Deciding What to Record Next

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    Hello everyone, I have been in the business now about 3-4 years and have composed a good 600+ cues so far. Lately I have been trying really hard to come up with “new” album ideas and I find myself repeating “old” ideas. My formula of late is to write more of the album styles that have been accepted by multiple publishers.

    My question is, how do you decide what to record next? I have certain genres that I love recording, but doing 2+ of the same genre in one year can get boring. Do you all have a list of albums that you’d like to someday do? Do you decide that upgrading your gear inspires new albums? Do you base an album on mood or genre?

    Another question, since I primarily am a piano player and use mainly software instruments… Is how to make the “fake” instruments come to life more? I find myself using the same plugins and same templates, and they work, but my creativity for each of these situations seems lesser than the original idea that I had (when I created the template).

    I know there are many answers to these things, and I’m really just looking for some creative springboards to get my music quality even better than ever! Thanks in advance for any tips!

    Paul Biondi

    Hi Brian – First of all congratulations on those 600 tracks/cues. Your pace of 150+ per year is giving you many licensing opportunities.

    My question is, how do you decide what to record next

    I’ll share my approach – hope it helps:
    – best genre /style performers from PRO royalty statement
    – briefs / requests
    – my whiteboard list of genres and genre combos to try/ do more
    – transcribing new songs, deconstructing and then then re-engineering them
    – jazz fake book: re-harmonize song melody. Produces new chords/new melody.
    – loop random drum groove (various genres)

    Maybe these aren’t “decisions” about what to write as they are gasoline on the writing fire. Enough gets placed to make it work 🙂


    I usually don’t chase “best selling” genre’s because everyone else is doing that as well. I almost always look to whatever seems artistically interesting to me. Especially if I have not written in that genre lately. I write enough that I will always hit those best selling genre’s as well as more unique genre’s. I like to spread my writing as wide as possible so that : 1.) I don’t compete against myself. And 2.) I stand unique when a bizarre and possibly interesting need comes to popularity for some unknown (or known) reason. Like….say “Chinese” music during olympics. Or Christmas flavored cues. Or “Baseball Organ fanfares” during baseball season, etc..


    Second LAWriter. There is so much music out there, I don’t think it pays to chase current styles. Better to shine at what you do best. If there is a market for your style, you and only you can fill it. Take your creativity from there. Your style is your best differentiator. Listen to and analyze different styles that interest you. Try new instruments. Incorporate that learning into your style and progress from there.

    I have moved away from VST instruments – unless I am looking for a particular sound. For orchestral instruments, I use good software that allows me to truly perform the part. However, I generally use hardware synths, and play “real” instruments. I find the less I rely on the computer to create the performance, the more the performance comes to life. That’s true for me even with electronic music.

    Unique and bizarre- One of my most often placed tracks is a piano solo version of “Happy Birthday”. Recorded it when it went PD a few years ago. Took five minutes to record. Performed in a traditional style – but it is my sound – and it sells. Go figure.


    Another question, since I primarily am a piano player and use mainly software instruments… Is how to make the “fake” instruments come to life more?

    One thing I have started doing recently that has really brought life into my playing of software instruments, particularly strings & synths, is to record all automation live in “touch” mode using a fader (dynamics, expression, filter cutoff etc), rather than writing it in after. It adds detail to the performance and another “human” element that you don’t get otherwise.

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