Reality check needed

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  woodsdenis 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #23568 Reply

    arielblacksmith
    Participant

    Hello everyone

    Im just starting out and trying to break to some libraries, I have knocked the door on some but so far it hasnt been going that well , I was even rejected by pond5 (maybe its on their side because of some big libraries they are clearing for, but who knows) so its time for a good old reality check

    Currently I have my Portfolio which I send some cues to bigger libraries in ehre.

    and the rejected library music is on this playlist

    https://soundcloud.com/ariel-juarez-3/sets/library-music

    Thinking its time to step back from composing and fix my issues first, i know that music libraries are subjective but i want to be safe on my end, what do you hear? mix issues? good but unatractive to sell music? too much of the same?

    Thanks for your input, this is a really great place! .

    -Ariel

    #23570 Reply

    Happy Ears

    To me it’s the production quality, related to mixing and sequencing
    its sounds very “in the box” like it’s all coming from a synth or a computer.

    Also is that a keytar in the 2nd cue? It sounds like a a guitar VI played on keys which could get you (and rightfully so) banned.

    If you could improve your production shills about 25% you’d be in the game. it also seem busy musically too. Remember there might be dialog on top which you could look on as as the main melody which you support.

    Get really good at mixing or co write with someone who is.

    Best of luck!

    #23571 Reply

    Happy Ears

    That was after only listing to two cues. I checked out some of your others. Overall defiantly too busy for many TV spots and sonic production quality is suffering but no reason not to be able to fix that, actually the “no lead” versions of some of your cues I could see getting usage on unscripted TV shows if better mixing.

    #23572 Reply

    Kubed
    Participant

    I second what Happy Ears said.My very first impression (before reading Happy Ears comments) was that your Proffesional Portfolio music (i heard the first 2 tracks) sound “one-dimensional”.
    Composition wise,you’re doing great,i like what i hear.
    In the first track,i desperately wanted to hear some reversed cymbals or other fx that will add dynamics and excitement to the track.

    You’re almost there,just listen to some of the top orchestral artists in music libraries and RF sites and compare the sound quality to yours (listening with headphones could also help).Pay close attention to transitions,width of mix,structure,overall production.These guys are top sellers for a reason!

    Oh,and like Happy Ears said,tv usually needs lighter instrumentation.
    Most probably your music will be used under dialogue so,keep a rich main version like the ones you have here but do some lighter versions as well (no lead melody,no chants etc) that can be used well without interrupting dialogue.

    I’m no expert at this kind of music btw,just using my “producer’s” ears to give you an honest opinion.I’m sure you’ll do very well 😉

    #23574 Reply

    alfredo

    I like your music. Problem is, it has a slight ethnicity about it which isn’t the kind of genre that gets libraries excited because it doesn’t earn very much. It’s more of a genre that ‘needs to be covered’ and only becomes interesting at the time of the Olympics and World Cup etc. And truthfully, how much more epic orchestral do we need?

    I would strongly suggest you requesting feedback from the libraries themselves rather than (talking generally here) some anonymous amateur dudes on a forum who may or may not be able to string two notes together. Hence, you cannot assess the quality of advice you get.

    Rejection by pond5 – I would not consider that a bad thing myself. More a compliment to be honest.

    #23575 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Hi, not anonymous MichaelL here. I learned to mix by spending years in the studio with a Grammy winning engineer, and can occasionally string at least three notes together, although not always in the same key. (I’m working on that)

    I can vouch for Kubed. His electronic tracks are produced and mixed very well. I don’t know Happy Ears, but his mix analysis is spot on. “In the box” or “boxy” is a good description for what I’m hearing and not hearing.

    I don’t comment on other people’s composition because that’s largely a matter of taste. Epic isn’t my preference. But, not all of the music above is Epic or orchestral.

    I’m hearing sonic issues in some of the mixes. Not enough space between instruments or width in the stereo field. Not enough depth. Saturation of mid and low frequencies. Perhaps too much compression and at times too much reverb. I would look for more clarity and definition.

    “Dance to Your Own Beat” is an example of a decent corporate track that needs a better mix. There seems to be phase issues. When played in mono the track’s volume drops quite a bit.

    With respect to getting feedback from the libraries, @Alfredo can you tell Ariel which libraries would be most likely to take the time to listen to his tracks and give him detailed advice and an explanation for why his tracks weren’t accepted?

