First things first: You’re not a fat guy getting on a cheesy consumer level elliptical stuffing your pie hole with an oversized cheeseburger. You are a videographer or filmmaker who takes your profession seriously and you are proud of your work. You know that a killer audio track will elevate your projects no matter how good the visuals are. You may have been lead astray from colleagues or peers that aren’t necessarily experts on this topic. You may be falling into habits that are hindering you from making your best work better than your competitors, or worse yet, you may be setting yourself up for possible litigation. Check out the following list of common mistakes to make sure you are making all the right moves with your underscores.
1: Using unlicensed or improperly cleared music.
Imagine walking into Moe’s Furniture Heaven, you know it’s that place with plush faux cowhide sectionals that seat 12, (or 8 plus your fat brother-in-law) and just grabbing the nearest recliner you see and rolling it out the door without paying for it. Using unlicensed music is no different-this is someone’s property and unless you are granted a license to use it, you are in effect stealing. This may not seem like a big deal, until someone nails you for it after your footage is being broadcast. Ruh Roh – say goodbye to your relationship with that broadcaster/production company etc..
2: Same as 1 with another explanation that seems to always work
YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN or JUMP or some piece of MILEY CYRUS GARBAGE or ANY OTHER PIECE OF MUSIC just because you think it looks neat with your picture. Putting any piece of music to your video without a license is a violation of copyright law.
3: Jumping on The Zeitgeist Bandwagon
Are you kidding us? Do you REALLY want to use that simpering Ukelele and Bell thing with a female voice merrily tiptoeing through the tulips wisping “OH OH OH OH OH OH OH”? Hey, we’ll sell it to you if you must, but c’mon don’t be such a copycat. Quality libraries have hundreds of options available. Take some time to create your own musical identity. You might even consider juxtaposing less obvious genres. The results might amaze you.
4: Is that an audio edit or did your cat just jump on the laptop?
Graceful usage of fades is imperative. Abrupt audio can jar your viewer and drastically cheapen your work. Here’s an inside tip: When fading a ringout ending, typically 2500 ms will do the trick, if you need to fade within the body of a track, you’ll generally need significantly more than that.
5: Using The Same Music Same Music Same Music Same Music Same Music
Unless you’re Yoko Ono or the production team at a Hindu Monastery, chances are you’re going to have some points of emotional/informational divergence in your work. Highlight these with effective and tasteful music choices. Even if you’ve got a fixed one shot for 5 minutes, try finding the moment within the picture/narrative/voiceover when you can shift music and prevent your viewer from hitting the remote or going into a coma.
6: Not looking deep enough into your search results
When dealing with an extensive catalog like ours or other quality libraries, producers are often faced with overwhelming amounts of material. Even when using search tools we offer that help hone down the choices, there may still be a few pages of returns. Helpful Hint: Patience is a virtue, we all have a little ADD, this isn’t Google-the cues on page 4 of the returns are awesome and you should take the time to scan through.
7: Not taking advantage of features that Production Music Libraries offer
Don’t tell us you never had trouble locating a track. Everyone does from time to time. Even when you think you know a library catalog inside and out, you probably don’t. When a library offers you Free Search assistance (Hint: We do) use it. At the very least, you might get hipped up to some choices you hadn’t previously considered. Which leads us to:
8: Get out of the rut.
We know you love AMAZING WORLD and PRODUCT INTRODUCTION. We know this because we can see how many times we license them and of course we are more than happy to license them again and again, but try using a feature like “MORE LIKE THESE” and open yourself up to the incredible effect a slightly different musical approach can have on your footage.
9: But wait there’s more…need for music that is and you’re broke
It’s an unfortunate reality that production music in so many cases is treated as the bastard child of the media world. Forgotten in the attic until the day when you realize you need it. Of course the budget has been blown to shreds on that location shoot and the 14 course meal you had catered for the talent. Yikes. Bet you wish you had that blanket license now doncha?
As a business, we’re of course happy to sell at full price all day long, but as fellow media production veterans who have suffered almost every imaginable indignity along the way, we try to keep our Kumbaya thing happening as much as possible. The Organic Music Library and many other reputable companies offer EXTREMELY DISCOUNTED BLANKET LICENSES. For anybody using more than 10 pieces of production music a year, this is a no-brainer. We also offer special price points for what we term Level 2 customers, these are smaller companies with teeny tiny budgets who deserve access to good music too and an occasional hug.
10: Cue Sheet Dysfunctionsitis Disorder
A terrible condition in which production teams and broadcasters fail to understand the importance of filing an accurate cue sheet. Generally incurable, but treatable. When you produce programming that gets broadcast, the music within the production needs to be logged on a cue sheet in order for the writers and publishers to claim what are called performance royalties. Most networks have agreements in place with ASCAP/BMI/SESAC etc. and it doesn’t cost you anything to do the right thing. Consider that the people who wrote the production music that is making your show totally ( fill in appropriate descriptive: ass kicking, tearjerking, hysterical, sinister etc.) rely on these royalties to help them survive. Most libraries (HINT: We do) will fill these out for you and save you the administrative work.
These may seem somewhat obvious to you, but it doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes and do a reality check. Ask yourself if your production music is working for you as is or if it may be time to shake things up. If you need a good place to start, The Organic Music Library is waiting for you. Feel free to contact us with any questions.