Catalogue music, clearing or custom songs. These are the usual suspects when working with music for a film, TV series and commercial. So how do you make the choice? In the end it comes down to down to just a few factors.
Catalogue: For the stressed
Catalogue music is pre-composed music you’ll find digitally in online music libraries such as our own catalogue Findthetune. You’ll find library music in all sorts of genres and styles, which means that it’s usually easy to find what you’re looking for when browsing through an online catalogue. Catalogue music is mostly used because it’s easy to find, download and use. You’re sure that all rights have been cleared beforehand, so there’s little or no risk of copyright infringement. The prices for these tracks are usually quite affordable as well.
However, when using pre-composed production music, you can’t always be sure of when and where the song has been used already. This means that the song won’t necessarily be unique and that using it as a unique jingle might not even be possible. This depends on the music provider and the song you’re using though.
Clearing: For the laid-back
Clearing is when you want to use a song, commercial or not, for your production. This could be a song by Justin Bieber, Metallica or less famous artists. In this case, you have to clear both rights of the song (master and publisher) for the production. We always start by getting in touch with the rights holders where we present your production concept to them. They usually have to know which kind of production you’re using the song for before they can allow us to clear the song for you. You can choose to just clear the publishing right, which means you’ll be able to make your own cover of the song if the cover is approved by the publisher.
A clearing can be quite expensive, troublesome and a lengthy process, but in return you get the opportunity to use a great song, co-brand the production with an artist, reach a certain target audience more efficiently and you’ll have a bigger chance of getting some level of consumer recognition effect. But, like in the case of catalogue music, you’re never quite sure when or where the song has been used already, so using a commercial song might not be a completely unique choice.
Composer Jesper Hansen
Composer Jesper Hansen
Custom: For the picky
Custom music is the third option. ”Custom music” means you’ll get a brand new track composed by a band, solo artist or a composer for your production alone. Prices for custom compositions are usually higher than library music and lower than clearing, depending on the project.
With a custom song you’ll get a unique track – something that the two latter options don’t offer on the same level. This means that you more or less have the creative freedom to get something made that’ll suit your production perfectly. Custom has a strong quality of sound identity/branding if done right. The track is only connected to the brand and/or production, which means that if you play it elsewhere the audience will think of the brand and not the song’s artist. On the down side there’s no way to tell how long the production process takes. If your track requires a number of instruments, different vocals and a great text, it might take too long to produce the track if your deadline was yesterday.
While we’ve focused on the pros and cons of each option in this blog post, creative ambitions, budgets and the demands of the end clients are also determining the choice of music.