A Hypothetical Numbers Game Question

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  • #29316 Reply

    This biz is truly a numbers game, and the race to a fat, diverse catalog seems to be a high priority for us starting out. I have a hypothetical question thats been brewing in my mind for a while…

    – If a writer who has been submitting tracks to libs for lets say 6 years,has accumulated a thousand tracks circulating in the marketpace, and has built his revenue into mid 5 digit territory at the present moment,………can you assume that if that same writer held on to those tracks for the last 6 years till it reached 1000, and only THEN start submitting to libraries, that the same mid 5 digit revenue outcome would be achieved??

    #29317 Reply

    My guess is not for while. Cause I believe there is a long arc on a lot of this. Like stacking up episodes that recur. That takes a while and if the hypothetical composer waits and slams the 1000 tunes up it will still take some time for the episodes to accumulate. I know sometimes tunes just sit there for years before being picked for something. The 6 years lost may have missed becoming some music sups go to person for Bulgarian Square Dance music or something. Now it may take some years to be found by someone. I guess they may catch up after a while but it seems better to me to go ahead an get the tunes working as soon as possible.

    #29318 Reply

    If I might..

    I am not sure why this “1000 tracks number seems to be equated to success”.

    I have less than 120 tracks in circulation, and I’m averaging 700-1000 placements a year..

    This is about getting into great, and well connected Libraries/Catalogs that get you to these numbers. “It takes Great Compositions/Tracks to get into these Libraries”..

    Also, the real money does not come from a bunch of tracks getting used for 5-10-15 seconds, as ambiguous filler. It comes from tracks that are interesting enough to command 60-90 to 2 minutes (and more) of usage, and bringing a much bigger cue rate.

    1000 tracks, can also mean “1000 Unique Titles” and some can be the same 250-500 tracks being re-titled in various libraries..

    #29321 Reply

    I just threw up an easy number to simplify things…and i meant unique full tracks excl alts…hard to come up with an average when genre, skill, luck, and other factors are involved…

    the gist of the question derives from the lack of understanding of the journey, Alan’s 5 year update thread has been the most insightful piece of data I could ever find on the web per this career field, im sure a lot of us starting out feel blessed to discover such info… and to actually see a glimpse of people’s journey with REAL DATA to analyze is priceless! no other forum has been this generous and for that I am grateful and willing to pay forward when my the time comes…

    But out of that data a ton of questions emerge, including this one which i felt was the most non-intrusive, yet could be very informative…

    – thanks gigdude, didnt realize how much luck and timing plays a role in this biz, where the same tracks that lie dormant the first half of your career would be your cash cow on the latter…makes sense that even the same track by the same artist submitted to the same library, but at different times, would yield different results for better or worse…

    – thanks BS, I dont know if your the norm or the exception per track count, nonetheless your strategy is effective if you’re getting results…it does seem like getting into a good library is a lot harder than churning out material at lightspeed rate… i read about some dude whos also making bank from reality tv fillers, but when i saw his yearly output i couldnt believe it (500+), so i guess different strokes…my takeaway is that absolute opposite strategies can still yield the same results, and matching the right song to the right library is a crapshoot.

    #29323 Reply

    Boinkeee2000 – I wrote a very long and detailed post that didn’t make it past the “filters” of this site. I don’t have the time or effort to re-write it. I am quite frustrated. It had no profanity, and I didn’t try to “edit” it. It just flat out disappeared. Maybe it will show up later. Unfortunately, your loss as it addressed many pertinent issues.

    I will say 2 things in brief –

    1. More is more. There is no denying it. I’ll hit 2000 library songs this year.

    2. Get those songs in ASAP. Much like investments, you need them working for you as early on in your career as possible.

    I’ll try to re-submit my post again – as I was smart enough to copy and save before hitting “submit”, but there is something bad going on in the spam filtering or background aspect of this site I’m afraid.

    Best of luck. Don’t forget – more IS more. Quality and diversity count too.

    #29324 Reply

    I’m frustrated here….let me try this in pieces…..last try though….

    You can make an entire career on one song. Good luck finding it though and getting it to market early enough in your career to support you the rest of your life. Or you can fall flat on your face with 2000 songs. I’ve seen it. I’d be willing to place a healthy wager that the guys trying to hit that number in 5 years will probably fall into that category if they don’t attend to quality.

    One thing is certain – there is no right or wrong way to success, and no way to calculate if or when it will happen. Following one man’s path to success is not a guarantee for you. It’s actually a distraction.

    I agree with Beatslinger about getting great music into great libraries. But here’s the kicker…..

    I’m not sure I would agree with most here about “which” libraries are great, and I’m not sure I would agree with most here about which styles of music will get placements.

