Royalty Free Christmas Music Pick of the Week – Santa In A Hurry

The holidays are right around the corner, and christmas video production projects are in full swing and nearing the finishing touches. Add a little Christmas cheer with this fun royalty free music track, Santa In A Hurry. Our pick of the week this week, this piece of Christmas production music (music ID 325147) is perfect for children’s projects and holiday themed work. A perfect mix sleigh bells, woodwinds, and brass band, this track combines cheer and wonder with a sense of simplicity. We picture elves working in the workshop, or a goofy romp through a winter wonderland.

Our stock music pick of the week video features stock footage clip 388130, a looping 3D animation of a night journey over snowy hills decorated with Christmas lights, cookies, presents and candy canes. We think it adds the childlike fun and holiday character to complement this music track. We looped the video to fit the short length of the music.

License the track online: http://www.productiontrax.com/royalty-free-music/325147
Get the stock footage: http://www.productiontrax.com/stock-footage/388130

3 Reasons to Use Royalty Free Stock Music In Your Film Production

The words royalty free and stock music might have a negative connotation in some filmmaking circles. But the reality is that using stock audio strategically and appropriately within your productions can have a positive impact on both your creative output and your bottom line. Here are three great reasons to use some royalty free music in your next film.stock music

1) Stock music is cheap. There we said it. Stock music is cheaper than most sources of music, whether you’re looking at custom composed tracks (which can run you several hundred to several hundred thousand dollars), library music (which carry license fees per use, per second, and based on the size of your production), or even licensing a popular song through a publisher (can we say, pricey?). Stock music requires a one time fee, usually $50 to $100 for commercial usage, and that’s it.

2) Stock music actually sounds good. It’s true. More and more professional musicians and artists are realizing the value in contributing work to the royalty free music scene — it gives them more exposure, allows them to make more money from their music, and gives them some control over their careers. That means that gone are the days when stock music sounded hoakey or cheap, so you can put asside any pre-conceived notions that stock music will make your project sound bad. You can get some really great sounding tracks that work with your visuals seamlessly and have great production value and in any style you could dream of. Combine it with some sound effects, and people will think you had custom top-of-the-line audio work in your production.

3) Royalty free music saves you time. With the help of powerful online search functions, keyword tagging, and lightboxes, you can put together a soundtrack in mere minutes without spending a dime on music supervision services or waiting for cues from a composer. And time is money. You can go from concept to final product in hours instead of weeks. Throw in some HD stock footage for good measure, and take care of some of your shot needs, as well!

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.

Are your sound effects and stock music tracks legal?

I came across this story the other day talking about how Warner/Chappell Music is being sued for demanding royalty payments for the usage of the song “Happy Birthday,” and it brought to mind some important misconceptions about what it means for a sound effect or stock music track to be in the public domain.

As much as I personally dislike large music publishing conglom-a-corp-a-plunderbunds because I think large companies don’t have artists’ best interests at heart, but the fact remains that the song Happy Birthday is still under copyright. Just because the song is popular and well known doesn’t make the plaintifs case that “the song should be dedicated to public use…” Under that logic, MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” should be public domain because it is both popular and well known. Not true.

With that in mind, the question both video production companies and stock music and sound effects producers alike should ask themselves when considering a piece of stock audio for purhcase or sale is “Is everything in this track legal?” Of course, if it’s 100% originally composed and produced, like most music on Productiontrax, then of course it is legal. Even though the tracks are under copyright, they’re still licensed royalty free. But, if the sound effect or music track has audio in it recorded live, you have to check it for copyrighted sounds before uploading or downloading (uploading content that contains copyrighted sounds to Productiontrax is against the terms of service).

For example…
Is there a snippet of copyrighted music in it? Not legal.
Uses sample software or sampled sounds to produce the track? Legal.
Contains a sound of a tv or radio playing a copyrighted song? Not legal.
Contains a human singing Happy Birthday? Not legal.
Contains a piano playing a Chopin Waltz? Legal.

You get the idea. The key here is to double check your work. We triple check at Productiontrax when we can to make absolutely certain that the media you find here will be 100% licensable and not get you into a legal battle with a plunderbund, but keep these tips in mind when looking for sound effects from your favorite sound effects sharing site, or from some other music library that has some hard to find stock audio clips from 1950s television. Your legal budget will thank you.

