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Singles or Albums when sending to music libraries?
Old 9th June 2018
  #1
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SpikeWolf's Avatar
Singles or Albums when sending to music libraries?

Just curious what your guys approach is? Obviously it's quicker to send out singles once completed, but as an approach, would albums be more beneficial in the grand scheme? Maybe looks more organized/professional? Just looking for ideas.
Old 10th June 2018
  #2
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If there's a brief I tend to send a track at a time so as to get feedback. If I'm pitching an album I usually start with three or four tracks so that the flavor is established but there's room for adjustment according to the library's wants and needs.
Old 10th June 2018
  #3
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drBill's Avatar
Neither.

Well....kinda......

I finish the entire album, and cut together a 3-5 minute teaser of all the tracks edited together.

Then wait for a response before dumping an entire album on them.

Bottom line is that libraries like finished projects so that they know exactly what they are getting.
Old 10th June 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Then wait for a response before dumping an entire album on them.
Well, I just dump. Here it is - take it.

When I get reqs, it's always "we need 6 cues like this; 10 cues like this". < Insert temp music > I do 'em, send mp3s, do the occasional rev as requested, and then send finals w/stems. I always make finals and stems when I make the mp3; the mp3 IS the final. Well, a low res vers of it. This way when I get, "go ahead and send final & stems", I am done - I just send. When there is a rev, sure - I have done a little extra work by making the stems, but that happens so rarely, I just eat that extra 10-15 min, knowing that the other cues are completely done.

Cheers.
Old 10th June 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Well, I just dump. Here it is - take it.

When I get reqs, it's always "we need 6 cues like this; 10 cues like this". < Insert temp music > I do 'em, send mp3s, do the occasional rev as requested, and then send finals w/stems. I always make finals and stems when I make the mp3; the mp3 IS the final. Well, a low res vers of it. This way when I get, "go ahead and send final & stems", I am done - I just send. When there is a rev, sure - I have done a little extra work by making the stems, but that happens so rarely, I just eat that extra 10-15 min, knowing that the other cues are completely done.

Cheers.
Interesting Jeff. I rarely do stems, and NEVER mp3's.
Old 10th June 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Interesting Jeff. I rarely do stems, and NEVER mp3's.
Stems - haven't I in the past heard you say that you do stems? But yeah - I almost always have to do stems.

mp3 - Sorry if my post was confusing. The mp3 is just for approval. The final full mix is either wav or aiff

Cheers.
Old 10th June 2018
  #7
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drBill's Avatar
I'll do stems when requested, or on a feature film. Beyond that I rarely do stems.
Old 10th June 2018
  #8
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Albums.

Editors I know will even look for tracks done by same composer in library. Do full albums, they will have some coherence from track to track. I hear lots of albums that really sound all over the place (brief, composition and mix wise).

When I look at my tunesat 9 times out of 10, if they've use one track, they've use at least 3 more from same volume/album.

That said, some libraries are hesitant to let one composer do a whole album as they often don't have the steam to make sure the whole album is all killer no filler. On the other hand, if you can prove you can do full albums well (or even half an album), for the library it means they don't need to micro manage 6 to 12 composers checking in on them, giving feedback, making sure they all hit deadlines, dealing with loads of contracts.

edit: Should note, I never do a full albums in advance and pitch. I pitch ideas, send over previous work if there's no existing relationship. Sometimes I'll demo one track to get an idea across. The way I see it, the library has a better idea of the market and their clients needs than I do. So if they want it, that tells me it's worth doing, if not, I'm probably better spending my time doing something else.
Old 10th June 2018
  #9
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Arcana's Avatar
 

I used to only do albums. But as I'm not the fastest writer in the world, particularly towards the end of an album when I feel like I'm out of ideas and the last 3 tracks sounds like copies of 3 previous tracks, I've started stepping away from doing whole albums.
Besides - as Amber mentioned, I find some of the larger libraries likes to have albums by several writers in order to get more variation. So what happens is that they'll pick 5 tracks from your 12 track album and then suddenly you are stuck with the 7 weakest tracks of the album and have to create another 5 tracks or flog the 7 somewhere else, which is a PITA.
So recently I've started doing 'EP's instead and I've somehow found it easier to place a handful of tracks than a whole album.

