Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
Forum Statistics

184,613 users have contributed to 42,366 threads and 255,351 posts.

In the past 24 hours, we have 1 new thread(s), 7 new post(s) and 72 new user(s).

  • Royalty-Free VS Production Music

    last edited
    last edited

    Dear VSL Community,

    once again I refer to your knowledge and experience. 😊

    I've created my own catalogue of library music and I intend to build on it. I can either turn it into an e-commerce and sell Royalty-Free licenses or register everything to the MCPS and become a self-publisher of Production Music.

    I am aware of the financial pros and cons, however I don't know which one can perform better in the long run and help establishing a durable relationship with clients etc...

    Have you ever tried anything like that? Any ideas?

    Best regards

    Francesco


    Francesco
  • I have just about come to the conclusion that the royalty free racket is pretty much a dead end.  The fact of the matter is, there is just way too much "music" on these sites and not enough demand nor quality control.  You're having to compete with 14 year old beat mongers and loopers who saturate the market with endless streams of mindless MIDI cheese.

    These sites take as many tracks in as they can from as many people as they can because they take a percentage of each track licensed while you only take a percentage if one of your tracks is licensed.  So there is no incentive for them to promote you or your music because it doesn't matter.  If you don't sell, then they have umteen thousand other content creaters who will sell one or two tracks each.  It's a win, win for them.  In other words, it's all about quantity and not quality.  I've been slowly but surely pulling my tracks from these sites.

    Besides, the trend now is towards blanket licensing for better or worse.  Probably worse. 


  • last edited
    last edited

    Hello Jasen!

    Thanks for your reply 😊

    Maybe I didn't explain my idea in full: the thing is that I am going to create my own website, I am going to promote the tracks and sell them myself directly to the clients. It won't be easy to find any, but that's what I am going to do.

    I will either set this up as a royalty-free marketplace or as a production music catalogue, and yes I am going to sell just my music on the website, I am not going to publish others......I won't be able to build a massive catalogue this way but as you said there's plenty of massive catalogues out there. 😇


    Francesco
  • Oh!  I'm sorry, I guess I misunderstood your original post.

    Yeah, setting up your own website is the way to go if you have the patience, resources and credentials to build your clientele because it may be a while before you can cultivate a devoted client base with all the competition out there.

    I mentioned the blanket license trend which basically means a client will pay a certain rate for say one year.  During that year, they can license as many tracks out of your catalogue as they want without paying the one time license fee.  That kind of bothers me but I guess youi could always make up those lost fees when you get your back end royalties.

    I've actually been interested in retail streaming.  Basically it's the music you hear when you walk into a retail store or restaurant.  For some reason that I don't quite understand is that they can't just play Pandora or Spotify.  Of course, the streamings are only pennies a serving but if you get enough stores, like a chain, to play your material it adds up. 


  • last edited
    last edited

    It's alright, my post was a bit misleading. 😃

    Thanks for mentioning the retail streaming, to be fair I've never heard of it and it looks really interesting. I will study it in greater detail!

    I see what you mean with regard to the blanket licensing, I am not a big fan either.

    It definitely won't be easy to build a client base. It happened to me in the past to license my music directly to clients and I found it really pleasant and rewarding, so did they!

    However, I've yet to decide which type of licenses I am going to sell from now on......


    Francesco
  • Glad to see a thread like this, Francesco.  As someone who started writing a few years ago, and has yet to successfully navigate the licensing market (I do much better with my concert music than my "library stuff") I'm at a point where I'd really appreciate if those who have had some success could mentor and help out those of us starting out.  Of course, I know that in this highly competitive landscape, very few actually earn a living with their music, and as such, the thought of further reducing their job opportunities by actually assisting others is unlikely.

    That said, a very simple and basic question for all of you that write for "clients."  Where are these clients?  Are they face to face people whom you've forged relationships with over many years (perhaps people you met in school?)  Are they random cold calls/emails to music supervisors/film directors, etc?  I guess, what I'm trying to say is that in my small neck of the woods, I simply can't imagine meeting people that would need/pay for music.  Does this only work in major cities like L.A. and New York?  Can someone who is not in a film/music production-centric location have a fighting chance of establishing meaningful relationships?  Or is the library approach the only real way to get works purchased? 

