Writing for Music Libraries

The journey continues- and as we know, the journey is the destination.

Feeding the libraries
Feeding the libraries

I work in a home-studio on the 2nd floor of my off-the-grid cabin near Terlingua, Texas. I can see Mexico from my front porch. The nearest village is 30 miles away, the nearest town is 50 miles away, and the nearest major metro area is a four hour drive.

I’m journaling my new adventure here- after a lifetime of playing bars, touring, making records (literally) and later, CDs, and then downloads… I’ve taken up a new career writing for music libraries.

For a non-touring musician, production music is the last refuge.

It’s a brutally tough business to break into, especially from Terlingua. The action is all in LA, NY, etc.

The good news is that I can produce the music here in my studio and then upload it to the libraries. The less than good news is that the competition is fierce.






I’m in my 3rd month in the “writing for music libraries” business. Definitely still a newbie.

Feeling as confident as a schoolboy walking through a field of daisies, having been accepted by a few more music libraries- and turned down by one- I was delighted to get a response to an email I sent to a new library.

They had checked out my online music at this site and specifically picked out quite a few they wanted to license. I checked them out at The Music Library Report forum and there wasn’t much info on them. So, I emailed the library asking to see the contract.

Whoa!  There be snakes among the daisies. Continue reading “Danger!”

What Does IM Have To Do With Music Libraries?

What does IM (Internet Marketing) have to do with production music and selling it in music libraries

Apparently, everything.

I hang out (and pay for the privilege) at the Music Library Report forum. If you’re interested in writing for music libraries, that should be your first stop.

While you’re there, if you’ve got an IM background, you’ll notice that it’s a source of recurring income for the guy who runs it. It also helps him stay on top of the latest developments and check out the newbies. I think it’s a bargain, but as an old IM’er, I recognize the business model.

On that site they have detailed listings for over 500 music libraries. Members are encouraged to report their experiences, both good and bad, with these libraries.

I was researching Pond5 there Continue reading “What Does IM Have To Do With Music Libraries?”

Pond5 and Beyond

My music is now available from two music libraries, Pond5.

And some other places, but I want you to snag it at Pond5.  If you want custom music- especially if it involves moving pictures- contact me directly.

6.5 weeks into the “Music for Moving Pictures” project, I’ve learned a lot and still have a lot to learn. I started at zero, with no knowledge of this business at all, so the scramble up the learning curve has been interesting and exhausting.

Lesson 1 – it’s a numbers game. If a site has 250,000 music tracks, my 14 tracks are going to get lost. I need 1,000 tracks, at least, to really be in the game.

I’ve uploaded a bunch of tracks, bringing my total at Productiontrax up to almost 50. I’m waiting for approval Continue reading “Pond5 and Beyond”

Welcome: Pond5

Six weeks ago, when I started this project, I knew there were going to be some significant milestones.  Hints. Challenges.

The first one was whether or not I’d be able to handle the administrative part of the gig. Writing and producing music is easy for me. Making sure that the tunes are filed with BMI, keeping my spreadsheets current so I know what the details of each tune are, which libraries I’ve applied to. So far, I’ve been able to.

The other hint I was looking for was which style I should concentrate on. I can produce anything from electronic to country- and enjoy them all.

So, I sent about a dozen different tracks to Continue reading “Welcome: Pond5”

Music Library Music

In the last three weeks I’ve written, recorded, mixed and mastered 32 “Music for Moving Pictures” tracks. I’ve uploaded them to Soundcloud and created playlists which are on the “music” page here.

To get music our to people who need music for the films, videos, commercials, and corporate videos I need to sign up with a Music Library. There is a weeding out process- the ones I want to work with are pretty picky.

Luckily, the Music Library Report forum has some excellent info and recommendations.

So, phase two commences. I’ll be contacting a few highly recommended libraries to see if I can get representation for my music.

Onward through the fog, which is clearing rapidly.


Music For Moving Pictures?

I like a challenge, don’t you?

You can do a lot of fun things in the desert just North of the Mexican/US border. It’s gorgeous here, and just dangerous enough to keep you in the moment.

Borders are for crossing. Tacos at Falcon’s in Boquillas, shopping in Ojinaga, nature hikes in San Carlos, enchiladas at Los Comales in OJ.  Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park are nearby, although they both kinda look like my back yard so I don’t visit as often as I should.

Full moon parties at Terlingua Ranch, dinner with friends at the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua, pissing in the pool at Lajitas…

No shortage of possibilities here.

But, create music for movies, videos, TV shows, games?  Don’t you have to be in L.A. or New York for that? More importantly, don’t you have to KNOW somebody in the business to make a living writing music for the business?

Let’s find out.

Here’s my first batch of production music. It’s a pitch for a TV show that will be shooting in the neighborhood.

In the last two and a half weeks, I wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered 30 pieces of music. These are the 11 that I’m guessing would work in the show, but that’s based on reading the book the show is based on.

We’ll see.

Unless I have a firm mandate, I never know what I’m going to write. I spent several years getting paid really well for writing new age music, and I knew it was going to have a certain theme and be certain length and have a predetermined number of beats per minute.

Without that mandate, you just never know. My music tends to fall into three categories; electronic, blues, and country.

I was introduced to electronic composition in 1974 as a music student at what was known as North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. There was a music lab with what I was told was the third ever produced Moog modular synthesizer, a couple of tape recorders, and a poster on the wall that said, “the availability of a given patch-cord is inversely proportional to your need for it.”

I also got a degree in blues working with W.C. Clark in the early 1980’s in Austin, Texas.

We’d play Antone’s (On Guadalupe) on Thursdays. The weekend performers often arrived a day early and, after a brief meeting in Clifford’s office, might be inspired to jam. I sat behind my keyboards and went to school as Hubert Sumlin, for example, played with us to a small crowd. There was a new lesson several times a week: Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, and the whole Chicago gang.

After a couple of years of that, I picked up W.C.’s guitar and hit a lick- after hours at Antone’s – and he informed me it was about time I got my own band. So I did. I also got a German record label, a few European agents, and had a lovely decade or so playing blues guitar and singing in castles, plazas, dungeons, clubs, and concert halls from Germany to Sweden and from Bogner Regis to the Isle of Arran.

And country- if you were a musician in Texas with decent chops and a need for easy cash, you could always get a gig in a country dance hand. I started out in the joints on Spencer Highway in Houston when I was 16 years old, backed up Hank Thompson on a flat-bed trailer at a rodeo in Snook, Texas, in my early 20’s, rode the Urban Cowboy wave and played nearly every VFW Hall, Dance Hall and beer joint from Lubbock to Beaumont.

Fast forward a few decades, and here I am in an off-the-grid cabin a few miles off the paved road just North of Terlingua. I’ve got instruments, microphones, a computer and a lifetime of experience loving and making music.

I do not have an agent, a music library connection, a gig, or- most likely- a clue.

This should be fun.