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  • Writer's pictureRandy McGravey

Sync Licensing: Writing Music for Briefs

If you've jumped into the field of production music, you likely will eventually be asked to write music for briefs. Briefs are specific types of tracks that you are asked to write, also known as bespoke music. Usually they will give you details about what they want, and also example tracks. If you write music for briefs pay attention to the following aspects of each track.

  • Tempo (aim for a similar speed)

  • Time signature

  • Instrumentation (try to be close to their instrumentation)

  • Desired length of time

  • Overall vibe, mood and busy-ness

  • File format (WAV, 24/48, 16/44.1 etc.)

Briefs can be competitive, as many other composers probably receive the brief as well. They can also be a lot of fun. I've written some pretty unique music based on briefs that I otherwise never would have thought to write. Quality is more important than quantity, it is better to make 2 tracks and have them both accepted as opposed to 5 tracks where none are accepted.

There are usually strict deadlines for briefs, and you will often need a quick turnaround. Templates are your best friend for creating tracks quickly. Composers who submit briefs early are more likely to be selected. If you are interested in writing for briefs, it is a good idea to prioritize them over other projects.

The more connections you make in this business, the more opportunities for briefs you will receive. You can receive briefs from libraries, individuals, past clients, music supervisors, etc. If they know you can successfully create high quality music quickly, you will become one of their go-to artists.

Don't get discouraged if your track doesn't get selected. If they provide details on why you weren't chosen then you can learn from your experience. They won't always give feedback, but worst case scenario, you have an unclaimed track and you can do with it whatever you want. I like to keep a spreadsheet of my exclusive tracks with the following info

  • Which library the track is in

  • BPM, key, etc.

  • Co-writer(s)

  • Re-titled names (if applicable)

  • Contract length and signing date

Otherwise, try to have fun with briefs! They are usually asking for a kind of music because there is an immediate opportunity for it. I find that brief-based tracks are more likely to get placed than non-briefs. I hope you found this post helpful! If you'd like me to post about another subject, feel free to comment or reach out.

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