What we should now call ‘production music’ has become through various stages of evolution. Its origins are most likely in silent movies, when cinema pianists and organists would watch the film and supply a live accompaniment. At the beginning, they could use pieces of https://twitter.com/Production_Blog, either from memory or collections of sheet music, but immediately volumes of specially composed or arranged incidental movie music were published, with cues arranged and categorised to fit the different screen actions or moods. Perhaps this is why this extract from Krommer’s Double Clarinet Concerto is such a well-known tune!
Introducing ‘Production Music’
Soon, music became located on discs, and also the coming of TV within the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, there is a huge interest in readily accessible music, that was generally known as mood music, atmospheric music and, naturally, library music. A great deal of this became of extremely high-quality orchestral and jazz, though using the proliferation of synths within the late ’70s it gained a reputation for being cheap (yet not necessarily cheerful). Originally an American term, ‘production music’ is now generally speaking use here in the united kingdom, 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 perhaps 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 could also be used for computer games, sites, live events and in many cases ringtones. Users choose tracks they wish to use in a programme and can license them quickly, through MCPS throughout the uk or another licensing agencies worldwide, at a set licence fee per half a minute of music. Frequently this can be cheaper, quicker and less complicated than commissioning a composer.
Much of the TV music of the ’60s was jazz-oriented; composers including Henry Mancini and Elmer Bernstein set the typical in this respect. Library music producers followed suit, and could corner some great jazz musicians in touring bands who had been very happy to supplement their meagre club fees with a couple of sessions.
Today, a much larger proportion of production music is pop or rock. This is due partly to a demand from modern TV producers, but another factor is definitely the digital revolution. Producing convincing pop music is no longer exclusively the arena of companies with big budgets for big studios and vast swathes of session musicians. The conventional still should be high and using real musicians wherever possible is undoubtedly a bonus, however it is now feasible for anyone with the talent plus a decent DAW to compete with the large boys.
Production music CDs might appear like ordinary albums…
Production music CDs might look like ordinary albums…The recent proliferation of television stations has inevitably thinned the viewing audience for almost all individual channels, thus causing advertising revenue, and so budgets, to be slashed. Apart from the few on the very top, TV and film composers have had to get 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 higher artistic and production values, that could be licensed easily.
My Method Of Composing
Once I am commissioned to talkin music, it can be either on an entire album, or perhaps for numerous tracks to be a part of a ‘compilation’ album in 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 a jazz album called Mad, Bad & Jazzy, which presently has three sequels. The title says all this, really – the background music is mad, bad and jazzy – along with a good title can obviously help with marketing, by signalling to producers exactly what to expect through the album. The design and style that has dominated my writing is slightly left-field or quirky jazz and Latin, using a sprinkling of indie, classical, electronic and just plain bizarre.
I work closely with one or two producers from your company (Universal – formerly BMG – in cases like this), who work as overall ‘executive’ producers. They know of the whole concept and web marketing strategy of your album, and usually I’ll provide an initial briefing meeting together to go over this. Then they leave me to do the composing and production, and definitely will drop from the studio every once in awhile, especially as tracks evolve or completely new ideas appear throughout production.
An album will contain about 16 tracks, and although they is often as short as you minute, I really like to consider them as ‘real’ album tracks, thus i will usually make sure they are between two and four minutes long. I also include various shorter versions lasting thirty seconds, 20 seconds and 10 seconds, in addition to short ‘stings’. It’s much easier for the producer to generate these on the mixing stage than in order to create them from a stereo master later – a little more about this in next month’s article.
…although the sleeve notes are meant to help the TV editor in a rush. Note the extra one-minute, 30-, 20- and 10-second versions, along with the short ‘stings’.
…however the sleeve notes are meant to help the TV editor very quickly. Note the extra one-minute, 30-, 20- and 10-second versions, along with 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 know what I’m will be inspired to do, but briefs may range in the precise to the vague, such as:
Writing an issue that fits an extremely specific commercial demand, like lifestyle programmes or quiz shows, or perhaps to fit popular search phrases including ‘s-ex inside the city’, ‘money’, ‘countdown’ or ‘stop press’.
Taking inspiration from a preexisting track, composer or style, being careful to never infringe any copyright or even to ‘pass off’ as something copyrighted.
Taking inspiration purely from the generic film scene, for instance a car chase, slapstick comedy sketch or s-ex scene.
Developing a dramatic feel or emotional atmosphere.
“Just have some fun to see whatever you put together, Pete.”
Fairly often I may also suggest using existing tracks I’ve already produced for the next reason, such as cues coming from a commissioned score that has now passed its exclusivity date, demos I did so for a thing that were not actually used, or pieces I wrote exclusively for fun.