    I have a million other questions, and yes, I have researched my brains out over the past couple of years (paywall forums, free forums, articles, podcasts).  It just seems that while people give out SOME details, they hold their cards very close and nobody is willing to share tangibles that could actually be acted on.

    Sorry if I've derailed your thread, Francesco.  But I'd like to do the same thing as you; the only problem is, I see the "getting clients" part as elusive as suggesting that I'll be able to fly to the moon, once I get my shuttle fueled up. :)

    Dave


  • last edited
    last edited

    Hello Dave,

    thanks for joining the conversation, you haven't hijacked the thread at all.

    First of all I am glad to hear that your concert music is going well, from my perspective this is an excellent outcome.

    @Acclarion said:

    That said, a very simple and basic question for all of you that write for "clients."  Where are these clients?



    Please bear in mind that I have a day job, I haven't got that many clients at the moment as a composer, not quite yet. As far as I can tell, clients are everywhere but it's neither easy to receive commissions nor to do decent placements, word of mouth is still the best thing and networking in person is really important: that's why I recently moved from the south of Italy to England, there's much more going on here.

    When I was in Italy, I have had requests to make bespoke soundtracks from people who knew my work because I was in a band and they were videomakers, actually I contacted them because I needed a videoclip for my band and then I came across their script for a short film. A friend of these videomaker who is a director saw the short film (with my music) and asked me to score a commercial for him. An actor from the same short film asked me to do an arrangement for a tv opening he was writing (local tv). These were unpaid projects, I did that for practice (and naivety) back then.

    The screenplayer from that commercial  wrote another commercial last summer, they were looking for some library music and they asked for my help, I pitched 3 of my existing tracks and one made it. I sold a non exclusive license in that case and I was really pleased with it.

    This tells me how powerful the word of mouth is.

    Apart from this I have sold library/stock music on a few different platforms, it does work but it's a small side income. As I said I want to self-publish from now on and retain 100% of licensing fees (well, apart from the taxes of course).

    In other words, I can't answer your initial question in full because I am not big enough, but I can say for certain that real networking is essential. Here in Guildford I have met a lot of young composers/sound designer who make a living out of music, some of those were just participating at the local game jams and then they were asked to work for bigger companies or tv. I will eventually make it! 😃

    Francesco


    Francesco
  • You're completely right about the in-person networking, which is probably what will be my downfall.  My success with concert music is because I have always done direct networking with musicians/concert presenters/agents, etc.  Unfortunately, with film/gaming/production music, I have zero connections, and live in a non-existant market to collaborate with film makers, etc.  Your decision to uproot from Italy to England is commendable.  I'm not in a position to relocate at this stage of my life, but still hold out some hope that "cold calling" and the like might eventually get me some leads.  

    About the only lead I've ever had since being here, is two years ago.  The symphony performed my piece and a fellow musician told me about an author that was about to release an audio book that wanted to commission me to write some music.  When I met with the author, he simply wanted me to do a version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons to accompany the audio book narration.  Long story short, after several hours of chatting/socializing at his very nice home, I was able to convince him to consider some original music.  Of course, when I discovered he didn't want to pay a single penny, but rather "share in the potential profits from the book", I declined.  Oh, and his wealth was from his day job, not being a published author.  He was a first time writer and clearly was looking to get a freebie.  It definitely was frustrating considering the referral came from a mutual artist friend of ours.  

    I do admire your confidence and determination, Francesco.  I have no doubt you will be successful in this pursuit, so please keep at it and enjoy the little victories along the way!

    Dave


  • last edited
    last edited

    @Acclarion said:

    Of course, when I discovered he didn't want to pay a single penny, but rather "share in the potential profits from the book", I declined. 

    Yeah, this is more or less called a "collaboration" and, for better or worse, "collaborations" also seem to be trending.  "collaborations" can go either way.  About ten years ago, I was just another shmuck on Broadjam.com when somebody liked my music and asked if I would be interested in writing and recording some string arrangements for an easy listening album that he was writing.   He also had a vocalist collaborating with him to sing his lyrics and a few others he had met on Broadjam as well.  Well, ten years later, i still get a share from the royalties off of that album.  It's not much but over the years it has more than paid for the time and effort I put into it.  It was a real pain in the ass when we did it because we were all based all over the world and sending tracks back and forth over the Internet only to find out things didn't sync up or she was singing in the wrong key, etc. etc.  I almost gave up on it but it did pay off in the long run.  And it's still paying.  Sometimes pennies, sometimes much more.

