Is this a good idea?

Home Forums General Questions Is this a good idea?

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 13 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #35824 Reply
    Frankensteiner
    Participant

    A friendly hello to the forum from Germany,

    I am new here at MLR and also new to the music library business.
    I joined this site to learn more about this business and to find out if I should take the step into this direction.
    I have been in the music business for about 25 years as a composer, arranger and producer.
    I have made a pretty good living out of it so far, but times are not getting any easier, but who am I telling?

    I have to admit that after spending the day yesterday reading all kinds of reports here and trying to find out which music library is the best for me, I am quite confused.

    First of all, I bought the book “Make Music? Make Money! and read it.

    After that I was quite motivated. But I was also a bit shocked about the statement, that you need about 5 years and a library of about 1500 tracks to make a living out of it.
    I was wondering what kind of tracks those could be. Of course, I might be able to produce one track per day, but not necessarily in the same quality and manner as I have done for my customers so far.
    Even though I’m listening to examples of different libraries there are some where I can imagine to produce 2-3 tracks in one day and others where I could easily spend a week with one.
    I would like to find one or maybe two or three libraries that focus on high quality and more elaborate productions and are more likely to focus on quality than on quantity. I am one of the newcomers in this business, but I am not the youngest anymore 😉 Even if I write 4 tracks a week, which I think is rather utopian, it would take me almost 8 years to create a catalog of 1500 tracks.
    I have created a kind of portfolio site with sound samples for possible applications to librarys and I would like to ask you people here for feedback and an estimation, if it is a good idea to present oneself through such a site and if you think I have a chance to succeed in this library business and what kind of library you would recommend for this kind of music.

    https://www.franksteiner.de/soundsamples/en/

    Sorry if I did not manage to make my request shorter and less confusing. Nevertheless I hope to be able to get some of you to comment.
    I am grateful for every advice that brings some light into my darkness.;-)

    Thanks a lot

    Frank

    #35830 Reply
    Michael Nickolas
    Participant

    Hello Frank, I think you need to set a series of smaller goals to reach your “1500 track” goal. Don’t think about how many tracks a day you need to create to reach 1500, it’s too overwhelming. Set a smaller goal first. I would suggest starting with a goal of creating a 12 song collection (album) all of the same style. Present this collection it to “high end” libraries. It’s hard to make a connection shopping music unsolicited or “blind”, but it’s not unheard of. If you strike out, consider “mid tier” libraries. Find a good home for it and move on to the next project!

    #35831 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    Don’t think about how many tracks a day you need to create to reach 1500, it’s too overwhelming.

    I agree. I doubt I will ever reach that goal as I don’t write that quickly.

    #35832 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    Hi Frank – you’re obviously very talented, and you have the chops to make music that can compete at the top. Great stuff!! I didn’t listen to everything, but I listened to enough to know you’re a talented and seasoned pro.

    In terms of quality of music, and level of production esthetic – yeah, you have to go all the way – do the best you can. Even if the final client only need 8 seconds of your alternate drone mix. But you have to go there – because in essence, you’re writing for the library not the end client. 🙂 :). It’s the middle man who needs to love what you do so that you even have a chance to reach the end users.

    1500 is a nice number. Personally, I don’t think that’s enough anymore. I keep revising my “numbers” upwards as the years tick by. Netflix, streaming, worldwide competition, shrinking budgets, AI, and a host of other factors keep pushing me into higher numbers now. I’ve got close to 2500 titles in libraries now, and honestly, it’s not enough to let me feel “comfortable”.

    Of course these numbers are so variable and hard to really pin down. One tune can make 6 figures, and a thousand may only make $50 in their lifetime. It’s completely random, and your best stuff will often sit unused, while things you would have thrown away make money over and over and over again. The other factor in “how many” songs you need is where you live, your station in life (family, mortgage, etc.) and how much the cost of living is where you live.

    But, you must produce. Big time. You have to write every day, and you have to write good, and you have to write fast. The speed of what I need to turn out was what initially threw me for a loop. A buddy who makes a good living told me that if I couldn’t finish 3 tunes a day, I was a hack – and too slow to make it. He was KIND of right. Kind of wrong. But he had a point. I needed to up my production speed exponentially. And still keep things top level. That’s hard.

