All posts by Productiontrax.com

Productiontrax.com was founded in February 2004 as a way to connect composers of royalty free library music to more producers and consumer outlets. Anyone can sell or buy music, sound effects, stock footage, and any other kind of digital content online using the Productiontrax.com service.

Recording Public Domain Songs for Production

Classical music and other public domain songs make for excellent source material for production music. But utilizing these compositions and then legally licensing your recordings can get tricky. With a little forethought, research, and knowledge of copyright rules, you can avoid inadvertently infringing on another composer’s copyright. Give your tracks a copyright tune-up. Here are some things to consider:

copyright1) Research the song. First and foremost, you need to know exactly when the song was written and published. Take careful note of this, as copyright terms expire after a specific time, as determined by where the music might be used. In the United States, works published prior to 1923 are currently public domain. For example, the common song Happy Birthday was written and published after 1923, meaning that song, as common as it is, is still under copyright and cannot be used. There are some caveats, however. So…

2) Research your composer. Know some basics about your composer. Is he still alive? This is important as copyright status depends largely on the composer’s date of death. Find out when the composer died. If he or she is still living, chances are you cannot license any of their music. In the United States, for all works published after 1922, if the composer is no longer living, the copyright expires 95 years from the date the song was written and published. That means that any work published in 1923 will enter the public domain in 2019.

3) If there are lyrics, the lyrics must also be in the public domain. This makes operas, arias, and classical songs a royal pain. You cannot reproduce a song with its lyrics unless the lyrics are also in the public domain, as the lyricist still has rights in the piece. Research this carefully if you are considering producing a recording of any popular operas. Puccini operas are a prime example of this — depending on the lyricist, some operas are now public domain, and some are not.

4) Never, EVER, sell or license a recording you did not make. Period. Don’t do it. Because of the complexities of copyright law, absolutely NO SOUND RECORDINGS are currently in the public domain. Sound recordings have their own copyright, so all recordings must be licensed from the producers or owners of the recording, i.e. the record label that produced them.

Considering producing a classical work for your next round of library music tracks? Be sure to carefully research every aspect of a song before you dive in. This will save you huge headaches, legal trouble, and lots of time.

Great Expectations – Wintery Royalty Free Production Music

Winter might be on the thaw, but you can instill that icy chill into any multimedia project with this week’s royalty free production music pick of the week, Great Expectations. With choirs, bells, and orchestral strings, this track has a layer of intrigue and motivation that combines with sounds traditionally heard during the cold winter months to create a character all of its own.

It sort of reminds us of a Harry Potter sequence — a dark sinister stroll through enchanted woods, or in the deep recesses of a medieval castle. A suitable theme for an evil villain, sorcerer, or fantasy role playing game, this piece has moments of huge muiscal epic-ness and quiet contemplation (or brooding). But don’t let that pidgeon hole you to the fantasy genre. Ad campaigns for companies ranging from security systems to banks and insurance companies could find creative use for these tracks. We feel a sports car commercial would probably make great use of this production music track.

For our pick of the week video, we paired this short piece with stock footage of nighttime snow and fog filmed from a moving car in an eerily empty parking lot. Notice how the creepy feel transfers over to the second stock footage clip, establishing a winter scene haunted farm, demonstrating the music’s versatility.

Get the stock music: http://www.productiontrax.com/royalty-free-music/341353
Get the driving stock footage: http://www.productiontrax.com/stock-footage/304231
Get the winter farm footage: http://www.productiontrax.com/stock-footage/304737

Use Case: Royalty Free Music and Sound Effects for Black History Month

We don’t claim to be experts on African history, but here are some great ideas to help you put together a classroom lesson your students will remember with royalty free music and sound effects that represent the rich African-American culture for Black History Month. Drawing from musical genres such as Jazz, Soul, African, and Gospel, you can create an interactive learning experience for students of any age.

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Traditional Africa
Start with a trip overseas to Africa, the heartland of the world, and delve deep into the cultures of the kingdoms of the African plains. From the Ivory Coast to Kenya and Ethiopia to the Congo, African heritage has its roots on this huge continent. So transport your students with royalty free sound effects and music beds of african drumming, chants, and songs. Explore rhythmic textures and traditional percussion and wind instruments native to Africa while letting students see images of proud kings, queens, and African royalty, and explore the African terrain with stock footage clips from Africa. Teach your students about the teamwork, compassion, and community needed to survive in both harsh environments and luxurious oases. Empower students with family history and African ties to tell their family’s story, and encourage creating family trees to trace for royal lineage.

Slavery and American Gospel
Of course, no African history lesson is complete without a close, careful examination of slavery. For far too long, native Africans were treated as commodities by western and European conquerors, bought and sold along the waterways and trade routes across the Atlantic and around the world. Paint a vivid picture of what it was like to be a slave: the horrible conditions, the tireless work, and the lack of freedom. Have your students imagine growing up without parents and access to education and resources. Play traditional royalty free gospel songs to illustrate to your students how slaves communicated not only religious beliefs, but hope and secret messages for the underground railroad.

Afro-Cuban Music
You can pair these images with the vibrancy of Afro-Cuban music, which transported traditional African bata drumming to the Western Hemisphere, providing a scintillating mix of cultures and musical styles. Show your students how traditional drumming patterns are similar to those in Salsa and Afro-Cuban genres, and how African dance influenced western movement.

Civil Rights and Rap, Jazz, and Rock
Finally, remind your students that modern day American rock and roll, jazz, and R&B and Rap all have their roots in the 19th and 20th century Black-American struggle. Whether via civil rights injustices or economic injustice or via social triumphs of progress and reform, show the rich cultural impact that African artists have had on modern art, culture, and society. Listen to some stock jazz music in class, and compare how poetry from Harlem is similar or different that Rap from the streets of Compton, and discuss the social problems that drove these art forms, and the steps towards progress we can all take.

Overlooked Production Music Categories for Composers: Australian & Digidiroo

For our next installment in examining the the most overlooked production music categories, we’re turning to world music. Specifically, Australian & Digidiroo. Royalty free music libraries around the globe tend to be lacking in the extremely useful and oft neglected compositional genre, representing a huge opportunity for composers involved in stock music production.

australian digiderooAustralian music has a long, rich, and diverse history, and spans a diverse range of tastes and cultural sounds. Heavily influenced by European colonization, Australia’s classical music and folk music mirror the styles common to Europe in their respective eras, while modern day pop and country genres are largely consistent with trends in the United States.

But most notably, and probably the most recognizable, is the use of digidiroo in aboriginal and folk music. Similar in sound generating function to the trumpet, the digideroo is a long wooden wind instrument that creates that quintessential drone pipe sound. If you’ve ever seen a film with a chase scene through the jungle, or a pan across a hot desert, you’ve likely heard the low, buzzing drone of the digigeroo.

Why is Australian music so useful in production? The characteristic digideroo sound can be used in a wide variety of film and video genres, most effectively to set foreign scenes in harsh environments. Commonly, the sounds tytpical to Australian folk genres create excitement in advertising, hinting at the new and different. The drone can be used to create tension, either in concert with other tribal percussion, symphonic strings, and brash brass stingers, or on its own as a minimalist score.