My 'Library Album'

Discussion in 'Member's Compositions' started by Jeremy Gillam, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. Jeremy Gillam

    Jeremy Gillam Active Member

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    I spent most of March writing a "Library Album" (if I can only find a library that will publish it!). Rather than just making a collection of tracks, I tried to come up with something that felt like it told a cohesive story, the way a composer might when writing suites for a film.

    Any thoughts or feedback are welcome. These are my rough mixes, but hopefully I'll have reason to revisit the project to finalize it, at which time I can implement any helpful suggestions.



    Thanks for listening, and all my best.

    JG
     
  2. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

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    How many libraries have you contacted?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Jeremy Gillam

    Jeremy Gillam Active Member

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    6 so far.
     
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  4. eph221

    eph221 Member

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    Your ideas are great. Keep it up!
     
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  5. Hywel

    Hywel Finally... an SSD for samples!

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    Magnificent. I can hear these tracks all over forthcoming BBC Dramas.
     
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  6. R. Soul

    R. Soul Senior Member

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    Sounds great.
    What are you calling this album?

    Libraries like albums that have a clear mood or theme. For example 'Drama strings', 'Family adventure' or 'Baroque'.
    It gives them a clear picture of what the album can be used for.
    Sorry if this is old news. I just thought it was worth mentioning as it could be why you haven't heard back from any library.
     
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  7. OP
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    Jeremy Gillam

    Jeremy Gillam Active Member

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    Thanks for the kind words.

    For now I'm calling the album "Dream Quarantine." I thought "Dream" sounded ethereal and romantic, and "Quarantine" slightly off-kilter and potentially dangerous, and by combining the two I hoped to evoke a story that has all those elements, potentially taking place in an otherworldly setting. But maybe you're right that I need to dumb it down a bit! For the time being I updated the album artwork...
     
  8. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

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    Keep working to get this project out there. It deserves a good home!
     
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  9. OP
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    Jeremy Gillam

    Jeremy Gillam Active Member

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    Cheers man, I appreciate the encouragement.
     
  10. GtrString

    GtrString Active Member

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    Did you get any feedback, you could share? Like, what was their reaction/ response, and what message did you get back from the libraries so far?

    Seems risky to create a library album, if you dont know if the genre or style is in demand. A month is a lot of time, if the album is only going on the shelf.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  11. OP
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    Jeremy Gillam

    Jeremy Gillam Active Member

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    I haven't heard back from any yet, so no feedback to report!

    Yes, probably risky in a way. But I pay may bills doing photo retouching and not from music (yet), and I had a slow month with that and wanted to work on a composing project that was more substantive than just making some random tracks, which I always get bored with. Approaching this the way one might a film was my challenge to myself to see if I could write something that was longer in form, and a way to hold my interest. I kept all the tracks at the same tempo and in the same tonality so that if anyone were interested in using the music, it would be possible to really go to town on the stems.

    But as all the music I've written in the past six years is just collecting digital dust, it won't come as a shock if this gets added to the shelf...
     
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  12. Jonathan Sharp

    Jonathan Sharp Heartwood Soundware

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    FWIW -
    First off, lovely tracks. Nicely written and produced. However...... I'd say some of them are probably too long for library and they don't seem to build to the obvious cut points - if you do place them, doing the edits / cut downs, will be a nightmare.
    Nice music, absolutely.
    Library music, not so much.
     
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  13. MartinH.

    MartinH. Senior Member

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    As someone interested in one day writing library music too, this blows my mind in a bad way.



    Do you have a recommendation for ideal track length and number/placement of cut points? Maybe even tempo?
     
  14. Jonathan Sharp

    Jonathan Sharp Heartwood Soundware

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    2 to 3 minutes max for your full length, Certainly no more than that.
    Cut points are generally 30" intervals.
     
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  15. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

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    One day? What’s stopping you from writing library music now?
     
  16. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    I really like what you've done! However, just a couple of things to consider...

    1) It sounds more like a soundtrack album for a sci-fi film, not something that would be used as a library album.

    2) The tracks sound to similar, and contain a lot of the same instruments. Not a bad thing, but I recommend more diversity.

    3) Try writing each cue in a different key (or at least every other one) to real the monotony; I am bad for this myself.

    4) As already mentioned, add elements that you'll be able to reference when/if you need to create alternate track versions. A library company will typically request the full length version, a 60 sec, and a 30 sec version. They also sometimes request track alternates that don't contain certain elements.
     
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  17. OP
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    Jeremy Gillam

    Jeremy Gillam Active Member

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    @Jonathan Sharp & @Wolfie2112 — Thank you for the feedback and pointers, I will definitely bear this in mind in the future, and I'm sure that info will be helpful for others here as well. I knowingly disregarded some of these suggestions from the outset which it seems will work to my detriment in trying to place this, but that it sounds like a 'soundtrack album for a sci-film' is basically what I was going for so I'm glad that came across.

    @MartinH. Most of the music on the shelf is pop & country songs that I've written to pitch to artists, labels, and publishers, which is an extremely hard aspect of the business to break into. I've only gotten serious about composing in the past year and a half or so and I'm trying to figure out an outlet for my creativity that might also come with a bit of money. But yes, it is very frustrating sometimes. It seems like every way you turn there is a catch 22 that nobody will take you seriously unless you've already achieved something, which makes getting those first breaks tricky.
     
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  18. MartinH.

    MartinH. Senior Member

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    Thanks! I'm slowly making my way through a video course on trailer music right now and he also stressed the importance of making the music "as easy to edit as possible".

    Lack of composing skill and abundance of other freelance work (not music related).
    But honestly I'm not even sure I'd enjoy writing library music in the long run. I'd have to try it to find out.

    Thanks! I need to try composing something to those specs for practice some time.

    Yeah, it's brutal in most creative fields. Also I have a bit of a dislike for "speculative" work. I tried rolling the dice on that a couple of times, but I don't think I have the frustration tollerance to keep doing something like that for long. So the whole library music thing might not be for me. But right now I'm occasionally composing stuff and it's collecting dust on my harddrive. So possibly not too dissimilar from your situation, and if I could make the things I write "library compatible" without compromising too much on what I want to write, then maybe there is a balance to be found.

    But I know that some people can get depressed over writing just e.g. trailer-music even if it's working out well financially for them... so...

    I don't plan to make composing "my job", but some long tail licensing revenue on the side, even if it isn't much, would be nice. And as you likely know it's hard to generate that with graphics work.
     
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  19. OP
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    Jeremy Gillam

    Jeremy Gillam Active Member

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    Man, I hear you on all points. For myself, at this point in my life, I want to make music that has some utility — whether it's contributing to films or music libraries, or making songs that people can enjoy (or enjoy to hate). And with that goal you have to conform at least somewhat to norms and what's in style, and sometimes those limitations are actually inspiring. But I find when I try too hard to follow trends or to make stuff that's "commercially viable" — whether composing on my own or songwriting with friends — it usually ends up either being shit or we just get too depressed and never finish it. So it's a tricky balance to strike!
     
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  20. ka00

    ka00 Senior Member

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    Nice job! I need to listen all the way through, but there are some nice motifs and moods. But it possibly needs a bit less restatement from track to track, and I agree about trying different keys and rhythms to break up the sameness.

    Also, on a purely superficial front, the font treatment on your cover art doesn’t do the music any justice.
     
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