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I am starting to feel a bit frustrated
Old 22nd July 2019
  #1
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I am starting to feel a bit frustrated

Hi

I need advise and honest feedback from professional composers who are already or been involved in some sort of licensing contract: meaning, their music has been already placed in some media (game, film, tv, ads, etc, etc).

I don't consider myself a professional musician, but I have been playing with music since I was a child. I studied couple of years music theory when I was around 10 years old, then I just enjoyed playing music with my computer. I have been doing so as a hobby for the last 20 years, from time to time, with some large portions of time without doing it at all.

When I was 19 years old I was contacted by a music library from Los Angeles (I still preserve the original contract) named "Industrial Soundworks". They apparently worked with HBO and other large media companies. I used Software Trackers (MOD, IT) at that time, and some software sampler/synth. But life sent me through a different path and I didn't follow much what happened then.

During the last 2 years I've started to buy some gear (keyboards, synths, drum machines, etc) and restarted my hobby/passion. During the last months, I began to feel I needed to do something: I want my music to be placed in media (games, films, etc, etc). But, as a total newbie (I still am), I start to feel frustration. I submitted my music for a RPG game, they liked it, but don't feel it's exactly what they looked for. Ok, I can accept that. But just right after that, another Music Library refused to accept my music for the same reasons: not exactly a current fit, "but will follow up if something appears".

So, to finish this, I want to hear/read opinions from you, the professionals, those who made it. Is there anything wrong with my music? With my approach? How much rejections I may be able to tolerate? I like what I do, and I have feedback from time to time from unknown people, mostly musicians or sound professionals, and they like it too. But, since I'm focused on licensing my music, I need an OK from someone who's in the industry and can provide an opportunity for me.

I'm all ears/eyes!

Here is my latest work: https://soundcloud.com/nicolas-iglesias-music

Thanks!

Nicolás Iglesias
Old 22nd July 2019
  #2
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I am not the professional you are looking to hear from. However, I think if you critically listen to the music that is currently being picked up for licensing, you can compare to see if your music is on the same level. Like using a reference mix when you are mastering your tracks. Dissect what the pros that are making it are doing. The industry is constantly changing so listen to stuff that is being picked up say within the last year. I've gone back and started with a clean slate. I'm learning all the theory there is, along with composition and orchestration training. I'm going to score all of my music from now on using notation software. Like you, I'll have to use the best VI plugins out there to get as good a sound as possible.

Edit: I went and listened to some of your tracks. Not bad, but there is room for improvement. I don't hear anything as catchy or as polished as say scores for video games like The Elder Scrolls series. Listen to the scores for Game of Thrones, The Orville, Star Trek Discovery, etc. Those are the composers you are competing with and for better or worse, their music is written and produced at a much more professional level then yours. Now that is not to be negative, my music is nowhere near as good either. Being objective is hard, but you have to be to make it, i think.

What I've seen with folks that have 'made it' is that they get their foot in the door, interning or assisting professionals, while making contacts in the industry. The music industry, like any other industry, is all about who you know. If your music is as good as anyone else who has made it, the only thing you need now is to make the right contacts in the industry. That probably is the hardest part, because so many great composers are vying for the few paying jobs out there. My only suggestion is to stick at it and eventually your efforts will pay off.
Old 22nd July 2019
  #3
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My first word of advice would be to not give up after just two rejections. Heck, more than half the libraries I submit to don't even listen to the music I send them! At least you are getting some feedback.

Accumulate a few tracks that have a similar "vibe", and pitch them (or an album idea) to as many libraries as you can. And if nobody picks them up, don't get stressed, keep making new music! It's all a learning experience. Every track I make always seems to be better than the next. The goal should always be improvement.
Old 22nd July 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundpal View Post
My first word of advice would be to not give up after just two rejections. Heck, more than half the libraries I submit to don't even listen to the music I send them! At least you are getting some feedback.

Accumulate a few tracks that have a similar "vibe", and pitch them (or an album idea) to as many libraries as you can. And if nobody picks them up, don't get stressed, keep making new music! It's all a learning experience. Every track I make always seems to be better than the next. The goal should always be improvement.
That's exactly my current approach: I always look for improvement on each song. I haven't tried yet building specific collections for each library, I'd certainly do that once I have enough songs.

My current fear is that I might not be acknowledging whether I'm a hobbyist or I can produce music that can be indeed used on a movie. I can't objectively analyze that: I'm a software developer, hence I need some notion which can bring some certainty.
Old 22nd July 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderian View Post
That's exactly my current approach: I always look for improvement on each song. I haven't tried yet building specific collections for each library, I'd certainly do that once I have enough songs.

