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.

Achieve: Corporate Production Music

Our production music pick of the week features the royalty free corporate music track Achieve by Dan Foster. Modern and emotional, this track is uplifting and motivational. Ideal for commercial work, and perfect for times when presenting a positive corporate image is key, this brave and encouraging piece is a must-have for producers creating multimedia projects and videos for businesses and organizations.

We selected three stock footage clips to accompany this corporate track. As the soundtrack opens with a determined tone, prominently featuring electric keyboards and a percussion loop, we chose business stock footage clip 194408, which is a simple 3D animated clip of entering a business through glass doors and a modern, clean hallway. This matches the modern, clean feel of the music, with the movement of the video mirroring the forward motion of the track.

As the production progresses, our video changes to a clip of what could be a busy call center or online support center (video ID 288622), showing numerous workers at computer terminals. The leading, encouraging feel of this corporate music track brings energy and a sense of focus and determination, highlighting the motivational yet professional nature of the track.

We close this week’s royalty free music pick of the week with a pan of a city skyline at dusk, showing the track’s versatility as a potential candidate for business montages and scene establishment. The pulsating rhythm and modern harmonies come together with this city skyline stock footage clip (ID 155156) capturing the motion and life of a city at the end of a hard day of work. The addition of strings into the mix at this point also reminds us of some detective or action-drama productions.

License Achieve for your next corporate video: http://www.productiontrax.com/royalty-free-music/384525

How Royalty Free Music Can Boost Your Video Marketing ROI

If your creative agency like most businesses, you know that getting the most bang for your buck from your marketing dollars is crucial to success. If you use needledrop or custom production music in any of your marketing, making the switch to royalty free music in your marketing activities, whether on social media or at live events, can save you thousands of dollars per project, making switching to stock music an effective strategy for increasing your bottom line.
royalty free music for video marketing
If you market using video on social media sites, creating videos for YouTube or other video agregators is key to your success. However, professional production can cost tens of thousands of dollars, from actors to equipment, to full out production companies, editors, script writers, and more. Adding to this expense is custom music, which can run you anywhere from several hundred to several thousands for a couple minutes of music, especially if you’re looking for exclusivity. In fact, many production houses build in music licensing fees anywhere from $5000 to $20,000 depending on the project’s overall budget. All this for an online video?

You can trim the fat, thereby increasing your video’s overall effectiveness and increasing your ROI by switching to inexpensive royalty free music. Sure, it’s not exclusive, and sure, you’re not going to have Miley Cyrus’s latest twerk. However, finding something similar sounding by a professional musician in a royalty free music library will save you tens of thousands in licensing fees. If you can avoid needledrop libraries, where they charge you a fee per use, you can even make your project even more cost-effective. At productiontrax.com, you can get a professionally produced pop soundtrack for your next YouTube video for less than $50, with no needledrop fees, and no royalties to pay.

By cutting out unnecessary licensing costs, you can remove bloat from your project’s overall cost. If you could lower your marketing spend by $5000, and still get comparable results, it seems like a no-brainuh. Let’s face it, it’s the internet. No one is going to care (or even remember) that you got the exclusive rights to Twerkatwerk, 2013’s top pop smash, for your viral video. Royalty free music is a perfect substitute: it’s plenty cheaper, and sounds just as good.

5 Ways To Record Better Sound Effects

sound effectsRecording sound effects or building a catalog of sounds to sell on some royalty free music or stock audio library sites? Follow these five tips for maximizing your library’s size and overal success. You’ll find that, with just a little careful planning and organization, you’ll be able to curate the sound library that your production business needs to succeed.

1) Make a list in advance. Just as film producers create a list of shots they need to complete a scene or a video, and optimize their lists to minimize shooting time (equipment rental is expensive, man), so should the professional sound designer. Whether your goal is to get a single animal sound, or a collection of city ambiences, know what you’re going for before you get on location. Make a list, and be specific! Do you need footsteps? Howling? Traffic? Once you’ve got your list, you can then optimize your locations — for example, you can get footsteps on a sidewalk, and at the same time get some traffic sounds if you record on a busy street. You can save time, and at the same time, get creative with your catalog. A little pre-planning can go a long way.

