Quality of Production Music Today

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  mark 6 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #10591 Reply


    This is an interesting article about what music supervisors think about the quality and state of production music today. Would like to know your comments on it. GW


    #10592 Reply


    I would probably have never made a dime from the old regime. Although my music is good, it is not suited for bespoke purposes. I have good ideas but I would need to collaborate with more talented players to bring out the best in my compositions.

    My music would never pass the test to become a part of most of the bigger exclusive music libraries (believe me, I have tried multiple times!) I am a self-trained composer. I am very fortunate that I have music licensed in TV shows.

    #10679 Reply


    So errr, not alot of love for royalty free music then. There’s a surprise. Several of those comments were by UK people and I can tell you that you won’t find any RF music used on decent ads or higher paying channels over here.

    One day you lot might wake up and smell the coffee! πŸ™‚

    #10680 Reply


    Btw I was referring to the link in the article.

    #10681 Reply


    But isn’t ANW effectively RF anyway Mr.composer?

    #10683 Reply


    Well, I wouldn’t compare ANW (great composers with wonderful music recorded with live orchestras at Abbey Road) with yer typical RF music site tbh matey. You’d agree with that yeah? Have you heard the crap on some of these RF sites? I mean, general midi is still going strong apparently.

    In terms of marketing, strategy, quality etc ANW is a unique beast and I don’t think ANW composers would wanna be lumped into the RF category. It’s like comparing cheese to the Brazilian national football team.

    imho dewd πŸ™‚

    #10684 Reply



    I’m not trying to be difficult, seriously, I just think it’s worth pointing out.

    I have tracks on KPM as well as RF sites, and I have no problem with either side of the music licensing business.

    ANW’s music is undoubtedly better than most RF sites’ music, however ANW’s business model is effectively RF – license once, use forever.. Apparently that’s partly why they’ve carved out such a large part of the UK market from KPM, De Wolfe etc.

    #10686 Reply


    Well I think we’re agreed that RF is quite a wide term then! From a UK standpoint, as I’m sure you’re aware, ANW composers will make a nice fad wad in PRS. Whereas yer new RF ‘pump-em-out-stack-em-high-crank-up-the-general-midi-and-out-with-the-sample-CDs’ libs, ain’t gonna earn yers a penny in the UK. But yeah, I suppose strictly speaking ANW is RF so I stand corrected Sir! πŸ™‚

    Hmmm….but then again it ain’t really royalty free is it? Cos they make loads in PRS. They are MCPS free really.

    Ooooh, I dunno. Confusing isn’t it!

    #10687 Reply


    RF never meant royalty free, and should never have been coined that in the first place. It just means pre agreed license fee, bought once, used forever with no further mechanicals… yea, difficult to shorten I guess!

    I’m kind of confused about why you think live instruments are essential – I know plenty of guys making a lot from KPM, ANW etc, who are using electronic / midi / sample packs to create their music. It depends on the style and genre you’re going for..

    #10688 Reply


    Hi Mr. Tbone

    First of all, don’t be confused mate. Just to clarify, I think live instruments are essential in the appropriate context – yes, I should have said that really. Thus, live oboe in a dub step track / real euphonium in a house track / real Irish flute in a pulsing electronic drone would not be an appropriate vehicle for such instrumentation. Of course, it’s about genre. But I think today’s libraries require our representation of instruments should be as real as possible, so I dunno what you do or what your experience is, but my experience is all instruments have to be real and every track I have done for KPM (approx. 100) has resulted in alot of time and trouble being spent to achieve the results.

    Talking of KPM, I have been going through alot of their recent catalogue recently and tbh I ain’t hearing alot of midi strings in there. But I am hearing hi quality orchestral recording i.e.


    Isn’t that a rather gorgeous sound? But hey, if you can point out some KPM midi string/unreal live instruments/sample pack trax from recent years I would be very interested to hear them!! I mean, I am open minded and do stand to be corrected. I’m not saying they don’t, it’s just that I haven’t come across any but then again anything electronic ain’t my bag.

    I certainly know that ANW don’t like people using sample packs or anything of that kind – which is why they go to so much trouble to get good sounds.

