Forum Replies Created
- July 13, 2019 at 6:58 pm in reply to: YouTube Content ID, AdRev and Copyright Infringment #32679
Yeah it sucks – then the next question is, when are you getting your share of that income? And shouldn’t you get all of it?
I had a non-ex library that I’ve done really well with, literally do this at least four times with the SAME music… the first time I’d find out would be from a RF library freaking out, telling me they have to refund sales to some of their customers. After the first time it was always a mistake – non-ex music bundled in with exclusive music and sent over to AdRev, then uploaded into Source Audio, then removed, then put in again… it was all worth the stress and hassle though because this particular library has netted me much more than all RF libraries have combined.
These days I seem to just get the mistaken or fraudulent matches – illegal ‘remixes’ of my tracks (bought from a RF site) that are enrolled in Content ID, stuff like that.
Try working with stems – with long strings separated from short strings, pads from rhythms, cymbals from the rest of the drums. That makes the issue of decay a lot easier to deal with.
OK sorry for the late reply.
I’m going to break down Lucky’s, LAWriter’s and NYwriter’s responses: (and I apologize for singling you guys out, but I hear these things all the time and wanted to address them)
The trajectory of earning of someone starting after 2015 is going to be radically different from someone who started in the early 00’s or late 90’s. Radically different.
Maybe I’m jaded from reading too much doom and gloom on the internet, but I’m assuming you mean it’s harder than it was 15 years ago. I would disagree completely – my basic ‘career’ path (if you can call it that) has been so far: write for ultra low budget films (keep doing this throughout) –> write for libraries that didn’t pay me anything upfront –> contribute music for reality TV composers –> write for higher end libraries –> keep doing all that AND start trying to write trailer music –> write trailer music long enough that I get good enough to have a placement every couple of months or so.
I think you’ll find that anyone can still do that, in fact there’s more demand than ever for music at all levels – indie projects TV, and high end stuff like trailers. Not to mention – the tools are cheaper, faster, and all the education you’d ever need is on YouTube or online courses. Sure, stock sites are clogged up now, but I’m not really talking about those. I think the main thing that’s made it harder to succeed as a composer (or anything really) these days is more DISTRACTION – social media, info addiction, addictive games you play on your phone…
Mark’s income ladder is not as easily achieved in today’s licensing world for a couple of reasons… while he has worn a variety of money-generating hats in the music composing business… his bread-and-butter is trailer music.
No it’s not actually. Performance royalties from general library use still make up the majority of my income.
Those used to pay much higher than they do today but those were also bigger buyout deals. It (usually) did not include any back-end royalties because the buy-outs were large. Now… those same trailer buy-outs have diminished in scale, volume and revenue and now (in varying degrees) include back-end royalties (which is sort of a joke when you realize the shelf-life of film trailers!)…
Actually if you work with a range of libraries in the trailer world, you’ll find that, if anything, license are as high as ever, thanks to the boutique libraries at the top commanding huge fees, and the rise of custom work (incorporating themes, or song melodies) that naturally get $40K – $90K (sometimes more) a pop due to the buy out nature of the job.
and “trailer music” like every other form of work in the music business is completely over-saturated with young composers living at home and willing to work for less-and-less (or nothing thus having diluted the industry run by vampires)…
Do you mean the ‘epic orchestral music’ popping up on P5, AJ etc? Yes there’s a ton of that now. But music at the production value required for trailers, combined with the authentic sound of trailer music, is still rare, and anyone producing it has a strong chance of placement in TV spots and trailers, IF (big IF) they put their music in the hands of great libraries.
I’m also sure that when Mark started, he established relationships with Libs who pay up front or upon delivery. He may have kept these relationships going.
I’m only aware of 2 or 3 Libs that pay up front nower days. It says a lot.
When I started, I was doing films for free or next to nothing, then keeping the rights to the music, and then plugging it into non-ex libraries. This helped a trickle of royalties start to come in. I didn’t start working with libraries that paid well upfront ($500 or more per track) until about four years into writing full time, and those deals were work for hire, as in, I got the writer’s share of the performance royalties, but no licensing. So in the long run, I started to move away from most of those deals as they felt a bit like fool’s gold.
What really got me going royalties wise was helping reality TV composers with their shows. They’d take half the writers (usually – sometimes less, a few times more), but generally it was an ok deal at the time because I’d get a little upfront ($100 – $250 a track) and the tracks would have a strong chance of getting used immediately.
I won’t mention what I make today, but here’s a rough estimate (give or take 20%) of what I made from library music in my first years doing it full time (sales, licensing, royalties, upfront fees):
I’ve been lucky – no doubt – but I think this trajectory is pretty typical if you’re able to do this full time, and are always looking to improve both the client friendliness of your music (TV, advertising), and the quality of the libraries you work with. My break in that third year was working as a contributing writer for reality TV composers, who would hire me to write dozens of tracks.
Publicly, I’ve learnt the hard way to limit that type of info. Privately, with friends or close acquaintances, sure! But to reinforce what’s already been mentioned – the circumstances and timing of when I started working with these libraries might be very different to what someone would experience today. A trailer library I write for went from four writers in 2012 to over 150 today, as just one example. Another was doing amazingly well for over a decade and then quite suddenly stopped getting my music used.June 17, 2019 at 2:53 am in reply to: Interesting discussion on Library Music saturation and the reasons behind it. #32413
wow I didn’t have time to listen to an hour of this, but skimming through, here’s my rebuttal:
A lot of the criticism is directed at trailer music. Actual TRAILER MUSIC (as in, the music in trailers) is far more innovative than most people think. We’re not talking about the stuff playing behind Cake Boss – that ‘epic’ sound is cheapened by overuse in everything from sausage ads to reality TV shows. It sometimes creeps into TV spots (the short TV ads for movies) but generally there’s a demand for innovation and something a little different in most trailers.
Secondly, trailer music doesn’t usually use construction kit style loops. Maybe the odd Damage loop makes its way into a TV spot, but that’s rare too these days.
I think it’s generally lazy thinking to throw trailer music under the bus, to consider it as braams and slams. That’s more what people put together when they’re attempting to make ‘epic trailer music’.
Check out some of the latest trailers for examples of innovation, especially ones for films made by artistic studios like A24. There’s much less ‘playing it safe’ than this discussion would make you believe.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say a lot of trailer music is more innovative than a lot of blockbuster film scores. Definitely more innovative than most TV scores.
Yeah it sucks right?!
I see it a little on most statements these days – negative number ‘adjustments’. Could be a few reasons I can think of, the most likely being that the cue sheets were submitted before the shows aired, but the show ended up not airing all its episodes…
What I mean by ‘production value’ covers everything about the finished product – the execution of the musical ideas. That includes arrangement (voicing, orchestration and counterpoint), as well as the choice of palette – the overall color scheme of a track…the synths and augmentation you give to the orchestral parts. How good the samples sound is a critical part of that, but not the only job that falls under getting the production as polished as possible.
Someone like the genius Thomas Bergersen can make samples from 2004 sound better than new ones that just came out – it’s really more about how you use the tools you have.
Then there’s the mix, and everything that is beyond simply balancing the track and making sure it’s not clipping – treating most tracks with some degree of EQ and compression, what reverb(s) you’re using, and what mastering chain you run on the master fader.
It’s a nice piece, and with a bit of mixing clean up and production help it would be great for TV.
If it’s critiqued for trailers, to be blunt it doesn’t quite have the production value or emotional depth and arc for trailer placement. You should listen and compare this to other trailer music that has been placed in a big trailer… you probably start too strong out the gate and leave less room to build.
If a trailer track should start at a ‘1’ (dramatically speaking) and gradually get to a ’10’, this track starts more like at a 3 and gets to a 7.
