Getting your music licensed is tricky business. If you’re not getting placements, you might be asking: what are music libraries actually looking for? Here is a list of the 5 most common reasons why a music library composer is not seeing regular placements.
1. Stems and alternate versions are not included in submissions to libraries.
Here at Bedtracks, we consider this the number one reason a track misses a placement. Sometimes the song is perfect, but there is a busy synth lead line that clashes with the voice over. Stems and alternate versions give your track versatility. Video editors love the ability to pull instruments in and out of a mix. It gives them the control to match the music to the arc of their edit and gives that scored feeling producers crave. It can also increase the amount of time of your placement. They may use the percussion or drone stems for an extended underscore and then bring the rest of the mix in as the story builds!
Being composers ourselves, we understand the time consuming process of digging through old sessions. It’s a drag, but you will thank yourself in the long run!
2. Arrangements aren’t voice over friendly.
Be cautious of instruments that have attack in the same frequency range as the human voice (85Hz – 250 Hz). When finding a track for a video, it doesn’t matter how great the track is, if it clashes with dialogue and pulls the ear away from the message of the speaker it can’t be used.
Easy fix! It comes back to our trusty stems and alternate versions. This is a perfect example of when having the ability to remove an instrument from a mix can get your music placed.
3. Improper endings. No fade-outs!
Ah, the fade out. It’s a lost art in mainstream music, and in the world of music licensing it doesn’t play nice. It’s frustrating for editors to work with a fade out and for this reason, we’ve seen lots of music not make it into a production.
Final, resolved, and definitive endings are the way to go. The audio tailing out from a resounding piano or guitar chord is still considered a “hard out”. It’s best to leave any fading of the whole mix to the editor placing your music in their project.
4. Production values are behind the times.
The standards are high and getting higher. Sample libraries are getting so good that distinguishing the difference between real instruments and virtual instruments is increasingly difficult. This rise of technology raises the bar on sound quality. It probably goes without saying, but making your mixes as good as possible will increase your ability to be licensed in more productions.
Consider staying on top of the latest virtual instruments, as these can sometimes be the key to achieving many modern sounds that advertisers and producers seek.
Visit their websites to dig deeper!
5. Not sending in enough music/not continually sending new music.
It’s a numbers game. Don’t get me wrong; having killer music is a must but 10 great tracks in a music library of 35,000+ tracks will yield slow activity on your music. Consider sending as much of your BEST music as possible. Then keep writing and continue to submit. You’ll keep the attention of music supervisors that work in-house and you’ll be top of mind when music is curated for future productions. Continually submitting new music will also keep your productions sounding fresh and in-line with current production trends.
We can appreciate that building a large catalogue of great tracks doesn't happen overnight. So keep writing, producing, mixing and recording. Consider some of the suggestions we have offered and you’ll be on your way to having your music as the soundtrack in today’s prospering multimedia output.