2) Invest in a high quality microphone and DAW. While technology is getting better and better, and cheaper quality equipment is becoming increasingly available, it’s still important for sound effects producers to invest in great gear. Do your homework, because just like quality gear is becoming cheaper, cheap gear is becoming more and more prevalent. Find microphones that have excellent reponse at all frequencies, a solid hard disk to store your takes to, and don’t skimp on your editing software. A quality digital audio editor such as ProTools or Logic can save you time and make your audio sound great.

3) Edit, Edit, Edit. Getting rid of extraneous noises is key in creating quality sound effects that are ready to use in production. No one wants footstep sounds with dogs barking in the background when they’re searching for footstep sound effects. Cut the extra sounds, and your clients will thank you for it. Reduce the ambient noise as much as you can, as this will allow your sound effects to be used in as many different projects as possible without much editing. Separating your sounds this way will also pay off big in the size of your catalog.

4) Master your recordings and create high-resolution mixes. Invest in some quality mastering plug-ins. This will make your recordings have the loudness they need, along with the equalization required to make them sound their best. But remember, don’t over-master. Chances are that whoever is purchasing your audio is likely to edit the effects to suit their specific needs. You can coun’t on them adjusting volume, changing reverb, or mixing with other sounds. The key is to give them the best base material possible. Along these lines, don’t forget to bounce to uncompressed formats like WAV or AIFF, which have far superior sound quality than a highly compressed MP3.

5) Tag and Describe your Sound Effects accurately. When you’ve completed your mixes, don’t just label your files Car 1, Car 2, Car 3. That doesn’t tell your customer anything about the sound they’re looking at, and wastes their time. If you’ve recorded a Ferrari Testarosa revving up it’s engine, label the file that way. People searching sound effects libraries have tons of material to go through, and need help finding things quickly. Similarly, you can save yourself numerous headaches when you need to dig up a file from your archives a year from now. With a little forethought and organization, you can build a better sound effects library with minimal effort.

Sonic Branding – Using Music and Sound Effects to Create a Brand

by Bruno Strapko

The idea of using sound for branding is not new, but particularly in Europe, is considered an important marketing speciality. Using all of the usual marketing techniques of research, trial and retrial, entire agencies target sonic branding. It is the least used branding method and considered the technique with the most growth potential.

Contributing audio and music to marketing and branding campaigns can be a lucrative source of income for the stock music composer.
Contributing audio and music to marketing and branding campaigns can be a lucrative source of income for the stock music composer.
At the 2012 Audio Branding Congress at the University of Oxford, virtually every research project and branding development came from Europe. Speaking to other attendees, they were surprised at the lack of American participation when they felt American development was extremely mature. Cases cited included Harley-Davidson’s famous exhaust tuning studio, Intel Inside, and the omnipresent McDonald’s audio logo. New work presented at Oxford included sound design for the atmosphere in Harrod’s famous toy department in London featuring regenerative soundscapes, audio logos for two famous European companies, and an entire suite of sonically different logo-based music for use throughout the Dell Computer organization.

Recent literature that sum up current directions in sonic branding include “Sound Business” by Julian Treasure of The Sound Agency and “Audio Branding”, a compilation of articles and studies representing all issues associated with creating effective audio branding.

While considered a niche, sonic branding can be a differentiating part of the portfolio of a sound designer and/or composer. The unique chances to present their work from typical broadcast and the Internet to prestigious and renowned public spaces can be a fulfilling and challenging opportunity. Presented properly, any sound design student can be introduced to opportunities very closely tied to the main thrust of their education track. With awareness of jingle writers and sound designers in studios for traditional advertising media, adding the potential in sonic branding is worth investigating.

