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Best Music Libraries of 2014?
Old 20th July 2014
  #1
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Best Music Libraries of 2014?

What are the music libraries that have worked best for you so far this year?
Old 20th July 2014
  #3
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drBill's Avatar
IMO you have to take libraries and look at them in 5-10 year chunks. "This year" will not tell you much....

Of course, Jeff has given you the most useful answer you will find, but even that will not give you definitive answers.
Old 20th July 2014
  #4
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had a week membership, and did a lot of research. Great site, but you didn't really answer my question.
Old 21st July 2014
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livide View Post
had a week membership, and did a lot of research. Great site, but you didn't really answer my question.
TO answer your question,its the one that pays the most,and depends on,what library,and what show,what Connections to bigger paying licenses......
THe answer is not one but several depending on your style of music and connections of course.
How much music you have that works for the current trends helps,but I see that as wide and open depending on all the factors.
Old 21st July 2014
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan p View Post
TO answer your question,its the one that pays the most,and depends on,what library,and what show,what Connections to bigger paying licenses......
THe answer is not one but several depending on your style of music and connections of course.
How much music you have that works for the current trends helps,but I see that as wide and open depending on all the factors.
Let me rephrase my question. What are some music libraries that are working for you?
Old 21st July 2014
  #7
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by livide View Post
Let me rephrase my question. What are some music libraries that are working for you?
What, you want the secret sauce recipe in one short paragraph???

What do you write? What stage of your career are you at? How refined is your production esthetic? How many placements do you have and are they with Exclusive libraries or NON Exclusive? Are they in the hundreds, dozens or just a handful? What direction do you WANT to head?

Without knowing a hundred details it's impossible to say give any advice that would have any real worth for you. What is it you're currently looking to place : Exclusive, NON Exclusive, Songs, Instrumentals, Orchestral, Hip Hop, Trailer Music, Rock, Dixieland, Bluegrass..... What are you writing towards? Underscore, Commercials, etc?

One library will be killer for ONE of those categories and a complete wash for the next. (i.e.: super successful for underscore, and a waste of time for commercial placement. OR vice versa. SERIOUSLY!) You have to find what works good for what YOU do. It's not a simple question. It's one that guys who have done this for a decade or two (or more) wrestle with every day.

There's the very real possibility that what works for me will wash out for you - and vice versa. Best of luck in your search.

Some of the biggies (and success stories) are :

FirstCom
Killer Tracks
5 Alarm
Megatrax
Warner/Chappell
APM
Immediate
Video Helper
And on and on and on.... Google reveals all.
Old 21st July 2014
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
One library will be killer for ONE of those categories and a complete wash for the next. (i.e.: super successful for underscore, and a waste of time for commercial placement. OR vice versa. SERIOUSLY!) You have to find what works good for what YOU do. It's not a simple question. It's one that guys who have done this for a decade or two (or more) wrestle with every day.
This is an excellent observation.

I started composing/producing production library music in 2011 and signed with a few production companies and one library. By mid-year, I was looking for other libraries in which to sign with while creating more and more tracks. By the end of the year, I was signed with three more libraries and one more production company.

Fast forward to 2014. ASCAP just closed Calendar Year 2013 on July 4th. The first library I signed with as a non-exclusive placed my music on maybe ten episodes of TV. The second placed music on around 250 episodes of TV and the third placed on about 350 episodes of TV for a total of about 650 for the year, including some of the production deals.

They were all non-exclusive, re-titling agreements. Every library had the same exact tracks and all of the libraries were competing for the same shows. Why the editors chose from one library over another is something I'll never understand but I'm glad that I signed with additional libraries as opposed to sitting on my hands, waiting for something to happen.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
What, you want the secret sauce recipe in one short paragraph???

What do you write? What stage of your career are you at? How refined is your production esthetic? How many placements do you have and are they with Exclusive libraries or NON Exclusive? Are they in the hundreds, dozens or just a handful? What direction do you WANT to head?

