5 Alarm Music

Rating: 4.0. From 12 votes.
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If you are a composer and/or songwriter, please leave your comments and experiences with this company. We want to hear the good as well as the bad! Please rate, from 1 to 10, by clicking on one of the stars.  Below is some general information but we make no guarantee of accuracy. Check with the company for all details. Please contact us for any corrections.

URL: http://www.5alarmmusic.com
Twitter:
Facebook:
Accepting Submissions:Unknown - Contact at website.
Submit Online:Yes
Submit By Mail:Yes
Submissions Reviewed:Yes
Types Accepted:
Charge For Submissions:No
Up Front Money:Yes
Royalty Free:
(non-broadcast use)
No
Exclusivity:
(Exclusive, Non, Semi)

(Semi = Free to place on own
but not with another library)
Exclusive
Re-Title: No
Set Own Price:No
Contract Length:Unknown
Payment Schedule:Unknown
License Fee Split:
(writer/library)
Unknown
PRO Split Based on 100%:
(writer/library
writer/library/publisher
or writer)
Unknown
Requires Licensee To File Cue Sheet:Yes
Pays On Blanket License:
YouTube Content ID:
Active Site:Yes
Notes:

From Maddie at 5 Alarm: We only commission 12 CDs a year, so the niches we need to fill are pretty specific from month to month.

45 thoughts on “5 Alarm Music

  1. denny earnest says:

    Yeah, They’ve been part of Imagem for 3 yrs now, or Boosey & Hawks of UK, Maddie no longer works there. (5 Alarm) .. good people though very nice to work with….

  2. 5 Alarm Music is now a part of the Imagem Production Music group. Interesting.

  3. Hi all,

    I’m relatively new to library composition, as I’ve been custom-scoring for about 20 years now. I’m wondering about the structure of 5 Alarm: When I go onto their site, it appears that there’s over 70 libraries represented. OR…are these simply groups of composers?

    Reason I ask: I’m wondering if I should be contacting folks from these sub-libraries (like, say Amygdala), or 5 Alarm directly. If the latter, as people seem to love Maddy (who’s apparently no longer there), are there other folks I should contact?

    Thanks in advance,

    Len

    • Rob (Cruciform) says:

      Hi Len,

      I think 5 Alarm do have their own labels but many/most of the catalogues you see represented there are 3rd party labels that are distributed by them.

      • Thanks Rob. Would the 3rd parties create the music (and metadata), and hand 5-Alarm for sole distribution, or are the 3rd parties actual stand-alone libraries that just so happen to use 5-Alarm as one of several distribution points?
        Or something else? Again, new to this.

        Thanks,

        Len

        • “Would the 3rd parties create the music (and metadata), and hand 5-Alarm for sole distribution, or are the 3rd parties actual stand-alone libraries that just so happen to use 5-Alarm as one of several distribution points?”

          HI Len,

          In my experience, the latter. I recently found out that an exclusive I wrote for back in the 90’s is distributed by 5-Alarm. That library is in Australia,and has great representation in Asia. I’m guessing that they use 5-Alam for US distribution. That music, by the way, has made money every quarter for 15 years, mostly international.

          It’s a pretty common business model. For example, Manhattan Production Music distributes several of the libraries that I’m in. Part of that distribution chain includes distribution of some CDs through a royalty free site (for which I get no money).

          There’s a lot of complicated and murky water in this business.
          I’m glad that I took a break and got a law degree. (can’t believe I said that)
          But, it really helps.

          Cheers,
          Michael

        • Rob (Cruciform) says:

          Len,

          It could be either. I’m with two labels who sub-publish throughout the world and 5 Alarm is their North American distributor. In that case, the label/library delivers the music and metadata to 5A and they then market it in that territory. Labels or libraries who operate like this will then have other distributors for other territories.

          However, you might also find that there are labels who deliver to 5A who in turn organise the sub-publishing in other territories. On that, I don’t know for sure.

          But I do think that 5 Alarm have their own catalogue as well. How you would get music signed into that, I don’t know. Personally, I’d give them a polite phone call and sus out their procedures. 🙂

  4. Maddie: where can i get info on submitting music?

  5. H,

    Your claims are wrong as Art says. Aside from that, you mean to tell me that you wouldn’t submit to a company that pays 1k per track?? They don’t share sync, but if you break down your earnings, are you making over 1k per track on average? Sure you may make way more than that on some…but I’m sure there’s others that may not make you anything.

    This was off subject a little, I know. More of a retaliation to “I don’t plan to ever submit to them”.

