Whatever we now call ‘production music’ continues to be through various stages of evolution. Its origins are most likely in silent movies, when cinema pianists and organists would watch the movie and supply a live accompaniment. Initially, they might use pieces of https://twitter.com/Production_Blog, either from memory or collections of sheet music, but very soon volumes of specially composed or arranged incidental movie music were published, with cues arranged and categorised to put the different screen actions or moods. Perhaps this is why this extract from Krommer’s Double Clarinet Concerto is such a nicely-known tune!
Introducing ‘Production Music’
Immediately, music became on discs, and with the introduction of TV within the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, there is a big requirement for readily available music, that was known as mood music, atmospheric music and, needless to say, library music. A great deal of this became of very high-quality orchestral and jazz, though with all the proliferation of synths within the late ’70s it gained a good reputation for being cheap (but not necessarily cheerful). Originally a united states term, ‘production music’ is now generally use here throughout the uk, as producers have wished to promote a more recent generation of library music which has shed that old image.
Production music has traditionally been distributed on vinyl or CD however it is now made available via download. A production music clients are basically a publishing company, or a department of the publishing company, that specialises in marketing, licensing and collecting royalties for production music. The end user is usually a film, TV or radio production company – but tracks may also be used for computer games, sites, live events and in many cases ringtones. Users choose tracks they would like to include in a programme and may license them quickly, through MCPS throughout the uk or any other licensing agencies worldwide, in a set licence fee per thirty seconds of music. Fairly often this can be cheaper, quicker and less complicated than commissioning a composer.
Much of the TV music from the ’60s was jazz-oriented; composers like Henry Mancini and Elmer Bernstein set the regular in this way. Library music producers followed suit, and might corner some excellent jazz musicians in touring bands who are pleased to supplement their meagre club fees with a number of sessions.
Today, a lot larger proportion of production music is pop or rock. This really is due in part to your demand from modern TV producers, but another factor will be the digital revolution. Producing convincing pop music is not really exclusively the world of companies with big budgets for big studios and vast swathes of session musicians. The typical still must be high and the use of real musicians whenever you can is undoubtedly a bonus, however it is now possible for a person with the talent along with a decent DAW to take on the big boys.
Production music CDs might appear to be ordinary albums…
Production music CDs might look like ordinary albums…The current proliferation of television stations has inevitably thinned out of the viewing audience for many individual channels, thus causing advertising revenue, and so budgets, to be slashed. Aside from the few at the very top, TV and film composers experienced to become accustomed to concentrating on lower budgets. Often – but by no means always – this has resulted in either (at worst) lower-quality commissioned music being produced or, sadly, fewer live musicians being involved. Seizing a possibility, the library music companies stepped in with a brand new generation of music having better artistic and production values, which may be licensed easily.
My Strategy To Composing
Once I am commissioned to music production online, it might either be for the entire album, or a variety of tracks to become incorporated into a ‘compilation’ album to which several composers contribute. I actually have produced six complete albums within the last 10 years and about another 30 or 40 single tracks. My first commission was for any jazz album called Mad, Bad & Jazzy, which now has three sequels. The title says all this, really – the music is mad, bad and jazzy – and a good title can obviously help with marketing, by signalling to producers exactly what to expect from the album. The fashion containing dominated my writing is slightly left-field or quirky jazz and Latin, having a sprinkling of indie, classical, electronic and simply plain bizarre.
I work closely with one or two producers from your company (Universal – formerly BMG – in cases like this), who serve as overall ‘executive’ producers. They have an idea from the whole concept and marketing strategy of your album, and usually I’ll offer an initial briefing meeting along with them to go about this. They then leave me to accomplish the composing and production, but will drop with the studio every now and then, especially as tracks evolve or completely new ideas show up during the course of production.
An album will comprise of about 16 tracks, and even though they is sometimes as short as one minute, I really like to imagine them as ‘real’ album tracks, therefore i will normally cause them to between two and four minutes long. I also include various shorter versions lasting 30 seconds, 20 seconds and 10 seconds, as well as short ‘stings’. It’s much simpler for your producer to build these at the mixing stage than to attempt to create them from a stereo master later – more about this in next month’s article.
…however the sleeve notes are created to help the TV editor very quickly. Note any additional one-minute, 30-, 20- and 10-second versions, as well as the short ‘stings’.
…but the sleeve notes are meant to help the TV editor very quickly. Note the additional one-minute, 30-, 20- and 10-second versions, as well as the short ‘stings’. Because my producers at Universal, Duncan Schwier and Jo Pearson, are aware of the way I work, the briefing session is quite much a two-way flow of ideas. I never understand what I’m will be asked to do, but briefs can vary from your precise to the vague, such as:
Writing a thing that fits a very specific commercial demand, like lifestyle programmes or quiz shows, or perhaps to fit popular search phrases including ‘s-ex within the city’, ‘money’, ‘countdown’ or ‘stop press’.
Taking inspiration from a pre-existing track, composer or style, being very careful to not infringe any copyright or to ‘pass off’ as something copyrighted.
Taking inspiration purely coming from a generic film scene, such as a car chase, slapstick comedy sketch or s-ex scene.
Creating a dramatic feel or emotional atmosphere.
“Just have a little bit of fun to see whatever you think of, Pete.”
Often I may also suggest using existing tracks I’ve already produced for an additional reason, for example cues from the commissioned score that has now passed its exclusivity date, demos I have done for a thing that were not actually used, or pieces I wrote just for fun.