    #10689 Reply


    I think we’re looking at different genres. I meant that there’s a lot of KPM music which uses sample packs and midi, though it may well be not in their orchestral series – I haven’t looked much at that.

    Outside of KPM I know of people doing trailer pieces for blockbusters using Native Instruments instead of real orchestra recording – some of those tracks get licensed for $10k-20k a pop.

    In the end it’s how you use what you’ve got – though obviously up to a certain point.

    #10690 Reply


    It’s interesting that the aricle itself never get’s into a discussion about live instruments vs. midi, but some composers always want to make that leap.

    The anti-virtual instrument argument is dead horse. The ability to create a convincing string sound with virtual instruments comes down to the skill of the composer, and his or her ability to write properly for strings. The same can be said of any instrument. If a string or a horn is nothing more to a writer than a particular sound, then they do not understand that instrument, and they will produce crap.

    When you study composition, arranging or orchestration, you are taught how each instrument functions, and how it is used. Access to all of these sounds without sufficient knowledge or skill has no doubt contributed to flood of bad music. (BTW…poorly written music played on live instruments is still poorly written music.)

    You really cannot fault virtual instruments. For example, the quality of string samples available today is incredible. Anyone who thinks these sound like general midi, is surely deaf. http://www.spitfireaudio.com/bml-sable-vol-1

    The second subject that some composers like to harp on is “royalty free” music. Here’s what the article actually said about RF music, apart from the implied value judgment (“lower end” etc).

    “Obviously there is a market for lower end, royalty-free and buy-out material. What’s encouraging here for us though, is the clear indication that users are becoming much more aware, savvy, and discriminating when searching for music to complement and colour their productions.”

    Some composers can’t help but get their knickers in a knot over RF music.

    I can tell you that you won’t find any RF music used on decent ads or higher paying channels over here.

    I suppose that if my goal in life was to place music only in “decent ads,” or on “higher paying channels in the UK,” I’d care. However, I consider all revenue streams viable. (For what it’s worth, I’ve been making money every Christmas from ads in the UK, which use music that I did with ALL midi instruments about 15 years ago, for a US based exclusive library.)

    I’m not sure that “quality,” as the article means it is limited to only high end libraries, or to live instruments. I think the crux of the issue is here:

    “Quality is increasingly paramount when it comes to production music. Even when you’re looking for something fairly ‘generic’, it’s still vital that it has that original edge.”

    Originality is the vital component from the author’s perspective.
    Being original, and producing the highest quality product that you can, with either live OR virtual instruments (or both) is what will separate you from the herd, in an exclusive OR royalty free library.


    #10695 Reply

    The Dude

    Some composers can’t help but get their knickers in a knot over RF music.

    How is him defending his business model any different than the guy from ML coming here and telling everyone that “if you don’t like royalty -free, you are clinging to the old model” (paraphrased of course)? The blind defense of Royalty-free is just as pointless as blindly drubbing it. The RF defenders are apparently insulted by a differing opinion, and resort to telling everyone else that they’re wrong. I realize I’m adding fuel to the fire, but my point is not to argue whether it is a viable model or not. It’s that there’s no need for anyone to put down or judge anyone else because of their opinions about differing business models.

    #10696 Reply

    The Dude

    Whoops, put the quote bracket in the wrong place. You get the point.

    #10697 Reply


    @mrcomposer…agreed, as I mentioned in another thread, Daryl Griffith is a really great composer, and skilled violinist. (for all I know you could be Daryl). His “Life on Earth” score is wonderful. We’ve PM’d a few times on another forum. But, I will tell you that he is no stranger to virtual instruments.

    Moreover, that music is very specific in it’s nature and potential uses. It would be totally out of place on something like Keeping Up With the Kardashians, or any other typical American cable show. So, I guess perhaps that music, like water, seeks its own level.

    The point being that the majority of composers here seem to be vying for placments on cable /reality shows, like the Kardashians, through gratis blanket license deals, rather than aiming for UK documentaries. So, I think these apples and oranges arguments tend to lead nowhere.

    There is a place in this world for great composers like Daryl and there is a place for the writers who don’t know a Neopolitan 6th from a Neopolitan Pizza. Their worlds do not collide.


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