    Somebody who heard that album was an aspiring actress with her own Youtube channel and she contacted me about writing some background music for her monologues and poems that she acts out.  I would get a cut of the advertising revenue when she would become the next Justin Bieber Youtube sensation.  Although she is talented the fickle hand of fame is, just that, fickle and hasn't graced her at all.  About a year ago, her channel was pulled and I got nothing for that.

    Basically, we're as much a lost soul in this business as all the other lost souls, aspiring actors, writers, filmmakers, etc.  And we're all trying to help each other find the light.  Sometimes, somebody can help us get closer to the light while other times somebody will unintentionally drag us further from it.  It's a tough world out there.


  • last edited
    last edited

    @Another User said:

      

    I do admire your confidence and determination, Francesco.  I have no doubt you will be successful in this pursuit, so please keep at it and enjoy the little victories along the way!



    Thank you for your kind words, Dave. I will definitely keep at it!! 👍


    Francesco
  • last edited
    last edited

    @jasensmith said:

    Basically,we're as much a lost soul in this business as all the other lost souls, aspiring actors, writers, filmmakers, etc. And we're all trying to help each other find the light.Sometimes, somebody can help us get closer to the light while other times somebody will unintentionally drag us further from it. It's a tough world out there.
    Jasen, this is a beautifully worded truth that I will keep close to my heart. Sadly, I think in many ways, (some)composers are among the most personally fulfilled and deeply sorrowful/depressed people at the very same time. At first, you long just to create to satisfy your own internal desires. Then, after a while, you long to share with others. Then, you realize that very few people really give a darn what you do, and/or don't understand you/your music, and so you begin to withdraw. Then, message boards and forums seem to offer the community of like-minded individuals for which to socialize and share your passion...until your realize how deeply divided even your collagues can be in terms of personal taste/preference/philosphy, etc. (as this very forum has shown over the years). So, it seems there are two options with music: produce the flavour of the day (double scoop of Hans with chocolate sprinkles, anyone?) or you do what someone like me does: write for yourself, share with those that may be interested, and ultimately earn a living in other ways (or come upon a large inheritance) 😊 It's been interesting...wish more people would contribute their own experiences to this thread. I'm sure every composer has wrestled with similar challenges, and voicing them can be a healing and inspiring exercise in self-reflection. All the best, Dave P.S. Respecting that this is your thread, Francesco, I hope others will also chime in on the original question. For my two cents, it sounds like you have the musical talent, and the personality to be successful. Enjoy the conferences and make the most of those networking opportunities!

  • last edited
    last edited

    @Acclarion said:

    So, it seems there are two options with music: produce the flavour of the day (double scoop of Hans with chocolate sprinkles, anyone?) or you do what someone like me does: write for yourself, share with those that may be interested, and ultimately earn a living in other ways (or come upon a large inheritance)

    Now Dave, this is more beautifully worded than anything my shallow eloquence can slap together

    "Double scoop of Hans" 😃😃😃

    Made me chuckle out loud but please, no more dog pile on Hans threads.

    Anyway, it bumps the thread on top of the stack.


  • last edited
    last edited

    @Acclarion said:



    P.S. Respecting that this is your thread, Francesco, I hope others will also chime in on the original question. For my two cents, it sounds like you have the musical talent, and the personality to be successful. Enjoy the conferences and make the most of those networking opportunities!



    Thanks ever so much, Dave: it means a lot to me! 😊

    All I can say for now (with regard to the initial topic) is that I will try first to sell my own Royalty-Free licenses, this will probably give me more flexibility in general and it will be flexible for my potenital clients as well.

    The MCPS is great but once I register as a publisher and submit my tracks there's no "turning back" and I will be only able to license my tracks through the MCPS thereafter......if that makes sense.

    I will update this thread, I will share my findings.

    Francesco


    Francesco