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Leo_Artaza says

No no, I don’t mean emotionally. Let me rephrase it. Do you compose to sell, or you do it because you’re inspired and because you like the music you’re making?

This popped to my mind while making a corporate motivational song. I suddenly asked myself, is this really what I wanna write? where am I going with my life? (I kid). But really, why don’t I go back to that nasty Funk-Rock with wahs and slaps all over the place?

And what better than asking this to all the experienced authors in AudioJungle. What can you tell from your experience, did you have more success selling music you liked and felt, rather than potential sellers? How often do you sell music you really like? What would you suggest? Feel free to post your stories, any extra info is welcomed :)

Cheers!

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Alisiya says

Why not to combine these activities. But still the expiration first! :)

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adammonroe says

To me, you are either writing commercial music or you are writing music that’s an avenue for self-expression. Both kinds of music are difficult to write.

I find writing commercial-style music difficult because it is very hard to write something in a minimalistic way and have it still sound engaging/catchy. A lot of it comes down to production and engineering, as far as choosing the exact right instruments and mixing them perfectly. Often you are shooting for an overall feel, rather than specific melodic or harmonic content. Less-is-more can be a difficult thing to achieve.

Music that is more personal is also difficult, because in a way it’s your statement to the world, and you might judge it against a higher standard than you would commissioned or commercial music. That’s not to say a higher production standard, but a higher standard of creativity.

However, one should infuse everything one does with their own personal style, and invariably one will (how can it be avoided?) All great composers have their hallmark sound.

I believe the key to being a well-rounded and sane composer is trying to write music in a variety of styles and on a number of themes. Even commercial-sounding music can vary a great deal from song to song. If one starts producing the same music over and over, be it artistically or commercially, then one is sure to feel unfulfilled, and one’s work is sure to suffer…and the world is to suffer, because everything starts to sound mediocre and homogenized.

PatrickAThompson
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PatrickAThompson says

Adam’s right!!

I’m working on a film right now that needs an ethereal\industrial kind of sound. While it’s far from my favorite genre, a) I still do it, because that’s my job… and b) I still find fulfillment in the actualization of the film + music as it becomes something greater than the film or music alone. I know this is slightly away from your original question, but it proves my point that we can’t always compose exactly what we like and still get a paycheck.

As far as music for AJ, again, Adam’s right. From what I can tell, most buyers want music with a consistent feel… too many changes (or any changes at all in tempo, mood, orchestration, modulations, etc.) and they can’t use it. This goes against my musical instinct which is to keep the music moving, shifting, and interesting… So, when writing for AJ, I have to remind myself to not get too fancy. For the most part, simple sells.

I also, however, compose for the sake of music. My style is inherently cinematic and commercial anyhow – as experimental and atonal music has never really appealed to me. But I’ll sit down and just write with some vague emotion in mind.. or an event… and see what happens.

Bottom line is that somewhere, someone is looking for your music… They don’t know it until they hear it. If it is good and produced well, it will eventually sell – but you’ve got to write it and make it available… and to the buyer, it matters not what your personal inspiration was for the piece… but if the piece has the emotional content to support their project.

I personally believe there’s a happy middle ground where a composer can write what he\she wants and still make it commercially viable.

It’s certainly hit and miss… but the key here is to keep writing. :)

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Leo_Artaza says

Very interesting answers indeed, I guess I’ll have to hold back that change of tempos or mood I sometimes feel like mixing in :p

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PatrickAThompson says

Very interesting answers indeed, I guess I’ll have to hold back that change of tempos or mood I sometimes feel like mixing in :p

It’s a gamble either way… Some pieces call for it.. and some people want those pieces which evolve…. But some don’t… and here’s why:

Say that you’re a film producer looking for stock music. You find this glorious, wonderful, epic track which suits your film… And then there’s a swell in the music which leads to a modulation—but there’s nothing in the film to really call for that… or if it does, the timing doesn’t match up.. Instead, you’d go back and try to find something that captures the mood consistently..

On the flip side… if you’re a film producer… you might choose this glorious, wonderful, epic piece and edit TO the music..

Lots of possibilities… This is why I vary my tracks greatly. All sorts of different styles, tempos, meters, emotions… some with key changes.. some without. Some grow… some don’t. But like I said before… no one can buy it if I don’t write it. :)

The_Auditory_Group
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The_Auditory_Group says

Aside form technically/theoretical elements of composing, I think about listening objectively and trying not to lose that objectivity. Sometimes something that bothers me about a piece of music I’m working on just fades away into the background the more times I hear it until my brain starts to autocorrect and it starts to feel fine. That’s a dangerous place to be and I try to not enter that zone but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

I think keeping that in your mind as your writing is a good thing. Taking breaks can help but I find the fool proof way to keep your objectivity is to listen with someone else. Somehow you listen through their ears and automatically know what’s wrong before they even open their lips, it’s a wonderful thing.

All the best!

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Leo_Artaza says

ha, that’s definitely true I never really thought about it

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SoundFix says

This is an interesting post. I’m a student looking to go full time composing in a couple of years, so over the last few months I’ve been composing with more of an aim, rather than just in the moment of inspiration. Even more so now I’m on here, I compose completely to sell, but I still really enjoy, it makes it way more challenging, interesting and is helping me to become a better composer by ‘tackling’ different genres etc. I think being able to combine the two (to sell and for enjoyment) gives people more focus, which is a great thing.

I only joined nearly 2 weeks ago so I can’t give much advice as I’ve only had 6 sales so far. I will keep reading these posts to find some good tips :)

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Leo_Artaza says

Today I had my first sale and I gotta say I feel really motivated to compose anything now! hehe so yeah maybe doing music you really feel and love will be for the very spare time, thanks! :)

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