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How steady are your royalties? Audio Interfaces
Old 10th December 2016
  #1
Lives for gear
 
jazz4's Avatar
 

How steady are your royalties?

Hey guys,

I'm just curious about the stability of your royalty income. This year my royalties alone have increased to a living wage, (not a particularly luxurious living) but a living. This is basically all higher end library work.

I'm wondering how reliable they can be long term. Are there any of you here that have so much content out there that you consistently earn above a certain amount in royalties yearly, or are there ludicrous peaks and depressing troughs?

I'm well aware how unpredictable they can be, and I'm not asking for any figures, but I'm still curious how sustainable they are from your experiences.

Last edited by jazz4; 10th December 2016 at 10:58 PM..
Old 10th December 2016
  #2
Gear Head
 

As you said, it's highly unpredictable, but the more tracks you have in higher end libraries, the steadier your royalties should be. In my case, I'm not making a living quite yet, and my royalties vary quite a lot, but I would say they are rather steady. Well, if you consider a 50% variation steady lol

But obviously it all depends on your placements. If for example, you have a placement in a major commercial that aired thousands and thousands of times, and you earn thousands of dollars for that placement, well the day the commercial stops airing, your royalties will make a huge drop. If you have placements in thousands of episodes of reality shows, with a lot of repeats and international broadcasts, your royalties should stay rather steady, even if some shows stop airing.
Old 10th December 2016
  #3
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTHtracks View Post
As you said, it's highly unpredictable, but the more tracks you have in higher end libraries, the steadier your royalties should be. In my case, I'm not making a living quite yet, and my royalties vary quite a lot, but I would say they are rather steady. Well, if you consider a 50% variation steady lol

But obviously it all depends on your placements. If for example, you have a placement in a major commercial that aired thousands and thousands of times, and you earn thousands of dollars for that placement, well the day the commercial stops airing, your royalties will make a huge drop. If you have placements in thousands of episodes of reality shows, with a lot of repeats and international broadcasts, your royalties should stay rather steady, even if some shows stop airing.
Yeah, that ^

This year my royalties alone have increased to a living wage

Congrats! Good feeling, ain't it? I know it well. I remember the day a few years ago, when I woke up and said to myself, "oh shlt - I am actually making a living from music - just music!!!"

The key is to keep writing, and keep contributing to your libraries. If you don't, eventually, your royalty stream will start to dwindle. A show you have music in, that generates (for ex) 5k a year for you, gets dropped. Well, there goes that 5k/yr. Which, if you are making 6 figs, ain't that big a deal, but the point is, not every show airs forever. So while yes - it is all highly unpredictable, you run the risk of seeing your royalty stream dry up if you don't keep working at it.

Cheers.
Old 11th December 2016
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

I would also like to know if anybody else wants to chime in! I'm currently in the high growth stage. Went x6, then doubled the last 3 checks.
Old 11th December 2016
  #5
Mrx
Gear Addict
 

There have been peaks over the years. A commercial paid big money for a whole year or for a quarter. Those big placements are great and welcome news but not something you can rely on. My royalties have actually gone down in the past few years even though I have a lot more music out there than I used to.

There have been depressing quarters for sure but I tend to keep my expectation radar firmly on the conservative side to avoid disappointment.

It's a weird way of earning money. You never know what you're gonna earn but will say that the tracks I've done that did well 12 years ago are actually still doing well. Not as well as when they came out but still good.
Old 11th December 2016
  #6
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jazz4's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrx View Post
There have been peaks over the years. A commercial paid big money for a whole year or for a quarter. Those big placements are great and welcome news but not something you can rely on. My royalties have actually gone down in the past few years even though I have a lot more music out there than I used to.

There have been depressing quarters for sure but I tend to keep my expectation radar firmly on the conservative side to avoid disappointment.

It's a weird way of earning money. You never know what you're gonna earn but will say that the tracks I've done that did well 12 years ago are actually still doing well. Not as well as when they came out but still good.
Thanks Mrx.

Yeah, I don't even try to project my royalties earnings and I always just expect zero to very little. I've been caught out before - I'll see my track in a big commercial that plays ad nauseam for a while, think I'll be earning big back-ends, then get the most discouraging royalty statement.

It's interesting because this year was really surprising and I figured it was down to writing for libs like EMI and KPM this year but most of it came from a little UK based MCPS library that I do free work for...you never know.

I agree with Jeff, we gotta just keep the output coming!
Old 11th December 2016
  #7
Mrx
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4 View Post
Thanks Mrx.

Yeah, I don't even try to project my royalties earnings and I always just expect zero to very little. I've been caught out before - I'll see my track in a big commercial that plays ad nauseam for a while, think I'll be earning big back-ends, then get the most discouraging royalty statement.

It's interesting because this year was really surprising and I figured it was down to writing for libs like EMI and KPM this year but most of it came from a little UK based MCPS library that I do free work for...you never know.

I agree with Jeff, we gotta just keep the output coming!
Yes you never know where the money will come from. Some small libraries I've done work for I've completely written off and then suddenly out of the blue a big payment.
Old 21st December 2016
  #8
Gear Nut
 
cappo's Avatar
 

Hey Jazz4... just out of interest which was the small library in the UK? I've been writing stuff for a few smaller libraries here in the UK as well as the usual EMI, Universal, Cavendish, Extreme etc

Ps congrats on going full time!
Old 21st December 2016
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
The key is to keep writing, and keep contributing to your libraries. If you don't, eventually, your royalty stream will start to dwindle. A show you have music in, that generates (for ex) 5k a year for you, gets dropped. Well, there goes that 5k/yr. Which, if you are making 6 figs, ain't that big a deal, but the point is, not every show airs forever.
you make a 6 figure salary from your royalties alone?
Old 21st December 2016
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannymc View Post
you make a 6 figure salary from your royalties alone?
Within a few thousand, yes.
Old 21st December 2016
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Within a few thousand, yes.
wow, very inspirational. can i ask how many works in circulation that's based on?
Old 22nd December 2016
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannymc View Post
wow, very inspirational. can i ask how many works in circulation that's based on?
Not sure - I don't even know how to find that out, but what I can tell you is my domestic statement each quarter is around 200 pages.

Cheers.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #13
Mrx
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarymusictips View Post
Hi there,

How to make 6 figures in library music


I can advise on this because I too made 6 figures this year ( £10,437.54p to be precise - inc. VAT of course)

My idea of 6 figures is more in the region of £100000.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Mine come straight from my copyright society whenever they collect from foreign affiliates and do pay pretty promptly.
Some months there's hardly anything, others can be fairly decent.
I don't even want to think how much longer they'll be coming in for, dreading the day they will actually stop. Only way is to keep producing work and to increase your catalogue in order to extend the life of your royalty income stream.
I guess it's easy to fall back and think that they'll last forever. They don't.
It depends on what they're derived from. Film, TV, theatre, libraries, radio airplay, etc...
Some obviously fare better than others, whether a big hit song, TV re-runs, re-releases, a show being staged again somewhere, etc... Others may have a more limited lifespan.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarymusictips View Post
Hi there,

How to make 6 figures in library music


I can advise on this because I too made 6 figures this year ( £10,437.54p to be precise - inc. VAT of course)

Yeah, it's not easy but I managed to finally achieve this figure by having 41,489 tracks with the premier league, top tier royalty free libraries. I aim to knock out maybe 20-30 tracks a day. It is not easy but with some good stylus loops, some good construction kits and sample CDs, you can whack out a track in, literally, next to no time.

How do I produce the tracks so quickly?...


Well, a good tip for a quick track is to like do an intro (4 bars with hihat) then add some synth bassline (Massive for example) and suchlike for maybe 16 bars including your top line theme, then mute the theme and drop out the kick drum (middle 8 this is called) then repeat the start bit again using the very useful 'copy and paste' function. Add an ending (cymbal hit + kick) and you have your track. Simples! Then you can use this as a template for another track. Simply alter the tempo, try a different key, alter the theme, switch around a few bass notes and you have a completely different track! Two for the price of one!

