10 Tips for New Composers for Sync
Are you new to sync licensing/composing production music? Follow these 10 tips to help you get started!
Start recording! You can read all you want in forums, but the actual first step you need to take is to record your music. Pick a style of music that you can do easily and record a track (or several). If you don't have decent recording equipment, you will need to invest in it.
Beef up your mixing skills. Learn common tricks, typical EQ's, find your favorite reverbs, etc. Quality matters a lot in this business, especially now that so many musicians are venturing into sync.
Make your tracks evolve musically. This can mean having multiple sections of songs, introducing more instruments every couple of measures, removing instruments for breakdowns, increasing energy etc.
Practice creating different edits of tracks. Some common ones are instrumental, underscore, 30 second, 60 second, stinger (4-7 seconds) and bumper (8-12 seconds). For the cutdowns, I prefer to use the full track and chop it up as opposed to doing every individual instrument.
Record at least a few tracks per week. It will be really hard to gain traction if you are only recording once a week or once a month. I've been at it for over 3 years and record about 20 tracks a month and am nowhere near close to full-time income!
Use templates. Create a template of a certain style of music and use it when you record that style. For example, for a rock track I would have color-coded tracks for every instrument, L and R guitars, buses already created, effect sends mapped out, drum software loaded on its track, etc. This will let you focus on the creativity.
Don't be afraid of exclusivity. New composers are often afraid of giving up the rights to their songs (possibly in perpetuity), but this is where the big placements come from. I work with exclusive libraries all the time, and rarely work with non-exclusive libraries anymore.
Be Patient! Building up a catalog takes a long time, as does getting paid from placements through your PRO. This is a long game. Don't get discouraged from the amount of time it takes to start seeing success (several years at least).
Listen to music on your favorite TV shows, commercials and YouTube videos. It is important to study the formats and tendencies of production music. Don't steal melodies or anything, but you can use the ideas as springboards.
Stop worrying so much about gear! Yes, it is important to have quality gear, but your skills and experience are more valuable than any specific set of headphones or speakers. I like to recycle my earnings into new "toys" whenever I get a decent payment. Build up as you go, and unless you are recording on a cell phone, you can likely get decent results.
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