So, you're a videomaker. You need royalty free music for your video.
There's MANY royalty free music libraries out there.
Where should you go?
Glad you asked.
Let's talk about it.
THE ROYALTY FREE MUSIC MARKET
So, as I said, let's assume you are a videomaker. Maybe you have a limited budget for your background music. You have a great video, and you want good music for it. What should you do?
Well, at first sight, the Royalty Free Music market seems to be really great for you.
Let's see why:
1. There's a lot of music libraries to choose from. More choices is a good thing, right?
2. They compete with each other, so prices go down, quality goes up. Good!
3. There's a lot of music to choose from. Again, more choices is a good thing!
4. Musicians, just like libraries, compete with each other. Prices go down, quality goes up.
This is great!!
Not really. Not necessarily.
What's the problem?
IS "MORE" REALLY ... MORE?
The problem is that sometimes having "more" is like having "less".
Let me explain.
Ok, so you know what you need for your video.
Let's say you want a nice smooth, acoustic, instrumental track. Maybe with acoustic guitar, accordion and violin. Something like that.
You go to one of these huge, major commercial libraries.
They have 700.000 music tracks. Prices are low. Great.
So, you type in the library's search box "acoustic accordion violin smooth".
You find 1440 tracks (these are real numbers from a very popular, very large commercial royalty free music library).
Wow, you think. 1440 tracks! I'm gonna find something GREAT for my video!
So you start listening to the tracks, one by one.
The first one sucks.
The second one sucks.
The third one is nice, but there's no accordion (and yet, you DID type accordion in the search box!! And you really want the accordion!)
The forth is nice but too fast. You want something slower.
The fifth totally sucks.
The sixth sounds like midi. Bleah!!
The seventh is nice but it's too sparse. You want somethin more "dense".
The eigth is nice but it has drums. You don't want drums.
The ninth sucks.
The tenth is nice, but the violin sounds fake. It's clearly not a real violin.
The eleventh sucks.
.... and so on ....
After a while, you realize you are wasting your time. You wasted one hour of your time already and you haven't found anything even remotely satisfying.
Maybe that's ok. Maybe you are actually willing to spend HOURS listening to music that sucks, or that just doesn't fit your needs. If that's the case, your problem is solved.
But maybe you don't wanna waste your time like that.
If that's the case, you probably need a different approach.
What can you do?
Well, you can sort your 1440 tracks by popularity.
The most popular tracks will appear at the top, so for sure these are going to be nice, well crafted tracks. Right?
So you do that. You sort by popularity and you start listening.
The first one is nice, as expected, but it's not what you want.
The second is also nice, but too fast.
The third one is .... NICE! Very nice! PERFECT! Found it! Yay!
But ... wait a minute.
You look at the downloads number for this track, and you see that this track has been downloaded 1500 times. So, you know there's 1500 videos out there with the same soundtrack. Your video, your wonderful video, will have the SAME DAMN MUSIC that all these videos around the web already have.
No. You can't accept that.
You want something UNIQUE.
Or at least something that is not SO common.
Something that will set your video apart.
You worked very hard on your video, and the music has to be not only great, but also reasonably distinctive. You know that the choice of music will have a big impact on the success of your video.
So, you realize that sorting by popularity doesn't work for you. It defies the purpose of finding something unique. The tracks at the top are actually quite nice, but they are way too common. They are downloaded and already used by way too many people.
But random sorting is also a total waste of time.
So, what can you do? You're stuck.
You don't seem to have good options.
1. Spend hours and hours browsing through thousands of tracks hoping to find one that is right for you AND that hasn't been downloaded hundreds or even thousands of times by others. Good luck with that.
2. Settle for a low quality track. But your video deserves better.
3. Settle for a super-common track. But your video deserves uniqueness.
4. Ask a music producer to compose a custom, exclusive track just for you, but you can't spend hundreds or event thousands of dollars on that.
You are trapped.
How about trying another library?
So, you go to another of those huge, commercial libraries, and you have EXACTLY the SAME problems.
So ... what can yuo do?
THE PROBLEM WITH HUGE, COMMERCIAL LIBRARIES
This is where you need to think a little bit out of the box.
What is the problem with these huge, gigantic libraries?
FIRST: too many options. Having literally hundreds of thousands of tracks to choose from DOES NOT help you. You think it does, but it doesn't. We LOVE options, but too many options actually create a problem. At some point, many options become too many. It takes too much time to browse, to find, to select, to listen. What you gain in "possibilities" you lose in "efficiency". At some point, having more options will actually damage you.
SECOND: low quality. All these giant libraries put no effort, or very little effort, in selecting high quality tracks. Indeed, some of them do not select music AT ALL. They just accept anything. So you have this vast number of low quality tracks that make finding the good tracks even more difficult. The fact that today anyone with a laptop and some over-used loops can make "music", without any kind of producing, recording or mixing expertise, escalates even more the problem. There's just too much bad music out there.
THIRD: no customization. Let's say that you find a track you like, but you need a 60 seconds edit, or you need it without drums, or you need the instrumental version without the vocals. Unless the exact edit you need is already there, the library cannot help you. You don't have a personal relationship with the library. You can't ask for customization. You're stuck with what you find.
