Types/Styles Of Tracks in RF vs. Conventiional Libraries

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  • #12673 Reply

    It’s been mentioned before, by MichaelL and others, that the types of tracks (styles, production, etc) that do well in the RF market may be different than those that succeed in conventional broadcast-oriented libraries.

    I was wondering if folks could expand on that and explain these differences. For example, I have a bunch of tracks in conventional non-exclusive libraries that regularly place them as BG on reality TV shows, usually a part of blanket deals (no complaints there). They are well produced, with live instruments (mainly rock), and are general considered good quality. Could tracks like these do OK in the RF market? I know that’s hard to say without hearing them. I’m looking for general guidelines on the differences between the markets as far as types of tracks.


    #12674 Reply

    Bumping just so this shows up top on the left. It seems that without a reply, it doesn’t. Sorry, Art. 🙂

    #12676 Reply

    @Advice (did you send me friend request?)

    Here’s my spin on this, based on years of doing non-broadcast work.
    There’s an entire universe of things like product videos, training videos and educational videos that often has an entirely different aesthetic than broadcast stuff, which is pop culture oriented.

    If you can imagine a corporate video, for example, about a manufacturing process for paint polymers. What???? I used to score productions like that all the time. You need to understand a few basics: 1) corporations are conservative, so things like hip hop and dubstep might not fly on internal productions. 2) The music must be subservient to the narration. It can’t fight with the VO. When your talking about things like, polymers, pharmaceuticals, even financial products, the copy can be pretty dense. At times the music is minimal.

    True story: I was scoring a corporate film, and the producer came to my studio to listen to the track against picture. Every 10 or 15 seconds he’d ask, “can you take that note out? Can you take that sound out?” After about half an hour there was nothing left but one long drone note and a few accents. The entire piece was deconstructed. He asked, “do you mind?” I said, “no, I get paid by the minute, not by the note.”

    I offer that only as an illustration of how minimal and different some corporate music can be. The producer became a client for years, because I gave him the music that he wanted.

    I guess I would say, try to watch some corporate videos on youtube.
    Try to watch some science or education videos. Maybe you can find that stuff on youtube. Often museums have videos as part of their exhibits.
    I’ve done scores for historical properties and environmental foundations. The former required baroque sounding cues, and that later has ranged from tropical to nautical.

    In other words, there’s a need for broad spectrum of functional music outside the world of pop culture.

    I have a busy day today. You can send me a pm to talk more.



    PS..I just remembered that Art posted a great video about Birds of Paradise. That’s something good to watch for other kinds of music.

    #12680 Reply
    More advice

    All good stuff Michael L, but I really do not think any rules exist for RF. Advice, anything sells on RF. We have no idea who is shopping there or why, or for what. Today, I sold a hard rock piece (For $100 guys!). Last week it was an anthemic, piano pop piece that built up with strings and drums. I’ve sold Barry White stuff, Mariachi, I even sold a “Movie Style” cue, all cinematic strings, that I constructed on I-pad in Garage band on a vacation!

    I don’t make a habit of writing on I_Pad in Garage band, I did this piece for kicks and it really turned out nice and has a place in a production.

    Also, there is no discrimination with length, I’ve sold 30’s, 60’s and full length tracks.

    #12681 Reply

    More Advice is correct that anything sells on RF.

    My spin is that in addition to what More Advice said, RF is perhaps the best outlet for non-broadcast-friendly music. By that, I don’t mean not broadcast quality. I mean music outside of pop-culture

    But…if libraries if there’s no backend potential, libraries like JP most likely have no interest. What I’ll call small information or industrial producers aren’t likely to pay high-end exclusive sync fees (and there’s no backend interest there either). So…that leaves the RF
    world as a logical place to sell music to those consumers.

    For that reason its s good fit for my catalog.

    And, I remembered the most frequent word / instruction I was given by corporate clients when asked what they wanted: “upbeat.” I took that to mean an overall positive, perky, motivational mood.



    #12683 Reply

    Do you guys think a 1:30 tracks as a full version will work in RF? Beacuse I tend to think that the RF customers like longer full versions since they are not good at editing and cant make the track longer. I know that 1:30 will work well in broadcast since they can edit (Although I heard some really nasty edits on air) and most often than not 1:30 is more than enough for most placements.

