Today's post is extra special because we have a guest…..
Mark Malekpour is a Content Manager at Beatsuite.com
He curates and maintains the library's music catalogue of production music.
That means he knows exactly what kind of music gets picked and what's a surefire way to get your music rejected….
In this post, he answers questions asked by Creative & Productive readers.
If you weren't able to submit your question or it wasn't answered this time around, don't hesitate to ask it in the comments section!
We'll do our best to get back to you 🙂
Alright! Let's do this!
Enter Mark Malekpour….
(emphasis in his answers are mine)
Update 06-01-2019: Beatsuite are experiencing connectivity issues on their website so links may not work. Don't worry about it for now, enjoy Mark's insights and check out Beatsuite.com later! 🙂
What are the top three things that cause Beatsuite.com to immediately reject a song?
Poor Production (Sound Quality)
The quality of tools available to music composers and artists today are incredible. Some level of investment is required to make music that sounds good.
The production of a music track is what makes it sound good. The texture and overall feel of a track.
Commercial Music these days is produced to very high standards. Don't let a poor drum sample ruin a superb melody you've composed.
Nobody wants something that sounds dated for their content.
A Mini-Mix or Mash-Up
Sending a mini-mix of several music tracks in one, three minute track.
If you have five music tracks to show off, send the five music tracks.
Let the library hear each track individually.
A mash-up of several tracks cut together is impossible to review.
C&P note: sending a demo reel may be relevant when you're pitching yourself as a music composer on a specific project but music libraries are primarily looking for songs.
Epic, Cinematic Orchestral Scores
It may sound incredible, awesome and exciting…. But there is very little demand for big, booming, epic and dramatic movie scores in production music.
That kind of music is composed and cut to the movie.
It's exciting to create epic and dramatic music, and if that's your forte it can have a place, but music that would accompany grand battles between good and evil, not so much.
If you're going for the Hans Zimmer style score, think of how it will be used.
What Kind of Music is Most in Demand?
Production music is mostly used by businesses. Businesses are usually using music to go alongside their product, brand or image.
So it makes sense that the most popular in-demand music themes are positive, uplifting, inspiring and feel good, with a contemporary feel.
Businesses want their audience to feel good about their work, product or brand.
Think about an ad for washing up liquid….
Nobody likes washing up, but you never see an ad portraying the hum drum task of washing up. The ads are always smiley, fun and family friendly because 'their' washing up liquid takes the chore out of washing up.
C&P note: try not to get hung up on genre, focus on mood instead. Check out this 10 Best Super Bowl Commercial.
Notice how the music is mostly uplifting but in lots of different genres.
Should we always make different versions with and without drums, different beginnings and endings etc.?
Yes, definitely. But no need to go overboard.
- The main track
- The main track underscore – this is often with a key element removed, such as a vocal sample, lead guitar or drums to offer a more low-key version
- 30 second edit – A pre-cut 30 second version of the track with a beginning, middle and end that represents the main track but would fit perfectly for a 30 second TV ad
- 60 second edit – Same rules at the 30 second version, but typically used in online promos where there is more time to play with
- Stings/Idents – Little bursts of the music track that can be used as an intro or chapter break. Very useful for Podcasts or training videos
- Loops – Key sections of the track pre-cut to be playable as a seamless loop. Ideal for background music to someone talking where the music is breaking up the silence, but not meant to be listened to and can be looped for as long as required.
Should Composers and Sign an Exclusive or None-Exclusive Deal?
There are pros and cons of each type of deal when signing music to a music library. Such as:
> Wider distribution/potential reach
> Multiple revenue streams
> Big libraries that require exclusivity won't sign your content
> Your content could be placed in a cheaper library, driving down the price of your music. (Customers will always find it cheaper if it exists)
> If you self-publish to a non-exclusive platform your music will be amongst a very mixed quality of music including poor music
> Libraries that offer both exclusive and non-exclusive music will favour their exclusive content when promoting music
> An exclusive library has tighter control on the price of music (no price-matching cheaper sites)
> An established library requiring exclusivity isn't signing music in bulk, and only music it believes will be licensed
> An exclusive library may off you buy-out commissions on music or cash advances to produce a collection of music for them
> Opportunity for better deal if sharing revenue
> A library signing exclusive music will only sign good music with high standards and will actively market their exclusive content
> The library will actively work with you during the content submission process to ensure your content is as good as it can be. Providing feedback and advice
> Tighter control on YouTube licensing and content ID. If non-exclusive, other libraries could claim on behalf of YOUR content, upsetting other libraries you have placed music in
> Smaller range/distribution
> If the content doesn't sell in that library you can't take it elsewhere during the contractual period
C&P note: this is a good debate and there are a few things that I think are worth challenging….
(1) it may be true that exclusive libraries accept "only music it believes will be licensed" but when they offer no advance, how can we be sure?
If they REALLY believed in the music, wouldn't they be willing to pay an advance to the music composer who's taking the leap and signing an exclusive contract?
(2) In my experience, not all exclusive libraries "actively market their exclusive content" and really, if they haven't paid an advance to the composer, what's their incentive to do so other than be profitable (which is also an objective for non-exclusive libraries)?
Having said that, Mark has some great points about pricing and tighter control. Exclusive deals have the potential to be more prestigious and more lucrative.
You need to figure out if that balance of risk and reward is right for you.
Before I sign any deal, one of the questions I like to ask myself is: "IF this deal NEVER made a sale, would I be cool with that or would I feel stuck and anxious about money?"
What moves the needle in terms of moving forward with a song?
Composition and production values. A track must have good structure, and sound great.
A good structure with poor samples lets a great composition down. A fantastic sounding track with poor composition, i.e. overly long intros or overly repetitive sections means it may sound great, but it's not usable.
Music needs to have either a great hook or melody, a great sound/tone/feel/mood or a great rhythm/energy.
When one or ALL of these elements combine then you have a great track.
You can tell a great track because it excites you (its energy), it sticks in your head (melody or hook) or just inspires or moves you.
Does Beatsuite actively promote certain songs or just act as a shop where people come in to look at what's in the store?
By default our music library is a store front that clients use to browse, sample and license music.
We personally curate EVERY music track in our library, giving it a valued place where relevant.
We carefully craft our music collections to be on-theme.
Listen to our music, and see where yours would fit.
If you're creating high energy action music, does it stand up against what we have for that theme?
We also provide one-to-one music consultancy for clients, so we often hand-pick recommendations and selections for clients. So we're always amongst our music.
Who are Beatsuite's customers?
We have a massively broad range of customers. Literally anyone who needs to license music, we cater for.
Our most common customers are corporate clients who need music to represent their brand and or product.