Without knowing a hundred details it's impossible to say give any advice that would have any real worth for you. What is it you're currently looking to place : Exclusive, NON Exclusive, Songs, Instrumentals, Orchestral, Hip Hop, Trailer Music, Rock, Dixieland, Bluegrass..... What are you writing towards? Underscore, Commercials, etc?

One library will be killer for ONE of those categories and a complete wash for the next. (i.e.: super successful for underscore, and a waste of time for commercial placement. OR vice versa. SERIOUSLY!) You have to find what works good for what YOU do. It's not a simple question. It's one that guys who have done this for a decade or two (or more) wrestle with every day.

There's the very real possibility that what works for me will wash out for you - and vice versa. Best of luck in your search.

Some of the biggies (and success stories) are :

FirstCom
Killer Tracks
5 Alarm
Megatrax
Warner/Chappell
APM
Immediate
Video Helper
And on and on and on.... Google reveals all.
Appreciate the answer my man. I recently started composing for TV/film, but feel as if my stuff is good. I've already signed multiple non-exclusive deals, and a couple exclusives. I make dance, hip hop, pop, neutral pop, big room, reggae, rock, I'm all over the place as far as music goes. Would a professional site be helpful in submitting to libraries? I've only got a soundcloud and link the libraries to a playlist with some of my tracks when I submit.

A couple of the libraries I haven't checked out that you listed. Again, thanks for your answer.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike P View Post
This is an excellent observation.

I started composing/producing production library music in 2011 and signed with a few production companies and one library.
What's the difference between a production company and a music library? Do they both license music to TV/film?
Old 22nd July 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livide View Post
What's the difference between a production company and a music library? Do they both license music to TV/film?
A music library licenses music to production companies, networks and so on. Music Supervisors download appropriate tracks and put them in the edit bay for the editors to use for each scene, promo, etc. Generally, it's a 50/50 split with the library acting as publisher taking 100% of the Publishing share (50% overall) with 100% of the Writer's Share (the other 50% of the total pie) assigned to the composer(s).

If you're signed directly to a production company, the music submitted goes directly into the edit bay. I have a few deals that are 50/50 and a few that are 75/25 in my favor, which is nice.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #12
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by livide View Post
I make dance, hip hop, pop, neutral pop, big room, reggae, rock, I'm all over the place as far as music goes.
Cool. If you want a long term career as a composer (and I have no idea if that's where you're headed or not), you're going to have to get a LOT wider in scope or you'll be tied to flavor of the day which generally is not good for a long term career. More of a flash in the pan kind of career which can burn VERY bright, but burn out just as quick. Like I said,,,,Dixieland, Smooth Jazz, Solo Piano, Zydeco, Folk, Classical, TV Trailer, Dubstep, String Quartets, Country, Pipe Organ, and on and on and on etc..... There are a HUNDRED, no maybe closer to a thousand different styles far outside the realm of "pop" which I would categorize all of your styles into. Best of luck.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #13
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VitaEtMusica's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Cool. If you want a long term career as a composer (and I have no idea if that's where you're headed or not), you're going to have to get a LOT wider in scope or you'll be tied to flavor of the day which generally is not good for a long term career. More of a flash in the pan kind of career which can burn VERY bright, but burn out just as quick. Like I said,,,,Dixieland, Smooth Jazz, Solo Piano, Zydeco, Folk, Classical, TV Trailer, Dubstep, String Quartets, Country, Pipe Organ, and on and on and on etc..... There are a HUNDRED, no maybe closer to a thousand different styles far outside the realm of "pop" which I would categorize all of your styles into. Best of luck.
And yet, flavor of the day is what I'm constantly looking for!

If you can stay current on your dance/pop/rock, you'll never want for work. Keep in mind too that the cycle of television tastes isn't as fast as film. Think of it this way. Indie Films/Bleeding Edge Ad Agency is Mainstream Film (+1-2 yrs) is Television programming (+1-2 yrs additional) is foreign tv (+1-10 yrs MORE).
Old 22nd July 2014
  #14
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VitaEtMusica View Post
And yet, flavor of the day is what I'm constantly looking for!