    #12685 Reply

    @music_pro, I wouldn’t assume that all RF customers aren’t good at editing. They could well being using Avid and Pro Tools.

    (Although I heard some really nasty edits on air)

    I’ve sat in on broadcast “editing” sessions where decisions were made in seconds with little, or no thought to the musicality of the edit. I guess they thought it would sound like a “glitch.” In one the editor could have made the cut 5 seconds earlier, under a really loud sound effect, and it never would have been noticed. Instead, it was in the clear.

    But, to answer your question, RF buyers might think they are getting more value with a longer version. I would check the FAQ’s or knowledge base for the libraries that you’re in, or just ask them.



    #12687 Reply

    Thanks for the detailed reply, Michael.

    #12688 Reply
    Art Munson

    Though I have sold just about ever length on RF sites I do think longer pieces may be better. Just my two cents and it’s only a gut feel but I seem to do way better with broadcast placements and I seldom go over 2 minutes.

    And MichaelL has a point. My music is usually pretty dense so that may be a factor, for me, on why I don’t sell better on RF sites.

    #12689 Reply

    I think it is true that anything will sell on the RF market but to sell well enough to make the effort worthwhile is a different thing altogether. If you look at all the top sellers on the big market places it’s all the same u2, coldplay ripoffs and folky ukalelle tracks. I actually think the RF market is very narrow, for example sad music doesn’t sell and electronica/hip hop is unpopular. Which isn’t reflective of the wider library market. As Michael pointed out there is a reason why some music styles are unpopular in RF world.. If it isn’t happy smiley music then the chance of making good coin in RF is slim compared to more diverse tracks that make good coin in PRO libs.

    #12690 Reply

    There’s a saying in radio that music is the thing that happens in between the commercials.

    Sad doesn’t sell things. Even when you’re doing polymer music , or health care music, it has to have a “visionary” element.

    You won’t see sad music on reality TV, even when a Kardashian can’t find the right shoes for party, or the cast from Jersey Shore runs out of beer.

    As far as U2 and Coldplay go that’s the music that was most popular when todays 30 to 40-ish corporate managers/decision makers were in their late teens and early twenties. (just a theory)


    PS. no wait, I was wrong! I have been making money every quarter for almost 15 years from three sad pieces of music that I did for a library based in Australia. Those pieces have been everywhere including the Playboy Channel, Bravo, and PBS. They were used a lot in the UK on something called the Brave Little Toaster. This quarter I received $1.15 from Australia and Taiwan.

    #12700 Reply

    Thanks Michael for your replay.

    I think you guys got a point. All my tracks are hip hop and dance and less then 2 min and I dont really sell good on RF, but really good at broadcast.

    And about the sad thing, I did heard some sad stuff on reality TV, but more into the emotional sad. This is happens when someone lose to someone else or get kicked out of the house/competition but yes, overall, they dont get used a lot at all. And what is the most easiest thing to write? Sad (maybe it is just me)

    #12701 Reply

    I think you guys got a point. All my tracks are hip hop and dance and less then 2 min and I dont really sell good on RF, but really good at broadcast

    The same for me!

    #12702 Reply
    Rob (Cruciform)

    You won’t see sad music on reality TV, even when a Kardashian can’t find the right shoes for party, or the cast from Jersey Shore runs out of beer.

    Hey MichaelL,

    If I can add one clarification there. There’s always a need for sad music on shows like The Bachelor, Masterchef, etc when contestants lose a challenge/are sent home/voted out. In general, though, you’re right.

    #12705 Reply

    This is a good discussion. Glad I started it! [Pats self on back 😉 ]…

    We’ve mentioned before that some folks lump all libraries together, RF or conventional, and don’t really get an understanding of the different business models and markets.

    The reminder that positive, motivational, upbeat is probably the most popular is very helpful both for deciding what tracks to upload and how to tag them. And yes, there are no hard and fast rules but there are trends and probabilities.

    Rob… Loved your comment about scenes where the Kardashian girls can’t find the right shoes for a party! Cracked me up! 🙂

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