Importance of Elite Libraries

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  • #28237 Reply

    I keep hearing a lot about “Protecting your contacts/.connections, and playing closely to the vest”

    Here is something that I give freely, because I really feel it still mostly has to do with “How Hard You Hustle, and How Good Your Material Is!!”

    (Couple of things)
    1) How many people are really utilizing their PRO’s? Do you have a relationship with you rep? Do you even know your rep?
    2) How many people are taking advantage of networking through NARAS/National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences? Going to the mixers, fundraisers, and socials events like MusiCares? (This is how I met A Chair-holder, and The President of my Local chapter)
    3) There is a WHOLE World outside of The United States. How many are looking into foreign Libraries??
    4) Stop trying to going from 0-60 in 1.0 seconds. This is a business of creating relationships, and putting in the hard work to make connections that really fit YOUR personal goals. The REALEST thing IS “The VET’s” are saying it best. There is NO short-cut. You have to earn your stripes working through the smaller Libraries; to get your track record up. While you are there, really work on getting your A Game up and running!

    What about your content:
    * How do your mixes stand up against your competitors?
    * Do you sound complete, even when you are going for minimal parts in your cue?
    * How do YOU differ yourself from the HUGE pack of people that are doing your styles of Tracks?
    * Are you writing stuff that you feel will sell, or do you feel passionate about your work?
    * Are you sitting in a room waiting to be discovered; or are you out there making your face, and presence known to people??

    The list goes on and on…

    #28238 Reply

    Awesome discussion here!
    I’d like to clarify a few things that were brought up, just based on my own experience working with a wide range of libraries:

    The PMA is a huge organization with many members and only a handful of those could be considered Elite. Any library can join the PMA just like any composer can. No barriers.

    This is important to keep in mind, membership in the PMA is not necessarily a position of status, price level etc.

    The PMA (elite) will bash non exclusive work and RF work and unless you are an A list composer will not offer any upfront.

    This is not exactly true. Perhaps you mean they won’t offer upfront + licensing? That is very rare and only for a composer a library needs in their catalog.
    This is what pretty much any major library will offer you – one of these:
    – no money upfront, around 50% of licensing
    – a fee – $500 to $1000+ per track, NO licensing

    The first question is “So, which libraries do you work for ?” If you do not have any A lists in there, it does not go very far. And if you mention Non Ex or RF, it will NOT go down well at all.

    I have personally never been asked that, except in the trailer side of things, where a library wants to know how many of their competitors already have my ‘sound’.

    I’ve written about 2000 – 2500 library tracks. Many old, (now mostly sub-par) tracks went to RF ‘add to cart’ libraries. The sales were good, hit an apex in about 2012 and have plummeted lately. I haven’t been adding quite as many tracks in recent years, but a drop of 95% from five years ago surely can’t be explained by just that.

    On the other hand, the tracks of mine in libraries that are geared towards TV and higher end licensing are doing well – and interestingly some of my best performers are evergreen tracks written 5 – 10 years ago. You’d think they’d be buried under a mountain of newer music by now, especially considering the size of the libraries they’re in (UPPM for one). I think it comes down what many others have said here – a handful of great tracks, recorded live, in timeless picture friendly genres, will always beat 1000 mediocre quickly hashed out tracks.

    The other critical ingredient of course is the library you give those tracks to. An add-to-cart site like P5, AS, AJ etc might make you a small stream of income from five amazing tracks, (if anyone can find you), but in the hands of a library focusing on the higher end of the business, those five amazing tracks could realistically make you at least $50K each in royalties and licensing over 10 years.

    So while it’s a nice idea to have the publishing to your music, I disagree with the comments about needing to own the rights. Pretty much the only way to work with a publisher that will get healthy license fees (four figures and above) and have the best shot at network airtime, is to have them be the exclusive company pitching that music.

    That said, there are a lot of libraries that want the rights (forever) to your music that they won’t pay for, and probably won’t get good fees for (or even decent royalties from, for that matter). Just don’t confuse these guys with the heavy hitters that will require the rights to the music, and more than likely reward you for it.

    TL;DR Always consider the source – someone’s take on the industry is based on their own unique experiences – shaped by the quality of their music and which libraries represented it. Some will say stay away from big libraries that demand the rights to your tracks, while others (like me) will tell you these are the kinds of libraries you want to work with.

    #28239 Reply

    Thanks Mark P, VERY well said!!
    I too am a Composer for UPPM (I was BUG/BMG originally) I am still VERY optimistic about the Production Music Industry, and I feel that it does not take a 1000 tracks to make a good living.

    I have had to “give away” almost a decade of compositions through being in a rush; and getting stuck in some HORRIBLE deals. I Restructured, re-grouped, and now are making a really good income; with a briskly growing catalog of about 200 songs. Once again, the key to this is “Doing a TON of research to see who will be the right fit for you”.

    MLR, is a WEALTH of information. But, as with “Any Jewels” you can’t expect them to be out on the side of the road just waiting for you to pick them up. You have to dig for them. They are there, just takes some work!!

    #28240 Reply

    As always Mark, on point.

    …but in the hands of a library focusing on the higher end of the business, those five amazing tracks could realistically make you at least $50K each in royalties and licensing over 10 years.

    There’s probably a vast spectrum of what composers here might consider “amazing tracks” and perhaps it varies by genre.