If you can stay current on your dance/pop/rock, you'll never want for work. Keep in mind too that the cycle of television tastes isn't as fast as film. Think of it this way. Indie Films/Bleeding Edge Ad Agency is Mainstream Film (+1-2 yrs) is Television programming (+1-2 yrs additional) is foreign tv (+1-10 yrs MORE).
Vita - LOL That sounds too much like artists I knew who were chasing record deals in the late 80's to mid 90's to me. I'm a blues artist. No wait. Quick, write country songs - I'm a country artist. No wait. That's passe. I'm new wave. No, I need to morph. Metal. Yeah, that's it. Nope. So early 90's. Now I'm Indie rock. No wait, blues is back. I'm a blues artist.....

I prefer to write classic music that spans era's, evokes heartfelt emotion and continues to pay decades down the line - no matter what the genre is. Can't go wrong there. BUT, each must find their own pathway..... And all pathways are littered with craters. :-)
Old 22nd July 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Vita - LOL That sounds too much like artists I knew who were chasing record deals in the late 80's to mid 90's to me. I'm a blues artist. No wait. Quick, write country songs - I'm a country artist. No wait. That's passe. I'm new wave. No, I need to morph. Metal. Yeah, that's it. Nope. So early 90's. Now I'm Indie rock. No wait, blues is back. I'm a blues artist.....

I prefer to write classic music that spans era's, evokes heartfelt emotion and continues to pay decades down the line - no matter what the genre is. Can't go wrong there. BUT, each must find their own pathway..... And all pathways are littered with craters. :-)
One can definitely go the slow burner route. Gotta have a lot of tracks out there to make a living, but you are correct- longer shelf life... if anyone can find you :/
Old 22nd July 2014
  #16
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VitaEtMusica View Post
if anyone can find you :/
Well...that is the conundrum isn't it? Honestly, I think there's 100 guys doing hip hop for every 1 guy doing a string quartet or zydeco CD. 200 guys doing an EDM CD for every 1 guy doing a big band or corporate sports CD. There's so much "modern" and "hip" out there that it's impossible to get noticed. Of course, I know you have your ways.... But hey, that's just my longer shelf life $.02.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #17
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VitaEtMusica's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Well...that is the conundrum isn't it? Honestly, I think there's 100 guys doing hip hop for every 1 guy doing a string quartet or zydeco CD. 200 guys doing an EDM CD for every 1 guy doing a big band or corporate sports CD. There's so much "modern" and "hip" out there that it's impossible to get noticed. Of course, I know you have your ways.... But hey, that's just my longer shelf life $.02.
Much truth to what you say. It used to be that you could do a rock or hip hop release and it would get used for a couple years or more. Now, you get maybe 2-3 months before you're buried. However, I really believe there aren't that many guys doing library "hip" at the highest level. Arrangement, production, aesthetic, vibe... whatever it is, there really aren't that many people out there that "get it." Those who do get it, get used. I've been fortunate to do a lot of work for one library which over time has garnered trust in my work by the sales team and clients... which may be the true secret to getting noticed in the crush of new music.

Bringing it back to the original question, this is one of the best libraries out there right now, IMHO: https://www.marmosetmusic.com/

There may be 100 guys doing hip, but only these guys are doing truly hip. Everyone else looks like a poser next to them. Honestly. Interesting business model too. Hybrid 24/7 licensing and custom syncs. Having their cake and eating it too?
Old 22nd July 2014
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VitaEtMusica View Post
Much truth to what you say. It used to be that you could do a rock or hip hop release and it would get used for a couple years or more. Now, you get maybe 2-3 months before you're buried. However, I really believe there aren't that many guys doing library "hip" at the highest level. Arrangement, production, aesthetic, vibe... whatever it is, there really aren't that many people out there that "get it." Those who do get it, get used. I've been fortunate to do a lot of work for one library which over time has garnered trust in my work by the sales team and clients... which may be the true secret to getting noticed in the crush of new music.