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.

Editors Picks – New Media at Productiontrax.com

We recently launched our new weekly email, which hopefully makes it easier for you to find more relevant tracks for your projects. Here are our picks for Sept. 13, 2011.

Intro (47 sec) – To The Last Breath
by Karol Sabat
Track ID: 260453 | Action & Adventure

This short intro track, which also has a full version here, reminds us of Avatar. Fuses orchestra and choirs to create an epic world music inspired orchestration common to many current action and adventure films.


tags: world, orchestra, action, adventure, epic, choirs, avatar

Happy Whistle
by Vess Ray
Track ID: 257685 | Pop

This track is just so happy. Reminds me of a pet food commercial, baby wipes, or anything family or kid related. Lively and fun, this track is the perfect mood-setter.

tags: bouncy, lively, fun, whistle, recess, comic, cartoon, sitcom, commercial

Ditto Darling
by Richard Brown, Soundsculptor
Track ID: 258085 | Easy Listening

This easy listening love song combines smooth jazz flavors with adult contemporary influences and a rather peculiar semi-sung vocal that will either woo you to tears or totally freak you out. Add a bit of mystery to your next romantic endeavor.

tags: easy listening, pop, vocal, romantic, piano, smooth jazz

Spooksville us with fx
by Alec Makinson
Track ID: 258307 | Horror

With Halloween around the corner, this track reminds us of ghosts and goblins. A bit Addams Family meets the Joker, this track is an easy way to get the sound of Danny Elfman on your project without the huge payroll expense.

tags: spooky, harpsichord, evil, witches, scoobydoo, tongueincheek, cartoon, Halloween

Moonshine
by Ian Hubbal
Track ID: 247038 | Bluegrass

Multiple banjos and strings sing of americana and the country. Whether you’re sitting on the porch whittling away, or stealing your cousin’s pick up truck, this is the soundtrack for your summer days out in the dust bowl. Constant build makes this track perfect for comedies or art pieces about Oklahoma.

tags: determined, marching, banjos, bluegrass, playful, escalating, americana

Getting Your Fair Share of the Pie – A Stock Media Survival Guide for Artists

With the growing popularity of library music and royalty free music sites, especially the sudden development of user-content driven stock media libraries, it has become more important than ever for artists to be wary of the deals that they are getting themselves into. I’ve compiled some tips and advice from a business standpoint that I hope is helpful to composers and media producers looking to distribute their media online.

So you’ve found another stock media site to join. What should you look for?

Royalty Splits, Commissions & The Quantity of Sales Myth
Take a close look at how the site prices their media and much the site is offering you per sale. Some sites greatly undervalue their artists media, looking to make a quick sale.

Do the math:
Site xyz.com offers you a 50% split (which is about the de-facto industry standard), and they sell your media 50 times a month. But they also use the credit system, and they’re pricing your music at a whopping $1 per clip. It’s no wonder they are able to move your music so often. They are offering sync rights to the public, for which signed artists get thousands of dollars a track for plus royalties, for less than a cup of coffee! They rationalize to you that you will get your BMI/ASCAP/PRS/whatever royalties through cue sheets. But think about it. Joe Smith, online discount bargain music hunter, your average stock media consumer – do you really think he is going to 1) understand a cue sheet, and 2) take the time to fill it out and send it in? Furthermore, they justify the low price by saying that they have to sell at that price because you are basically an unknown, and that’s all people will pay for your music (which is a lie). Your total cut per month under this plan: $25, if you’re lucky.

On Productiontrax.com, we value your time and commitment to your art and production as an independent artist. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro, we give you complete control over your pricing. You set your clip price to what you think it is worth. We also give you 65% of your total sale – the highest royalty split in the business. Sure, you might not sell 50 times a month (though many of our contributors do), but, on a clip that you price at our average commercial license price of $35, you make $22.75 per sale. Sell just twice a month, and you’ve already made more with Productiontrax.com than you have anywhere else.

