We caught up with our sister company Cinephonix to discuss all the common questions composers have when submitting their music to a new production music library. Whether you’ve been composing for years or you’re just starting out as a hobby, you’ll have asked or plan to ask these questions.
Do you license music royalty free?
The term ‘royalty free’ is often confused as it has a couple of different definitions. We’d recommend always asking the library what they define it as. Cinephonix representative describes royalty free as ‘a term used to describe music that can be purchased for use without the requirement to pay further royalties for the use of the music. This means that the music publisher and the composer that writes the music for the publisher is not a member of any collection society anywhere in the world.’
To put it into context, Audio Jungle for example is a royalty free music library. Once a customer purchases the track, they can only use it once in their project, they don’t have to pay any further fees such as royalties. If you’re registered with a PRO, unfortunately you won’t be able to submit music to Audio Jungle.
Music Loops also sell royalty free music. But once purchased, you can use the track as many times as you like in your project (unlike Audio Jungle) and you don’t have to pay any further fees.
So they both sell royalty free music but actually license the music differently. It’s always useful to double check with the library so you don’t waste your time pursuing a relationship with them to then realize it’s not going to work.
How do I get my music in a library?
This largely depends on the music libraries selection process and composer communication. Some libraries may have a specific area or hub for composer to upload there music suggestions which are then reviewed and accepted. Cinephonix have their own composer portal at http://composer.cinephonix.com/ which gives thorough information on how to submit music to them.
If you can’t see any obvious links for composers, just contact the library through their contact form or email. Be careful NOT to attach sound files to your email as music libraries hate this, it clogs up their inbox. Firstly enquire on the process and then wait on instructions for uploading tracks.
Can I use a pseudonym?
All music libraries should allow you to use a pseudonym if you want one. Make sure this is registered with any PROS to ensure you get your royalties if you choose to have one.
Here’s a few points that will help you decide if you want to use a pseudonym:
- Is composing just your part time job or hobby? If so, we’d recommend a pseudonym to distinguish this as a separate aspect of you. It also prevents potential clients googling you and finding out that you’re actually an accountant in a law firm by day.
- If you choose to use a pseudonym, make sure it’s consistent across all your website and social media. You don’t want customers to get confused about who you actually are or think you’re two different people.
Pro’s Of Pseudonyms
- You can use multiple pseudonyms if you have music on a number of different libraries. This prevents people from Googling you to find the track name and cheapest price.
- Pseudonyms are easier to remember to customers are more likely to return. Jerry Cool is much easier to remember than Bob Jones.
- Customers will credit your name in their video which will help increase your online presence.
Cons Of Pseudonyms
- When people do Google your name, it may decrease your opportunities as your name won’t be accredited for on all projects.
- It’ll make it harder for people to approach you for customizing of tracks or commissioned projects.
- It can get confusing when registering with PROS.
Where can I find new music libraries to work with?
So you’ve now searched through pages and pages of Google looking for production music libraries to submit your music too. But once you’ve exhausted Google, where do you look next? Here’s a couple of our resources:
How to license your music – This is a great resource in general if you’re a composer. It has a music library directory which gives you a long list of supervisors and music libraries that you can approach. This is a document that you have to pay for but it’s well worth it if you’re struggling for resources.
Music Library Report – Our favourite resource and lots of friendly composers! It contains thousands of forum threads between composers chatting about issues, libraries and collabs. Our favourite aspect is their library rating feature – access an A-Z list of music libraries and other composers ratings on what it’s like to work with them. So you can simply skip to the 5* reviews and approach them. Again, this isn’t a completely free service but if you’re going to pay for a resource, we’d recommend this one.
Music Registry – Another option similar to the above. This is a less targeted source in that it targets those looking for record labels and managers as well as music publishers but still no harm in checking it out.
Is it essential that I use metadata?
Some music libraries are really keen for you to use metadata and others don’t allow you too as they write the meta data themselves. We’d recommend always having some meta data for your tracks as if your music is used in a project, it’s then really easy to find out who wrote it and how to get in touch with them. You don’t want to miss out on future opportunities because you couldn’t be bothered to do your data.
For anyone whose not sure exactly what meta data is, it’s the information attached to your track providing data such as title, artist, year, comment etc. Not sure how to write your meta data? There are hundreds of tools out there which should help you out. Our favourite is MP3 Tag.
How much will my tracks sell for on a music library?
This is a really tricky one as it’s completely up to the library how they want to license your tracks. It also often depends on the use of your track. For example, a track used in a YouTube video is likely to be cheaper than the same track used in a TV commercial.
Your track could be $10 on one library and $1000 on the next, it just depends on the audience. For example, Cinephonix pride themselves on being a premium quality, exclusive library so price their music slightly higher – $48 for website use. However, you won’t find the tracks anywhere else as they’re all completely exclusive to Cinephonix.
What are the benefits of submitting my music to a library?
