What's a Music Library?

A music library are considered to be a main source for TV and film music productions, video games, commercials, multi-media projects, music aired between radio and TV commercials and programs, direct to DVD/Video productions and many other implementations, where producers need an access to inexpensive music with already granted rights (pre-cleared).

Following the recent immense growth of web radio and satellite broadcasts as well as digital cable channels, production music libraries have exploded in their size as well.

Music libraries present a major opportunity for new, unknown bands or writers who do not have means to get their songs into big-budget productions and do not have enough time to research all of the new low-budget productions that might be in need of underscore songs or music.

What do a Music Library do?
The music libraries will secure the rights to broadcast submitted quality instrumental underscore compositions and songs, which they deem can find their place in new audio-visual production releases. They reproduce and assemble libraries of these submitted collections online and on CDs, making them available to interested production companies. These collections are being indexed by their musical style, instrumentation, mood, tempo, length, female, male or group vocal and any other attributes that will allow producers to quickly narrow the selection to the type of music they’re in need of.

When they find the needed piece, they will fill out the appropriate cue sheet for the music library and additional information on how the song is going to be used, for how long, name of the composer and the piece, as well as of the copyright owner.

There are some large music libraries that hire their own composers to compose music and songs for them, but these will as well allow for submitting of individual songs and forming new indie composers’ libraries. That is where new artists have the best opportunity.

What should you consider?
When submitting instrumental pieces to a music library, make certain that it is well arranged and avoid usage of stock sounds, which come integrated with your software or a keyboard. It is advised that you use live musicians whenever it is possible, especially for country and rock music. Keyboard triggered samples that are trying to emulate sax, acoustic or steel guitars, etc. are not very much appreciated.

The accent should be put on creating a fresh sound with a properly generated mood. Productions will often use compositions with strong melody themes, but also the simple underscoring created just to enhance the mood. It is also advisable that you create mixes with lead instruments included but also mixes without them.

Songs submitted to music libraries can be used in wide array of ways. At the times, the accent will be put on the lyrics, while at some other times the song will be used as a background to some conversation held in a bar and will be barely audible. In these cases, it will be more important to create the authentic style, appropriate for the story setting.

When you pitch directly to music supervisors for specific shows, you will usually get an advance for master and synch use licenses, while using song placement companies will usually provide you with certain percentage of the advance. With music libraries that will not be the case.

Click here to go to page 2 of the article about music libraries.

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