Bringing it back to the original question, this is one of the best libraries out there right now, IMHO: https://www.marmosetmusic.com/

There may be 100 guys doing hip, but only these guys are doing truly hip. Everyone else looks like a poser next to them. Honestly. Interesting business model too. Hybrid 24/7 licensing and custom syncs. Having their cake and eating it too?
Marmoset is fantastic. I think the secret to their success is that they figured out how to monetize music made by actual bands, not people trying to sound like actual bands. They wouldn't call themselves a library, I don't think. They're more like song pluggers who are tapping into the library market, if that makes sense, plus they have a core group of composers who can take on custom work. Their artist deal is fair, they do good work, and they present it incredibly well.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #19
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drBill's Avatar
Much like traditional investments, those who are hyper focused to burn hot and fast tend to make the most money, and rise the fastest. But IMO, I prefer to "mix up" my musical investments much like I do my financial investments - varied, broad strokes, all different styles and methods. Yes, it's a slower rise, yes takes more effort, yes means working harder, but I'd found it is a safer (if you can even think that way in this industry in 2014). But again, just my $.02. There are as many pathways as those traveling - and as I said before, EVERY pathway is laced with potential disasters in an industry that's imploding.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #20
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VitaEtMusica View Post
Much truth to what you say. It used to be that you could do a rock or hip hop release and it would get used for a couple years or more. Now, you get maybe 2-3 months before you're buried.
Hey Vita - could you elaborate on this a bit. I'm fascinated and terrified by that statement. (Bolded)

This is perhaps the scariest thing I've ever read about production music. I know there is a glut, but honestly, what does a composer expect to make from music that essentially gone in 3 months? I can't imagine enough of a payout in that time period to not be continuously buried under an all consuming work load, just slamming to keep something at the top and visible.

For me, longevity and producing LESS is what I'm looking towards at this point in my career. I'm trying to grow my library to support ME, not the other way around, but it seems that "enough" is a target that keeps moving further and further. I'm completely burned out on the whole hollywood / features / TV / latest, greatest scene. Been there, done that for too many years to think about and it got me nowhere fast.

Thanks man! I appreciate all the insights you bring to the table. Keep up the great work.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
This is perhaps the scariest thing I've ever read about production music. I know there is a glut, but honestly, what does a composer expect to make from music that essentially gone in 3 months? I can't imagine enough of a payout in that time period to not be continuously buried under an all consuming work load, just slamming to keep something at the top and visible.
I only have a moment to take a stab at this, and it's a fairly complicated matter. But, yeah, if you choose to do current pop styles, then you are in a fight to keep yourself at the top of the pile and always visible. This is one of the most difficult things about working with libraries that have 50K+ tracks. We have essentially trained our clients to stop searching and start feeding off new releases. They trust a brand/catalog, they explore new releases on that catalog. Metadata, spamming and search engines are at the heart of the issue. The pop music done 1 year ago is for the most part just as relevant today, but people won't find it because of different weighting systems within search engines and irrelevant or misleading metadata. As you said, there is a deluge of contemporary music. Unless you strike a chord with clients, like, they feel the release you did is the quintessential, best ever garage rock library disc, then it gets relegated to back catalog "asset" status. It brings resale value to the company, but stops earning money for the company or composer. Bad. Companies are working hard to expose and utilize their back catalogs through search engines and other methods. I think there are a lot of creative ways to get people listening or rediscovering older material- they just need to be implemented. A company like Video Helper does a great job of doing a lot with a little. It's up to every composer to make every cue he/she writes be special. NO FILLER. When you strive to do that, success and longevity are much more likely.

Ahhgh. I gotta go. I have a lot to say on this, but we should sit and chat about this sometime. It's a conversation I have almost weekly as we meet as a team and try to refine the process. Nobody wants to write disposable music.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #22
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VitaEtMusica View Post
Ahhgh. I gotta go. I have a lot to say on this, but we should sit and chat about this sometime. It's a conversation I have almost weekly as we meet as a team and try to refine the process. Nobody wants to write disposable music.
Yes, we should get together and chat. Are you going to be at AES in LA in October? If so, I'll buy you dinner! Or drinks. In the meantime, we can carry on here - or maybe start a different thread, as this is kind of a slight deviation.

