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The answer always starts with this question, “What are your goals?” If you want to launch as an artist, then I say absolutely go with an aggregator. If you’re not sure that’s your direction, then think about it a while longer.
Based on your description, it sounds like something that’s a good fit for music libraries. You may need to do some additional work to really make it work (e.g., 30-second and 60-second edits), but it’s a good way to go. We’ve had some success with Pond5, but they’re not perfect. The really good ML catalogs connected with the majors probably won’t be an option, as they’re usually looking for writers with hundreds of tracks.
I definitely recommend BandCamp, because it’s all under your control, and they only get paid when you do. Although I’m not sure how much traffic they get (we haven’t had any sales on BC so far), but if you’re willing to promote it, I’d suggest it.
I would definitely not pursue a label. Unless it fits perfectly into a particular genre, and you can find a label with exactly that focus, you’ll probably not get any responses.
If I were you, I would:
1. Research music libraries. Non-exclusives are the easiest to get into, especially if you don’t have a large track count. And there’s a whole ton of content on MLR about the details of each one, including extensive debates about exclusive vs non-exclusive libraries.
2. Get busy on editing. See if you can edit your tracks to common lengths – 30-60-90 seconds. Consider if alternate mixes are possible, such as full band vs piano and strings only vs piano only. The more variety for a track, the better chances for placement.
3. Look at pitch services. Again, since you’re a member here, there’s fantastic resources to research pitch services like TAXI (not a fan), Music Supervisor (like), or a new one called Songtradr. This way you can actively pitch your music, and not just wait for other people to find you.
4. Build your own online presence. Get a domain name, build a basic website, and use other services to host your content. I use SoundCloud to build playlists for our main pages, and LicenseQuote to make the music licensable directly from me. Then create links to your BandCamp and YouTube pages for additional ways to find you.
…And I’m sure other MLR members will chime in as well. Guys/ladies?
The #1 advantage of working with a big library is traffic. If you only do it yourself, you have to get people to come to you. And that can be difficult for many reasons. And unless you have thousands of original tracks to work with, the clients can find your service less efficient than going to one with many more tracks to choose from. And that’s not even discussing all the details of pricing, paperwork, etc., that you’ll need to do.
My opinion? Do both. We are in several non-exclusive services, plus we have a page on our website. I highly recommend LicenseQuote.com to drive your own music page. It has the best of both worlds – you can license your own music, by the LicenseQuote service provides all the back end you need, including pricing and contracts.
What functionality do you need? If you’re “mousing around” refers to fader automation, then what you really need is a fader. I have a Frontier AlphaTrack (now discontinued), but PreSonus also makes FaderPort.
If you want to control plugin parameters, you might want to try something like the Novation Launch Control. Each of these run around $100 each, so check them out and see if they’ve got what you need.
As others have said, the #1 issue is not your monitors, but your room. My current studio/bedroom has horrible insulation, so I have to mix between school buses and street sweepers! But the main issue has to do with unwanted reflections in the mix position. You don’t have to cover the entire room in acoustic foam, just focus on the reflections off side walls, the back wall and the ceiling. More absorption than that is a personal choice.
The next most important part of the monitors is position. If you’re in a personal studio (read: extra bedroom), then your monitors will be set up as near-field monitors. Then the position – height, angle, distance between them, etc. – also makes a huge difference. There are plenty of articles on it, but the first basic idea is an equilateral triangle – the monitors the same distance apart as each one is from the prime mix position.
As an example, I used a set of RadioShack Minimus 7s in one studio – about $50 a pair at the time – and I loved them. But the room was well tuned, so they worked well. Get the room and position right, and the type and size of your monitors will be less important.
I’m also a big fan of MOTU interfaces, like the Ultralite I have, but that sounds a bit robust for what you need.
Check into the line of Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Great sound and only $149.