A lot of aspiring sync composers ask me "What are some good music libraries for new composers?" I am here to provide a few options (exclusive and non-exclusive) for anyone who wants to get their feet wet. These are my personal recommendations based on my experience, and feedback I've received from other composers.
Non-exclusive libraries sell your music, but don't require exclusivity. This means that you can sell the same music on other non-exclusive (NE) sites, or on your own. You could put the same tracks in ALL of these libraries if you want to. Non-exclusive libraries are most commonly used for YouTube videos and smaller projects, although TV placements are possible through them.
Pond5 - They are a typical stock music site that sells music on a per-track basis. They accept almost every submission.
Audiojungle - They are similar to Pond5, but are a lot more strict about accepting tracks. You can upload only 2 tracks a month until your acceptance rate increases.
Crucial - Although they are non-exclusive, Crucial has a great reputation for getting music into TV shows, movies, etc. You can submit 3 tracks at a time, and they take probably 6-12 weeks to review submissions. They are very selective, so only submit your best tracks.
Songtradr - Songtradr posts briefs often, and you can submit your tracks to them. They also offer monetization through YouTube, Tik Tok, Twitch, etc. I would recommend the free version, although there is a paid version which allows more submissions for each brief.
Audiosparx - This library seems to focus more on streaming rather than track sales. They don't accept everyone, but they aren't as selective as some other NE sites. Like Songtradr, they have lots of options for monetization.
Libraries to Avoid
I always advise against joining subscription-based libraries. Libraries with subscription models have all but destroyed the non-exclusive market. Here is how they work compared to a traditional site that deals on a per-track basis.
Standard Per-Track Library
Sample track price: $50
Composer share: 50%
Net income: $25 for composer (from 1 track)
Sell 4 tracks a month and you get $100, not bad.
Sample price for 1 month: $20 (Unlimited downloads)
- Composer has 50 tracks on site
- 100 composers are on the site
- 100 consumers are on the site ($2,000 taken in by library)
- Composers split 50% of the earnings
- 100 composers split $1,000
- Assuming every composer has the same amount of tracks, each one gets $10
Would you rather make $100 from selling 4 tracks, or $10 from selling 50 tracks?
If you want this business to thrive, you can't give in to bad deals. You won't make money with these deals anyway. You'd be better off working a minimum wage job for 1 day! Also, never give up any writer's share to someone who didn't write the track.
Exclusive libraries require the exclusive rights to your tracks for a certain period of time (or in perpetuity). This means that you can't submit those tracks to other libraries. These are the libraries that generally deal with bigger projects such as TV, movies, advertising, etc. Many new composers are intimidated by giving their music away without the possibility of getting it back. If you want to make it in this business, you will have to become comfortable with this kind of situation. I would say 90% of my TV placements come from exclusive libraries. Most exclusive libraries accept full albums of one style, or individual tracks based on their briefs.
Scorekeepers - Scorekeepers sends out briefs somewhat often. They don't require full albums, so you can submit individual tracks at your own leisure.
Pink Shark Music - Pink Shark is a semi-new women-owned library that appears to be on the rise. They mostly require full albums (10 or more tracks), but do send out an occasional brief.
Epitome - This is another brief-based library. Some of their briefs are geared towards sports, but they have a wide variety of styles on their site.
These are only a few libraries, but they should be helpful in getting aspiring composers started. There are a ton of libraries out there, and you can find much bigger lists online. When submitting to libraries, always make it personal, and don't appear to be spamming them. Also, please don't reference my name when submitting to them unless I know you personally and you've talked to me about it first!
After you are more established and comfortable making full albums, you can check out some of the major labels. These bigger libraries are more selective, so I would advise not submitting to them too early. You don't want to be seen as an amateur composer and miss your chance down the road.
Lastly, you need to experiment with different libraries to see which ones work for you. For non-exclusive libraries, try uploading a dozen tracks or so and see if anything sells in the first 6 months. You can always add more tracks too. For exclusive libraries, try 1 or 2 albums or a handful of briefs and see if anything places within 6-12 months of the music going live. This business is a long game and the results are cumulative. Don't necessarily expect other composers to tell you their best performing library either, as they likely worked long and hard to establish connections with them and don't want to invite any competition.
Good luck with your sync licensing journey!
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