    Then you have to produce high end enough to compete with the best in the world. It’s a different mindset than other fields of music. This is not a good time to be “getting started”. But it’s not impossible either. Nonetheless, it will be quite difficult and challenging. I wish you the best of luck! Cheers,

    #35837 Reply
    cyberk91
    Participant

    Frankensteiner……love the name….lol…………..great music and I’m envious of your website nicely done

    #35840 Reply
    Frankensteiner
    Participant

    Hi guys,

    first of all thank you all for taking the time to answer me.
    I appreciate it very much.


    @LAwriter
    , I am honored and encouraged that someone who is obviously a professional
    in this business rates my stuff like this.
    Even though I have to say that I always have serious doubts about my abilities when I see what a lot of much younger colleagues have for a huge musical output and on what musical level they move.
    It makes me really dizzy, but I still try not to get discouraged.

    I’ve got close to 2500 titles in libraries now, and honestly, it’s not enough to let me feel “comfortable”.
    I can only hope that this also includes tracks that were done in about 1-3 hours 🙂

    I will probably just have to get started.
    I love to write great sounding orchestral works, but I will certainly not write more than two of them a week, at least not if each one is to be independent and meaningful.

    Of course it’s different with light pop songs or something like that. Or just a drone 😉

    A buddy who makes a good living told me that if I couldn’t finish 3 tunes a day, I was a hack – and too slow to make it.

    Can you give me some examples of the tracks we are talking about? Well, specifically with links to the examples in a library. That seems so incredible. Since it’s hard to describe what kind and quality of the tracks are he’s talking about, concrete examples would help me to see if this is possible for me.

    Besides, if I interpret the statements of the people here in the forum correctly, it doesn’t matter if I create a big orchestral piece of work, where I sit for 3 days, or if I do a track in 2 hours. Provided that both sound professional. I probably won’t earn more money with the more elaborate work, if at all 😉
    I wonder where the orchestral stuff is used at all. Maybe documentaries or something like that?

    Or do I have to think differently. Should I offer the more elaborate orchestral stuff only to special libraries, or even exclusively?

    What exactly does exclusive mean at all?
    If I offer my material exclusively to one library, it means that I cannot offer it to any other library, right?.
    Does that automatically mean that this library may also only sell the material exclusively to one customer?
    Or may this library sell the license for those tracks to different customers several times.
    Or exist there one and the other case?
    How can I find out from the huge amount of libraries what a library mainly stands for, i.e. what it mainly acquires. Trailer music? Music for advertising? Who does the library mainly license to?

    Am I right in assuming that soundtracks are not taken from libraries for feature films that are shown in the cinema or on television, because they are composed explicitly for them?

    I have great respect for composers who write exactly on the image. I am told again and again that my music sounds like film music, but I am aware that writing music that creates images in the mind is something completely different than writing music that fits, or rather supports, existing images.
    That’s why the idea to write music that comes to my mind and that at best arouses emotions for me sounds very sympathetic. The only question that remains is how to earn money with it 🙂

    One tune can make 6 figures, and a thousand may only make $50 in their lifetime. It’s completely random, and your best stuff will often sit unused, while things you would have thrown away make money over and over and over again

    If all this is really just coincidence, then the idea to write as much as possible within a short time seems to me to make sense. It’s as if I fill out as many lottery tickets as possible to increase my chances of winning.
    Or should I rather play the lottery right away?

    Okay, you realize I have a lot of questions.

    I’m curious if anyone actually takes the time to answer them.

    I would be very grateful for that 🙂

    Greetings Frank

    #35842 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    @Frankensteiner. If you have questions about specific libraries ask them at their listing on this site. It’s the only way to keep threads on topics and build a knowledge base for other composers. Any off topic questions and replies about music libraries will be (and have been) removed. Thank you.

    #35843 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    I can only hope that this also includes tracks that were done in about 1-3 hours

    It does. Not 1 hour though. 3 at least. By the time I write, produce, mix, mix alt versions, edit broadcast edits, master and fill in “metadata”, that 3 a day takes a big slowdown. 2500 is a lifetime, and achieving that in any short term period is virtually impossible no matter how fast you write.

    Can you give me some examples of the tracks we are talking about? Well, specifically with links to the examples in a library.

