It’s a very rare composer who can turn their hand to all music genres and do it well. So there is a lot to be said for strengthening your existing techniques in a genre you’re already confident in.
Focus on what you do best, this means you will produce your strongest material and increase the likelihood of successful placements.
However, it’s important to remember that you’re operating a business, so you need to ensure your output is as commercial as possible. Stock music is one creative industry where being too experimental won’t do you any favours. So whichever style is your preference, try and ensure your tracks are reasonably ‘middle of the road’.
So which genres sell? The easiest way to find out is to check out the top-seller lists that feature on the majority of library websites.
You’ll probably find that some genres appear to sell well almost everywhere, whereas others are only popular on specific websites.
In my experiences the 3 top selling genres are:
- Corporate music – often quite ‘safe’ pop/rock and guitar driven tracks.
- Cinematic music – quite a wide ranging genre, from epic trailer music to emotional orchestral pieces.
- Piano music – some of my best selling tracks have been simple piano solos.
Don’t worry if I haven’t included your favourite genre here, there are many other genres that will sell well. It might also work to your benefit to work in a less popular genre. Less composers mean less competition.
Seasonal and Holiday Genres
It’s definitely worth composing a few tracks each year targeted at a particular season, Christmas being the big one.
I’ve found that from around October onwards, Christmas compositions will begin to sell, with December itself being the strongest month.
That said, there can often be a second ‘peak’ in around August/September, which is when the TV networks and advertising agencies will be getting their projects completed and are on the hunt for suitable music.
It really doesn’t matter what style of music you compose, apply it to a popular Christmas carol (that’s out of copyright) and it’s likely to get some sales.
All of this applies to other times of the year, such as Thanksgiving and Easter, to a lesser extent.