Library music and writing what you want to write

InLight-Tone

Senior Member
You are crazy! That is $60k per year. Not even a delusional socialist country could maintain that. You would have unbelievable unemployment and small businesses would shut their doors by the droves. I can hire very good new engineering (mechanical, electrical, software), physics, math grads (with BS degree and intern experience) for 60-75k per year. There is a big difference between that job and a minimum wage job. Btw, if a person learns a skill or trade with demand then $5k+ per month is very realistic.

If i missed that this is a joke...then joke is on me. Apologies.
I meant it in the context that to survive in the US meaning rent/mortgage, buy a car, good food, health coverage etc., that's the minimum you will need per household to get by...
 
Last edited:

stevebarden

New Member
Since a majority of production music is used for television - especially Reality TV - I would suggest researching shows that use the kind of music you are interested in writing. The end credits typically list which production music library supplies the music for that show. These are the ones you can target to include your tracks.
 

dohm

Member
I meant it in the context that to survive in the US meaning rent/mortgage, buy a car, good food, health coverage etc., that's the minimum you will need per household to get by...
Got it. Sorry about missing the context. I misunderstood.

I agree with you on the $ number in that context.

Hopefully, the return on work in music (libraries, etc.) will keep up with inflation and rising costs.
 
Last edited:

Aaron Sapp

Senior Member
I meant it in the context that to survive in the US meaning rent/mortgage, buy a car, good food, health coverage etc., that's the minimum you will need per household to get by...
$5k a month is an exceptionally-comfortable living by most standards. Certainly far beyond what you'd need to "get by" in most places. Even in LA I got by with around $2k a month when I first moved out there. Just had to live without a stove/oven, washer/dryer, sleep on the floor with five noisy PC's with no air conditioning in the middle of summer. Good food? Pfffft. Health coverage? Pfffft.

If you can live without the usual creature comforts, surviving off music is pretty feasible for many. It also focuses your work like nothing else. Think everyone should go through that rite of passage where your rent payment is contingent on whether or not you finish your track(s) by tomorrow.
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
I meant it in the context that to survive in the US meaning rent/mortgage, buy a car, good food, health coverage etc., that's the minimum you will need per household to get by...
Shit, is the US gotten THAT bad? That's a very high income needed to "get by". It's crazy expensive to live here in Calgary, but if one is bringing home $5k per month here, they're doing quite well. And not to sound like a dark cloud here, but for someone new to the library game, earning $60k usd per year probably has the same odds as winning the Power Ball.
 

D Halgren

Senior Member
Shit, is the US gotten THAT bad? That's a very high income needed to "get by". It's crazy expensive to live here in Calgary, but if one is bringing home $5k per month here, they're doing quite well. And not to sound like a dark cloud here, but for someone new to the library game, earning $60k usd per year probably has the same odds as winning the Power Ball.
Well, I pay $1,100 a month for healthcare, for a family of 3, and that's middle of the road insurance. How about you?
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
Well, I pay $1,100 a month for healthcare, for a family of 3, and that's middle of the road insurance. How about you?
Well, you got me there. In Canada we have no healthcare premiums. Let's say, for example, you need major surgery in Canada....it's all covered 100%. The only things that aren't covered are things like dental and prescriptions, but this can easily be paid for under an extended plan that costs around $60 per person. Most full time employers provide these benefits in Alberta.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
I'm totally out of the loop with this stuff. "Writing for libraries" - how does that even work? You sit in your house somewhere like a hermit and write an endless stream of some hypothetical media music, day in, day out, never talking to anyone, and upload it to some place and hope to make some money off of all that a few years down the road? Is that what people do? It can't be just that, right?
 

Chr!s

Active Member
I'm totally out of the loop with this stuff. "Writing for libraries" - how does that even work? You sit in your house somewhere like a hermit and write an endless stream of some hypothetical media music, day in, day out, never talking to anyone, and upload it to some place and hope to make some money off of all that a few years down the road? Is that what people do? It can't be just that, right?
I think so.

Personally, I think guys like Antti Martikainen have the right idea with this stuff.

He just writes albums of instrumental music the way he likes and then licenses them out via his website to anyone who wants to use them in their projects rather than specifically writing for companies. Given his youtube following and credits on his website, I gather it's working out.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
I think so.

Personally, I think guys like Antti Martikainen have the right idea with this stuff.

He just writes albums of instrumental music the way he likes and then licenses them out via his website to anyone who wants to use them in their projects rather than specifically writing for companies. Given his youtube following and credits on his website, I gather it's working out.
I gotta admire the persistency and steadiness. It just seems like such a shot in the dark. I don't think I could just produce piece after piece after piece without, you know - having a clear goal and someone saying: we need such-and-such for this and that. I wonder how he does it. Maybe he's just absolutely crazy about writing music?
 

