Single Tracks Or Albums?

I know we live in the era of playlists and individual tracks, but is there still something to be said of the album or collection? I think so.

In the past, I would write single tracks at a time. Then when I had enough of them to pitch, I would submit them to a music library (after doing my homework and research on the library of course). While this worked and gave moderately decent results, lately I’ve changed course. I’m now working on two 10-track themed compilations that I’ll be sending to music libraries and music supervisors. Many library sites offer albums, so it seems logical to pitch an idea for an album to them, especially if the theme is fresh and in alignment with the album themes they currently offer.

So far I’m liking this approach and I feel it gives two distinct advantages. First, it causes me to focus on what I’m writing. Creating ten usable, versatile, and easily-editable tracks in a theme while keeping each track sounding fresh really requires cranking up the creative juices. Second, and this is equally important, I think it will give the library a product that will be of good use to its clients. A cohesive whole as opposed to a bunch of single tracks scattered all over the place.

Since I’m currently in the process, all I have is my theory about this. Time will tell if my hunch pays off, but in the meantime, it sure is fun coming up with themes, producing usable tracks, designing cover art, and researching libraries to submit to when the projects are finished.

What do you think? If you’re a composer, music library, or music supervisor, I’d be interested in knowing your thoughts.

Dry Spell? What Dry Spell?

We’ve all experienced it. Writer’s block, dry spell, whatever you care to call it. That frustrating and productivity-robbing gremlin that shows up from time to time. I’ve had it last for days, weeks, and even months. It’s not fun when it happens, as I’m sure you will agree.

How do I deal with it? Simple. I DON’T. That’s right; I ignore it. I look it right in the face and laugh. Well not really, but this is a blog entry and I’ve been told that using figurative expressions often helps engage the reader more. Nevertheless, I do ignore writer’s block and pretend it’s not there trying to rob me of a productive day of writing and producing music.

You see, even though I work independently as a production music composer, I work according to a strict schedule. I just work better that way. I have set hours when I am to show up in my neatly tucked-away home studio and start composing, and I show up regardless of whether I feel like I’m able to write or not. I turn on all the gear (more on what gear I use in a later entry), watch the pretty lights as it all comes to life, slip on the headphones, and start writing.

Sometimes inspiration follows, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve created enough intros, endings, musical phrases, dead-end verses, and half-choruses to fill a portion of an SSD drive, BUT I CREATED. And the flip side of this is that many times at a later date, I’ve revisited these bits and pieces of unfinished material and have suddenly become inspired to finish them. Sometimes I’ve been able to complete what they started out to be, while other times I’ve chopped them up and used them for samples in something else. The point is that I truly believe that any time we sit down and put effort into creating music is never wasted.

So there you have it. Do I still experience dry spells in my music creation? Yes, absolutely. But I refuse to acknowledge them when they show up. I ignore them and create music anyway, even if it doesn’t immediately lead to a complete track. So far it’s managed to work for me.

How about you? How do you deal (or not) with dry spells?

How I Price My Tracks

There are different philosophies on how to price audio tracks when it comes to music licensing. I know of some composers that price their tracks on the high end, feeling the higher price increases the perceived value.

I take a different approach. While I certainly don’t sell myself short, I’m looking at the long term game. I feel it’s best to provide good quality tracks at a reasonable price so they will be sold and used. Then over the coming years, I will be earning money on the royalties they generate. The more tracks out there generating royalties, the better my income will be. More importantly, the more tracks out there, the more my music is enhancing and supporting the films, TV shows, commercials, and podcasts/videos they’re synced with. This benefits both the producers of that material as well as me.

I choose to sacrifice a bit on the original selling price and instead focus on what those tracks can do on a long-term basis. Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments.