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Has Royalty Free Music Killed The Media Composer?

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Composers in general I believe are not given their due when it comes to musical compositions. Media composers are given less credit. Partly this is due to the overall lack of knowledge as to what encompasses a media composer’s skillset as well as an over circulated stereotype that the media composer is just using what is out there. Of course, this is rarely true. Where the media composer may use resources that are available online to enhance his or her work, the composer usually has his own music in which to merge into the composition. Yet, with such media available, one has to wonder if royalty free music has killed the media composer?

Quantity vs. Quality

When it comes to media art, the market is innumerable. Everyday more and more people who think that they can perform a quick and easy job in the profession take on the self-proclaimed title of media composer. These individuals have belittled the profession and given a bad name to the professional media composer.
The professional media composer has taken into consideration the abundance of royalty free music that is available and used the music wisely within his own original compositions. Where it is true that the media composer may not be a musician, the professional would defiantly have connections to a composer that can provide unique sounds to the production.

The software which media composers use is the determining factor in how professional a composition comes across. Cheap editing and compositions will generally shine forth as being such. Those which use professional techniques and software will generally yield a professional production.
Thinking of the question at hand, one could say that the abundance of fraudulent media composers has been amplified and therefore has wounded the profession. I would not go so far as to claim that the profession has been killed by the novices and those that do not know what they are doing. There will always be a demand for quality work. Those which can show themselves to be such will always have a place within the field.

Cheap does not always mean best

The cost of royalty free music continues to plummet. However, the usage of the music has increased. Media Composers need to be weary of sites that offer royalty free music at very low rates. Remember, somewhere down the line the artist has to be paid for his or her work. If the royalty free music is offered for a rate that is way below normal, the odds are that the music is used by the masses. What does this mean for the profession?
Massively used royalty free music comes off as being redundant, novice, and dull. Here is where the industry has been hit the hardest in terms of cheap music killing the artistry and professionalism. Novices have a tendency to go with whatever is cheapest and disregards the frequency in which the track is used. Those tracks which have become so popular as to be cliché (for example the boy band swish pop sound) have done nothing but diminished the profession.

Those which use free music (not royalty free but free) should be very cautious as to the source of such music. Many times the free music is pirated music. Again, just because the music is free or cheap does not mean that it is the best solution.

The positives of royalty free music and Media composers
Royalty Free music should not be shunned. There are many media artists which use the music responsibly and to help the industry. It is a new avenue in which professional media composers have channeled in. For example: In major productions royalty free music has been used for music coming out of a radio (think of Joy Ride). Although, I particularly do not find it appealing, music videos continue to use the swish pop sound. It would be quite expensive if the media composer had to pay a drop needle licensing cost for every sound he or she puts into a production. Royalty free music has helped greatly in this area.

The answer

Royalty Free music has not killed the media composer. On the contrary, Royalty free music has opened up a new source from which a media composer can pull his or her music legally. What has done the most harm to the media composer’s profession is those which claim to be professionals and are not. Where everyone is encouraged to seek out and try new things, be honest when you are a novice so as not to bring down the profession. Those that use only stock music and royalty music should realize that they are recycling sounds and not using the sources in an appropriate manner. Where there will always be a demand for certain background noises and the current trends will dictate certain sound loops for the public, one should not be totally reliant on such to make his or her profession.

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