I generally take six to one year to compose and record an entire album, because i want the tracks to sound great, and never such as the stereotypical library music from the ‘old days’. I usually start out with programmed tracks, though before presenting these as demos I’ll make sure they are as convincing as possible by including just as much real instrumentation as I can – saxophone, flute and some guitar and bass. Something that isn’t a live instrument should have a reason as being there, say for example a drum loop that can’t be recreated or even a particular rhythm that must be quantised to suit the genre. I furthermore have a vast assortment of unique samples recorded and collected during my years doing work in studios as a producer.
As soon as 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 for me – I book musicians I am aware and am comfortable utilizing. Once again, I don’t think ‘It’s just library music.’ I need to feel that the musicians are planning the same way: they are contributing creatively instead of it being yet another session.
It’s great dealing with Duncan or Jo at Universal – they already have a great handle of what work. It’s also very good to obtain some fresh ears on the project when you’ve lived with it in the studio for a couple of weeks. One time i presented a demo to Duncan and his comment was “great, nevertheless the saxophone is a bit too in tune, looks like library music.” This was on the ska track and that he wanted it to sound really raw and rough. I used a few times to play badly, challenging for the seasoned session player that has struggled all his life to try out well. In the long run I played the sax using the mouthpiece on upside down, thus i sounded quite convincingly like I’d only been playing for several weeks.
Obtaining your music accepted or being commissioned to publish production music is every bit as competitive as any of the more traditionally glamorous goals for musicians and composers, including landing an archive deal, publishing deal, film or TV commission. You will need to send in your music with a CD that you should make look as attractive and interesting as possible, though a well-constructed site or MySpace site with biography and audio clips can be in the same way or even more useful. A number of cell phone calls to receptionists will help you to discover the names of your right individuals to send your pitch to: an individual letter is superior to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
The Internet changed the way production music is distributed, and the majority of publishers now ensure it is easy to look for and download the tracks you want.
The Internet has changed just how production music is distributed, and most publishers now help it become easy to search for and download the tracks you require.What is important to be aware of that the music should grab the attention from the listener quickly. When a company is looking for writers, they are going to definitely hear music that they are sent, but frequently they may be inundated, so it’s probable that they’ll only tune in to the very first 10 or 20 seconds for each track (which may well be the way their end user will hear this product, too).
Most significant will not be to try and second-guess what you think ‘they’ want, or precisely what is ‘good’ or ‘typical’ production music. The chances are it’s already inside their library and they also don’t need anymore, of course, if they are doing, certainly one of their established writers will have to undertake it. If you would like create a good first impression, it’s far better to create something which has some character, originality and flair; and, first and foremost, it needs to be something you are great at doing. The ideal potential for getting the music accepted is always to offer something different, fresh and different.
Often, a piece you wrote as being a demo for something diffrent that got rejected can be ideal, but paradoxically, pieces that have actually been utilized in TV programmes may not be best for production music. Often I’ve believed music I actually have written for a film over a non-exclusive basis would be accepted within a music library but, as Duncan has explained, music written to some specific scene may work very well just to that scene, and may even not always appear sensible on its own. Surprisingly, it may also be that production values for TV music tend to be not good enough, 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 out with some marketing ideas. CDs and parts of CDs will wind up being categorised to aid the final user, so you might consider doing the same for your demo. Categories is often as vague as ‘drama’ or ‘lifestyle’, or they are often more specific into a music genre or era – as an example jazz, classical, World, ’60s, kitsch, indie, ska and the like. Titles are really important, not merely as being a description and also to help you with searches. It’s the same principle as Googling: keywords and phrases or phrases inside a title are often very helpful, specifically on-line searching. However, there are limits to the volume of tracks which can be called ‘Car Chase’, ‘Celebration’ or ‘Feel Bad Blues’!
One of the things that I still find fascinating is how my music ultimately ends up. Whatever you think your music will probably be employed for, it could possibly be visible on something quite different, be a feature film, TV drama, documentary, shopping channel, game show or gardening programme. To learn how production music works, try putting yourself from the position of any stressed-out TV editor who desperately needs good quality music for any new part of footage the executive producer asked to be included to some documentary three hours before the deadline. There are several possibilities:
Visit a production music company site and do an on-line search, using various keywords that describe either the genre of music or even the scene that has to have music.
Obviously, a highly skilled editor or director will already have a great understanding of music that is certainly available, often calling on ‘old faithful’ albums or tracks, but tend to still search for brand new and refreshing material.
Many production music companies will likely aggressively market their http://musicproductiononline.tumblr.com, just like any good publisher should. This might mean contacting producers of the film or TV projects which can be about to go into production, as well as accumulating close and ongoing relationships because of their main clients, arranging everything that composers would do ourselves if we had the time and money: courtesy calls, birthday cards, free holidays within the Caribbean, that sort of thing.
In this article, we’ve considered the company dimension of production music: what exactly it is, who uses it, how it’s sold and, most importantly, how you can get your foot in the door. But through the composer’s point of view in addition there are technical skills which are specific to production music, for example the power to create versions of your pieces that are great for exactly to the 10-second format, so the following month, we’ll look at techniques one can learn to help with making an experienced-sounding production music library disc.