I just came across an image that made me smile:
Doesn’t it feel like that for us all sometimes?! Ha ha.
There’s food for thought here though. The interesting thing regarding writing music for income, is that whilst you’ve got to enjoy the process of writing it of course, it doesn’t have to be the kind of stuff you regularly listen to.
Or, dare I say it, even music that you like.
I’ll give you an example. I write a lot of nature documentary scores. The stuff I write quickly and most easily is often the music for the funny sequences. (Maybe a cheeky little waltz whilst some little animal does something idiotic!). I enjoy writing that stuff, (and sure, I’ve learnt enough about the style to write something that works), but how many quirky, pizzicato string/woodwind led waltzes do I listen to in my spare time?! None!
But I can pump those tracks out like there’s no tomorrow.
What music do you write the quickest? Have you ever thought about experimenting with writing new styles and seeing if there’s something that you can write really quickly? If you were to do that, what genre do you think it might be for you? What’s really easy for you? If that genre is Library friendly, usable and still great quality, you may have discovered the genre that will unlock your success with Library Music.
The other thing about writing music quickly is that we’re often less prone to over-produce and that space within the music can make for great TV/Film music for library clients.
Just what I needed to read at this point – thanks!
Glad it was of use, Charlie!
Normally I would be all over this post, disagreeing and ranting about how one must only do what they “love” and never settle for spending their time creating something without passion, only because it makes money.
But I’ll allow this post as it has some good points. 😉
However I would have added just a little blurb about not being discouraged making the music you love, if the goal is making money with that as well. There is a market for any kind of music, and there are millions of fans willing to pay for the stuff you create. Your job is to learn how to find them.
Such a great point you make, Arnold. I couldn’t agree more. There’s definitely a sweet spot by making an income from creating music that you love and I personally believe that nothing should deter anyone from that pursuit. There’s also no harm in making music you love for no money, or making music you’re “meh” about for income. It’s all valid, as I’m sure you’ll agree!
Good points. How do I get in touch with music directors for documentaries?
Hey Chad – new course coming soon on all the secrets and hacks as to how to get work as a bespoke composer!
Thanks for this post, Michael – very useful.
I’ve only been writing library music (and pop for sync) for the last year and would be interested to hear what you thought were the most in-demand styles to write for libraries?
I enjoy writing in a variety of styles, either on my own: solo piano music, or collaboratively e.g. mini classical instrumentals or pop/classical cues – (heard on Bake Off, Gardeners’ World, Antiques Roadshow etc.) as well as commercial pop.
I can write in most styles as I have a solid classical training, but I’d rather channel my energies into perhaps just two or three of the most requested styles, at this point.
Thank you for any pointers :o)
GREAT question, Simon! The main thing I’d say is that it’s all about research. “In demand” is a moving target! The Library execs we interview in the Library Music That Sells course speak about just this.
As we all know, lots of libraries are saturated in many styles. So how come they keep releasing new albums? Well, trends come and go is one reason, so always keep an ear on what’s being used. Then, it’s about how you sell a concept to them. With that, I’d say don’t think so much in terms of the musical genre, but on the TV genre. If you can say “I’m hearing loads of X on TV right now” and note the shows, you can take that info to a Music Library who is underserved in that area and, hopefully, make them see the reason for potential usage.
Good point about writing. Maybe there should be a peers’ and pros’ review panel for aspiring composers where they can submit in different genres and the panel votes which genre is most promising for that composer. Just a thought:)
Nice idea, Amy!
Absolutely great advice and something I started realising a couple of years ago. It’s very liberating, and it’s also a lot of fun to put your own spin on a piece in a genre you wouldn’t listen to normally.
Couldn’t agree more, James!