My current fear is that I might not be acknowledging whether I'm a hobbyist or I can produce music that can be indeed used on a movie. I can't objectively analyze that: I'm a software developer, hence I need some notion which can bring some certainty.
Hope that helps!
Old 22nd July 2019
  #6
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by danderian View Post
I'm not sure what you're after here. I've had thousands of placements / licenses so I guess I qualify.

Yes, the music is licensable. Is it likely to be licensed? Probably not. There are a million reasons why something gets licensed, but your best shot is to go to the big houses that license music and see what they are currently offering. Then listen to a ton of TV and listen to what they are using.

Your stuff is OK, but I've never heard anything like it in any of the shows that I've put music into. The mixes are OK, but they are going to poke out when dropped under dialog. That's critical IME. Someone might love a piece of music, but if the dubbing engineer can't get it to fit under gracefully, you're out in a heartbeat.

There are dozens of things you have to learn to license music, and one of the first is that it's quite a bit different than "writing a song". Style, structure, mixing, melody (or lack of), lots of things. The music is subservient to the film / show. Gotta get that right first.

Ask yourself, what kind of show would my music fit under? Start there. Good luck.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #7
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Ask yourself this, if you had a music library, would you pay a few hundred $ for one of your tracks? Do you hear what you've done on any of the good music library websites? Have you ever watched a TV show with music like yours in it?

I'd say your music sounds more like a personal 'artist' project and not something I'd hear in a TV show.

That's not to say 'artist' music doesn't get licensed, but why pick you over Coldplay, Boards Of Canada etc?
Old 23rd July 2019
  #8
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Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Ask yourself this, if you had a music library, would you pay a few hundred $ for one of your tracks? Do you hear what you've done on any of the good music library websites? Have you ever watched a TV show with music like yours in it?

I'd say your music sounds more like a personal 'artist' project and not something I'd hear in a TV show.

That's not to say 'artist' music doesn't get licensed, but why pick you over Coldplay, Boards Of Canada etc?
I got your point. However, I don't buy any of these artists neither I want to sound like them. Comparing artists (from any artistic discipline) like if we were talking about a football match (who beats who, X vs. Y) doesn't seem to be the source of my inspiration. I don't believe there are "better" artists than others (a Monet is quite different than a Picasso). I'm not discussing whether I'm an artist or not. I do have a passion and I'm trying to figure out the possibilities for me to convert this passion into a tangible reality that could bring me some proud.

Anyhows, you had a good point. I should be more pragmatic. I'm all open to suggested techniques or tips that could push me towards a more productive/industry-alike workflow.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #9
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Originally Posted by JohnFulford View Post
Hope that helps!
So you're basically telling me that I should stick to one single profession/activity on my life and not try to explore different venues?
Old 23rd July 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Your stuff is OK, but I've never heard anything like it in any of the shows that I've put music into. The mixes are OK, but they are going to poke out when dropped under dialog. That's critical IME. Someone might love a piece of music, but if the dubbing engineer can't get it to fit under gracefully, you're out in a heartbeat.
This is a great and useful contribution. Thanks.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderian View Post
I got your point. However, I don't buy any of these artists neither I want to sound like them. Comparing artists (from any artistic discipline) like if we were talking about a football match (who beats who, X vs. Y) doesn't seem to be the source of my inspiration. I don't believe there are "better" artists than others (a Monet is quite different than a Picasso). I'm not discussing whether I'm an artist or not. I do have a passion and I'm trying to figure out the possibilities for me to convert this passion into a tangible reality that could bring me some proud.

Anyhows, you had a good point. I should be more pragmatic. I'm all open to suggested techniques or tips that could push me towards a more productive/industry-alike workflow.
Okay, let's skip the 'artist' side of things. Reality is, your inspiration doesn't matter, just the tracks and how usable they are.

Think of it like this.

If your job was a producer at a major library, and you had a budget of maybe $150,000 per year to advance or buy out tracks/albums for that library and your salary and livelihood depended on those albums/tracks doing well and making your employer a profit. And to that, knowing you had a bunch or great writers who were recouping well in terms of investment over the last several years, would you take some of that budget on a new writer and pay for an album of those tracks?

For me, that's how I judge whether something is good enough. I may often be wrong/right but it's a good marker for me. And then, each library is different in terms of their needs so you can't always base things on rejection (or even acceptation). I approached a library other day with idea of doing an album based on one track that earned me 5 figures in 2018. They weren't interested because they already had that sort of thing and didn't seem to do well with it.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
If your job was a producer at a major library, and you had a budget of maybe $150,000 per year to advance or buy out tracks/albums for that library and your salary and livelihood depended on those albums/tracks doing well and making your employer a profit. And to that, knowing you had a bunch or great writers who were recouping well in terms of investment over the last several years, would you take some of that budget and pay for an album of those tracks?

