Illustration by Dmitry Panich & Laura Williams
Two years ago, online delivery was the name of the game. Then last year, makers of production music libraries saw advantages in putting their deliverables on customized hard drives or digital asset-management systems, allowing for speedier search capabilities than rummaging through hundreds of CDs or DVDs.
This year, companies are speeding up their download capabilities and streamlining the delivery and licensing process to suit a client's need. And lately, those client needs have focused on new markets — ringtones, videogames and other mobile media devices. According to CSS Music's Michael Fuller, “Music libraries must now navigate a more complex terrain. If we forget about the customer's needs, we will pay a big price. On the other hand, being precipitous about offering mobile media licensure to gain illusory market share could be costly.”
New company First Call Music's Stephen McNamara agrees: “Ringtones are an area that many production music libraries seem to want to exploit. However, our research suggests a major problem for a music library trying to make inroads into this area:Many people in the ringtone demographic seem to want popular songs, not generic music from a library. And with a price point of around a dollar, there is little economic incentive for the ringtone users to go with generic tunes instead of their favorite hits.
“Videogames are another matter,” McNamara continues. “Well-produced library music can play a significant role in game development as games require longer pieces that can loop seamlessly and must enhance the visual image. Library music might play a larger role as the pressure increases to finish the music in a faster time frame.”
For example, FirstCom Music is working with several videogame producers to create new libraries, including co-producing a remix with DJ Danger Mouse for the theme to Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
Whatever new roads production music libraries take, there are plenty of new offerings to entice loyal and new customers.
5 Alarm Music (www.5alarmmusic.com) has just released new libraries All That Jazz, Club Selector, Islands & Beaches and Hot Club. These double-disc volumes provide full, underscore, commercial cut and solo instrumental versions. Users can also check out breakout indie artists from 5 Alarm's record label, Rescue Records (www.rescuerecords.net).
615 Music (www.615music.com) has released the 10-CD Promo Accelerator library and added six CDs to its 615 Platinum Series collection. Promo Accelerator was designed for TV promo producers and offers a number of contemporary sounds. In addition, the company is the new exclusive distributor and representative for composer Shelly Palmer, whose releases include Palmer News Packages, Brave New World, Alt.news, Millennium 3 and Building Pride.
AirCraft Music Library (www.aircraftmusiclibrary.com) has created production musicnow.com, a search tool that allows visitors to browse the company's catalog, listen to samples and download/license music. Users can search for new releases Psychedelic Rock, Piano A'Tudes, Alternative Rock Vol. 1 and Electronic Indie Pop. The company has also just completed recording the first disc in its AirCraft Artist Series, featuring award-winning composer/performers. The first disc, Cello Classics and Abstractions, features Grammy Award — winning cellist Eugene Friesen.
All-Star Music Hyper Latin
Releases from new company All-Star Music (www.allstarlibrary.com) include No Wimps (with composer Peter Baltes), Hyper Latin (composer Michael Sembello), Gargantuan Guitars (composer Earl Slick), UK Rock (composers Slick and Mark Plati), UK Funky Town (composer Steve Sechi) and Chick Rock (composers Slick and Plati).
Endgame, Associated Production Music's (www.apmmusic.com) collection of original music cues, was created by in-demand videogame composers. Endgame bows with six CDs, featuring contributions from the likes of Tommy Tallarico, Chance Thomas, Jack Wall, Inon Zur, Cris Velasco and Rod Abernethy, to name a few. The company also introduced a new podcast, providing news and other developments at APM.
APM Endgame music cues
Home to composer Bob Mithoff, Bob's Music Café (www.BobsMusicCafe.com) is offering its latest volumes of production music, 101 Classic Themes and Feature Film Scores. Each set comprises four CDs packed to their physical limit, with a buyout license per volume of only $99.
The Canary Collection (www.canarymusic.com) offers Mac/PC hybrid CD-ROMs of its libraries free with purchase of the audio CD counterpart. The company will also release a stand-alone (CD-ROM) searchable database.
