Couldn’t have said it better. Some great points there!
AJ has 328,601 items for sale right now. That number was 212,776 this time last year.
I didn’t do the maths but in not-too-distant future there will be 1000 items approved daily and probably 100 of them will be super catchy top quality productions. If you think you can compete with this and make a living go ahead
One reason I’ve never considered taking “the leap” to high end custom music career is the fact that I’m one of those guys who just enjoy creating and composing whatever I enjoy and feel like with complete freedom, and if somebody happens to pay for the tune then fine. If you go to custom music career, you lose the freedom. The customers will most of the time be nitpicking with endless details like “can you change that sound a bit, can you make it a bit more energetic, can you…” and you will end up composing the same tune over N times. If you are a person who enjoys tweaking and being a part of that kind of iterative process, then that career is perfect for you, but for me it would be a nightmare. Also the deadlines are something that I can’t stand. When you combine those two facts that you need to tweak already finished tune and get it done by tomorrow, I just can’t find any enjoyment in the process of making music anymore, only thing that is left is money.
So while I understand people who say that this kind of royalty free stock music is not a way to go, for me it’s the only way to go And the income can be decent.
I hear you bro
80% of the times you revisit a track to change 20% of it cause the client has “ideas”, it turns out 100% worse.
And who needs deadlines! My calendar is pretty cluttered up as it is anyway with all these numbers, names of months, holidays and whatnot.
I’m actually the opposite. For me, composing tunes without a purpose turns into me just writing what I like without considering a practical use. I get a catalog full of things no one wants and wasted a lot of time. I know that’s not everyone, but it’s definitely a problem for me.
My goal is to make money, so I don’t like wasting my time composing things for myself, hoping someone else will use it. Even when I compose for libraries, I compose while watching videos from Vimeo or YouTube as if I’m doing custom work. I use videos that match the genre or mood I want to write that day. The end result tends to be much more practical and useful as library music than what I tend to compose with no inspiration. Because I always compose this way, custom work for me is pretty easy and deadlines aren’t a problem. Sometimes, I just pull up something I already wrote but don’t have in a library. I don’t mind revisions and the money is A LOT more than what you get for the typical RF standard license. One custom job for something that gets broadcasted can be worth the full value of 10 or more AJ broadcast licenses and you can still get performance royalties.
A great discussion.
I am full time in music.
For AudioJungle, I got lucky and landed in on the top charts in the first 2 months. It changed my team’s lives overnight. We’re not rolling in money by any means, but it has proven that you can make this work.
Besides AudioJungle, I do several things to make my income through music. As has been said previously, you pretty much have to.
I produce/mix & master songs for artists.
I sell presets and info-guides to producers to help them become better
I give private lessons in production and music
I run a YouTube channel and am currently working on a Patreon for my own personal music
You’ve got to love music to work in it. But you CAN make it work. It’s all about discovering what you do best and monetizing your skill set.
AudioJungle isn’t going to be the “holy grail” for lots of people. And that’s okay. What’s great about it is you can upload here and see money trickle in no matter what you make.
But there’s also more ways to make this work. Consider what you do best and enjoy the most, and write down all the ways you may be able to add value to someone’s life through it. That’s your paycheck.
I agree, but I also think AudioJungle/stock music has already shaped my creative process greatly. Well, maybe not greatly, because otherwise I’d have a lot more tracks that get approved and more sales, but sometimes I’ll start writing a piece of music and then stop because I realize there’s not going to be much of a practical use for it, whereas in the past I would just let my creatively flow. This is good from a business perspective, but maybe not so good for the creative process. I think this entire industry, from top-to-bottom, is a compromise; it’s very rare that someone can get paid for making the kind of music they truly want to make. And then there’s the whole other factor of music becoming increasingly about sound-design and audio engineering, and less and less about composition. I think you can make more money in music just by being a good sound designer and engineer than you can by being a stellar composer. I guess it all depends on what your skill set is, how much you are willing to compromise, and what kind of sound work you enjoy doing.
I recently started working on AJ full time. I hope I will be able to earn enough.
Do you use any MIDI Controller? What could you recommend?
I did my research and have to choose something from here: http://bestmidicontroller.co
Now, I agree that JUST being at AJ isn’t likely to get you too far (except for the obvious exceptions), but I wouldn’t write off the entire RF industry. It is very, very possible to make a GOOD living ($70k+ per year) doing only RF music from home, without commissioned work. It’s a big world out there.
