One of the things I hear from composers and producers who send tracks to music libraries is “Why can’t libraries have the decency to reply when I send them tracks?” After all, other than it being disheartening, composers and music producers invest a lot of blood, sweat and tears into creating these tracks, surely it’s the least they can do to just write a few lines back, even if just to say it’s not for them?
So I’ve been running a production music library for over 14 years together with a good friend of mine and, as we’re both composers and music producers too, we always wanted to make sure that we had our composers at the heart of what we do.
Well in the beginning with our music library, we made it a policy to send everyone a reply, which included things we thought they might be able to improve about their tracks to stand a better chance of getting signed by a music library. That began to take up a huge amount of time, so we changed strategy and just wrote a short email, thanking them for their submission but saying that it wasn’t right for us. But what we then found then was that a lot of those emails led to a reply by the composer, asking us for more details on why the track wasn’t right. Now we had all these email threads going on with people whose music we weren’t interested in signing anyway!
Also, these people also asked if they could now send other tracks through that might be good for us. But, and I’m just going to be brutally honest here, we were starting to get some really good music through, so why would we want to spend time listening to more tracks from someone whose initial music, we felt, wasn’t up to scratch? And once you say yes, you’re committing to listening to it and replying again – more time spent on that person, whilst the inbox was piling up with new composers whose tracks might be great!
The thing is, brutal as it sounds, it’s not a music libraries job to educate a composer as to where they are going wrong, they just don’t have the time. But this what spurred me on to make a guide for composers as to how to create great music for music libraries. That guide ballooned into a comprehensive online course featuring advice from award winning TV editors, major label executives and 6 figure a year library composers. If you’re interested in that, I’ll give you details on how to get some free lessons from that at the end of this video, but for now, let’s go on to some of the other reasons music libraries don’t get back to you, and interestingly it’s not always because your music isn’t good enough!
1. We don’t know about your genre.
Nobody can be an expert in everything, right? Sometimes a Library will get sent through music and it’s just not a genre that they know much about or maybe they just don’t really like it, personally. Music is so subjective and a library needs to release music that they know about and understand well. So if that’s the case, the library isn’t going to reply and say “we don’t like it” when we’re aware that someone else might. In fact, maybe a lot of other people might and a lot of clients. This is where your research comes in – always try to make sure that the music library you’re submitting to feels like a good fit for your music.
2. You didn’t read our website.
Some libraries don’t take submissions all. Others have a specific email for submissions, or other such submission related directions. We have a part of our website where clients (ie film and TV production companies) can create an account with us to browse and purchase tracks. You’d be amazed how many writers don’t read that and sign up where the clients are supposed to register, and then wonder where they upload their tracks. So make sure you read the website about submissions.
3. You’re not contacting us in the right way.
Check out my detailed guide here on YouTube as to how to email production music libraries. I’ll link the video on the end screen of this video. There’s most definitely a way to get in touch with busy music libraries that stands you the most chance of getting your music heard, and there’s some cool tips in there to stand a good chance of someone getting back to you.
Lastly: Write amazing music.
I know it’s so stupidly obvious, but if your music sounds like it would be great for film and tv, is evocative, high quality and structured well, we are going to reply to you!
As stated in the article, it appears that it’s not that stupidly obvious 😉
I can share a positive note on the subject; I once politely submitted an email to one of the musical supervisors at APM, saying I could bring added value to their library. I got a response some minutes later, refering me to one of their labels. Might have been an automated response, but it didn’t seem like it. However, it was polite and informative.
Another library responded within 24 hours, honestly saying it wouldn’t be fair to even listen to the submitted content (I know it as being correct as it was a Reelcrafter link), as they were drowning in submissions and had enough music for the 6 to 8 months ahead.
Way back when I was submitting through TAXI and getting forwards, it was just a matter of forget and move on. One library responded 1,5 years later showing interest of a particular submission. That later got me a deal into their library, but by the time they responded I’d even forgot which song I’d submitted.
The way I look at this its like applying for a businessopportunity. You have a “company” and a set of skills and a product you think can be useful as a business proposition. Then its up to the receiving end to decide whether or not, or when they need it. It’s never personal.
Very true, Ulf!!