I generally take six to one year to compose and record a whole album, when i want the tracks to sound great, instead of like the stereotypical library music of your ‘old days’. I start out with programmed tracks, though before presenting these as demos I’ll get them to as convincing as you can by including as much real instrumentation because i can – saxophone, flute and a certain amount of guitar and bass. Something that isn’t a live instrument must have a good reason as being there, say for example a drum loop that can’t be recreated or possibly a particular rhythm that should be quantised to match the genre. I furthermore have a vast variety of unique samples recorded and collected during my years doing work in studios like a producer.
Once the early drafts are approved, I print scores and parts from Logic and book sessions for musicians where necessary. This really is a crucial step in my opinion – I book musicians I am aware and am comfortable dealing with. Again, I don’t think ‘It’s just library music.’ I need to believe that the musicians are thinking the same way: they are contributing creatively rather than it being just another session.
It’s great dealing with Duncan or Jo at Universal – they already have a fantastic handle about what works. It’s also really good to acquire some fresh ears on a project when you’ve lived with it within the studio for a few weeks. I once presented a demo to Duncan and his comment was “great, nevertheless the saxophone is a little too in tune, seems like library music.” This was on the ska track and then he wanted it to sound really raw and rough. I used a couple of times to play badly, difficult for a seasoned session player who may have struggled all his life to try out well. Ultimately I played the sax with all the mouthpiece on upside down, therefore i sounded quite convincingly like I’d only been playing for several weeks.
Having your music accepted or being commissioned to write production music is every bit as competitive as the more traditionally glamorous goals for musicians and composers, including landing an archive deal, publishing deal, film or TV commission. You will have to submit your music over a CD that you should make look as attractive and interesting as you possibly can, though a nicely-constructed internet site or MySpace site with biography and audio clips might be equally as or even more useful. A couple of calls to receptionists can assist you to obtain the names from the right men and women to send your pitch to: a personal letter is superior to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
The Net is different the way in which production music is distributed, and most publishers now ensure it is easy to find and download the tracks you require.
The Internet has changed just how production music is distributed, and the majority of publishers now help it become easy to search for and download the tracks you need.The most important thing to pay attention to is your music should grab the attention in the listener quickly. If a company is looking for writers, they will definitely listen to music that they are sent, but frequently these are inundated, so it’s probable that they’ll only pay attention to the first 10 or 20 seconds of each track (which might adequately end up being the way their consumer will listen to this product, too).
Most important is not really to try to second-guess what you believe ‘they’ want, or precisely what is ‘good’ or ‘typical’ production music. The probability is it’s already within their library plus they don’t need any more, and when they are doing, one among their established writers will be asked to undertake it. In order to create a good first impression, it’s much better to publish something which has some character, originality and flair; and, first and foremost, it ought to be something that you are perfect at doing. The very best chance of getting your music accepted is to offer something different, fresh and different.
Very often, a piece you wrote as a demo for something different that got rejected may be ideal, but paradoxically, pieces which may have actually been employed in TV programmes will not be great for production music. Often I’ve believed music I actually have written to get a film on the non-exclusive basis will be accepted within a music library but, as Duncan has explained, music written to your specific scene may work very well only to that scene, and may even not necessarily appear sensible by itself. Surprisingly, additionally, it can be that production values for TV music tend to be not adequate, especially with today’s increasingly stingy budgets.
The development music company won’t like being told their job, but sometimes there is absolutely no harm in aiding by helping cover their some marketing ideas. CDs and/or parts of CDs will end up being categorised to help you the final user, so you may consider doing the identical to your demo. Categories can be as vague as ‘drama’ or ‘lifestyle’, or they may be more specific to some music genre or era – as an illustration jazz, classical, World, ’60s, kitsch, indie, ska and the like. Titles are exceedingly important, not only being a description but additionally to assist with searches. It’s the identical principle as Googling: key phrases or phrases within a title can be extremely helpful, specifically for on-line searching. On the flip side, there are actually limits to the quantity of tracks that might be called ‘Car Chase’, ‘Celebration’ or ‘Feel Bad Blues’!
One thing which i still find fascinating is the place where my music eventually ends up. What you may think your music is going to be employed for, it could possibly show up on something quite different, be that a feature film, TV drama, documentary, shopping channel, game show or gardening programme. To comprehend how production music works, try putting yourself within the position of any stressed-out TV editor who desperately needs some terrific music for any new bit of footage the executive producer motivated to be added in into a documentary three hours before the deadline. There are several possibilities:
Visit a production music company internet site and do an on-line search, using various keywords that describe either the genre of music or the scene that needs music.
Needless to say, a highly skilled editor or director will already have a good understanding of music which is available, often calling on ‘old faithful’ albums or tracks, but tend to still keep an eye out for first time and refreshing material.
Many production music companies will also aggressively market their http://musicproductiononline.tumblr.com, just like any good publisher should. This could mean contacting producers for any film or TV projects which are about to go into production, and also developing close and ongoing relationships because of their main clients, arranging everything that composers would do ourselves when we had the time and money: courtesy calls, birthday cards, free holidays from the Caribbean, that sort of thing.
On this page, we’ve investigated the company dimension of production music: what exactly it is, who uses it, how it’s sold and, most significantly, how to get your foot in the door. But from your composer’s point of view there are technical skills that are specific to production music, such as the ability to create versions of your own pieces which fit exactly in the 10-second format, so next month, we’ll look at techniques one can learn to make a specialist-sounding production music library disc.