Today’s post is a guest post from professional sound designer, Greg Savage. Greg and I recently created a course together called “The Art Of Sound Design”, which is an in depth course all about the business of sound design. I’ll have more information about our course next week.
In the meantime… I asked Greg if he would write a guest post related to our course and the topic of sound design. Greg was kind enough to oblige me with the following article, “There’s A Market For Sound”.
Over to you Greg….
I just wanted to thank Aaron for allowing me to guest post on his website. I sat for many hours thinking of the right article to deliver. I wanted to present something that would touch the licensing community and maybe even give you a few “ah ha” moments.
I'm not going to dive into all the markets (in this post). Instead, i'm going to focus on what I feel relates to you all as music composers.
Do understand that as much as I love the craft, I'm also a businessman. I'm walking into this knowing that everyone may not agree with my views (I'm fine with that).
The New Music Composer
Today's music producer/composer (whatever title you want to use) moves at a fast pace. Everyone’s working on multiple projects (at once) and what once took years to learn now takes days or weeks.
People no longer exhaust their production tools, they want new sounds yesterday. In fact, a product isn't even marketable unless it comes with tons of sounds.
Originality is damn near non-existent. Everyone wants the sounds used for “insert hit song”. They aren't interested in how the sounds are made. What they want are the PATCHS/PRESETS/WAVS/LOOPS and they are willing to part with $ for them.
This is the average work flow for composers (new):
Buy a group of plush sounds → make a few compositions → buy more sounds → make new compositions → Hear popular songs ← Likes them, buys the corresponding sound packs → makes similar songs → hears about new plug in → buys it makes new songs
See how everything revolves around NEW SOUNDS. Everyone wants the latest and greatest.
It's not because they can't be original, originality just doesn't hold as much value.
Here's a perfect example for you.
There is a famous DJ/Producer named Skrillex. Everyone loves his growling bass’s, leads drums and other sounds. In fact most people call Dubstep bass’s → Skrillex Bass (it’s quite funny).
This happens in every genre with every notable producer/composer or artist.
“Where can I get that skrillex bass?”
“How do I get those Dr. Dre pianos”
“Where Can I get that Hendrix distortion”
See the numbers in that screenshot? That’s barely scratching the surface. There’s a huge market for this stuff.
Now type in your name. Notice a difference → exactly
Corporations Understand It
Companies use sound as a marketing tool all the time.
When you walk into Guitar Center and play with that new synth or workstation, the 1st thing you test is the presets.
When you read gear/software reviews they focus on sound 1st, then everything else. The gear could have the most amazing features, but if the sound sucks....It goes nowhere, sound is everything.
I've been contracted by companies (like Akai) to supply drum loops, synths/bass patches (as well as other sounds) for their sample Cd’s, drum machine/synth units and software applications.
They understand and know the impact sounds have on their numbers. In most cases, I get an email that states something similar to this.
→ Hi Greg,
Were working on ~X~ and we're looking for sounds similar to → ~certain genre and/song~ ← blah blah dates, yada yada deadline.. Please let us know if you have time/are interested in contributing to this project.
Sometimes they're interested in original sounds other times… not so much. They want what's working in the world today. - That's just the way the cookie crumbles.
Sounds Great, But Not For Me
Look, I totally understand. I'm not saying switch your career or goals and become an unoriginal trend hopping lunatic. I'm just pointing out that there's a huge market for this and there's no reason why you shouldn't be using this market to create a little cushion for yourself. Original music is great, I love it, but it doesn't always pay. When it doesn't pay we get desperate, our self esteem dips and some of us even give up hope (because we're broke).
Some people take on a job just to make ends meet and wind up being consumed by the 9-5. Once that happens, you'll produce less music and you're have a lot of could of should of's.I'd rather be an unoriginal, biting, trend hopping (insert whatever vulgarity you like) composer than engage in any line of work that deters me from my goals.
I don't care what anyone says, the market doesn't lie.
In : March 2013
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