Royalty Free Production Music Library
Some of the music we discussed previously such as on-hold music or elevator music may come from a production music library. Consider a local video outfit producing a corporate product or training video for a small private firm or government branch. They need music and they need a particular feel. By the time they hire a composer, work with him on the script, come up with the demo and get in agreement on the finals a lot of time may have been wasted - especially if it's low budget. And of course the producer wants a nice profit margin.
What they may do is purchase a production music library and use music that has been pre-recorded. There are several of them out there and they come with hefty fees but the bonus is that you can audition songs very quickly and find something suitable, if not perfect. The big trend now is royalty free libraries. This means, for example, that a radio station making a station promo buys a specialty library from someone and can use it as much as they like as long as they hold the receipt that says they purchased the CD. You used to just license the song.
Is this a good option? Yes it is. For a lot of people collecting sound libraries is like collecting CDs. You buy a ton of them and can't listen to them all but you're glad they are there when you need to audition clips. It's nice to know you have some exotic genre production music library when you need it. What does this mean for you?
It's possible for you to break into this segment if you understand the game. Many of the CDs are meant for broadcast so they are broken into repeatable loops at various timings. There are also sound EFX segments or other popular broadcast audio snips. Some are meant to be played over traffic, weather, etc. Others are full length songs in various styles and arrangements. You can easily do the research on the net.
If you have a closet full of instrumentals or you do a lot of writing, this is an avenue to explore. Making contact with the companies that release production music libraries can be a great opportunity should they like your work. How you get paid depends how good a negotiator you are and what type of standard contract they have. Obviously having a good idea how the business works here would benefit your pocketbook. It's likely that you would sell your song outright. However, if you are exploring other possibilities like ad jingles, film scoring or songwriting this may be the perfect opportunity to pocket some cash for that dramatic piece that hasn't fit anywhere else yet.
If you or your band has put out your own CD then you may want to break into this game on your own. Considering the fact that the average royalty free music library goes for $500+ PER CD you could make a small fortune. This is a good route to go if you've had previous broadcast or post audio experience and understand what kind of material is most desired. It's also good if you have the self promotional skills of a successful independent musician. If you've been able to write, record, press and sell your own CD without the help of a label then odds are in your favor to explore music libraries, nature sounds, new age, and just about any other type of specialty music. If you haven't or aren't comfortable in that setting, approach the companies who do put out this kind of music. In your quest for how to make money with music everything is a possibility!