What are the best genres to compose in?


Dance music is best as these can be pumped out (LOL! no pun intended!) really quick. Avoid piano and strings or anything like that because these take time (you could maybe do only 1 track a day in this genre) and there are less sample CDs of good strings and you have to think a little bit more about the music and making it sound real and adding stuff like emotional depth (yeuccch!) and musicality! I heard that some composers who do this kind of music get in real players but that is quite time consuming and alot of string players today require timely financial remuneration which may be at odds with the budgeting structure appropriate for the specific generic material.

Quality Vs Quantity?

Some people will say "ahhh it's all about quality not quantity that's why I just do one album a year for Extreme" but if you think about it that's rubbish because background music by its very essence shouldn't be too good. The clue's in the words! B_A_C_K_G_R_O_U_N_D.

I remember seeing an interview with some documentary maker guy on YT (You Tube) and he said they don't like to use music that's too good as it detracts from the visuals and gets in the way of the v/o (voice over).

Trailer music is my real passion though. This can be a real earner. I can very quickly knock up something really powerful using my 'trailer template'. I have some good plugins (like Action Strings by Kontact) so I lay down a good low string staccato vibe in 12/8 maybe going - ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff etc. then come in with some low meaty toms. Now add some horns, trombones and brass playing maybe d......f.......d......f...... then get louder as you build to a climax, add some high staccato strings going ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff etc., then a riser effect, then a timpani roll then...

the magical bit...

just stop suddenly...

and let that reverb just hang there. Editors love this effect (known as the 'emergency stop' in the business).

Hope these tips have been useful. I will publish more tips in the new year - specifically about bulk uploading and hyper-metatagging.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all,

Roger.
lol i love you
Old 22nd December 2016
  #16
Gear Addict
 

@librarymusictips I assume your post is sarcastic, but I'll mention an opposite approach nonetheless:

Some of the people writing for top tier exclusive libraries earn six figures a year (aka 100k upwards), and they actually produce high quality music. One of those persons posted on a forum that he tries to produce one track a week (working fulltime), but of the best quality he is capable of. Looks like the opposite approach of what you described, and to me that's much more appealing, and sounds much more sustainable.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarymusictips View Post
Hi there,

How to make 6 figures in library music


I can advise on this because I too made 6 figures this year ( £10,437.54p to be precise - inc. VAT of course)

Yeah, it's not easy but I managed to finally achieve this figure by having 41,489 tracks with the premier league, top tier royalty free libraries. I aim to knock out maybe 20-30 tracks a day. It is not easy but with some good stylus loops, some good construction kits and sample CDs, you can whack out a track in, literally, next to no time.

How do I produce the tracks so quickly?...


Well, a good tip for a quick track is to like do an intro (4 bars with hihat) then add some synth bassline (Massive for example) and suchlike for maybe 16 bars including your top line theme, then mute the theme and drop out the kick drum (middle 8 this is called) then repeat the start bit again using the very useful 'copy and paste' function. Add an ending (cymbal hit + kick) and you have your track. Simples! Then you can use this as a template for another track. Simply alter the tempo, try a different key, alter the theme, switch around a few bass notes and you have a completely different track! Two for the price of one!

What are the best genres to compose in?


Dance music is best as these can be pumped out (LOL! no pun intended!) really quick. Avoid piano and strings or anything like that because these take time (you could maybe do only 1 track a day in this genre) and there are less sample CDs of good strings and you have to think a little bit more about the music and making it sound real and adding stuff like emotional depth (yeuccch!) and musicality! I heard that some composers who do this kind of music get in real players but that is quite time consuming and alot of string players today require timely financial remuneration which may be at odds with the budgeting structure appropriate for the specific generic material.

Quality Vs Quantity?

Some people will say "ahhh it's all about quality not quantity that's why I just do one album a year for Extreme" but if you think about it that's rubbish because background music by its very essence shouldn't be too good. The clue's in the words! B_A_C_K_G_R_O_U_N_D.