Regarding stems, I virtually always do it. I really don't like doing it, cause I can be quite time consuming, especially when doing Underscore + 60s + 30s + 10s edits.
Old 11th June 2018
  #10
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Stems: Always needed. Takes me 10 mins per track. If your sessions are routed right it's really straight forward. I keep meaning to do a video tutorial about this as I keep getting asked. I'll try and get round to it sometime!
Old 11th June 2018
  #11
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There are so many companies out there....some companies like finished albums while other companies prefer to listen only a couple of songs....there are no guidelines
Old 12th June 2018
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Stems: Always needed. Takes me 10 mins per track. If your sessions are routed right it's really straight forward. I keep meaning to do a video tutorial about this as I keep getting asked. I'll try and get round to it sometime!
Consider this another request!
Old 13th June 2018
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Stems: Always needed. Takes me 10 mins per track. If your sessions are routed right it's really straight forward. I keep meaning to do a video tutorial about this as I keep getting asked. I'll try and get round to it sometime!
Please link if/when you do this.
Old 14th June 2018
  #14
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There are so many variable to this question. Some libraries want albums, some don't.

If I'm working on a Brief, I send over as many tracks as possible before the deadline ends, whether that's one track or 20 tracks. It all depends on how quickly I can compose and produce in said genre, the network/program that's requesting the tracks via the library and current workload. Is the request for ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC? Or is it for the Travel Channel?

If it's an Exclusive Library that's requesting an album, I provide an album. Unlike many people, I don't create an album, then "Pitch It" to a library. I work with the Creative Directors (and sometimes, the President/Owner) and while I'm generally given "Creative Freedom", each person has a different approach. Some like longer tracks, some like nothing more than 1 minute, 30 seconds, some want edits and/or multiple edits. Some people are a little more "hands on" than others, which I always respect because they know what works for their library and what doesn't. All of this factors in to how I deliver each project.

What I've found over the years is that it's best to provide every possible variation of said track. Alternate mixes and Stems have become the Norm, so that's always part of the equation these days. Unlike Amber, Stems can take much longer than 10 minutes for me to render and it's extremely important to check all of the Stems and Alternate mixes before shipping them off to the library or production company. It's a very boring process, IMO, and if the project requires a dozen or more Stems and Alts, I always make sure that I've labeled and rendered correctly, as it's easy to make a mistake with a process that's so monotonous.

In terms of presenting your work to a new library, once again, they're all different. I've pitched full tracks, only to be asked for snippets. I've pitched montages of multiple genres or same genre, only to be told that it was "confusing", so full tracks were requested. Again, every situation is generally different, so I make sure to have every option at my disposal: Full Mixes, Alternate Mixes, Stems, Montages, 24 Bit/48k and mp3 files available to pitch.

If you're a master of multiple genres, Montages and Full Tracks in specific genres can also help a Creative Director to help fill a "hole" in their library. I've had occasions in which a library was interested in a specific genre but once they heard my work in another genre, the focus was shifted because they had a lack of that style in their library.

The bottom line: Be prepared.
Old 14th June 2018
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike P View Post
Unlike Amber, Stems can take much longer than 10 minutes for me to render and it's extremely important to check all of the Stems and Alternate mixes before shipping them off to the library or production company. It's a very boring process, IMO, and if the project requires a dozen or more Stems and Alts, I always make sure that I've labeled and rendered correctly, as it's easy to make a mistake with a process that's so monotonous.
Yeah checking them all takes up the time for me. Rendering them takes hardly any time.
Old 14th June 2018
  #16
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Rendering them takes hardly any time.
Sure....if you're 100% ITB and set up all your stems and 2mixes ahead of time. It's simple. Takes virtually no time. Hit record on stems and 2 track mix, and get a coffee....done.

But it's not so fast for those of us who work hybrid or OTB.

For me, what brings back the beauty to music is having analog gear as an integral part of the process, and it necessitates taking more time. At least in making stems.
Old 18th June 2018
  #17
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Like many have said, it varies. Personally, I've been doing library music for almost 4 years and I've only just now completed my first whole album. I primarily work with a boutique library that does a lot of custom requests for TV shows, and those are all just individual tracks.

Another library I've started working with a lot does mostly multi-writer albums, which I am a fan of because it lets me get my best ideas for the brief out there, then move on before burning out.

But I just wrote a full album to see if that would help me get in with new publishers, and eventually a library responded and wanted the whole album. A couple weeks before that a publisher reached out to me and asked me to do a whole (but shorter, thankfully) album, so right now I'm in the middle of 60/30/15/sting editing hell. I never do stems/edits until I have a publisher secured, because they all seem to have different requirements for final delivery.

I think I might be rambling a bit, but when it comes to pitching to a new publisher, I think it's smart to have an album halfway finished so they get the concept, but can give you more specific direction for the rest of the tracks and make them feel more like the publisher's own brainchild. However that being said, most of the libraries that I have gotten into myself have been by submitting just a short playlist of 3-5 tracks that are relevant to what that library does.