Sell Stock Music and Sound Effects on Your Own Site

Now you can turn any webpage into your own personal royalty free stock media store, complete with production music, sound effects and audio, stock footage, and stock photos, thanks to our brand new remote store widgets. While setting up your own remote store widget it super simple, we’ve put together a short tutorial of how to get up and running in a matter of minutes.

admin menuStep 1: Log in to your Productiontrax contributor account, and click on the “Remote Store Widget” link in the main menu bar on the left side of the page. Don’t have an account? Create one — it’s simple and it’s free. From there, click the link to create a new widget, or select one from your widget list if you already have one set up.

Step 2: Once you’re in the widget editor, add a catchy title and tag line using the editor options on the right hand side, and select the contributor logo image you want to use on your widget. As soon as you make changes, your changes will save, and the widget will update automatically.

search filtersWe’ve added some display filters to the widgets that make them uber-useful for any contributor. First, you’ll notice a menu that allows you to either show media from just your account or show media from all of Productiontrax. The former will come in useful for those wanting to sell just their own stock audio files, while the latter option is great for leveraging the entire Productiontrax royalty free library, essentially creating a complete copy of the library on your site. You’ll also notice that you can specify which kinds of media to display in your widget – either royalty free music, sound effects, stock photos, or stock footage. You can select one, all, none, or any combination in between.

When designing your widget, remember that you can create as many widgets as you like, and put them on as many websites as you like. So, you might want to create a separate widget for your stock music and sound effects (or one for each), one for your stock footage, and a separate one for your stock photos. Figure out if multiple stores works best for your media, and if so, set your filters accordingly.

darkhive skinStep 3: Select your colors and theme out your widget to match your website. In most cases, you’ll need to use our color pickers or you’ll have to know the hex color codes to match your website’s look. Our editor allows for both, and we have some pre-styled buttons to match. Here’s where you can take a little shortcut, and use one of our pre-set themes (check out the dark hive theme at right). Using these themes are what we like to call inline style overrides — so any changes you make to your widget’s colors will be changed at launch time when a visitor happens on your your site. To use a style override, just scroll to the bottom of the editor, and pick the style you like.

checkoutStep 4: Get your code and paste it in to your website’s HTML. We provide the code you need to display your widget on your website seamlessly. And it’s a single line of simple HTML. Simply copy and paste from the code box at the top of the editor (or from the selected inline style override panel at the bottom, if you’re using one of those. Then launch your website, and bask in the glory that is your remote store widget.

Some features to note:

All credit card processing AND file downloading is done via SSL right in the widget. Your visitor never leave your site for any part of a transaction. The widget is a fully-featured track preview, shopping cart, checkout and download tool. We recommend strongly that you use HTTPS on your site, and an HTTPS connection is required in the widget’s src attribute.
• The widget is stretchy horizonatlly. It will expand to fill the space if you change the widget’s width attribute in the HTML code. The widget will not change height at this time.
• As of this writing, video playback may not work on all browsers due to a browser security restriction. We’re working on this, but the widget plays video on most browsers to a barebones extent.

The Benefits of Royalty Free Music

Every smart business person wants to save money while still successfully reaching their business goals. If you find yourself in need of music, no matter what the utilization you can save a lot of money by choosing to go royalty-free.

Applications and Advantages

Whether you are making a video game, film, vlog entry, website, or advertisement, the benefits of including music are undeniable. Typically used as a background score to complement your content or create the perfect effect or surroundings, the addition of well-made music suggests professionalism to your prospective customers. Finding the right ambiance or theme song may prove itself to be expensive, but that’s not the case when you purchase royalty free music. In order to get the best results, you need music that is high in value and quality but low in price. Paying a one-time fee for unlimited use is a money-wise choice that will improve your bottom line.