CSS Music added 14 new CDs to its Target Trax, Repro-File Plus, Super Theme and Max Trax libraries. Both of the company's Websites, www.cssmusic.com (for CDs, CD-ROMs, CD volume downloads and hard drives) and www.dawnmusic.com (individual track downloads), feature full-length streamed samples. In addition, CSS has updated its asset-management system, UltraEdit II ($2,495, MP4, MP3; $3,995, WAV). The new system features enhanced search flexibility, auto-fill cue sheets, enhanced playlist generation and compatibility with other management tools.
DeWolfe Music Library (www.dewolfemusic.com) has added a slew of new releases to its expanding library, including Tronic Beats, Club Rouge, Vol. 4, Latin Mix, Alternative Rock, Sounds of the Urban Underground, American Patriots 3 and 4, Big Band Entertainment, Lifestyle TV Two, World News and Summer Sounds.
Extreme Music (www.extrememusic.com) added to three of its seven libraries. New discs include Lounge Noir, Drumdrops, Indie Rock 3, Reggaeton and Rockin' Breaks (X Series); Dark Drama, Epic Choral, Light Drama 2 and Horror (Directors Cuts); and Elgar Vol. 2, Tchaikovsky Vol. 4 and Classical Hits Vols. 4 and 5 (Ultimate Classix). Go online to see how these music offerings have fit into Click, War of the Worlds and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, to name just a few blockbusters.
First Call Music (www.firstcallmusic.com) launched earlier this year with five libraries already under its belt: Light & Casual Moods provides acoustic instrument tracks; Grooves, Moves & Vibes thumps with R&B, electronica, big band and hip hop; the self-explanatory Guitars Rule!; Emotion, Drama & Suspense; and Action & Darker Moods.
Firstcom SEE Trailer Tracks
Putting the world of hip hop on a four-CD set, Firstcom Music's (www.firstcom.com) The Chronicles of Hip Hop features Bavu Blakes, Def and Dangerous, DJ Agzilla, The Movement, Krome, Marcus Siskind, Hydroponic Sound System and many more crunk DJs and rappers. The SEE Trailer Tracks 4-CD collection features a wide variety of styles for motion picture advertising. Users can take advantage of the company's MusiQuick Local search/audition/download software or custom hard drive delivery. The company's One Music library is now being produced by ad music company Juniper Music (McDonald's, Hasbro, Nissan, Nokia).
Advertising any five royalty-free CDs for $189, Fresh Music (www.freshmusic.com) provides the user with numerous library offerings. Check out these new releases: World Vision, Mirror Image 2, Access Community, New Century Indie Rock, Production Elements 2, Sparse, Ultimate Action Beds, Western Swing and Dark New Age.
Recently named music supplier for RTM Productions (Spike TV), GMP Music (www.gmpmusic.com) has released three new products, entitled Ad Shop VII (broadcast variety), The Way It Should Be (soft rock/easy listening) and The World As We Know It (world beat). Users can download an entire CD from the site; the downloaded file contains all of the individual tracks in high-resolution MP3 format and a pdf file for the CD and track information.
For the past five years, The Hollywood Edge (www.hollywoodedge.com) has been creating record label — quality production music under the Soundelux Music banner. New releases feature breakthrough artists Carl Moniz, Michael Barclay, Bruce Hanifan, Mark Drost and Peter Kneser. During the past year, the company added two installments to its Premiere Edition library. High Impacts features more than 2,200 action sounds, and Sonic Energy Production Elements brings 1,200 effects to create impressive soundscapes and punctuations.
Showcasing its music on HGTV shows and soap opera Days of Our Lives, JRT Music (www.jrtmusic.com) brings out seven new releases this year: Street Beatz (hip hop, rap), Action Shack (retro rock), Tunes for Toons 2 (full orchestral productions), Poptronic 2 (techno/trance/electronica), Fresh Beats (broken beat, nu jazz), News New (beds, stings, promos) and Kitsch Kitsch 4 (from the Tele Music classics vinyl vault circa 1970s).