    . Nope, sorry. He writes for a private library that does not have an “online” presence. They can be as simple as a solo guitar, to an Americana piece to a synth / orchestral tension piece. (He’s a guitar player, and an excellent one at that.). When I send him an Americana track for him to “play on”, he can lay down bass, acoustic rhythm, acoustic lead, dobro, mandolin, banjo, electric guitar – all in an hour. He listens once, then every next pass is a finished part. He’s that good.

    I probably won’t earn more money with the more elaborate work, if at all

    That has been my experience. Amazing “music” does not necessarily translate to “getting used”.

    I wonder where the orchestral stuff is used at all.

    . Less and less these days.

    If I offer my material exclusively to one library, it means that I cannot offer it to any other library, right?.

    . That is correct, The info is out there, I’m not going to explain exclusivity in the library realm.

    Who does the library mainly license to?

    . Everyone. media, internet, youtube, advertising, feature films, corporate, TV, streaming. everyone. EVERYONE that uses music.

    Am I right in assuming that soundtracks are not taken from libraries for feature films that are shown in the cinema or on television, because they are composed explicitly for them?

    Generally speaking – yes to films, but quickly becoming no to TV. The whole paradigm of how shows get scored is and has been changing for years, if you do not understand how this works, I would suggest you do the research to find out before starting writing.

    The only question that remains is how to earn money with it

    yes. That is the question that everyone hear is contemplating. One thing is certain – you have to think outside the box and differently than in the past. The times have changed, What worked even 10 years ago is a failure today. It is EXPONENTIALLY more difficult to earn a living in 2020. EVERYBODY wants in, and especially the young guys are willing to give it all away just to get the door cracked open. I would NOT start in this business today knowing what I know. And seeing what I see on the horizon. It’s not a good investment of my time, creativity or business acumen. That’s just fact. There is no denying it. But I’m in for the long haul now, because I’m too far down the road….. But if I was starting out and know what I know….no way.

    It’s as if I fill out as many lottery tickets as possible to increase my chances of winning.
    Or should I rather play the lottery right away?

    . Yeah, forget the music lottery and go straight to the REAL lotto. Your chances are about the same, but with the real lotto, you actually win a LOT of $$$. Being bi time successful in the music library business might barely keep you alive.

    Sorry for the discouragement, if in fact this is discouraging. I gotta call it like I see it. And from where I sit, things look bleak. I’m sure others will be more optimistic. 🙂

    -=LAwriter=-

    #35851 Reply
    Frankensteiner
    Participant

    Okay LAwriter, thanks again for your honest words and your patience.
    And excuse me if I asked some naive questions.
    Yes, it’s a shame how the music in general is getting more and more sold out.
    Everybody loves it and needs it, but it is less and less rewarded that there is a lot of work behind it if you want to produce something really good.
    Well, I guess I’ll keep going as long as I can.

    There will probably be many more questions during my research and I hope to continue to find such nice people here who are willing to help so friendly.

    Thank You

    #35905 Reply
    Mark_Petrie
    Participant

    I just wanted to chime in –
    LAwriter is a great source of knowledge here, and I’ve always enjoyed his/her thought provoking opinions.
    But I disagree strongly with the notion that you need to churn out 1500+ tracks to make a living. I can attest to the fact that a small number of top notch tracks, crafted for maximum placement potential, in the hands of a great library will make more than 1000 mediocre tracks. When I look back at which tracks were the six figure earners versus the hundreds that made me very little, it’s not really a crap shoot, randomness. The big earners were tracks with compelling tracks, authenticity and designed (sometimes by accident) to be easy to drop in to the intended clients’ projects.

    I also disagree with the blanket statement ” It is EXPONENTIALLY more difficult to earn a living in 2020.”
    Maybe the low hanging fruit of the 2000s – mid 2010s is gone. RF is super super crowded. Even in reality TV, mediocre churned out stuff won’t get the usage it might have 10 years ago.
    But… there is still so much opportunity if you take the time to craft library music like I described above:
    – authentic
    – high production value
    – compelling hooks / feel
    – designed and structured for maximum placement opportunities

    These days I often make more from just one track that takes a week or two to fully produce, than I do from 100 tracks I churned out at a rate of 2 or 3 day back when I was first starting out. I also enjoy the process A LOT more.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 13 total)
Reply To: Is this a good idea?
Your information: