Forum Replies Created
- 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.
2 to 3 a day?
If you are working at this Break-Neck CRAZY Speed, having zero free time to be human, and not seeing 6 Figures. Sorry, but there’s just no point in doing it.,.
This was pretty much my first real writing gig after moving out to LA. It took me years to unlearn the bad habits you have to lean on in order to ‘write’ that much music every day, every week, for months on end…
Is it normal practice for music companies to not let composers feature spots they’ve written?
It sounded like it was the ad agency that didn’t want anyone sharing it. Which is unusual for commercials, I certainly haven’t run into that before.
But it’s getting common in the trailer world – some studios don’t like anyone claiming on social media their part to play in the production of the trailer.
Tracks designed for TV and with no live parts take me about 10 hours, stretched out over two or three days. The breaks in between sessions give me fresh ears each day and helps a lot with a range of issues.
Tracks for trailers with no live recording can take me one night (for a custom short TV spot) to four days. With live recording, the whole process from sketch to recording to mix can take two weeks of work for one track.
I used to crank out tracks for TV at a crazy rate of two or three a day, but those tracks don’t make me nearly as much money as the ones I spend a lot more time on these days. Not to mention, rushing stuff made me develop bad habits, leaning on loops etc. Taking a lot of time seemed scary at first, but I improved a lot faster taking my time on each track. My aim is to make every new track the best thing I’ve produced to date… I might not always hit the mark but at least that’s the goal I have in the back of my mind as I work.
You do not have permission to view this content.December 19, 2018 at 7:05 pm in reply to: How much per track for a complete buyout (incl. full artist share) #31385
Are you implying they want all your writer’s share too?
Firstly, I’d personally NEVER sign something like that with a library. Do you realize how much one track could make you in royalties, for potentially decades? (decades might be a stretch, but if it’s a hit track, we could be talking 100s of $1000s).
If someone asked for a deal like that with me, I’d throw it back at them and offer a rate per track for $150,000. I think I’d be ok with someone claiming they wrote my music for that much money, not to mention collecting the royalties for potentially my whole life + 70 years.