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Composing Music for Production Libraries

Important Update – February 2020

Over recent months many of the ‘non-exclusive’ libraries have been moving over to (very) low priced subscription models. Which has had a severe impact on composer earnings.

In my opinion, the subscription model is unsustainable and makes it almost impossible for composers to earn a living using these libraries. Whereas before a track may have earned $30 commission, it can now be as little as 0.3 cents.

Please be aware of this before submitting your music to a library that operates in this way.


Like in any business, you need a plan.

Produce music, lots of it!

There is no doubt that composing stock/production music is a numbers game. The more tracks you have in circulation on the various libraries the more chance you have of being found in online searches and selling them.The only way to approach this is to start writing music regularly. Produce as much high quality music as you can but don’t overdo it, you’ll burn out surprisingly quickly if you try to churn out music without decent breaks and the end product will suffer.If your personal circumstances allow, aim to finish and upload 2-3 cues per week.

Read more about the composing process.

Create track versions

A lot of libraries allow you to upload alternate edits of your track and this is well worth doing. I’d suggest a 30 second and 60 second edits, plus a version without the melody and a couple of loops that can be slotted into the track so editors can lengthen your cue to suit their needs. This is extra work but you’d be surprised at how popular they can be. One of my tracks has sold quite a few copies of a very short loop but not the full version.

Read more about why versions are important.

Create a website & get connected

A presence on the web is a necessity these days. Even if you begin with a very simple one page website with a brief explanation of what you do and your contact details.If you don’t want the hassle of sorting out web hosting you can always use a service such as wordpress.com to handle all the techie stuff for you.Whether you decide to self-host or use a hosted service, always purchase a suitable domain name and point it at your website. Create an email address connected to the domain. It looks much more professional to a potential client when you send an email from a purchased domain, rather than a free email service such as Gmail or Yahoo.

Create an account on Soundcloud and upload a selection of your best tracks. Many music libraries have a Soundcloud group, join the group and submit your music.

Sign up for a Twitter account linked to your website or Soundcloud profile. When you upload new cues tweet them with the appropriate tags. Likewise set up a Facebook page and display your latest music by posting your Soundcloud links. Look for Facebook groups to join. Upload your music to YouTube.

Join music forums and be part of the community, it’s surprising how many opportunities can lead from this.

More on self-promotion.

Research the best music libraries for you

A quick search will soon reveal the hundreds of music libraries out there. It can be very tempting to take the scattergun approach and upload your music to them all. The best thing to do is take a look at the homepage of each library. What are their top sellers? Do they sell well in the genre of music you compose in? It does you no good to upload 100 epic orchestral tracks to a website that primarily sells rock songs.

As I mentioned before it’s best to do your own research on this one.

  • Do the libraries sell the style of music you compose?
  • Do they allow you to set your own price?
  • Do they allow Content ID?
  • Do they ban you from selling your music in other libraries?
  • What commission percentage do they offer?
  • Do they allow PRO registered music?

More tips on finding the right music library.