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