For me, that's how I judge whether something is good enough. I may often be wrong/right but it's a good marker for me.
That's the difficult part. I'm here at night, playing with my synths and keyboard, I have a melodic idea and start playing. I like it, that's why I still play it. Then, I add some extra sounds or instruments. I may work on it few days later until I'm satisfied.

Then, how do I realize if that's a good fit for anything? It's quite difficult to understand what are the trends when you go and listen country music, ballads, orchestral or even trap songs in a music library. And then, you hear trend breaking stuff, like in Stranger Things, with synthesizers and so on.

How do you realize what's your best fit? I love Orchestral instruments and classic music the same as I enjoy a solid electronic track full of synthesizers.

I'm trying to acquire discipline in order to stop my inherent impulses that lead me to perform experimental tracks that just don't fit.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderian View Post
That's the difficult part. I'm here at night, playing with my synths and keyboard, I have a melodic idea and start playing. I like it, that's why I still play it. Then, I add some extra sounds or instruments. I may work on it few days later until I'm satisfied.

Then, how do I realize if that's a good fit for anything? It's quite difficult to understand what are the trends when you go and listen country music, ballads, orchestral or even trap songs in a music library. And then, you've got more experimental stuff, like in Strange Things, synthesizers, etc. So, how do you know what's your best fit? I love Orchestral instruments and classic music the same as I enjoy a solid electronic track full of synthesizers.

I'm trying to acquire discipline in order to stop my inherent impulses that lead me to perform experimental tracks that just don't fit.
If you have to ask if it's a good fit for something, I'm not sure what to say. It's like a chef saying 'how do I know if this food is good' but wanting everyday people to pay their hard earned cash for it. It's good to get perspective from peers and producers, but if you're not sure at all, it's good to go to the source of what you're competing against. But at same time, it's a fair question and something I reckon people just realise at some point, I've done the same and wasted many years unfocused.

Stranger Things has a team of composers. You're talking about library music. Stranger Things synth tracks aren't going to be on CBS News talking about a bust water pipe. Stranger Things music works great on Stranger Things. I'm a massive fan and even done library stuff like that, it's been a flop personally. Likely because library followed a trend and reality is, Stranger Things is Stranger Things.

Again, ask yourself this. Libraries have music that is intended to end up on TV. Compare your music to the music libraries do. Is it similar? Would you pay for it?

Do you watch TV? Have you seen the arc of story in an episode of Intervention? The music used for when Kim Kardashian loses a shoe? The track that is used for a MMA promo? The track that is used for anti depressant medication 100 times day?

It's hard to remove the 'artistry' side of things, but compare what you do to something like a chef in terms of a need and demand for it.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderian View Post
So you're basically telling me that I should stick to one single profession/activity on my life and not try to explore different venues?

I'm only echoing your own words back to ya
Old 23rd July 2019
  #15
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To kind of piggyback what John says, stick to focusing on one activity. If you need a day job fair enough, bills need to be paid. Still if you can mix the two, fair play.

It’s gonna be hard if you’re a software developer I imagine though. Seems like a very involved job?

Last edited by Amber; 23rd July 2019 at 10:06 AM..
Old 23rd July 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Do you watch TV? Have you seen the arc of story in an episode of Intervention? The music used for when Kim Kardashian loses a shoe? The track that is used for a MMA promo? The track that is used for anti depressant medication 100 times day?

It's hard to remove the 'artistry' side of things, but compare what you do to something like a chef in terms of a need and demand for it.
Thanks, really, for sharing your experience and point of view.

That may be the root of my lack of direction: I don't watch TV that much. I do watch lot of films, mainly european or material which often doesn't have full sounding compositions but some background/atmospheres to generate tension or drama.

Having a list of material for reference will definitely help for anyone, like me, willing to find a place on this industry.

Having said that, I'll start listening to the music from current famous shows (even if it causes me nausea) to build up an idea of what's the demand.

Thanks! And let's keep this thread open... these contributions are truly valuable.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #17
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Originally Posted by Amber View Post
To kind of piggyback what John says, stick to focusing on one activity. If you need a day job fair enough, bills need to be paid. Still if you can mix the two, fair play.
I understood John's point and I support it. I have a considerable amount of free time I spend looking for amazing sound libraries, playing with my instruments and now, going deeper into music composition lessons and theory.

