Fending off giving a manual for success!

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  • #37317 Reply

    This is an amazing “how to” 10 part article about library music and the process that I share with those who might be interested:
    This is an easy way to get people informed without consuming a ton of your time. It provides a blueprint for exactly what you need to do to break into the business. Just forward them the link, tell them to read all 10 parts, and tell them to come back once they’ve finished with more questions. Most people never ask more questions.

    #37319 Reply

    Sorry … I didn’t log in when I made the above post, so members may not recognize that Gael MacGregor is me. ?

    I think we’ve all had similar experiences.

    I’m pretty open to passing along a lot of what I’ve learned, as others have been generous to me over the years. I figure we’re all in this together & that lifting each other up doesn’t mean we ourselves will sink — sort of “the rising tide lifts all boats” kinda thing.

    That said, and since cookie-cutter solutions aren’t the answer for everyone, and in-depth career plans can be time-consiming, you can always hire yourself out as a consultant to those seeking guidance. It’s not selfish or greedy to be compensated for your work. Most don’t understand that it’s not a one-size-makes-anybody-famous world any more — or that fame doesn’t necessarily mean monetary success.

    Maybe putting out a short how-to guide with tips & pitfalls from your experience might be in order. Digitize it & if a person asks for advice, give them the bare basics, then tell ‘em you have a .pdf they can buy. Depending on length & how detailed you make it, you could charge between $2.99-$9.99 or more. But it can be tricky. What we used 10-15 years ago may no longer apply in today’s marketplace. So any advice needs to be presented with caveats that in the rapidly changing landscape new roads are opening or closing every day. We (sort of) laughingly say that if you can find it in a book it’s probably out-of-date. ? So by having full control over content & not having to deal with a publisher or vendor (like Amazon) you can make updates quickly and keep current with the info you put into it.

    #37321 Reply
    Chuck Hughes

    I tell them that I submitted to hundreds of libraries, simply following the instructions on their websites. I also tell them they can get a directory from Aaron Davison or Jesse Josefsson or just Google “music library”. They are usually disappointed, having thought that there would be a central place where they could sign up.I also tell them that I might have placed something with a library in the past, but that does not necessarily mean that they will want anything more from me.

    #37322 Reply

    These days, when asked about how to make money with library music, I direct aspiring composers to Dan Graham’s great ebook.
    It covers the basics and sets realistic expectations for success. If someone takes the time to read this (or any other recently written book on the subject), and then comes back with informed questions, I’ll gladly answer any of them. But I use it as a way to weed out the people that aren’t really serious (I’m not getting any kick back from Dan, in case you’re wondering!)
    I also try to emphasize how this gig is really a tech job, and how your income potential is only limited by your production skills.

    #37324 Reply
    NY Composer

    I am happy to help people with basic questions on how to get into composing for TV/Film, but when I tell them that they shouldn’t get into this business for the money, they slowly shy away from getting started.

    #37326 Reply
    David Elliott Johnson

    I’ll start off by saying I am fresh to this forum. A couple of topics have piqued my interest but this one resonates with me currently.
    Oh where to begin…I’m currently finishing a book that outlines my 35+ years as a successful full time musician. I got to the point in my life that I too felt it was time to give back to the community. I have a birds eye view of the current music culture by way of my 21 yr old pop/r&b/modern electro indie producing son. I also have 30 and 40 yr old artists/writers that I represent in my publishing catalog and sync libraries. It seems as though many, if not all, of the responses I’m seeing on this topic are by those who have been doing this a long time. I’ll say 40 years and older in age. Much like myself, at 52, making your way through this labyrinth of personal psychosis on hope, luck, razzle dazzle, prayer, practice, discovery, loss, conviction, tenacity, and somewhere in there, trust. We didn’t have a daily inundation of social media hucksters selling our regurgitated knowledge for …hold …was $50 but NOW $5. And if you click the SECRETS button you will have 10 syncs worth $5000 each within the first 30 days of said training. Sidestep all the trial and error and become huge just because you deserve it! Next….

    I grew up understanding the importance of relationships and creating alliances of value. Every bit of knowledge I was ever given was FREE by the genius giants that founded what we knew as the music industry. Engineers, producers, musicians, art directors, jingle, record company execs and commercial music contractors, anyone and everyone I thought knew something I might be able to benefit from I would ask a question. I was 18 or 25 and they were always twice my age at a minimum. I would find a moment to ask how, or why, or what their thought process was behind a move, direction, or decision that I found to be intriguing. It took years to realize the reason why they were so forthcoming with this info of value… I posed ZERO THREAT to them or their careers. I didn’t have their managers, I didn’t have their talent, I didn’t have their discography or anything that amassed their success. I didn’t have a multi million dollar studio in my home to practice cutting tracks, orchestrating, producing, or honing my skills over years of my own. Yes, I was one of the musicians in their black book but the relationship was one of “if you are here in the same company as I, then you must be here as an equal of some sort”. If I wasn’t supposed to be there then I wouldn’t be. We were face to face, in the same room, on the same projects. Educating each other was just part of the conversation of passion we had because we loved what we did. Sharing was all part of the process. Our moments to shine. I know you’re asking “when do you get to the point of this topic?”….now.