But yes, you are absolutely right. The "process" is somewhat to completely broken depending on your perspective and the company (companies) you work for. There is one company I work for who request music solely because their clients request it from them. Pure and simple. Their client won't even search. Their client doesn't want something "used" (even if only slightly used). They only want something new - created expressly for their immediate whim. When I comment back, "I just did 40 cues like that within the last year", my client says "I know. Can you write another 15".

Of course, writing custom music is not a problem unless they "don't want to pay for the custom creation". Which of course the client doesn't want to do. They're not hiring me as a composer on their project - they're coming to a "library", but then requesting custom music. Kind of a conundrum. Weird business we find ourselves in, no?



<<<side note : There is NEVER enough quantity. And quality seems to be a secondary concern for many. Welcome to the land of disposable music. When there are 20,000 new composers a year trying to crowbar their way into the biz, ALL of our music becomes disposable no matter how good, or for what application it was intended (Radio, TV, Film, Video Game, Youtube, etc.). The US dept of job research or some such BS has "music composer" down as one of the fastest growing occupations in the country. Too bad they don't comment on long term viability of the career.....>>>
Old 22nd July 2014
  #23
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Arksun's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
IMO you have to take libraries and look at them in 5-10 year chunks.
Yup, which is why I won't be able to respond with an answer to this thread for a at least another 3 years from now.
Old 16th June 2015
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arksun View Post
Yup, which is why I won't be able to respond with an answer to this thread for a at least another 3 years from now.
...Good one.
Old 16th September 2015
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
What, you want the secret sauce recipe in one short paragraph???

What do you write? What stage of your career are you at? How refined is your production esthetic? How many placements do you have and are they with Exclusive libraries or NON Exclusive? Are they in the hundreds, dozens or just a handful? What direction do you WANT to head?

Without knowing a hundred details it's impossible to say give any advice that would have any real worth for you. What is it you're currently looking to place : Exclusive, NON Exclusive, Songs, Instrumentals, Orchestral, Hip Hop, Trailer Music, Rock, Dixieland, Bluegrass..... What are you writing towards? Underscore, Commercials, etc?

One library will be killer for ONE of those categories and a complete wash for the next. (i.e.: super successful for underscore, and a waste of time for commercial placement. OR vice versa. SERIOUSLY!) You have to find what works good for what YOU do. It's not a simple question. It's one that guys who have done this for a decade or two (or more) wrestle with every day.

There's the very real possibility that what works for me will wash out for you - and vice versa. Best of luck in your search.

Some of the biggies (and success stories) are :

FirstCom
Killer Tracks
5 Alarm
Megatrax
Warner/Chappell
APM
Immediate
Video Helper
And on and on and on.... Google reveals all.
A year and a lot of knowledge gained later I'm happy to report that I'm working with 2 of these libraries things are looking up.
Old 16th September 2015
  #26
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drBill's Avatar
Cool. The more experience and knowledge I get, and the higher up the food chain I get, the more I find that I know nothing. I'm with many of those libraries as well, and several just aren't working out as I had hoped, while some of the unmentionables are making me a lot of money. Go figure......

Things are constantly changing, and as much as I'd love to sit back and follow a time honored pathway - (for example : "follow the exclusive's", "the biggies are always better", "don't go non-exclusive", "don't give away your publishing", etc.) - the more I realize the times are a changing' and I don't have a clue..... LOL

Every man's path is unique. That much I'm pretty sure of. I mean, I think I'm sure.....

But don't ask me again in a year or two...


Another fairly certain observation - any knowledge gained via the internet is another person's opinion, which is almost certainly gained by their own observations which are at that point at least a year or two old. And by the time you can put them into place for yourself, the whole industry has changed and you're left scratching your head.

Hang on for dear life, learn to be a chameleon, diversify, roll with the changes....and have faith in a higher power. All good things that will serve you well over a lifetime.

Last edited by drBill; 16th September 2015 at 10:57 PM..
Old 17th September 2015
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Yep, there's so much to know about this business we're all in... Work hard and work smart and you will get somewhere.

I hate when people ask me how much money I've made and I tell them around $500 in my first year lol... It's growing already though. Got some upfront stuff lined up and some royalties are bound to come in!
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