I remember seeing an interview with some documentary maker guy on YT (You Tube) and he said they don't like to use music that's too good as it detracts from the visuals and gets in the way of the v/o (voice over).

Trailer music is my real passion though. This can be a real earner. I can very quickly knock up something really powerful using my 'trailer template'. I have some good plugins (like Action Strings by Kontact) so I lay down a good low string staccato vibe in 12/8 maybe going - ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff etc. then come in with some low meaty toms. Now add some horns, trombones and brass playing maybe d......f.......d......f...... then get louder as you build to a climax, add some high staccato strings going ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff,ddd,fff etc., then a riser effect, then a timpani roll then...

the magical bit...

just stop suddenly...

and let that reverb just hang there. Editors love this effect (known as the 'emergency stop' in the business).

Hope these tips have been useful. I will publish more tips in the new year - specifically about bulk uploading and hyper-metatagging.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all,

Roger.
Post of the year for me.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
I can advise on this because I too made 6 figures this year ( £10,437.54p to be precise - inc. VAT of course)
just for clarification thou when i say 6 figures i mean 100k not 10k. is this a typo? either way i don't think i would make 40k tracks in a life time and if that was the approach i think i would prefer to stack shelves in tescos.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannymc View Post
just for clarification thou when i say 6 figures i mean 100k not 10k. is this a typo? either way i don't think i would make 40k tracks in a life time and if that was the approach i think i would prefer to stack shelves in tescos.
I think it's not a typo but sarcasm.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
I think it's not a typo but sarcasm.
oh i guess i missed the joke.

happy Xmas everyone.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #21
Mrx
Gear Addict
 

I get it. In that case it's a great post.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarymusictips View Post
I too made 6 figures this year ( £10,437.54p to be precise)[/U]
Umm, like, that's seven figures.

Old 22nd December 2016
  #23
Lives for gear
 
gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4 View Post
Hey guys,

I'm just curious about the stability of your royalty income. This year my royalties alone have increased to a living wage, (not a particularly luxurious living) but a living. This is basically all higher end library work.

I'm wondering how reliable they can be long term. Are there any of you here that have so much content out there that you consistently earn above a certain amount in royalties yearly, or are there ludicrous peaks and depressing troughs?

I'm well aware how unpredictable they can be, and I'm not asking for any figures, but I'm still curious how sustainable they are from your experiences.
I did have a killer 2 years but then the producers of the show switched to another library and poof , those came down a lot.
its a very fluid business. also there are a lot more scripted tv shows and less and less reality which was the big chunk of wher the money comes from for library work. so I think we will start seeing a drop overall. unless of course, your library track makes it In the next hit show's end credits.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #24
Lives for gear
 
gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodkeys View Post
@librarymusictips I assume your post is sarcastic, but I'll mention an opposite approach nonetheless:

Some of the people writing for top tier exclusive libraries earn six figures a year (aka 100k upwards), and they actually produce high quality music. One of those persons posted on a forum that he tries to produce one track a week (working fulltime), but of the best quality he is capable of. Looks like the opposite approach of what you described, and to me that's much more appealing, and sounds much more sustainable.

nope, his posts are true. I try to do a track a day, maybe two If I can. some dudes here in LA do about 4 a day. (see Chillbot posts in VI-control) .

obviously the aim is to do good tracks. the idea being to do something that WORKS as suppose to "GOOD". in LA its more of that (work) sort of things. its work.
get it to sounds like what they need for a show. not something revolutionary that people will go buy on iTunes, nor the track you will show case to a director to get a composing gig. just the same as what the show already plays just tweaked to whatever they prefer next season ("we want it to sound like Rihanna".. sure...goof)
I do see EU counterparts or folks outside LA having a little hard time with this philosophy and normally refer to more the higher divinity powers of creations and art. which by all means.. its a nice thing. we do this type of work and we also do our own passions on the side. I do remixes of indie artists, big trailer stuff, ghost write in movie cues, sound desing etc. which I do try to spend some good time refining it and getting as good as I can.