But at some point, I don't feel safe for making this a full time endeavor if I still don't have a clue that show me that I could be ever making it possible. I recall when I started doing software programming, professionally; right before, I was answering phone calls to angry people who couldn't connect to a dial-up internet line. On my spare time, I started to learn more about programming, and once I had 1 or 2 small clients ($20 / $30 projects) I understood it was the time to leave my secure/ugly job. I took the risk, because I started to love programming and someone was telling me I was doing it right.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #18
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If those shows make you nauseas why would you want to deter from an existing career and spend a life writing with them in mind?

I’m not saying I love those shows, but bring it back to the chef thing, that attitude will seep into what you do.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #19
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Originally Posted by Amber View Post
If those shows make you nauseas why would you want to deter from an existing career and spend a life writing with them in mind?

I’m not saying I love those shows, but bring it back to the chef thing, that attitude will seep into what you do.
Because I enjoy a lot producing music and sounds. And if they pay me, I don't care what type of show it is. But I still have my own opinion, which doesn't interfere at all in the product of my work.

Same as in my current career: I had to program for really boring purposes or silly ones, but at the end I was getting paid for something I enjoyed.

P.S. and it was just an exaggeration from a snob's perspective
Old 23rd July 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderian View Post
Because I enjoy a lot producing music and sounds. And if they pay me, I don't care what type of show it is. But I still have my own opinion, which doesn't interfere at all in the product of my work.

Same as in my current career: I had to program for really boring purposes or silly ones, but at the end I was being paid for something I enjoyed.
Okay fair enough. I can relate. We all
Gotta pay bills.

Last edited by Amber; 23rd July 2019 at 05:13 AM..
Old 23rd July 2019
  #21
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by danderian View Post
That's the difficult part. I'm here at night, playing with my synths and keyboard, I have a melodic idea and start playing. I like it, that's why I still play it. Then, I add some extra sounds or instruments. I may work on it few days later until I'm satisfied.

Then, how do I realize if that's a good fit for anything? It's quite difficult to understand what are the trends when you go and listen country music, ballads, orchestral or even trap songs in a music library. And then, you hear trend breaking stuff, like in Stranger Things, with synthesizers and so on.

How do you realize what's your best fit? I love Orchestral instruments and classic music the same as I enjoy a solid electronic track full of synthesizers.

I'm trying to acquire discipline in order to stop my inherent impulses that lead me to perform experimental tracks that just don't fit.
You've got an artist mentality. That's fine. That's not what production music is all about though. Until you loose that, you will either be : a) frustrated, b) unsuccessful, or c) both.

Production music is not a place for artists. (97% of the time anyway, and for the 3%, they want KNOWN artists)
Old 23rd July 2019
  #22
@ danderian

I think you should co-write with another songwriter. If you want to co-write some songs with me, let me know. I should be able to get them placed with a library or two.

If you do orchestral music, that would be a great start for collaboration. I produce hip hop and I am looking to add orchestral elements to my songs. I have a few Hybrid Trailer cues with Trap music elements that I have put together for licensing.

If you want more info, send me a PM. We can discuss from there.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lornemalvo View Post
That's a very nice gesture from you D.I.
Yeah, so send me a PM so we can start to work on some music. Thanks.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lornemalvo View Post
very
I tried to "PM" you but the forum doesn't give me the option. I wanted to add something so if you can PM me then please do.
Old 24th July 2019
  #25
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Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I tried to "PM" you but the forum doesn't give me the option. I wanted to add something so if you can PM me then please do.
To whom are you asking?
Old 24th July 2019
  #26
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Whops, sorry... I see I can PM you directly, so hold on...
Old 24th July 2019
  #27
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No offense but your tracks are a bit wimpy. I did full songs and submitted them to Warner Brothers... some of mine that made it into a movie...



Old 24th July 2019
  #28
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Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
No offense but your tracks are a bit wimpy. I did full songs and submitted them to Warner Brothers... some of mine that made it into a movie...
Lol.. is it irony? Anything compared to those distorted tracks is wimpy.

I can accept criticism, but if it is constructive and somewhat specific. Can you expand?
Old 24th July 2019
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
No offense but your tracks are a bit wimpy. I did full songs and submitted them to Warner Brothers... some of mine that made it into a movie...



So...
Old 24th July 2019
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderian View Post
Lol.. is it irony? Anything compared to those distorted tracks is wimpy.

I can accept criticism, but if it is constructive and somewhat specific. Can you expand?
It took me 12 years of working all day, everyday on my music to get those songs in movies, on the radio. Even #5 on billboard, and playing the Coors Amphitheater.. You need to work on your music more.

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