So you are a musician. That’s awesome. But competition is stiff and you need to make a living. Aside from live performance, music, and merch sales, there are many ways to make a living by composing or providing your tracks for film and video. And fortunately, these types of opportunities for getting paid as a musician and composer for film/video have increased astronomically over the past 10 years with the rise of, you guessed it, the internet and technology.
As a working composer and sound designer, I have managed to build a viable and growing career doing what I love, which is making music and playing with sounds. I have only been able to do so by expanding my search for composition opportunities into artistic realms never before thought of as viable to composition work. All sorts of people are now making video and require music for their videos, expanding the need for original music.
The advantage of the internet and the role it plays in increasing our exposure as artists is obvious and there is no need to belabor the point. Most of us communicate daily with folks all over the world whether it be for collaboration, paying gigs, or as friends and family. However, the advent of technology and its impact on opportunities for musicians begs a bit more analysis. Not only can musicians and composers create better and faster, but because of access to affordable technology, other types of media artists can more easily make video as well. This includes photographers, photobook creators and curators, and authors, who now actively create video to promote and showcase their work. Fortunately for us musicians, these videos need sound and music, and as a result, photographers, curators, and writers are now valid artists with which to seek opportunity.
One example of a photographer and videographer creatively using original music is Genevieve Russell of Story Portrait Media. As part of her work, Russell creates videos which incorporate dialog, photography, and music for photographers to showcase their work and present themselves. One such example is the showcase video for Norah Levine found here. Clearly, photographers, who never had need for music in the past, are now viable candidates to seek out and contact for music composition gigs.
A second example of the use of original music is a fantastically fresh new media called “flipthroughs,” being created by the Indie Photobook Library, founded by photography writer and photobook curator Larissa Leclair. This flipthrough video is a superb example of a new media mash which needs music. It features the photobook “Desert Days” by photographer Matt Austin and shows a close up of a person flipping through the photos in the book with an accompanying track by the artist A(a)rdvark/Jeff Austin. The killer track adds emotion and artistry to the act of viewing a photobook, which previously would have been a silent process. Who would have thought? A photobook curator makes a video of a photobook with original music to create a cutting-edge fresh mashup of media which best of all, requires music.
Another group who is now searching for music are book authors. The concept of a “book trailer” is a new phenomenon and many authors are either creating book trailers themselves, or are hiring professionals to do so. Regardless of how it gets done, though, these book trailers need music. There are tons of articles and blogs online that give advice on how to create a book trailer and all of them mention adding music, whether original or royalty free, as part of the process. Obviously, now, authors are a target for opportunity.
You might be wondering how you would go about finding artists who actively seek music for their work? While this could be an entirely other post, it is safe to say that “traditional” methods work. Join photography and book writer forums, post on blogs related to the subject, answers questions related to the subject on yahoo answers, search for videographers who make videos for photographers and email them directly. Yes it can be boring and take time and effort, but being active in your search to find opportunities for your music bears results. This world is ripe for music, a sonic apple waiting to be plucked.
Other types of artists/associations that now require music for projects:
- Audio Book publishers
- YouTube videographers
About the Author
This is a guest post by Adam A. Johnson, a music composer and sound designer who owns and operates Architect of Sound, a music company that provides custom music scoring and sound design for Film/TV/New Media projects both in the U.S. and abroad with clients in Canada, Ireland, Haiti, Egypt, and Dubai. Credits include LEGO, the United Nations, Aquafina-Pepsico, the National Endowment for the Arts, US Customs, Exxon, NYC Mayor Bloomberg and more. He also owns and operates the SFXsource.com Sound Effects and Royalty Free Music Library.