100k a year might be a bit much but about 20-50k a year doing like the counterpart of a 9-5 job.. its more realistic.

there are different types of gigs so my example might be one way.
Old 23rd December 2016
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilbers View Post
nope, his posts are true. I try to do a track a day, maybe two If I can. some dudes here in LA do about 4 a day. (see Chillbot posts in VI-control) .

obviously the aim is to do good tracks. the idea being to do something that WORKS as suppose to "GOOD". in LA its more of that (work) sort of things. its work.
get it to sounds like what they need for a show. not something revolutionary that people will go buy on iTunes, nor the track you will show case to a director to get a composing gig. just the same as what the show already plays just tweaked to whatever they prefer next season ("we want it to sound like Rihanna".. sure...goof)
I do see EU counterparts or folks outside LA having a little hard time with this philosophy and normally refer to more the higher divinity powers of creations and art. which by all means.. its a nice thing. we do this type of work and we also do our own passions on the side. I do remixes of indie artists, big trailer stuff, ghost write in movie cues, sound desing etc. which I do try to spend some good time refining it and getting as good as I can.

100k a year might be a bit much but about 20-50k a year doing like the counterpart of a 9-5 job.. its more realistic.

there are different types of gigs so my example might be one way.
So what`s the point for an educated human being to work for 20-50 k in music if he/she could easily gain 50-100 k otherwise? If all the creative "self-expression" is lost on the way anyway...
Old 23rd December 2016
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by color View Post
So what`s the point for an educated human being to work for 20-50 k in music if he/she could easily gain 50-100 k otherwise? If all the creative "self-expression" is lost on the way anyway...
Exactly.
Old 23rd December 2016
  #27
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by color View Post
So what`s the point for an educated human being to work for 20-50 k in music if he/she could easily gain 50-100 k otherwise? If all the creative "self-expression" is lost on the way anyway...
Good point. That's why I wanted to point out the other example. It's possible to earn money in the library business with music where you expressed yourself creatively. But probably not with the royalty free libs.
Old 23rd December 2016
  #28
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
So what`s the point for an educated human being to work for 20-50 k in music if he/she could easily gain 50-100 k otherwise? If all the creative "self-expression" is lost on the way anyway...
great post.
Old 23rd December 2016
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Good point. That's why I wanted to point out the other example. It's possible to earn money in the library business with music where you expressed yourself creatively. But probably not with the royalty free libs.
but i honestly dont believe somebody aiming to be a composer sets the bar at getting into RF libraries. i'm only doing the music library thing since last feb, in that time i started by joining audiosparx, then joined pond 5, productiontrax and a few other RF libraries. i joined to just start getting a feel for the business and find out if i could actually sell any of my first effort tracks. getting my first ever license for a track i wrote is still a big deal and gave me the confidence to push on but i definitely didn't plan to just continue writing for RF libraries. in the mean time i focused on getting better as a composer and now just under a year later i have moved from RF Libraries to non-exclusive libraries to exclusive libraries. i don't plan on submitting anything else to RF libraries again as my focus is now on quality and in my case quality takes time to do. i have got faster at composing a whole track and i can now pretty much do a whole new track in 2 or 3 days which suits me fine. don't tell me that if every composer here could get straight into the top PMA and trailer libraries they wouldn't choose that. i guess for those Hollywood based composers you talk about churning out 3 tracks a day it means more to them to say they are working in the music industry full time doing something they love rather than creating real art they can be proud of in years to come.
Old 23rd December 2016
  #30
Lives for gear
 
old ghost's Avatar
 

2016 hasn't been as good as 2015 to me and I have about four times as many tracks in circulation. Just bad luck I guess... hoping for a better year in 2017.

Edit- I'll add that aside from the odds side of it, I also didn't do the best job of mixing up my avenues. I was hoping to branch out and find some new libraries that were good fits and ended up with several dead ends and time wasted. Onward to the new year.

Last edited by old ghost; 25th December 2016 at 07:01 AM..
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