It costs you nothing to submit your music to a library so any revenue generated is a bonus – that alone is a great reason to submit you music. Here are a few other pros:
- It can be done in your spare time
- There is no pressure, you only have yourself to answer to
- You can submit whatever style/genre of music you like
- You can do it from anywhere as it’s all online based
- It gets your name out there, buyers are more likely to come back to you.
Hundreds of composers submit their music to the same library, how do I make sure mine is heard?
It’s important to make yourself and your music stand out from the crowd. First impressions are really important, if the music library like you then they’re going to want to publicize you and your music.
- Send your initial email from your professional address instead of your hotmail.
- Don’t attach sound files to your email, like we siad before, music libraries HATE this, send links instead.
- Send them a short paragraph about yourself including scores and awards.
- Make sure the music you submit is finished, mastered and mixed properly.
Is it better to submit links to multiple genres or stick to one genre?
This is a tricky one because it’s good to show that you’re diverse and can compose in multiple genres but if that is going to affect the quality then stick to your strongest genre. Also, each library is different and have popular and unpopular genres so do your research before submitting samples. It’d be silly to submit an eclectic piece if the library don’t even have that as a search option on their site. If you’re submitting in one genre, you could just explain that you can also send other genres if required.
How can I make sure i’m organised when writing for multiple libraries?
Spreadsheets are the best way to keep tabs on all of your music, their information and what music library they’re with. Here’s a few tabs you could include in your spreadsheet:
General Info – Information like your CAE number, track titles etc.
Logins – A record of all your different log in details for different lbraries
Reporting – Your reporting data given to you from the music library about the success of your tracks.
Exclusivity – Keep track of which tracks are submitted to exclusive libraries and which are submitted to non-exclusive. Also make a note of the specific library to make it easier for yourself.
Meta data – If you’re uploading to multiple libraries, you don’t want to re type your meta data every single time. Keep track of your descriptions, instruments, length etc so you can just copy and paste it across.
Keywords – Really useful for when you think of keywords at random times. If you have common keywords for different genres on a spreadsheet, it prevents you sat thinking for ages when you upload the track.
Re-titles – Libraries sometimes rename your tracks so make sure you keep an eye out for this and add them to this tab on your spreadsheet.
Revenue – It’s good to keep track of how much income you get from each library on a monthly basis. It helps figure out where you’re making money, what tracks are successful and what you should focus on.
Do I mix and master my own music or do the library do that?
Again, it depends on the kind of library you’re submitting to. Some libraries just accept anything and automatically put it all live, in this case it’s good to mix and master your own tracks to ensure they sound the best possible. Some libraries will master the tracks for you based on how they want it to sound and it’s potential placements.
Is there a guide for the track structure?
Most production music tracks follow the same structure as it’s just what’s popular in video editors. Here’s what Cinephonix recommends:
- Keep tracks between 1:30 and 3 minutes long.
- Don’t let the track build for too long, often it’ll be cut anyway
- Avoid vocals if possible, it’s rare that vocal tracks that aren’t chart songs get used in productions. If you do upload a vocal, always upload an instrumental too.
- Try to avoid specific date, place names or people’s names because this will limit your licensing options.
- Make sure each instrument is In-phase – please double check this before uploading as this is a common error.
- Your track should start at ‘0’. No silent pauses at the start of the track please.
- You don’t need to fade in or out tracks, editors will do this themselves if they want to.
- Production music can work best in sections (versus a traditional ‘song’ style), for example 8 bar part A, 8 bar part B, 8 bar part C etc.
- Unless absolutely crucial, please keep away from tempo and key changes as they can make editing difficult.
- No clicks or pops – please make sure the quality is the absolute best. It makes a big difference in selling your track.
- Levels – set your tracks to a regular high loudness level. No extreme flattening, just a good loudness level.
- Stems – once your main track is approved it is very helpful also have the raw unprocessed stems for your track
Exclusive Vs Non-Exclusive
Both! Why limit your options? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, submit your music to lots of non-exclusive companies initially and then find 1 or 2 really good exclusive companies. Exclusive tend to offer you a better deal in terms of revenue and composers often say they make more money exclusively but obviously you have to rely on that music library only to sell your track.
If you’re submitting music exclusively, check your reversion clause. This will usually say that the track can be reverted back to you if it hasn’t been sold a certain amount of times in a certain period of times. E.g if it hasn’t sold once in 3 years.
How can I increase my potential earnings with a library?
- Include alternative versions such as instrumentals, shorter versions, loops and stems.
- Try not to be very specific with your music. Simple guitar has more uses than Arabic eclectic.
- Spend time on the description, capture the clients attention and make it clear to them what the track is about
- If the music library gives you the opportunity to set your own price, don’t do it cheaper than everyone else. Price it a little higher as customers will think higher price = higher quality.
Thanks to the Cinephonix team for helping us out with these questions. Cinephonix are always looking for talented composers to join their team, if you’re interested simply click on the link below.Join Cinephonix Today Tune Bud Home