Royalty Free Libraries. Should You? Who's Right?

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  • #18521 Reply

    I’ve made a conscious decision to go RF, based upon the type of music that I compose, the amount of music in my catalog, and RF libraries’ ability to get my music to its intended users. I can’t say it any more clearly than that.

    Sweet! Congratulations!

    #18522 Reply

    All due respect to Art but the title of this thread is a bit ridiculous

    Royalty Free Libraries. Should You? Who’s Right?

    It is obvious that most composers don’t even know what a royalty free music library is.
    And the fact that RF libraries sell to a completely different market makes this question basically un-answerable. It is beyond apples and oranges.
    This has been explained intelligently and in detail over and over again by MichaelL but still people seem to have this weird Us vs Them mentality.

    I mean, there’s a housewife that needs a legally licensed piece of music to put in the background of her kid’s vacation video so she can put it on youtube. Some composers seem to think she should pay them $5000 and more for the opportunity to use their divine artistic creation of a slapped together loop track just to use behind images of her kids playing in the ocean.
    But in reality she is willing to reach into her purse, take out her credit card, and pay you the composer a reasonable fee for the right to use your divine loop based creation in her video.
    That is what a Royalty Free Music Library is.

    Why is it always “either/or” and “Who’s Right?”. Royalty free music libraries have been around since the dawn of time. Why is this even a relevant question at this point?

    #18523 Reply

    And the fact that RF libraries sell to a completely different market makes this question basically un-answerable.


    It’s not all housewives making YT videos of their kid’s vacation.

    I spent many years composing music for corporate clients, “industrial” producers and documentary film makers. My father was a corporate film producer.

    In-house corporate types have strict budgets. Some of the industrial and documentary producers that I composed for, worked out of their houses. What they spent on music literally came out of their pockets. In the case of documentary producers, they often have limited grant money.

    In the 80’s I was approached by a person who produced “multi-media” shows, basically multiple slide projectors + audio (primitive Power Point), to help him start a “no-needle drop” library, because producers like him found the cost of library music needle drops to high. It was a profitable experience. I can’t say the same for every exclusive deal that I’ve had.

    The point is, if you do not understand the RF market, it clients and their needs, you cannot expect to do well. Moreover, you cannot expect that because some music does well in gratis TV licensing that it will, or should, do well in RF libraries. Apples and oranges.

    #18526 Reply

    The point is, if you do not understand the RF market, it clients and their needs, you cannot expect to do well

    Is really the point isn’t it. I would be on the 1k + point through 6 or so RF libraries. I think to categorise RF music as ‘garage bandy’ is not really applicable as much as it used to be . Sure there is that low budget stuff, but in the mid range there is competition, you have to know your game, and it is constantly evolving business, as all media businesses are.
    The only reason I can think of for pro composer and that ilk to diss an entire sector of an industry like that, is primarily fear. Its akin to saying “I was watching TV last night and there was nothing good on, so all TV is bad.

    I only know where my music has gone through libraries that report it, it includes major international corporations to the “University of Canberra” and all flavours in between.

    #18527 Reply

    I agree that the title of this thread makes it all ridiculous as if there is a right or wrong, one size fits all. Different markets, different types of composers, etc… Not even sure why this discussion keeps going.

    #18552 Reply
    Mark Lewis

    Not even sure why this discussion keeps going.

    Because for some reason DI keeps resurrecting ancient threads? 🙂

    #22511 Reply

    You guys are mean. I’m getting into RF now… Been doing the PRO library thing for 10 months. Seen no money yet, 1 placement. (I don’t expect to see any $$ until a few years down the line). Gonna try to make some faster cash with RFs by putting my non-exclusive music in them.

    #22513 Reply

    I’ve actually gotten paid upfront $250 for 1 track.. and a sync fee for $250 on an internet ad. No money aside from that I mean.

    #27636 Reply

    I’ve made 10 albums over the last 15 or so years, plus another 3 “archives” that have 150 tracks between them.

    In total, I’ve made £800 in sales from bandcamp, and my last album cost me £50 to get mastered, and I made £42 from album sales, so I find myself pushed into composing primarily for music libraries and abandoning my dream of being the next Juan Atkins or Boards of Canada.

    I emailed 40 libraries with links. 38 of those said they would respond in 6 to 8 weeks, but never did. 1 library absolutely loves my music and I signed an exclusive contract for 3 tracks, and they want more.
    That was 4 or 5 months ago, and I have no idea if those tracks have been used, and i’ve heard nothing from the library. Another library responded very favourably, but I got so caught up with signing the exclusive contract that I can’t remember what they said.

    I had to give up work due to sickness, and im now practically skint, so RF sites, although I hate what they stand for, are something I’m very interested in , in the short-term, just until I get my head above water again financially.
    I don’t want to sell my music for peanuts, but at this present time, I feel I have no choice.

    #39717 Reply

    Does it make sense to have the same track in both a non-exclusive PRO library and in a Royalty-Free library?

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