  6. I have a friend that works for a huge huge company that pays 5 Alarm a yearly blanket license fee. When they use the music, they do not report it to any of the PRO organizations nor do they let 5 Alarm know which music tracks they’ve used. This is a common business practice unfortunately and my friend has no say in the matter. So, unless you’re an owner at 5 Alarm, you’re not seeing any money from those syncs. I don’t plan to ever submit to them. I submit to supervisors directly, and also have music with Crucial and another smaller library. Crucial has been nothing but honest and professional.

    • I’m not sure where you are getting your information but it’s the broadcasters that report to the PROs. Of course if it’s The Scripps Network that your friend works for, then they have not been paying. From what I understand negotiations have been settled with the PROs and they soon will be, retroactively. Last I heard 5 Alarm has a Tunesat account so they know when and where those plays are occurring.

  7. Nice work, Christian! And great work, 5 Alarm! It’s always good to see somebody making a living from this stuff…

    Can you share a URL to your music?

    • Thanx Elliot, Planning on keeping it going… now if the PROs in the US would stop making it so hard. LOL!!!

      • John (the other John) says:

        Yes, a big congrats Christian! I also would love to hear some of your work. Could you share a URL to your music?

        • John,

          I do not have one any more because I have been able to move into long term relationships with a few companies that have allowed me to stop promoting myself as a composer. I still do music but now only for my label and a few select clients.

          Here is a demo i put together in 2006… a few things are not mine…the opening track and the last 2 tracks in this demo belong to my writing partners.

          http://blazedoutmusic.com/

          Enjoy 🙂

  8. In Maddie’s defence, I have submitted tracks to 5 Alam and Rescue Records, and while I haven’t yet placed any cues in their library, Maddie and her colleague, Cassie have been very professional and generous with their time. If you check out 5 Alarm’s track record (as I did before submitting), you’ll find them to be one of the most reputable (and busy) music libraries in the States.

    • Maddie is awesome!!! and they have gotten MY MUSIC in countless shows. Some include; The Office, The Simpson, 90210, Melrose Place, Girlfriends, Ugly Betty, Desperate House Wives, 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, Monk, Num3ers and many others. They are incredible at achieving Prime TIme Network placements.

      • John (the other John) says:

        Wondering Christian … for all those shows, have you made over $500 total? Just trying to put in perspective the comment about “plenty of 1c deals”.

        • They don’t split sync if that’s what you’re talking about. They pay a nice upfront sum and you keep you’re writers share. Unless you’re talking about rescue records.

          • John… on just one of the “desperate house wives” placements I made almost $2,000 from BMI on one check and that same show has re aired and paid me various amounts over and over. so it is fair to say on these placements I have made well over $500. total.

            I have been making a my living off my back-end royalties for over 7 years now.
            Though I do have to say in the last year the PROs have dropped there payments majorly. I hope they get them back up soon.

            • John (the other John) says:

              Thanks for sharing Christian. I’ve tried to contact them using three of their email addresses. All have been “undeliverable”.

              • Hey John, I just checked there contact page and all the main emails look up too date. They are the same ones i use to talk to them.

                I do know that you are more likely to get a listen to as a musician if it is coming from a referral from a writer they already know and trust.

                They get so many emails from composers saying listen to my demo I think they tend to not have the time to cold check them all.

  9. @ Sully. You are referring to “Rescue Records”, the indie band placement division of 5 Alarm Music. 5 Alarm Music is a music library (we commission composers for specific briefs and put the songs in our library). Rescue Records is a placement company and yes, we have a 5 year, exclusive term. In 2009, Rescue Records’ artists had 917 songs placed in TV Shows, Feature Films and Broadcast Ads. If you go to http://www.5alarmmusic.com and click “About” then “Check Out Our Client List”, the placements speak for themselves.

    As far as the person I believe you are referring to, we did have an employee who is married to a famous musician and was giving out false information, unbeknownst to us. Once we found out, that person was let go. It’s been over 8 years since artists have signed up with Rescue Records and in that time, only 3 of the bands have not renewed their term with RR.

    Hope this helps!

  10. ‘Not worth dealing with’ – I don’t mind people having an opinion as long as it’s based on some sort of experience.

    They are a sub-publisher for a UK library I write for and they are brilliant. US earnings are great. They got a track placed in a long running ad for a major brand too.

    • Hey Man you work for Boosey? I’ve done 2 library cd’s the last couple years for them and they have a lot of my material from Abaco which they purchased 3-4 yrs ago from Alain Leroux. I did “Delta Blues” & “Americana”. their a very established library, are you in UK?