Getting a track to start small and then grow to where it sounds like it’s hit ’10’ is very hard – believe me I know after over 300 attempts at writing trailer music. You basically can’t leave anything out by the very end – it has to be the most dramatic ending possible – both musically (you’re pretty close here) and production / arrangement wise (that’s where you really need to focus more attention).
AI is a long way out from supplanting a skilled composer, especially in the dynamic orchestral hybrid styles. Where they might make inroads is in the bottom rung of generic loop based, construction set music, but that doesn’t pay anyway. So yeah! Invest in yourself.
For sure, that’s exactly what I suspect as well. But… as BeatSlinger noted, that ‘construction set music’ – or any very loop based genre for that matter – makes up a huge amount of what’s on TV and is probably easily replicable by a basic AI or even clever set of code. Once someone has that figured out, the clock will be ticking on practically every other genre – true AI (if that’s what we’re talking about0 learns from its experiences. Not to mention, as the easy work gets gradually eroded by automated music making software, it will likely put pressure on the rest of the library scene, as people out of work try their hand at other genres.
My hope is that while library music might get completely upended by all this, there will be lots of new opportunities for AI- assisted composing to actually get composers more work. Here are some utopian scenarios:
– films become game-ified choose-your-own-adventure experiences, much like how Netflix has started doing. The score goes from being 45 minutes – 1 hour to over 4 hours to cover all the options the user can choose. AI helps a composer stretch out their music by generating cues based on a set of themes and palette the composer establishes for the whole project.
– augmented reality real time, real life scoring – human composers create a pool of assets – themes, palette, different emotional content, and the AI draws from all those in real time for someone who wants to put on their AR googles on experience life scored like a movie.April 12, 2019 at 10:22 pm in reply to: Library offering 25% sync and 50% direct performance; is this a fair request? #32080
I can’t think of any reason I’d recommend a library that took 75% of the licensing without paying a lot of money upfront, except if they never really licensed anything and solely focused on royalties. Even then, I’d be dubious.April 11, 2019 at 11:00 pm in reply to: Library offering 25% sync and 50% direct performance; is this a fair request? #32060
If they’re not paying you upfront, it’s an insult to ask for more than 50% of the licensing. You’re literally giving them ownership of this music for free, FOREVER.
what would be your sound advice for those whose willing to stick it out the next 10-15 years?
If I can throw in my $0.02’s worth, this would be my advice:
1) write / produce the very best music you can, as fast as you can make it your best work.
There’s little point in churning out mediocre music these days. I speak from experience that two or three great sounding tracks can make 1000 times more than 50 lame tracks that were rushed out the door.
2) there might be an AI apocalypse for library music in 10 – 15 years, so make hay while the sun shines. It might not be AI writing and finishing music from start to finish (highly unlikely for at least the next decade) but we’ll probably start to see good AI -assisted writing become commonplace within ten years. This will probably decimate library music composers because it will mean every composer can now write much much more music than previously possible.
If, before we get to that point, you have a lot of music in episodes of TV shows, those re-runs will at least keep you going for a while.
3) focus on music that is harder for a kid with some loops and good samples in Garageband to put together, because a) there are more of those coming online every day, and b) that’s the kind of music that will be easy for AI to do first. Maybe record live instruments to sweeten your samples – further giving your music longevity.
4) be patient with the money, but be impatient with getting music out into the world (into good libraries).
So, do you think the main income source for the average composer nowadays is performance royalties or sync fees? I’ve been reading everywhere that PROs are paying less and less.
I write mostly for trailers, a little for TV, film and games. I’ve been doing trailer music for over a decade so I get a decent stream of placements, but royalties still make up about 50% – 60% of my total income… the trailer placements are just nice bonuses but the steady money is from TV air time.
pretty much the same experience as working with AdRev (the Haawk founder actually founded and then sold AdRev for millions), but a slightly better rate.