FOURTH: no uniqueness. The best tracks in these huge libraries are found and downloaded by thousands of people. If you want the best royalty free music that is even remotely unique for your video, using a huge, commercial library is like finding a needle in a haystack. It is possible, but extremely unlikely and time consuming.
So, here you go.
These are the problems with large libraries.
Yes, prices are good (not always, actually, as we will see).
Yes, you have a lot of options (but too many options create problems).
But if you care about QUALITY, UNIQUENESS, EFFICIENCY and CUSTOMIZATION, then you should look elsewhere.
For example, you should look at SMALL, INDEPENDENT, HIGH QUALITY libraries.
Let's take a look at the advantages that these libraries bring to your table.
LESS IS MORE: GO SMALL, WIN BIG
So, it's pretty hard and time consuming to find decent levels of QUALITY, UNIQUENESS, EFFICIENCY and CUSTOMIZATION in those very large royalty free music libraries.
And the situation is only getting worse every day, because the more tracks these libraries accept, the more the problems that we mentioned above become evident.
Luckily, there is a solution.
There are some small, independent, high quality libraries that allow you to find exactly what you are looking for. These are usually libraries with a limited number of tracks (sometimes very small) from a limited number of musicians.
So, what are the advantages?
1. EFFICIENCY: you don't have to browse through thousands of bad tracks to find a good one. These independent libraries usually curate their tracks very carefully, so that each track is well produced, well arranged, musically interesting, or at least serves a specific purpose in video production. So you know that you won't waste your time. Your search will be efficient.
2. QUALITY: most independent libraries select real musicians, not people with a laptop and a few loops that they put together more or less randomly in GarageBand. You know that behind every track there is experience, musicianship, professionalism. You can actually hear it. Quality will make a difference for your video.
3. UNIQUENESS: these independent libraries typically do not have huge number of sales. Even the most popular tracks will have a very limited number of sales. So you know that whatever you license, your video will have pretty unique music. Or at least music that is not everywhere all over the web.
4. CUSTOMIZATION: you can have a dialogue with the musicians and producers behind these independent libraries. You can ask to have a certain track customized. You can request special edits. You can even ask to have a certain track sold exclusively for you. You can actually have a real customer service there.
So, it all sounds great.
What's the catch?
Is there a catch at all?
Are there any negative aspects about small independent libraries?
For example, how about the PRICE?
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
You're probably thinking that these independent libraries charge much more that the huge, commercial libraries.
You might be surprised to know that this is often NOT the case.
Indeed, sometimes the opposite is true.
Now, there are exceptions of course.
You may find small libraries that are actually more expensive, but this is not necessarily true.
And there are good reasons why small independent libraries can be, and often are, very competitive in terms of price.
Let me explain why.
1. Independent music producers selling directly to the customers do not have to pay 50% or 60% to the commercial library, so they can charge less.
So, for example, let's say that a certain producer licenses his/her music through a major commercial library for 39$. The library keeps 50% (or more ...), so the producer is left with 19$ or less. If the producer sells directly to his/her customers, he/she can charge much less than 39$ while actually making more money! So, it's a win-win situation, for the producer and for the customer.
2. Small independent producers and libraries do not have all the costs (personnel, marketing, infrastructure etc) that major libraries have, so they can keep their prices lower.
3. Be careful about the license that you are buying with large libraries. In some cases commercial libraries seem to have better baseline prices, but they give you very limited licenses. If you want extended licenses, you end up paying much more than the baseline price. Don't be fooled by the baseline! Small producers and libraries usually have a simplified licensing structure, and you can get a much bigger bang for your dollar in terms of licensing rights.
So, the general message here is that even in terms of price, small independent libraries may have the edge over large commercial libraries. Of course this may vary depending on a bunch of other factors. But don't take for granted that buying from a small library you pay more, because this is NOT necessarily true!
A FEW WORDS ABOUT US
So, what about us? What about WHITE CAT MUSIC?
Why should you consider licensing from us?
Just a few self-promotional words here :-)
1. We are a small, independent library.
2. We have a very limited number of tracks, from a small number of professional musicians. All our musicians are carefully selected, and so are the tracks.
3. We don't care about quantity, but we really care quality. We care about music with a human touch, not made with loops or "cold" midi sounds.
4. We don't care about covering all possible genres. We cover the genres we know we are good at producing. Quality first.
5. We are going to increase the number of tracks and musicians over time, of course. But we are going to do it gradually, without sacrificing quality.
6. Our license is very simple and very generous. When you license a track, you can use it in unlimited projects of yours, for as long as you want. Try to beat that :-)
7. We can customize tracks, customize edits, or even provide exclusive tracks. We are able to take care of every customer's individual needs. So, we do provide quality, uniqueness, customization and efficiency.
8. Our prices are extremely competitive. Indeed, our prices are better than most libraries, including the large, commercial ones.
9. We can provide special discounts or even FREE tracks if the customer helps us promoting our website (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details).
10. Hey, don't you love all the cute cat pictures? :-)
Anyway, whether you like us or not, whether you choose us or not for your music needs, please consider the advantages of small, independent music producers and libraries, and the disadvantages and problems of huge, commercial libraries.
Music can have a SIGNIFICANT impact on the success of your video.
If you choose mediocre music, or music that it's already "heard" a thousand times, your audience will take notice.
Go small, win big!
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