Exclusive or Non-Exclusive
Some sites and libraries have what they call “Exclusive” deals, meaning, you can only sell your content on one site. Usually, when a stock site offers you an exclusive deal, they also offer it with a bigger chunk of the royalty split. When considering an exclusive deal, make sure you realize that they pretty much own you for the duration of the contract. They might up your split to 60% (notice it is still below Productiontrax.com’s standard 65% cut for everyone), but you are limited to the sales you get through that one site. You can’t sell or market your stuff anywhere else! Combine that with some of the “discount” pricing schemes offered on many sites, and you have a recipe for certain failure. From a long-term business perspective, artists need the ability to diversify their offerings across the online music landscape. Think of distribution channels as an investment. Do you really want your portfolio of offerings to be limited to one site?

Productiontrax.com gives you freedom with your media. We don’t use fancy, confusing contractual gimmicks by trying to lock you in to just one place. It is hard enough to survive as an artist in today’s economic climate. We believe that you, and only you, own the rights to your media, whether it’s music, sound effects, stock footage, or photos. You should be able to sell it and market it as you see fit.

License Terms
How a library lets its users use your media is a big part of what factors into sales. Take a close look at what a stock media site lets their customers do with your files. Are there restrictions? Are there copyright issues? What about mechanical rights, derivative works, sync, and publishing? What about reporting to PROs and cue sheets? What options do they give you as an artist? All of these are factors in the sale and promotion of your music.

Productiontrax.com is unique in how it licenses your music. We have taken great strides to protect your rights as an artist while giving our customers the creative freedom they need to succeed in today’s marketplace. Productiontrax.com allows you to set two prices – one for independent non-commercial use, and one for commercial and for-profit use. We’ve also taken it one step further, allowing you, the artist, to opt in to special license options and opportunities, such as sampling and DJ use, CD distribution, and bulk blanket licensing. This gives you ultimate control over who uses your media, and how they media, without confusing the customer with all sorts of legal mumbo-jumbo and difficult to navigate sites.

Image
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that the image portrayed by a site meets your expectations for your own personal and professional image and reputation. Once you have joined a site, your music and reputation are associated with the brand and image of the site that it is on. If that site is constantly sending spam emails, offering your tracks at a discount, or low-balling you from a commissions standpoint, you can probably guess what the general public thinks of your music. On the other hand, if the site is clean, user friendly, offers comprehensive customer support, and promotes your music in a professional manner, respectful of your rights as an artist and the needs of the general public, your reputation has been brought up to that level.

To sum up, when you are selling your music online through a royalty free music site, or selling your sound effects library, stock footage, or stock photos, pay close attention to the deals you are creating for yourself, and the overall brand image that the library. Your artistry and professional survival depend on it.

Will The State of New York Kill The Music Industry?

“Gov. David Paterson has proposed a so-called ‘iPod tax’ on downloaded music and entertainment services to help his state close a $15.4 billion budget deficit.

However, Apple Inc.’s products aren’t Paterson’s only targets. He has proposed 88 new fees and taxes that go far beyond, including on movie tickets, taxi rides, soda, beer, wine, cigars, massages, cable and satellite TV.

That’s just one aspect of Paterson’s proposed $121.1 billion budget released yesterday. The budget attempts to make state government leaner while relying on a wave of new taxes and fees that will be passed down to businesses.

The proposed budget is balanced and holds state spending just under the inflation rate. The budget also erases a combined $15.4 billion in budget gaps over the next 15 months.

Paterson revealed his budget amid the unrelenting shake-up on Wall Street that has already depleted state tax revenue and triggered tens of thousands of layoffs. Before this recession, the state’s financial services sector had produced 20 percent of state tax revenue through income taxes, year-end bonuses, real estate deals and initial public offerings on the stock markets.”

I hope all people in the internet and music industry will speak out against unfair, unrealistic, and economically damaging taxes such as this one. While we’re not located in New York, their recent taxation policies have been a source of concern for not only businesses in the music industry, but every business that has a website and sells online (see their sales tax law currently being fought by major online retailers: http://www.newrules.org/retail/efairny.html)

How Amazon and Overstock responded to New York:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/14/overstockcom-throws-new-york-affiliates-overboard-to-avoid-sales-tax/?ref=nyregion

Try Before You Buy – Download Previews to Your Desktop

Productiontrax.com is making it more convenient for editors and production companies to preview and purchase royalty free music for their projects. Now, visitors can download low-resolution full-length previews to show their clients and test out in their projects for free.

Simply click the low-res preview link on music pages to beign the free downloads.