    I’d love to know your take on that.

    #28241 Reply

    the responses by the seasoned writers here are so enlightening to us newcomers and I am grateful for everyones input. Its amazing how polar opposite strategies would yield the same outcomes good or bad. Yet the closer I get to understanding the biz the more bewildering and convoluted a logical explanation and strategy is…

    I see now that overanalyzing to make sense of it all is not the answer. stressing out on what to do, figuring out the right path and avoiding pitfalls the vets have made before even stepping into the jungle does not help or guarantee anything.

    Looks like from here on i’ll be writing songs to the best of my ability, doing all the post prod and admin work, spending time researching, pitching/submitting music and try building relationships, see what works and what doesnt, work my way up the ladder, stumble & fall a crapload of times, make changes and adapt to new challenges and scenarios, and in 5-10 years reasses if it was all worth it and continue, or face the reality that i just wasted a good chunk of my life for nothing and move on…

    the irony is ive heard it countless times and deep inside have always known that all along but just cant seem to accept it ,cause the simplest advise is usually the hardest to consider. “no shortcuts and enjoy stumbling through the journey”. thanks for taking the time to school me folks, much appreciated.

    once i have the funds, I’ll definitely get the lifetime membership here…

    #28247 Reply

    i think you have the right atitude to suceed Boinkeee. but as the saying goes “if it was that easy, every one would be doing it”.

    i’m one of the newcomers in this business in comparison to some of the pro’s here so i’m still on that slippery ladder. here are a few of the lessons i’ve learnt along the way.

    – knowledge is key. really do your research on this business first before you dive in. that means researching the type of deals on offer, researching the libraries you are planning to submit too etc. there is a wealth of knowledge here on MLR.

    – take the advice of composers that are already in the business. this is tricky because depending on your goals and genres you may get polar opposite opinions on the best strategy (just take this thread for example).

    – focus on quality over quantity. if i had just pushed out 30 medicore tracks that all sounded exactly like the other millionsof tracks out there i dont think i would of got into any exclusive libraries. why would i if i’m not offering anything unique.

    beaslinger thats great to hear you are making a living on 200 tracks. that sounds alot more realistic and managable than composing 2,000 music beds. at my current speed i can compose 1 track per week so that would be a realistic target of 50 tracks per year. in 4 years i could have a nice catelogue of 200 tracks. i think for me anyway that would be alot more fullfilling than slogging away at making 1000’s of average cues to send out into the world.

    but once again this is my strategy based on my experience and my goals.

    #28252 Reply

    I see now that overanalyzing to make sense of it all is not the answer. stressing out on what to do, figuring out the right path and avoiding pitfalls the vets have made before even stepping into the jungle does not help or guarantee anything.

    Truer words were never written. It’s not one-size-fits-all and you will never replicate another person’s performance or results and the circumstances that got them there.

    Hard work is essential. Timing and luck can’t be overlooked. Be ready to size the opportunity when it comes.

    #28253 Reply

    I don’t know why everyone keeps coming up with “1000 average or mediocre” songs to make a living. IMO, it’s 1000 + AMAZING pieces of music. You need numbers, you need diversity, and you need them in different places. That’s the key. With 200, your accuracy and focus has to be perfect. With 1000-2000 you can make mistakes like we all make. I’ve got a HUGE mistake with over 100 KILLIER tracks signed with A level PMA companies that are stopped dead due to internal politics and poor management. That was unavoidable on my part. I was stoked to place those and sure it would take me over the top. But no, if that was over 50% of my “200”, I’d be dead in the water right now and working at Starbucks.

    This perspective, these numbers are what I see from many, many production music writers who have spanned decades. Not just myself.

    If one can make a living off of 200, fantastic. But that would – from my experience and from those who went before me – be the exception, not the rule. If you “shoot” for 200, you’ll almost certainly come up short. I might make the bulk of my income from 2-300 tracks, but I had to write close to 2000 to get there.

    — It must be stated — You will never know which tracks are going to “make it” until after they have. My dumbest tracks are some of my best earners. Figure that one out?

    Quality is key, but if you are being honest, you know that not everything you write is exceptional. Numbers and diversity are your friends like any other investment opportunity. Many will fail, a few will succeed and hold up the failures if you are good enough.

    #28254 Reply

    Excellent thought @LAwriter !!!

    #28255 Reply

    Those are some solid points LAWriter, especially to me coming from a business background and understanding how “Law of Averages” work.

    If i may interject a long time commercial songwiters point of view to this matter, I see the word “Amazing” thrown a lot when it comes to the music…I am still uncertain on what that really pertains to. cause i hear a lot of music mainly on TV, not so much film, that IMO would not consider “amazing” in a technical or production standpoint, but rather it somehow just “fits the part”. So in the same way MichaelL asked a few posts back, I’d be interested to know what “defines” an amazing track…
    I learned a very hard lesson when i was still part of a yellow pay to play company that, sometimes the masterpieces is not what’s needed, and its best to “KISS” . . . I threw away a good chunk of dough thinking the former while all these simple cues were getting the green light from the screeners. . .(and yes i know the whole pay to play issue and dont want to derail this topic any further), so there’s so many mixed signals for a newcomer that it just makes my head spin, maybe im just not getting something im supposed to…

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