Celebrating its Sweet 16, Killer Tracks (www.killertracks.com) launches its Indie Film Score library. Check out new releases from producer Wendie Colter and music supervisor Mark Rome, as well as newly published releases Chilled Underscores, Pop Shop, Silent Movie Piano and Celtic Now. Also new are Videogames Music Demo and Trailer Trash; the latter is offered in surround.
Manhattan Production Music's (www.mpmmusic.com) libraries, including new releases Modern Alternative Rock and '80s Music, are now available to be downloaded to iPods and iTunes (including metadata).
Megatrax (www.megatrax.com) expanded its production music library this summer with 10 new releases. Four Urgent Grooves CDs from Amusicom can increase the tension of a crime scene investigation or heighten the hyper-reality of a car chase. Urgent Grooves is offered in a range of styles, from industrial techno rock to orchestral pieces. Scoring Moods 1: Human Journeys features a wide range of underscore, while Britpop features contemporary piano and male vocal pop sounds. Cinematic Trailers — chock-full of brass and orchestral themes, as well as high-impact percussion — was recorded with a full orchestra and choir.
Metro Music Productions’ Experimental techno CD
Metro Music Productions now sports a new Website, www.metromusicinc.com, offering users instant online licensing and payment. New library Modern Rock features the current trends in guitar-driven music; Experimental is hard-core, high-energy techno and electronica; and Urban Beats 1 and 2 highlight chart-topping hip hop grooves.
Music Bakery (www.musicbakery.com) is now offering categorized thematic CDs for $149 each in MP3/WAV/AIFF formats. These CDs cover high-energy themes for sports, American music, drama and suspense, world beat, rock and urban, industrial, motivation, classical and more.
MusicBox (www.musicboxmx.com) has just released its newest CD library, PromoBox, an ongoing series of CDs, with each CD holding 50 themes in five genres: action, uplifting, suspense/tension, comedy and drama. Full-length versions of each theme also appear on existing MusicBox CDs. Check it out online via MusicBox's search-and-download system, MusicBoxLIVE.
Network Music (www.networkmusic.com) is upgrading its Website to offer search-and-download functionality. The new site will offer random browsing of all its libraries, as well as a specific search engine using the company's Trakfinder technology. Trakfinder HD is a hard drive — based, search-and-download delivery system that offers similar browsing/searching as the site. And in the CD world, new release The Thunder Down Unda! offers fresh rock, pop and film sounds with an Aussie flair. UBM, the company's newest library, is produced in Germany with European-based composers, and is geared toward film and TV productions. SLAM! is an aggressive, contemporary library with seven CDs. New releases in its broad-based library include Beatific Bliss, Competitive Spirit, Blues Cues, Ancient Atmospheres, Classic Game Show, Acoustic Sunshine, Global Vision and Urban Chill.
Nightingale Music (www.NightingaleMusic.com) has extended the scope of its Voice Box Series with Voice Drops. Filled with more than 750 “human mouth” elements, Voice Drops is packaged on an audio CD and CD-ROM (WAV files) and comes with a wide range of vocal material, including multilingual alphabet and numerical countdowns, Foley, hip hop samples and everything in between.
Non Stop Music’s Blues release
The broadcast-quality library at Non Stop Music (www.nonstopmusic.com) can now be searched and downloaded at www.CUEgle.com. An advanced music search and download engine, CUEgle combines the look and feel of a physical CD collection with the quick search capabilities of an online library. Each MP3 track can be previewed and downloaded. Users in need of WAV or AIFF files can conduct their CUEgle search online, then pull the files from a CUEgle-supplied hard drive. Searchable via CUEgle is new library Amphibious Zoo, a five-disc collection of contemporary CDs, including Suspended Adrenaline, Blues, Passport to India, Hip Hop 1 and Funk.
The folks at Omnimusic (www.omnimusic.com), seeing many of its clients switch to online delivery, has spent the past year re-categorizing all of its tracks, writing its own software programs for search/audition and installing its own services for search/download system Sparky. The company also adds new titles Buzz, Sports World, Biorhythm, Café, Biznet II (business/technology) and World Tour.
