5 Tips and Tricks for Using Production Music

production music tipsThere are many ways to save time, avoid hassles and use production music more effectively. Here are a few quick tips:

  1. Work with a reputable company.

As in other fields, there are many types of companies and varying business models that exist in the production music industry. Some companies produce and own their own music, while others merely function as brokers or middlemen. Working with a company that owns and controls its own music, as opposed to a non-exclusive retitling library, can greatly reduce the risk of licensing hassles and liability. To find established, reputable companies, the Production Music Association (PMA) is a good place to start (www.pmamusic.com).

  1. Use music directors to help with your search.

Many reputable companies offer trained music directors on staff to assist with your search, and this service is usually free of charge. Take advantage of their expertise instead of spending valuable time sifting through thousands of tracks on your own. In many cases, you can even upload a video for specific track recommendations for your project.

  1. Experiment with contrasting moods of music.

To cut through the clutter and get noticed, you sometimes need to go for the unexpected. Sometimes playing against picture with an unexpected style of music can be just the thing to take your video from bland to sensational. For example, you might try an epic trailer track for a toothbrush commercial, or an elegant Viennese waltz for a wild animal video. Take some risks with your music choices!

  1. Customize your mix.

There are many ways to customize your mix to make your library track sound unique and original. To start, you can load all available mixes (full mix, narration mix, alt. mixes, etc.) into your DAW and cut between them to create a custom mix. To take this a step further, ask your library if there are stems (mix workparts) available to allow complete customization of the mix. Finally, you can also customize a track adding by adding new musical parts, sound effects or original lyrics.

  1. Respect the music and the artists.

Do not pirate music or patronize companies that offer free or next to free music.

Creating great music- including production music– takes time, effort, inspiration and money. Music that is free is either illegally pirated or of such dubious quality or provenance that its owners do not bother asking for remuneration. Music is one of our greatest cultural treasures- let’s maintain a healthy ecosystem for the arts and help encourage the next generation of artists, composers and songwriters.

Ron Mendelsohn
February 1, 2015

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