    #23576 Reply

    Kubed
    Participant

    @Alfredo: unfortunately,MichaelL’s last paragraph is so very true.I’ve been rejected by many libraries,never got constructive feedback from any of them.
    Most of the libraries that have a “music submissions” page,clearly state that if your music is rejected,they don’t have the time to explain the reasons they did so.

    I’m not saying that your suggestion is bad;on the contrary,it’s very good.But Ariel shouldn’t have great expectations from libraries,spending their time listening to his music and giving feedback to him (or anyone else).

    I think MLR’s vast majority of members is comprised of artists that know how to string 2 notes together btw.

    #23577 Reply

    alfredo

    I do have a little experience myself, obviously not quite to the level of some of the esteemed members on here. Nevertheless, I do have a bit and my comment and suggestion was not made without foundation. I didn’t just pluck that idea out of mid air and think “Oh, I will post something extremely unuseful based on no personal experience whatsoever”. Quite the contrary.

    In response to your question Michael, in the past I have had constructive feedback from KPM, Extreme, Universal, Carlin, Non-Stop, De Wolfe, Audio Network etc. I could go on but you get the idea. I am not familiar with libraries that have a ‘music submissions’ page so I cannot comment on the implications of that.

    By building up relationships through networking, one can approach libraries on a more personal and effective level. That personal touch then means one can follow up. Essential to this is having the chops to back up the chat and having a very personable and enthusiastic manner where one avoids looking over-enthusiastic or desperate or indeed, resorts to namedropping as it is viewed as vulgar and trying too hard (“I worked with….” etc. which merely highlights inadequacies. Save that for the autobiography maybe).

    There is no need to vouch for anyone BTW. Please note, if you read my post again you will see that I deliberately qualified my comment about posting to amateurs on a forum with ‘talking generally’. As in, no one specific. A Websters dictionary definition says: “Generally: as in a way that is not detailed or specific”. Perhaps I should should have made it even clearer. My bad. I apologise.

    As I’m sure you all may know, music industry forums are populated with all manner of people. I have seen on many occasions composers get extremely disillusioned through reading critiques of their work by people whose are simply awful composers. In such situations I despair as it may lead to them giving up – and yes, this does happen! We are a fickle bunch us composers and if confidence is low it doesn’t take much to push us over the edge. A recent thread by a disillusioned composer on another popular forum comes to mind here. My point was yes, seek criticism but of course, seek it from the right people. Even if it’s a forum of experts we have to be careful because music is so subjective and everyone has a different view. How many times have you all seen posts on the internet where someone asks for a critique only to be given Bob’s view that more bass is needed, Fred’s view that the stereo image needs to be wider, Charlie’s view that the singer needs replacing and Dave’s view that it is perfect as is. The result being the OP doesn’t know where he is so probably dumps the track. Already on this thread we have the following comments:

    Not enough space between instruments
    width in the stereo field
    Not enough depth
    Saturation of mid and low frequencies.
    Perhaps too much compression
    at times too much reverb
    wanted to hear some reversed cymbals or other fx
    Pay close attention to transitions,width of mix,structure,overall production.
    lighter instrumentation.
    production quality, related to mixing and sequencing
    sounds very “in the box” like it’s all coming from a synth or a computer.
    is that a keytar in the 2nd cue? It sounds like a a guitar VI played on keys
    too busy for many TV spots

    And we’re what, 4 posts in? There’s a few weeks work putting that lot right for starters!

    Not just get feedback from music libraries though. Go and network a bit and find top composers who have real websites with real music examples and real credits and then send a nice email asking if they might take the time to have a quick listen and give feedback. More often than not you will be ignored but there are some decent fellows out there who remember starting out and will give you the time of day.

    It’s just a view I offer. FWIW.

    In any event, Happy Christmas one and all!

    #23578 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    I would strongly suggest you requesting feedback from the libraries themselves rather than (talking generally here) some anonymous amateur dudes on a forum who may or may not be able to string two notes together. Hence, you cannot assess the quality of advice you get.

    I appreciate your responses @Alfredo, but this statement is based upon two assumptions:
    1) That those offering advice are amateurs, and
    2) that they do not know how to compose.

    Those are two pretty hefty assumptions. Because, as you point out, these people are anonymous, you can’t really know that those assumptions are accurate.

    I am not familiar with libraries that have a ‘music submissions’ page so I cannot comment on the implications of that.