    I’m in a lot of top A level libraries who net me only a couple hundred a year. I wrote popular styled music for them. Fail. I’m never going that path again. I’m in a smallish private library that nets me mid 5 figures by itself that on paper looks like a dismal failure of a deal. Haha! I’m laughing. I’m in what I guess would be a “RF” library (I still can’t figure out all the nomenclature and parse the minute differences) that pulls in 800+ “placements” a year. Very few of which seem to make it to broadcast. It’s a nice side income which really takes the stress off of what I need from back end.

    Are they enough? No, I don’t think so. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are looming…..

    Personally, I believe in the more is more formula. I have seen first hand that you cannot parse the details of this business enough to write a few pieces and have it sustain a career for a lifetime. Things change waaaay to quickly to make that a safe strategy long term.

    #29327 Reply

    I’ll try again. Let’s try and cross our fingers for part 2….

    I DO believe in writing EVER-green music. I believe in writing inspired music that uses real instruments that can stand alone and create interest in listening to it based on it’s own creativity. Music that will still be played 20, 30, 50 years from now. It can be period pieces, 80’s dance music, jazz, pipe organ, rock, ethnic african and asian musics, big band swing, string quartets, western, bluegrass, blues or orchestral. I’ve done it all – including a lot more random styles like celtic, new orleans, etc.. And yeah, I do tension cues too. LOL But I strive for music that has a heritage that will last longer than a trendy current TV cycle.

    While I enjoy some of it, I don’t chase trailer music or EDM or Hip-Hop. There are too many guys doing it who can’t write other styles, so I head into territories with less action, more longevity and less competition. Areas where I can stand out from a crowd that doesn’t know how to write / produce it quickly.

    I’m quite happy for Beatslinger making it on only 120 tracks. He’s obviously got something SERIOUS going on!! But I don’t know what he means by “placements”. Are those verified placements INSHOW for broadcast? AWESOME!! That is excellent. But again….how long and where are they playing? 18 seconds on Netflix? Haha! Fail. 2 minutes on CBS primetime – Sweet! I’ll wave to your your limo on the way to the bank. I get tons of in show placements too. I can’t count em there are so many. Often 5-10 in a single episode. But I have no control over length of play or whether or not I can even hear them if I happen to catch the show. Most are under a minute and on cable, so we’re talking tens of dollars, not hundreds of dollars. But they all add up.

    IF…..you have enough of them to be chosen in the first place. And IMO, that puts the numbers needed for longevity at thousands of songs instead of a couple hundred. That’s my personal experience. Which may mean zero to the next guy.

    #29331 Reply

    My guess is not for while. Cause I believe there is a long arc on a lot of this. Like stacking up episodes that recur. That takes a while and if the hypothetical composer waits and slams the 1000 tunes up it will still take some time for the episodes to accumulate. I know sometimes tunes just sit there for years before being picked for something. … it seems better to me to go ahead an get the tunes working as soon as possible.

    This is consistent with my experience. Some tracks are unused for 3 or 4 years, then used often.
    Or, another way of looking at it: Tracks I produced/signed in 2013/2014 outearned tracks I produced/signed in 2015/2016 on my most recent PRO statement.

    #29333 Reply

    thanks LAWriter, yes something iffy going on lately, beatslinger actually replied back to you (got email notification) but somehow didnt show up here…

    All great points and advise you mentioned, particularly the “right music for the right library” bit, which my takeaway was one mans trash is another ones treasure….that really got me thinking..

    there are over 800 music libraries listed here on MLR, and with that much data newbs such as myself tend to gravitate on researching the top 10 first before heading down the database jungle and sorting them out, checking ratings, reading comments, and going through their websites. the polls here say that most writers work with 3-10 libraries max, which i draw a conclusion that its not wise to work with a lot of libraries, nor take the time and effort to contact or submit to certain libs based on a “hunch” that we might NOT be a good fit…whats your take on that?

    If this business is such a hit or miss, is it a good idea to try and hit all potential libs and spread out your catalog based on a “hunch”, or focus on just a few and try to build up your rapport and catalog with them, and cross your fingers you did the right thing 3 years down the road?

    Is the game is soooo different now than when you (seasoned vets) started, that old strategies don’t apply anymore?

    nonetheless anyone here who’s been at this for decades must have the knack to “roll with the punches”, or else you would’ve quit long ago…thus the utmost respect and gratuity to any speck of advice you offer you vets definitely deserve and heeded…

    #29334 Reply

    thanks composer, I hear folks talk about letting tracks or your catalog “ripen”, which takes years to happen and start rolling…and also about the “5 year plan” which only now im starting to understand…

    was always worried that trends come and go so fast that material written 2-3 years ago would be outdated by the time they “ripen” or circulate in the open market, which makes evergreen tracks a more solid foundation to build on….

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