Production Garden Music (www.productiongarden.com) added to its Manchester Music Library (Theme Suites IV, Xtreme Edge, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Classical Masterworks), Metro Music Library (modern rock, dance house, cool jazz and more), Music Street Library (loaded with energy and character) and AV/Video Series 200 Library.
The biggest change at RCB Music Library (www.rcbmusiclibrary.com) is that it went to a buyout format. The library still allows user signup to gain full access to the members' section. Demo MP3s can be downloaded, but each MP3 has a voice-over every few seconds to prevent theft. New libraries include Poignant Moments and the Drum Loops and Drum Grooves volumes. The drum volume will offer MIDI files on select 4-bar loops.
With the success of Emotional Response I, Frank Serafine (www.frankserafine.com) releases the sequel, Emotional Response II: Ice Sculptures. Serafine collaborated with musician John Nau to create a film-style, atmospheric library. Serafine has also joined forces with Associated Production Music and is currently finishing a cinematic music advertising collection. The company is also working on Gun of Cinema, Comic Sonic Relief, Sci-Fi and SFX.
Designed to work with the Mood Mapping capabilities of its Sonicfire Pro 4 (now universal binary), each track in SmartSound's (www.smartsound.com) Strata Series is delivered in multi-layer format, with up to eight separate instrument layers. A new title in Strata, Ethereal Dreams, provides a light, warm collection of new age soundscapes.
Twelve years ago, Sonic Network made its entry into the audio market with turnkey solutions for PC soundcard and game console manufacturers. In June 2006, the company rolled out a comprehensive brand structure under the name SONiVOX (www.sonivoxrocks.com), which offers a three-tiered product suite based on the company's past offerings. These include mdME (music-driven mobile entertainment), AudioiNSIDE (mobile audio — enabling technologies) and SONiVox MI (formerly known as Sonic Implants), which carries the line of virtual instrument libraries for musicians, composers and hobbyists. Several new product offerings are scheduled for release, beginning with SONiVOX MUSE, a suite of music production software. Pyrosonix, Jamfone and DanceLord, three new SONiVOX mdME applications, are scheduled to follow with releases targeted for this month.
Stephen Arnold Music (www.stephenarnoldmusic.com) is currently making available to NBC affiliates its The Rock news music package. Named in honor of Rockefeller Plaza, home to NBC in New York, The Rock has taken the memorable “bong bong bong” signature and created 15 themes and more than 800 cuts of music. Released early last month, Box of Rocks: Video Music comprises the initial seven CDs; each quarter, an additional CD will be offered.
TRF Production Music (www.trfmusic.com) has been busy this year with a whopping 35 new CDs out: Ten in the Kool Kat library, 10 new CDs added to its Adrenalin library, 12 in the Stock library and three to the Dennis library; TRF has also added to its Bravo and Cobra libraries.
Big news over at Valentino (www.tvmusic.com): The company's entire collection of 300 CDs of specialty music and more than 50,000 sound effects is now available for Mastertone and TrueTone ringtone, ringback and related mobile entertainment apps. New library Millennium offers 16 volumes of techno, power and prestige, sports themes, actions, bumpers and stingers, drama, Latin pop, classic rock and funk.
VideoHelper's (www.videohelper.com) ScoreHelper: Disc 04 features five new scores: the spy/action score of Counterdeception; King Crimson — esque Thrill Kill Seven; the European-tinged romantic comedy Villa Firenze; the videogame-inspired spy comedy The Clumsiest Spy; and the action/romance/documentary The Rising Sun. Coming attraction: Overkill — all available on PLAY (www.playvideohelper.com), a music library search-and-download system.
Westar Music (www.westarmusic.com) has added 21 new CDs, including six to its Drama Film Scores set, a slew of additions to the Classical Music Collection and titles in easy listening, world fusion and segues. Interested? Check out the company's MusicSource search engine. Buying? Westar Music distributes Soundminer, a digital audio management system for the Mac.
Sarah Benzuly is Mix's managing editor.