    You’d be surprised to find that among the “amateurs” there are many composers in those libraries who have graduated from prestigious colleges and universities with degrees in composition who are already successful film / media composers that simply choose to develop additional revenue streams by licensing music through libraries that have a “music submissions page.” Thinking otherwise is a popular and, I suspect, comforting misconception.

    It’s not an either/or proposition. Composers can write for WFH libraries and be entrepreneurs selling their own tracks.

    #23579 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Problem is, it has a slight ethnicity about it which isn’t the kind of genre that gets libraries excited because it doesn’t earn very much.

    Ethnic and World music actually does consistently well in those “submissions page” libraries. You have direct access to a global client base often looking for music to complement documentaries, travelogues, and geographically specific adverts, etc.

    #23581 Reply

    Edouardo
    Participant

    Alfredo, I tend to agree with Michael here. This forum is a little different from any other Forum I have experienced. It is actually thanks to these guys on MLR that I found a direction to get started a little more than 2 years ago (I didn’t know this library business even existed before that) . Now, after two years, thanks to the great advice on this site, I am approaching the 5 digit in terms of licence sales for 2015 (around 4k in terms of net income). I haven’t seen back end yet, although Tunesat reports promises some soon…

    I refrained commenting on Ariel’s track, because of my moderate experience, though I kind of agree with some of the comments I read. But in any case, he must not stop. He is definitely on his way there, and considering criticism as guide to further progress is the way to go! When I heard the music, it made me think of my sound 3 years ago…

    Ariel, I progressed technically tremendously thanks to a music magazine: Sound on Sound’s articles on mixing, mastering etc…

    I am curious Alfredo about how you were able to network so well. Based in Europe, I feel frustrated as I would love to go to these meetings. I have an easy contact with people, and although I still feel I need to progress, I believe some tracks in my catalog can start rivaling music on these great networks. Is there a way or specific events to network with these industry leaders in Europe?

    #23583 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    I’m not trying to start a contest or war with respect who’s wrong or right. Most business models have their place in the grand scheme of things, with the exception of a few that are simply exploitive of composers.

    When someone makes general assumptions about a forum, the caliber of composers who participate in a given business model, etc., it’s a form of snobbery which doesn’t sit well.

    The fact is that there are many very pragmatic professional composers (including myself), who, as I said, take advantage of all the revenue streams available and don’t feel like using a sales platform (library) with a “submissions page” is the musical equivalent of the “Scarlet Letter.”

    Those libraries serve a very practical purpose in providing monthly income while waiting for backend royalties to develop and in smoothing out fluctuations in backend royalties. More than one composer has used RF sales as a base income source, which provided them with the freedom to pursue more ambitious goals.

    The irony, of course, is that the derogatory comments regarding anonymous posters and “submissions page” libraries came from an anonymous poster.

    #23584 Reply

    alfredo

    Michael,

    I do find it hard to communicate with you as you seem to see everything as an ad hominem attack on you and your fellow composers. I merely offer a viewpoint from where I am positioned within the industry. One can take it. One can leave it.

    I will not add a further comment as it will be construed as a further sleight.

    I will however, reiterate my Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas and joyous New Year!

    Peace.

    A

    #23585 Reply

    arielblacksmith
    Participant

    Gentlemen! this post has been a goldmine of knowing which direction to take my music to, im grateful to you all and the time you took to write what you tought.

    About alfredo`s comment, i took it as “take it with a grain of salt because music is subjective” and supposed he wanted to protect me from thinking my music was the worst music to ever exist on earth because of criticism.

    When i ask for advice, i usually ask many diffent people with different backgrounds for it (in this particular case i asked composers, mix engineers, and a music editor friend of mine) and in the areas that they all agree on that is where i go, the biggest advice has been mix and all its ramifications ( mids, width, clarity etc etc)

    Happy Ears- which 2nd cue do you refer to, beat of the amazon?? to know what sounds like a keytar haha

    MichaelL- how did you notice the phasing issues? was it something from the ukulele? there was something about the ukulele driving me mad every second bar , but wasnt sure how to fix it.

    Thanks again for your time and honest criticism , I wish you a merry chrstmas and happy new year, heres to making better music!

    #23586 Reply

    MuscoSound
    Participant

    You can use the TT Dynamic Range meter, which is free, to get an idea of where your phasing issues are by switching it into mono or you could also look at the correlation area of the meter. When it’s in mono you can hear when the music drops in places where there’s phase problems. Also another good free plugin is Solid State Inter-Sampling Meter. That’s not for phase issues but for making sure the peaks don’t distort your sound.

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