Friday, July 1, 2016

Where do you get your music?

A while back I started to research music and how you can put it in your movie.

I have come up with a couple answers to this.

One. You can go the hard route, which is probably worth it if you can get a decent song and marry it to your movie appropriately.

The hard route is via the Harry Fox agency and or any other licensing mechanical fee (needle drop fee) enterprise that has the ability to provide you permission, for pay, to use a song by an artist in your movie.

Be prepared to go through a lot of steps to get to where you want to be with this route. Big name bands can be pretty sensitive about giving clearance to their music.

And it'll cost you a lot of money, either up front for usage rights or on the back end as a part of the film profits.

Two. You can also find production music in various places. Do a Google for it and you will find some good leads on production music. You have to be careful with production music though. A couple of the sites I found have little stipulations on how you can use the music they offer. For example, in one case, after reading the licensing and use material I discovered I could buy the music but I wasn't allowed to alter it in anyway.

What good is that in today's mixology world?

Radio stations have production music libraries. I can't recommend these production libraries as you can tell the energy that makes a great piece of music simply isn't there.

Having said that, keep looking and searching, you can find production music that kicks ass and isn't by a name band. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars to be allowed to license it for your work.

Here is the problem with route number two: other productions can also find the same music and purchase it and put it in their movie as well.

I had it happen where I bought a piece of artwork only to have someone later tell me they saw the same piece of artwork elsewhere. That kind of news kind of sucks.

But...  There is some great production music out there that is reasonably priced.

Three. Make your own music. There are places on the web where you can find online music machines. I found a lot of them going through Stumble Upon. These machines can be a little bit of a challenge to master, but you are nearly guaranteed to have a unique piece of music, even if someone else comes along and uses the same machine to put music in their movie. The chances both of you will compose the exact same piece of music is slim to none, but you could find yourself watching someone else's movie and listening to what sounds like your song, when it isn't. That would be a kind of a surprise. I think the best use of these machines is for short movie stings, like if someone turns a corner and discovers something surprising like a meteor tearing through a hallway wall.

Four. Find a local band that wants their music out there. I have found a few of these here locally. One gentleman is an incredible free form gospel player. He can't read music and simply plays by ear.

In this case I am a little hesitant because he may be playing someone else's music and simply not know it.

In another case I found a local group of young musicians and these guys are amazing to listen to. BUT, I am not sure their music is what I would call suitable for a movie. Its kind of like saying Frank Zappa or Iggy Pop might not be right for the Sound of Music, or the John Phillip Souza doumanetary film, it might be as a contrast, but probably not good to demonstrate marching music.

Having said that, I haven't listened to this local band's entire repertoire. They have hours and hours of music, and what is particularly interesting is they apply a kind of free form playback of the songs, so each time they play it is a little bit different.

I like that. The trouble becomes getting a decent studio recording of them. That can be a challenge as they almost always have their own lives to make and their schedules don't always mesh easily with yours.


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