Cover many music styles versus focus?


I have been wondering if it’s best to write in a genre that you are good at, or to learn to cover as many as possible…

Like most here, I assume we naturally lean towards creating a certain sound and style. But with royalty free music we can’t indulge to much, as we need to create for a purpose…

There must be a grey area where we can sit between composing for an audience and creating/finding a niche with our own sound?

Any thoughts?


Hi there - I started my AJ career working on Cinematic / Epic tracks and slowly I have been self indulgent and now focus on idents which allows me to really go to town and try abstract sounds. Time will tell I guess. :slight_smile:


Focus on what you’re good at and see if that sells. If not, try to adapt to the market in a related genre. Learning new genres is a good thing but if you spread out too thin you will get a tough time beating the competition.


I’ve been wrestling with this issue. Over my first year I have mainly been focussing on what I am naturally good at, and enjoy doing, but with rather mixed results in terms of sales. I’m going to try adapting myself more to the requirements of stock music (I think I still tend to think too much in terms of producing a complete ‘song’ structure with a verse, chorus, middle 8 etc., rather than something that works well as background) but still sticking to genres that I’m comfortable working in.


My initial uploads were mainly just stuff I had sat on a shelf doing nothing…then after a few sales and finding that I enjoyed the marketplace and found it interesting to talk to others on the forums etc…I decided to write some music specifically for AJ and get a bit more involved to see what happened.

I looked at the categories and noticed that the Children’s category was fairly poorly represented so I figured that would be a good place to start. I then set a target of getting 50 items on there. So…did that and had fun doing it. I also, to stop getting bored occasionally, had a dabble at other genres.

I’ve been surprised at what has sold and what hasn’t to the point that I no longer worry much about it. My top sellers are not what I expected at all.

I think if you want big sales numbers in shorter time then you do need to follow trends and take ‘inspiration’ from other top selling items. The trouble with that for me is that I get bored and I just don’t like being a copycat. Sometimes my tracks do turn out with similarities but I never strive to contrive :grinning:

I went for a niche and got slow steady sales but had fun doing it.


Excellent advice. Sometimes niche music is a good way to start.


I’m still on my first year on AJ. But from the start I always focused on Electronic Music from dubstep, house, hiphop, etc and that gave me quite good sales for a beginner. Once I tried to make corporate and suddenly I knew I’m not good at it :smile:


I try to cover at least two styles every day :slight_smile: You know the deal… 5:30 AM, than some lunch, and at 8:00 PM I have two styles covered and in the queue:)


Interesting question :slight_smile: In my portfolio there is almost all styles, but after a while, I noticed that in the portfolio have a large sale in the tracks :boss jazz, ambient, oriental cinema, and of course children’s themes, jazz piano at all … I it seems that the improvisation and charisma be a positive impact on sales!


That’s a very good question. From my point of view, I’d say experiment with different styles in the beginning. When you have say 6-10 tracks, some tracks would have sold more times than the rest. There is your focus. Pick the genre that did well and go in just that direction.


just like @mindfuzz said I believe in the fact that you should focus on the genre were you are the most comfortable with. I see that the track were I take more pleasure to produce and were I am naturally inspired are selling more so I think there is a real correlation between what you feel up to do and your sales.

Good luck !!!


It’s good to stick with at least a couple of styles, but also experimentation in the popular genres is a must if you want to be successful in here! So stick to ya guns, but try the big shotgun once in a while! :wink:


I had a few different styles in the beginning, but my only ones selling were my darker tracks, so I’m focused on that now. I even changed my name and deleted old tracks that didn’t fit. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ll still do some other tracks if I have a particularly good idea, but I seem to be the type of person that ends up making even the happiest track seem dark.


Once you find your niche, make sure you give your buyers a lot to choose from. Whenever I see multiple invoices from the same buyer, 90% of the time they are buying several tracks from the same category or style.


I’ve always been focused on the ‘oldschool hiphop niche’. I know those tracks will never sell in volumes like the motivational/inspirational ones, but that’s not an issue for me (right now). I learned that having fun while making a track that sells 15 times is more satisfying than creating something you don’t actually believe in that’ll maybe sell 100 times.


And most of the time its better to compete with 50 author within a niche, than 2000 in a popular category.


Cinematic and corporate tracks are huge n the library…but making the music you are best at will ultimately pay off


Yeah, that’s what we all want to believe, right? However in those two categories, it’s either Hans Zimmer on steroids or domesticated U2/Coldplay or you’re not going to get the sales. Actually, it may even be true for most categories that it’s better to produce something that sounds like something people already are accustomed with, than to be overly creative and stand out in a way that buyers will feel awkward with. So, being “best” at your music is probably not enough, you also need to evoke emotions of familiarity and perceived reliability, at least that’s what I’ve found with micro licensing. The typical buyer isn’t necessarily listening with his or her “own ears”, but rather with the “end clients’ ears”, taking into account the risk of going too far out on a limb and choosing something too original. Whatever style you may fancy, make sure you’re knowledgeable of the current leaders in the field and stay close to the norm. AJ is not a talent competition or an art fair, it’s a means to an end, satisfying buyers’ needs of finding a suitable track for a project directed at a potentially broad audience. Dig deep, sow shallow :sunglasses:


I think I will make this my AJ motto :slight_smile:


Preach it brother!