer (mostly from my home studio or Fliktrax's larger facility) but the production music and music licensing biz is my life.
When I mentioned artists "giving away" their music I was referring to what so many young composers and songwriters are forced to deal with when trying to get their work heard and licensed. If the composer or artist isn't working with a larger concern and doesn't have representation than they are often if not always faced with "licensing" their tracks for next to nothing or at best "copy and credit". On one hand I know that every artist needs to build their resume and get experience. Trust me I've done my share of freebees but whats happening now is production budgets are getting slashed and that means little $ for music. Especially original, non "library" tracks. On the other hand, the more musicians give away their tracks and services for free, the more those that used to pay for it, will expect it for free.
The market is saturated with young composers, some are talented folks that don't have any "real" musical education or experience. Many create amazing tracks in their home studio and these tracks get used in certain niche areas of media. Electronica (that's covering a lot of bases for the sake of not breaking into genres) is still a huge style that gets "bought" for TV/Film/Ads.
However once "in the industry" many of these composers learn that if they can't expand they don't get that much work. So they are still trying to pitch to the same markets as the veterans but when an ad guy says "actually we're scrapping the BT (used to be Moby) sound-alike and we want to go in a Americana, rootsy direction... oh and we need it tomorrow at 3. Make sure you hit :23 when the girl smiles and your reverb tale has to be out at exactly :29.5" I know a handful of DJ type composers that are crazy talented but have gotten dropped form ad companies rosters because they can't meet the technical demands.
I went to music school and after I graduated took a few classes on SMPTe and locking music to picture. Those classes helped but its really work experience and learning to pick up on the most ambiguous and esoteric requests from those on the visual side of the project. We are lucky as a company that we have a few experienced guys ready to go at a moments notice. We literally can get a call at 2am from a producer that needs a :60 to
become a :45 and "change the drum n bass loop to a Indian Tabla thing" and have it ready by lunch. That is my big advice to anyone that wants to get into this business. Be good and be fast. If you are lucky enough to work on a full length film or documentary than you get to enjoy a much more relaxed creative pace. The director will "spot" the film with you and you can bounce ideas off them as you write. However the "film" industry is an extrememly difficult one to break into. I haven't in terms of ever scoring a major hollywood release but I've been fortunate enough to work in almost every other area.