Making Royalty Free Music (Part 4)

The beginners journey from composition to production to release.

For most composers, writing music is fuelled our passion for the craft. But, our first commission comes along and suddenly two roadblocks stand in the way:

  1. The creative flow comes to a halt
  2. The creative process takes too long

While royalty free music isn’t exactly commissioned most of the time, it is vital to compose what has marketing potential. The ability to compose for what others want and not always to your own niche tastes is called creative discipline. Masterful composers have learned how to harness it and here is what it involves:

Creativity within boundaries:

When there are deadlines, we can’t afford to wait for inspiration to strike. Make an effort to sit down and routinely be creative, writer’s block in many ways is just undefined creativity. After a while you will begin to uncover the mystery of your brain and know what systems, locations and times you can easily get on a roll. This flows into the next point…

Finding an optimum:

Get a routine going through trial and error, treat it like an experiment. You may discover your optimum daily time is in the morning in your bedroom, so go there and get work done. Feel comfortable with the tools of your choice, whether it be a guitar or ableton. An understanding of music theory and production software will ensure you can focus on the creative aspect more.

Don’t be a perfectionist:

Know when to leave a project alone, and just release it into the world. A lot of our worries about our compositions are not to do with the quality of the work but the emotional ‘vibe’ or response we get when hearing it. This is partly just due to ear fatigue from hearing the same thing over and over while composing. The piece can sound fresh and exciting to first time listeners.

What works for me:

My instrument of choice is the piano, they are easily accessible in the places I visit, i’m proficient with the visual/theory aspect and the the tone is appealing. At first I would record everything on a real piano with a mic, but for quicker royalty free approach I find that the quality is easier to control and mess around with if I play straight into ableton from a midi keyboard. I find that this system saves a lot of time and still sounds authentic, obviously for more personal and grander scale projects I will use a piano (preferably a grand).

Minimalistic Piano music is a genre I naturally seem to compose in, and luckily there is a market for that sort of thing. Piano is a big category on Royalty free music libraries like Audiojungle and Pond5, as well as playlists on spotify. The genre can suit a broad variety of media whether it be film, advertising or just music to study to.

Once you feel comfortable in your abilities, practice-practice-practice. You want to be able to put your foundations on autopilot and be able to produce and amount of work on the fly and be proud of it! (or at least committed to it).

10/100 good compositions are so much better than 1/10 good compositions, beacuse you learned so much along the way. Get to work!