    Everyone these days has access to everything that everyone else does. Same sounds, same programs, same outlets, same websites AND the same genius people now selling their knowledge in sliced and diced easily affordable packages. This alone gives us, you and I , reason to question our own value of knowledge. Social media has granted the up and comers with a sense of entitlement without the decades of path we endured. Buy a laptop and a loop pack, place em on a grid…screw with it for 10 minutes, bounce it out and upload it for distribution AND use in the adjoining media/music library pitching new music to supervisors on the cheap. They all know they can get the info from 1000 places on line but why bother, you know how to achieve the success and you’re right here. What we know doesn’t carry the same value we thought it might at this point in our lives, talking personally.

    My value is in my process, my authenticity, my voice, my relationships, and my calculated efforts to produce more success for myself based on my path of personal achievements. You can’t teach any of that. Tell em exactly how to place the ball on the tee and show em your award winning swing, 9 out of 10 are going to still miss the ball. And if they hit it it’s gonna slice and wind up in the trees. They don’t have what you have what you have, and that my friends is all on the inside. What you put into it emotionally and passionately is what is moving you forward and achieving your success. If you suck then end of game. You’ll give up. You can’t be in this business with any thought of competitive fear or self doubt.

    I’ll wrap this up with a story I use to teach songwriters who THINK they want to be songwriters. Goes like this:
    A fiend of mine who is a successful songwriter wrote 6000 songs in his career, demoed 3000, had 100 pitched to artists, got 10 of those songs cut by artists, had 2 on the radio for all the world to hear. He’s still to this day a songwriter and tells anyone who will listen how to be a songwriter, who to call, who to meet, all of it. Nobody writes a song like this guy. They can certainly try. It doesn’t matter what you tell anyone these days about doing anything. They aren’t you.
    Thanks for listening….

    #37325 Reply

    Hi All,
    It really is through hard work and research that one establishes their contacts in the music sync.
    What one could suggest to someone wanting to know how, etc is tell them to check out T**I, independent music A&R. . That is where I started. I’m not promoting them here, but it’s a great starting point! They can start their journey right there.
    Best to all!

    #37328 Reply
    NY Composer

    David brought up a valid point:

    “Buy a laptop and a loop pack, place em on a grid…screw with it for 10 minutes, bounce it out and upload it for distribution AND use in the adjoining media/music library pitching new music to supervisors on the cheap.”

    How long can the business sustain itself with precanned melodies, midi chord packs and endless loop libraries? Some kids with a laptop can belt out 1000 tracks in no time. The tracks would be legal but would lack soul.

    I don’t see a time that Libs will stop allowing loops in their tracks, even with accurate fingerprinting and watermarking techniques. Where would you draw the line actually? If a top notch pro uses a shaker loop, I guess it’s still a loop.

    #37329 Reply

    Some kids with a laptop can belt out 1000 tracks in no time. The tracks would be legal but would lack soul.

    That won’t really be the legit composers main problem. AI will do it 1000 times faster than “some kids” will.

    #37330 Reply

    Bravo, David!

    We learned from the generosity of others. And there is a place for in-depth learning via a student/teacher or mentor/student which, at a certain point does deserve compensation. We can’t possibly go in depth with everyone who asks, but we can be gracious and help — and even give recommendations for where to go for more info.

    But the generosity of other music supervisors when I was situationally and unexpectedly thrust into the arena saved my behind on the first project for which I was responsible. After it was successfully completed I took the sup who had been the most generous with her time out to lunch. We’ve remained connected over the years and continue to suggest artists to one another. You just never know how relationships will evolve, but being kind, helpful, and generous with your knowledge will often lead to unexpected friendships.

    This is “the rising tide lifts all boats” philosophy and has served me well. There may be many who do what you do — but HOW you do it is uniquely YOU. Never underestimate what your impact can be.

    But so many so-called “experts” litter the landscape. One with a large following sent out a post on the MLC that was so filled with inaccuracies that a lot of folks contacted the top dogs at the MLC to tell them to contact the guy to educate him & stop putting out disinformation. ?

    Ya gotta sift through the sand to get to the gold. Always be skeptical of people who promise you the moon by taking their overpriced course. Vet THEIR credits and claims. And remember that in this music business race, it is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Gael MacGregor

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