You may have noticed it too: it’s sometimes hard to make a difference between royalty-free tracks. And, browsing through the whole world of licenseable production music, you often feel like the new tune you’re checking out sounds substantially similar to something you heard 7 minutes ago.


Unfortunately, this is not a coincidence but a consequence. As the industry develops, “stock” music is gradually becoming a genre with its own characteristic elements and composition structure. On the one hand, this seems perfectly fine since each and every genre should be equipped with its own tools (that’s how people classify music after all). On the other, it’s true until it starts lacking creativity.

We are, of course, living in an era when robot-made tunes may soon become a norm, and many are fairly excited about it. Yet if you make a creative work of your own, and want to have a decently creative track to complement it and help you make an impact, conveyor-stamped music seems

a problem.

But there should be some sense in it, right? There are professional composers who mass-produce music for media some pieces of which are incredibly hard to remember, they can’t just be doing it unreasonably? That’s likely because of usability, or the industry standards, or...

The reason is the very job of a “stock” music composer. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes

of such a guy and imagine how it works. So what you do is:


1. Compose a tune which you believe can be used in a video or a game.


2. Find one or several platforms you would like it sold on, and adapt the piece to their requirements.


3. Submit the track and wait.


4. If accepted, your track will appear on the platform you chose. Yahoo!

Now let’s figure out where your money comes from. The platform can either buy your rights out making a one-time payment, or transfer a reward to you each time your track is licensed by their user. In the second case, it is the system that puts your track on the list – it may either appear at the top in the “new” section or be somewhere else, overshadowed by the “top-selling” playlist, and there is probably no clear way of how to make it go to the top, except for marketing it yourself. But isn’t it promotion why you needed this platform?


Some composers think that, either way, the only strategy to earn more is “make more music”. The more creations they submit, the greater is the chance one of the tracks will be found and purchased (or bought out initially, if that was the scheme). So, if such a guy sends 10 tracks – great start. 50 – awesome. 500 – rockstar!

But music takes time to produce, they still have to feed their families and don’t want to spend ten years on Grammy-nominated pieces. They want the result – as many tracks as possible, bought as many times as possible. So they write ones that are “usable” to the extent the platform requires and hurry to submit a new one the moment it looks like “they’ll buy it”.


I have seen composers who literally changed the tempo and a couple of notes, or replaced some chords, and presented the result as a new track. On top of that, they advised others to do the same to “optimize their production process”. Other composers may believe that there really is a standard of “inspirational” or “corporate”, and if a track does not match its likes, it will not find demand.

DISCLAIMER

Not all composers are like that, and that may be not a bad thing at all because many filmmakers may seek exactly what they do (e.g. if they want a light underscore). It also kind of forms the industry – “stock” music is not that expensive, making “signature” melodies or custom scores cost more. Luckily, many libraries (including those we partner with) offer multi-genre content that comes in handy in almost any case.

Anyway, if your goal has been to find an original soundtrack for your project and you were wondering why it’s sometimes hard to find “stock” tracks that stand out – I hope this has answered your question.

Feb 23 2018

By Mickey Devall of Soundexter.com

Mickey is a composer, singer and voice actor. His clients are Visa, Coca Cola, Mastercard, Kaspersky Lab, Miscrosoft, Gazprom and KHL.

KEEP READING:

Why are so many similar tracks out there?

So, you’re hoping to enhance your media project with a great soundtrack. This obviously reasonable initiative leads you to finding millions of tracks available on the Web, many of them nicely produced and usable, yet I have one question to you.

HOW MANY OF THE ROYALTY-FREE TRACKS YOU'VE HEARD CAN YOU ACTUALLY REMEMBER?
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