Disadvantages of the Competitors

Others may provide you with music that is cheaper, but that cheapness is often reflected in the quality of the sample. Trying to get completely free music, or illegally using music that isn’t your own, is not recommended and many are cautioned against it: all you get is low quality music and the potential to have criminal charges filed against you. You should question any music that is marketed as having unlimited free use, as you could run into copyright issues with illegitimate “free” tracks.

With high-quality tracks and a large selection for a variety of uses, the music offered by productiontrax.com is unparalleled in affordability and quality. Hear the difference yourself today.

Choosing Stock Photos That Sell

It has been said many times before, but in today’s age of visuals and multimedia, a picture is indeed worth a million words (and climbing). There is nothing more effective than the right photo at the right time optimized to be seen by the right customer. A smiling face can give the recommendation for a business that two pages of boring testimonials could never do (you do know that no one clicks on that testimonials page, don’t you?).

If you do not have the right photo, fear not. The right photo has already been taken for you; all that you have to do is find it. The right stock photos can easily serve as an introduction to your audience, and because it is professionally rendered, you can make sure that you do not miss even one wandering eye.

Imagine having professional models and the best cameramen in the world at the disposal of your company. Well, even if you don’t exactly have that contact list in your top right desk drawer, you can still access these types of assets for your company through the judicious use of stock photography.

You will be able to search an index for the appropriate model, scene and setting, background, etc. Nothing is left to chance with professional photos; there is always one that is perfect for your cause. Do not leave your website or your other marketing materials bare when you can easily have the most powerful weapon that a business can have to introduce itself: that perfect picture.

Bridging the Gap With Stock Music

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s true, paying for music and adhering to copyright laws does create jobs, like in this post.

And yet, the “free music economy” persists, as more and more internet surfers demand cheap or free content to use as they please. But I think there is a happy medium between the “free music economy” and prohibitively expensive licensing, and that happy medium is stock music. As computer and mobile devices become increasingly more capable, and barriers to entry in creative tasks fall, more and more people want that soundtrack for their slideshow, presentation, home movie, or viral YouTube hit. I would say most infringers steal because they simply can’t afford to play the music industry’s game, nor is their project worthy of that kind of scrutiny.

Instead of stealing, though, which I think we can all agree stifles creativity and hurts content creators, keeping food off their tables and forcing otherwise talented artists to find work elsewhere, stock music is a reasonable, affordable alternative. Artists should look at ways they can bring their products to market in ways such as this as a more desirable alternative to giving away all their stuff for free. Doing so would counteract the pirate culture. I see stock music as bridging the gap, either to bring out an unknown’s work to the public, or to lengthen the revenue tail of a song that has fallen by the wayside amidst constant musical innovation.

Similarly, multimedia authors need to step back and do things the right way. Afterall, they probably wouldn’t like it if we broke into their home and took their family photos and plastered them online… unless they already do that on Facebook. There are options for affordable projects — and stock media is one of them, which effectively keeps musicians and artists employed and the economy running so that there will be new music for the next project.

Royalty Free Music for Book Trailers

When Laura Elliot, an author of young adult and middle grade fiction, needed royalty free music for the trailers for her latest novels, she turned to Productiontrax.com for her stock media, helping her to promote her books online.

For her first trailer, she featured her book Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, about a seventeen-year old girl who solves the riddle of her past on an enchanted road trip where fear’s as blind as love, using Mariachi Music Soundtrack from Productiontrax.

For 13 on Halloween, book 1 in the coming-of-age fantasy series explores popularity and what it means to have it all, she turned to royalty free music from Productiontrax to complete her soundtrack.

Elliot’s upcoming release: “I’m currently in production on a third book trailer for my latest release Transfer Student, a freaky-Friday young-adult scifi romance adventure about a Beverly Hills surfer girl who swaps lives with a boy geek alien when his teleporting telescope experiment goes bad. They swap lives and learn about their dreams by surviving their nightmares.”

Find out more at http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com/