      D

  11. Well that’s just Ducky. Funny Woody! So he’s a “Looper”. Probably is making money. Hope the loops are royalty free.

  12. Here we go again with Yadgyu’s “getting better deals” and knowing how the music business works.

    Most of these libraries have one contract. You either sign or take a hike. There’s so much music flooding into these libraries that they’re not going to negotiate with you, unless maybe you’re John Williams. But then you’d never find John Williams using a music library.

    It would be interesting hearing one of these tracks of yours that generate income better than 80% of all other independent musicians.

  13. Exclusive deals are good to me.

    I think the problem is that many musicians do not know how to negotiate deals. Musicians get so wrapped up in the music that they forget about the business. I am no expert, but I get deals that are better than 80% of the deals other independent musicians get.

    You have to realize what you bring to the table and get a feel for what these companies want. If you have exhilarating music and know how deals work, you can get good money for your music. You have to know how to sell yourself as well as the music.

    Don’t be a docile cow or sacrificial lamb. Companies can smell weakness a mile away.

  14. fullbirdmusic says:

    Why not post it here?

    Some folks have been posting nasty stuff on libraries on this site, so let’s hear it! It will at least give the company a chance to review and defend themselves, if they see fit.

    I’ve considered submitting to them, so it would definitely be beneficial for me to hear! Cheers.

  15. name withheld – “artist friendly” was referring to a situation a friend of mine had w/5 alarm and some of their people.I won’t post it here but we can talk privately about it if you like.Yes, his tracks were rejected but that wasn’t the problem, it was the way he was rejected, as if they were the “authority” on what’s good and what isn’t.Really quite rude, he put it behind him but I was blown away by it and posted here when I found out about it.I read your posts here and agree 100%.I spend hours a week learning, recording, writing & pitching.This is a job and you have to treat it as such.

  16. 🙂 Just to add. Track counts and success are not necessarily related. A library could make a lot of money for themselves and composers by working harder and smarter with a smaller, more select set of tracks. Pump Audio is the king of huge track counts. But your odds of a placement with them are far smaller than with many other libraries.

    Web traffic means a lot more with a library whose maketing approach is more based on clients visiting, sampling, and downloading tracks. There are definitely successful libraries like that. However, some other very good ones do not market that way and may have small web traffic.

    A few years ago I knew a very successful library in NYC that didn’t even have a website. That may not be very common nowadays but I do know of some that have almost no web presence and are making placements.

  17. That’s an interesting and valuable observation there. Indeed, some of the bigger libraries with 6 figure plus track counts, wont always be big ( indeed if at all) payers, UNLESS theyve got a lareg roster of solid, bona fide clients. Which brings me onto two other criteria you can check out:-

    1) Try to politely ask who theyve recently placed with, if at all, and make your own observations about regularity of success for the library.

    2) Check out ALEXA.COM for some stats. I used to design websites, many moons ago, and bar a handful of the libraries listed here, none are in the top 100000 sites for traffic. Remember, this isnt as tried and true as some of the other “bloodhound” tools to help you make a decision ( eg, largest library may have massive traffic, cause EVERYONE is signing up with them, but may not be great placers), but it all helps.

    regards,

    S R Dhain

  18. And… many of the most successful libraries are exclusive. They often (not always of course) have high-end clients who appreciate that they truly have 100% control over what is being pitched.

  19. Sully
    What is the definition of “artist friendly”?

    Many of us avoid long-term exclusive deals. Certainly they need to be much more carefully considered before signing. I would only sign one if I thought it was an excellent situation whereby I’d have a better chance of success, which at times can very well be the case.

    This is a ***highly selective***, “high end” library that is very successful. That means that only the absolute best music will get in but will generally have a decent chance of placement.

    Read what I posted on a blog. There are many factors in evaluating a library.

  20. BAD news library, not at all artist friendly and a 5 year exclusive deal, not worth dealing with.

  21. christ, that sucks. And as a brit, i know it will take nearenough 18 months OR MORE for the backend to come through from such practices. That is, of course, if youre allowed a share of the backend.

    I think someone else has mentioned this here, and i talked about it in a seminar to final year students. The abundance of software packages which make music making easier AND the abundance of libraries with all their deals has driven down the price of music significantly. If you gig for a living and/or are lucky enough to have an “in” with a music supervisor at one of the major broadcasting channels, then youre sorted, otherwise its all about building up a massive library and selectively shopping your wares around.

  22. Blanket licenses come back worth 1cent

  23. Seems to be an ok Library, very few sync licenses….. plenty of 1c deals

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