StevenMcDonald

stevenmcdonaldmusic.com
I'm totally out of the loop with this stuff. "Writing for libraries" - how does that even work? You sit in your house somewhere like a hermit and write an endless stream of some hypothetical media music, day in, day out, never talking to anyone, and upload it to some place and hope to make some money off of all that a few years down the road? Is that what people do? It can't be just that, right?
That's kind of the worst case scenario, or looking at it in a very pessimistic way. It definitely can take years to get rolling, but ideally you'll live a balanced life and have a good relationship with one or more publishers who tell you what music is needed, and are very active at shopping it around. Maybe even getting paid up front per track!
 

D Halgren

Senior Member
Well, you got me there. In Canada we have no healthcare premiums. Let's say, for example, you need major surgery in Canada....it's all covered 100%. The only things that aren't covered are things like dental and prescriptions, but this can easily be paid for under an extended plan that costs around $60 per person. Most full time employers provide these benefits in Alberta.
I know, that was kind of my point. I need to become Canadian:thumbsup: Vancouver is only 6 hours from me, eh!
 

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
My question is basically, could someone make a full time income writing library music in sort of a niche style such as neo-classical?
In short, no.

Don't try to do that style of music for music libraries. They aren't going to specialize in it and get you enough paying work to support you. A style like that would be good if you were hired by a company and got paid a salary to do that kind of work. If that is what you truly want to do, find someone who needs that kind of music and who has a budget. It won't be easy but it is definitely possible.
 

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
I'm totally out of the loop with this stuff. "Writing for libraries" - how does that even work? You sit in your house somewhere like a hermit and write an endless stream of some hypothetical media music, day in, day out, never talking to anyone, and upload it to some place and hope to make some money off of all that a few years down the road? Is that what people do? It can't be just that, right?
That is what some people do. Sad indeed.

I wanted to do that at some point, but that sounds very dull after a while. Not to mention the fact that my royalties are shrinking like nobody's business!

I need to be out there interacting with people and socializing. I could not write music for music libraries full time unless I was in prison. The isolation would drive me nuts.
 

Chr!s

Active Member
I could not write music for music libraries full time unless I was in prison. The isolation would drive me nuts.
I can't remember if it was you or Jimmy I'd talked about this in another thread some months ago.

I think about all the hours I've spent locked away in a room with a computer and keyboard and what I could've been doing instead. This past summer, I had more fun just going out and doing stuff with family and friends. I went to medieval faires, horseback riding, fishing, hiking trips, etc. and I could barely bring myself to write any music.

Years ago, I could sit there from sun up until sundown. Now, I'll spend like 2 weeks or more on 2 minutes of music.
 

muk

Senior Member
I'm totally out of the loop with this stuff. "Writing for libraries" - how does that even work? You sit in your house somewhere like a hermit and write an endless stream of some hypothetical media music, day in, day out, never talking to anyone, and upload it to some place and hope to make some money off of all that a few years down the road? Is that what people do? It can't be just that, right?
That's how I imagine uploading to royalty-free libraries can be like. It's quite a bit different when working with exclusive libraries. Then you'll work together with A&R-people, developing concepts for new albums, discussing tracks and how to improve them etc. Building good working relationships plays an important part. It also involves contacting libraries you'd like to work with, following up, frequently being turned down or not hearing back. But if you are in with a good library it can be very rewarding.

You can write the music that you want to write. You can work at your own pace - no crazy deadlines. It takes time to build a steady stream of income, but if you stop writing music the tracks that you have out there will still generate money for some time. The libraries take care of the admin work (titling, meta-tagging, registering tracks with a pro, artwork), and will promote your tracks, so you can focus on writing music.

It's certainly not for everyone. But for me it is a very nice way to create some income from writing music. It gives you a lot of freedom, both creatively and in terms of workload. It's work that easily integrates with other jobs because you get to choose when and how much you work at any time. And, apart from generating royalties, seeing placements for your music can be highly motivating.
 

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
That's how I imagine uploading to royalty-free libraries can be like. It's quite a bit different when working with exclusive libraries. Then you'll work together with A&R-people, developing concepts for new albums, discussing tracks and how to improve them etc. Building good working relationships plays an important part. It also involves contacting libraries you'd like to work with, following up, frequently being turned down or not hearing back. But if you are in with a good library it can be very rewarding.

You can write the music that you want to write. You can work at your own pace - no crazy deadlines. It takes time to build a steady stream of income, but if you stop writing music the tracks that you have out there will still generate money for some time. The libraries take care of the admin work (titling, meta-tagging, registering tracks with a pro, artwork), and will promote your tracks, so you can focus on writing music.

It's certainly not for everyone. But for me it is a very nice way to create some income from writing music. It gives you a lot of freedom, both creatively and in terms of workload. It's work that easily integrates with other jobs because you get to choose when and how much you work at any time. And, apart from generating royalties, seeing placements for your music can be highly motivating.
So what city do I need to move to in order to work with these sort of companies?
 

GtrString

Senior Member
The music library market is getting waay too saturated, so call me a sceptic, but as I see it, only as part of an income portfolio. Even after 5 years, you would be lucky to land 20-30% of those 5k.

As you are still young, it would make much more sense to start a band, self-publish, play a ton of shows, tour and create a network, and then use your name to consolidate as you grow older.