An Audio Masterclass reader sent in a web link to one of his tracks with the question, “What are the steps I need to take in order to make money with this track?” Actually, there were three tracks, but applying the age-old tradition of the music industry, I stopped listening when I found I wasn't getting a 'wow'. Which doesn't take anyone in the music industry very long to do either.
My first criterion when listening to a track is should I bother listening to it? Actually, that is even before listening to it.
I get many demos sent in to my production music library. Experience has told me that it is only the very, very rare demo that even approaches professional quality. Even then, the music might be outside the sphere that I work in.
So a new demo CD to listen to doesn't fill me with excitement. It's a chore to go through them
If you don't like what I say, then remember that I'm no different to anyone else in the industry. Actually I am, I often take the trouble to explain why a demo isn't useful to me. No-one else does that.
One thing I don't do is trawl through websites listening to stuff. I don't have to – it will come to me. There are so many websites with so much music that is irrelevant to my business, I would much rather someone be pro-active and come to me.
Yes a band or musician should have a website. But it's something that will be explored once interest has been generated. It won't generate that interest in the first place. Was it Frank Zappa who said, “Just what the world needs – another record label.”? What would he have said about websites?
But for Audio Masterclass, I am sometimes a bit more flexible. So I listened to this track…
(The track isn't hosted by Audio Masterclass, so if link doesn't work, the song has been taken down.)
So, listening to this track with my production music library publisher hat on, the first thing I hear is that it isn't a track, it's a promo. I don't need a promo, I need a track!
If the voice were taken off, then there are some elements of the backing track that might be useable as background music on TV. It would ideally be more consistent with fewer changes. The more changes, then the harder it is to fit to picture, therefore the less likely it will be chosen.
So at this point I would have to say no. I need work that is fully finished, not halfway there.
But further than that, I don't hear anything to distinguish this music from stuff that anyone else is producing. It's hard to be original these days, but unless you have a friend in the music industry, originality is going to be very important in making headway.
The other comment I would make is that all the sounds are fighting against each other. It doesn't matter what style of music you work in, sounds have to work with each other, not jostle for their share of the frequency spectrum and stereo image.
It is essential to give each sound a role in the mix. Important roles, such as bass, are up front. Others are blended into the spaces left in the frequency band and stereo image using mainly EQ and panning. Compression is also good to make a sound less 'spiky' so it will fit into its allotted space reliably without it popping back out every now and then.
Having said that, not every track that makes money is a great track, as you almost certainly have realized by now. What often makes the difference is having a channel to the market place. If you are friends with a DJ for instance, maybe he will play your tracks. Maybe he'll introduce you to some girls too.
Seriously – if your tracks get played, chances are at least some people will like them. If it's a radio DJ, so much the better.
So in a nutshell my advice is to lose the voice over, improve the quality of the mixing, make tracks that interest people, and find a channel to the market to get them heard.
Then you might make money!