Software Engineer, mostly C# and SQL Server these days.
Writing music is much more interesting
The best example of success with music with vocals is Tim McMorris. I have a single song with vocals that has garnered a whopping 2 sales on AJ . I actually have one more in the works to test the waters some more, we’ll see how that goes. But I don’t see huge sales in the future for my style of vocal music – my best vocal songs (to my ear) are folksy and introspective, talky more than singy, and not entirely marketable.
My opinion is that vocal songs are problematic for most of us:
1. Lyrics are very hard to get right, and even more so because you’re not writing for yourself and your own emotional experiences but for a marketplace. You have to be especially careful to remember who the audience is, and be accessible and memorable without being insipid.
2. I’m sure some authors are amazing singers, but a lot of us composers don’t necessarily have the best kind of voice, or at least not the best kind of voice for a poppy, upbeat song that’s likely to sell.
3. Recording vocals can be tricky, and in my opinion you can tell for vocals more than other instruments whether an unsuitable mic/preamp were used. Even a casual listener may be able to (at least subconsciously) tell the difference between amateur and professional recording on a vocal track because the vocal track is what he or she is listening to the most.
EDIT – I just saw JC’s post, and I guess I should make a distinction between vocals with lyrics and vocal flavor (ooo’s or la la la’s, etc.). I was talking about the former – the latter I think is a cool way to flavor a song and can work very well in a variety of styles.
Yep, it sure looks red to me now – nice work!
Although it’s true that I don’t hear from the majority of buyers, quite a few have been happy to share their work, and I agree that it’s extremely satisfying to see your song in a finished product. It’s even better when you run across your song in a commercial when you weren’t expecting it . For me, most of the uses I know about are webcasts or more local advertising, but there have been a few bigger companies that I know of that have used my tracks. I know that some of the authors up here have had their tracks used in some pretty high exposure advertising.
One thing I’ve heard some authors do at AudioJungle, since you’re delivering a zip package, is to include a readme text file with contact information and a note that you’d love to see what the buyer is using the track for. Also you could add that kind of text to profile and song descriptions. Obviously this doesn’t guarantee anybody contacting you, but it might increase the odds.
A form for a buyer to link to a presentation would be cool, but in the meantime I have seen buyers leave links in the comments section of a song which work as well.
If you have a steady stream of sales then I can see how one could view it with the same mindset as selling iPhone apps i.e. people think : “it’s only a pound or two, so I’ll buy 10 and still won’t feel the hole in my pocket”. But for new authours (like us, despite the deceiving length of time this account has been open for), getting into the limelight to make those sales is a long and arduous journey so our earnings are still peanuts at this stage (and probably will be for a while!). Having a higher earning threshold with a higher bar for standards would benefit everyone, but again that’s been discussed loads in other threads.
I agree that making these things accessible is important, but I think that’s more true if we were talking about a general consumer product like Trax or iTunes. As well as YouTube video makers, most people coming to this marketplace are likely to be looking for music for corporate videos and other commercial productions where decent money is being earned, they’re looking for a complication-free way to broadcast their media.I don’t know jhunger, I just feel music is being devalued the same way as photography. And this is also off-topic, but I have a good friend who used to be able to live off his photography sales two years ago. Now, he gets the same sales but earns half as much because the libraries have pushed the price down to keep competitive. Without setting a limit to a decent minimum price across the board, we inevitably reach a point where our music is sold on a subscription basis and we earn something like 25% of what we do now. $14 is super cheap, some people spend that kind of money on lunch here in London!
I absolutely see your point, and I think that there is some truth to music being devalued. I think it’s worse for stock photographers than it is for us, given the medium and the complete sea change that digital photography has brought. Though for stock audio I do actually subscribe to the “make it up in volume” mindset, which might ultimately not be the best view on things for a sustainable stock music industry. I’m very interested in this topic (even though it has been discussed at length before), so I moved it over here so as not to go too far off the path of this thread
I’m starting this thread with full knowledge that it’s a tired subject and can invoke some heated opinions…
Mainly it’s sort of a continuation of this conversation here but on a separate thread so that the original thread is not hijacked by an off topic detour.
Anyway, what do you think – would you rather sell 1 track for $150 or 10 tracks for $15? Would it make a difference if the $100 sale were a big name corporation and the 10 smaller sales were small time players with amateur YouTube channels? What if the smaller sales were all big name corporations – would you feel cheated?
I’ve gone into this royalty free game with the Pollyanna mindset that I’d rather sell RF tracks at a rate similar to what the prices are at AudioJungle now, or not much more. My reasoning (backed by nothing but personal anecdotal evidence) is that with the fairly recent explosion of video streaming sites a whole new marketplace has opened comprising smaller time producers on a shoestring budget willing to buy a song in a $10-20 range, but unable to spring for a more traditionally priced soundtrack.
In a sense, music is being devalued to a point because corporate buyers, who can and have paid much more for these types of tracks in the past, are now able to buy them for far less. But my belief is that this is more than offset by the potential volume of sales that didn’t exist even a few years ago. Price a track at $150, and now your potential pool of buyers is severely limited.
What do you think? Is music being devalued, or is it a necessary adjustment to the changing state of the market that makes high quality creative work available to a far wider audience?
Interesting article, and a lot of good points. I’m not sure I agree with some of the statements from my experience, for instance I have not experienced that marketplaces that offer both exclusive and non-exclusive are less likely to promote the non-exclusive tracks. And the fact that if you’re listed non-exclusive somewhere you can’t go exclusive with the same track somewhere else is something that should be obvious to any author considering non-exclusive status.
Though it seemed like the emphasis was on retitled works, which is not synonymous with being non-exclusive. I don’t re-title anything (that first title is hard enough to come up with!) with the exception of a marketplace that required I rename my “Acoustic Loop – [n]” tracks because they didn’t allow similar titles for different works. But even that I didn’t feel good about – it seems actually downright deceitful, come to think of it
I agree that maintaining several marketplaces is a pain, but it does alleviate the need to advertise on your own to a certain extent because you’re reaching a broader audience by nature.
As for disparate pricing for the same tracks, I also don’t know how to reconcile the sometimes staggering price differences between marketplaces. Some do offer less restrictive licensing, and there may be companies/buyers that will only use a particular marketplace that they have used before and trust. But (and I shouldn’t bring this up, as this is a whole other topic with heated opinions) if I had my way I would sell my tracks everywhere for about what they sell for on AJ – I really like the fact that my tracks are within the budget of millions of amateur videographers up on youtube who would be priced out of the market at $50 / track.