Just try to find out ahead of time how much that particular publisher values albums/collections/playlists, then make your decision.
Old 18th June 2018
  #18
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I'm in the middle of 60/30/15/sting editing hell

Hell? Why? Should be easy peasy.

UNLESS

You didn't formulate your cue to be .... wait for it .... editable. If you are having a problem cutting up your own cue, it's going to be a potential issue for someone else who is hearing it for the first time. Your cues should be formulated so that they are easy to cut on a deadline. If they are, the chances of them getting chosen are exponentially higher.

Cheers.
Old 19th June 2018
  #19
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StevenMcDonald's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
I'm in the middle of 60/30/15/sting editing hell

Hell? Why? Should be easy peasy.

UNLESS

You didn't formulate your cue to be .... wait for it .... editable. If you are having a problem cutting up your own cue, it's going to be a potential issue for someone else who is hearing it for the first time. Your cues should be formulated so that they are easy to cut on a deadline. If they are, the chances of them getting chosen are exponentially higher.

Cheers.
Don't worry, I understand how to structure library music. But does anyone think editing down a track is as fun as just writing? I called it hell because its easily the lamest part of the process and I have a lot of it to do now.
Old 20th June 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenMcDonald View Post
Don't worry, I understand how to structure library music. But does anyone think editing down a track is as fun as just writing? I called it hell because its easily the lamest part of the process and I have a lot of it to do now.
Yes, it is lame.

It is not the most fun thing to do. I never structure my cues to fit those formats. So I end up having to arrange the music to fit into those edit points.

It does take work sometimes, especially if some instruments have long reverb tails. An art all unto itself. But like metadata, it has to be done to serve the clients.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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.....even though I´m not OP I firstly gotta say deepfelt thanks as always to all of you for the great advice! Esp. @ the usual suspects alwas so ready to share out of their humongous pot of experience...

If making an Album how important is it to provide also Underscore/Background songs on it and -and depending, maybe even stingers/logos? Is it "standard practice" to expect to find those variations of tracks in an Album, so say 8 tracks music 4 tracks backround/stingers ? Would you leave them out if going for a shorter EP album pitch?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenzop View Post
.....even though I´m not OP I firstly gotta say deepfelt thanks as always to all of you for the great advice! Esp. @ the usual suspects alwas so ready to share out of their humongous pot of experience...

If making an Album how important is it to provide also Underscore/Background songs on it and -and depending, maybe even stingers/logos? Is it "standard practice" to expect to find those variations of tracks in an Album, so say 8 tracks music 4 tracks backround/stingers ? Would you leave them out if going for a shorter EP album pitch?
Different libraries want different alt edits, cut downs. I'd just focus on great tracks to get them interested and deal with the other stuff after you've found a library that wants them.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Different libraries want different alt edits, cut downs. I'd just focus on great tracks to get them interested and deal with the other stuff after you've found a library that wants them.
Cheers, what I thought.....better not go "full in" (with your time and efort) creating things that then might not be needed

Amber on a side note since I notice your from Uk: do you know if there are straightforeword workarounds for Writers who joined PRS to also access their Publishing share (for self-released tracks) without having to set up a "proper" Publishing Co. in a longwinded way ? In the US you have to set up a Publishing Co. but its just kind of extra paperwork, I notice PRS asks for some kind of proof of Catalogue and Licensing Agreements if you want to join as a regular Publisher.....

Thanks
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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Amber's Avatar
 

Can you not just say you own 100%? I've never self released anything so wouldn't know.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Stems - haven't I in the past heard you say that you do stems? But yeah - I almost always have to do stems.

mp3 - Sorry if my post was confusing. The mp3 is just for approval. The final full mix is either wav or aiff

Cheers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I'll do stems when requested, or on a feature film. Beyond that I rarely do stems.
For whatever it's worth, I've been creating stems for every single album and project since 2015 and I've been delivering them to clients, regardless of whether or not they're initially requested because ultimately, editors like having stems, in my experience.

As Jeff mentioned, they only take an additional 15 minutes or so (depending on the number of instruments used in the project) and I'd rather render them immediately than have to go back and render at some point down the road.

I kind of found out the "hard way" that stems are really useful when the editors and producers of the program I score asked for stems just before Season 2, which meant rendering stems for hundreds of cues. Not only was it massively time consuming (and boring) but probably somewhere around 35% of the time, I was tempted to "remix" the entire track because either my taste changed or I added a new plugin that was "better" than I initially used and so on.

It was a real time suck so nowadays, "Here's the stems. If you don't use them, no worries" but my work is done.
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