This question invariably gets asked when a person is considering commissioning a custom piece of music. You’ve gone back and forth listening to dozens (at least) of production tracks, maybe even considered a commercial piece of music (until you find out the licensing fees from the publisher and record label), and are beginning to think about having something created.
Logically answering that question depends on a few factors. Budget and usage are the main drivers. Production music cues can be spectacular and will be a fraction of the cost of a custom track. However, these cues can not be licensed with any exclusivity, so while you may be using it for your promotion or spot, you run the risk of hearing “your” song being used by someone else. And if you want a custom lyric, that answers itself. Call the custom guy.
“I want to own it.” We hear that a lot, and after a brief explanation of what that means, 99% of the time, the client realizes they want to license the track – not own it. Chances are they’re not going to be using the track for a long period of time, so simply put, they should rent it, not buy it. Plus, there are a host of other reasons (another blog) why ownership doesn’t make sense, but trust me – negotiate the terms you want with the creator and it will usually cost you much less than buying it.
Maybe the best way to decide if you need a custom track would be to call a music company that does this. The experience of a bona fide professional production company can, with a few questions asked, help determine if your need is custom, production music, or other.
– Randy Hart, CSD for Aircast Custom Music