There are people who love deadlines and writing for specific projects, having to adapt exactly to a customer’s need. But then there are people like @Driving, who like the freedom to just create whatever they want, whenever they want and put it out there. No stress. No deadlines. No pressure. If “whatever they want” happens to be something customers can also use, it can create a very nice situation. It all depends on what you write of course. Everyone is naturally very different.
I’ve written off RF as exclusive income and have been gradually pulling out of it completely in favor of the traditional market. Been there and done that for years. You make a lot more with less effort doing commissioned cues for traditional (non-RF) libraries, especially if you’re doing PRF and not getting performance royalties. That “less effort” provides the time to do other things and make more money. If there is someone making $70K/yr now with nothing but RF, they could make a lot more by expanding their horizons. If they do not, they need to be prepared for a steady decline in income.
The ability to sustain high incomes in a nothing but RF scenario is not going to last much longer due to market saturation. There are way too many places to license music and way too many composers on non-exclusive agreements offering the same music in multiple places with varying rates. That’s not good. Even look at AJ alone. It’s been around since about 2008 and 39% of the music has been crammed in within the last year. Two months ago, @tunesurfers mentioned that there were 328,601 audio files on the site. Today, there are almost 20,000 more files and 439 were added in the last 24 hours.
The future of both RF and PRF will not be bright unless someone starts turning off the running faucet. Micro-stock has been moving ahead of the libraries and causing rates to plummet. A standard license of $19 was unheard of for serious music not that long ago, but now AJ has very some competitive and excellent quality music at that rate and sites with self-pricing have people offering music for less than $15. Some sites are offering low subscription rates that cause composer splits to amount to almost nothing. The standard 50% composer split, regardless of exclusivity, has turned into 35% non-exclusive and 50% exclusive in several places while PRF is being allowed to continue despite the disastrous affect it will eventually have on the production music industry if it grows.
I’m not at all a pessimistic person. But while the outlook on RF might be a goldmine for micro-stock businesses, which I believe could run the RF libraries out of town, it is bleak for the composer, very bleak. That’s way I say that anyone looking for real money should set a higher and more diverse goal. Service RF if you want, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs in that basket.
Oh - now there are 445 new files in the last 24 hours.
UPDATE: About an hour and a half later and now there are 479 new files in the last 24 hours.
Yes, that may be where things are heading, but today, the situation is quite good still. There are people here making $100-240k a year from this site alone, and trust me, this isn’t the only place they do music.
I don’t think any business savvy person would put all their eggs in one basket, but there is still a lot to collect from the RF market. Yes, there are many more tracks and composers, but the market has also grown ENORMOUSLY. $19 tracks were unheard of because there weren’t that many people with small budgets needing music for their small projects. Today there are millions of them.
We will see. And I would never recommend to anyone to JUST do one thing, like RF - do it all.
I can tell you that depends of the country standards…Currently i can live a decent life in Serbia with 30-40 sales…Translate to $ and it is about 300-400$ a month…Our standards are different and there are also countries with even lower standards and can live with 100$ a month…But if you live in Swiss or UK, you can barely pay monthly bills with that not including apartment and food…
I understand you agree with the argument that RF alone is not a good plan. But, I have to say that the above statement is not meaningful. I’m trying to convey a realistic outlook on the posted question. Yes, if we assume the current top seller averaged about 1500 sales monthly @ 70% of a $19 license, he would have earned about $239K last year. But, we can’t compare billionaires to people with average salaries and draw a reasonable conclusion regarding the actual level of opportunity to make money. Just on this site, there are 12,247 authors spread across a 245 page listing. Even if we only look at page 1, there’s a drop from 60,557 sales to 18,912 sales between author #1 and author #10, and two of those authors are actually the same person. By the time we get to the bottom of page 1, it is down to 6,911 sales and we have 244 pages and 12,197 authors on this site to go. Then, you have everyone offering RF and PRF music throughout the internet as your competition and that is only within those business models.
We can debate the future, but for the big picture, it is a question of where being a music content provider (regardless of business model) can take you now that content has reached an extreme level of saturation and the market needs to start being much more selective. What I don’t see continuing is an endless scenario of composers with varying levels of skill uploading random music to multiple websites on non-exclusive agreements with lengthy approval periods, messy search engines filled with thousands of songs titled “Corporate”, composers adding their own subjective tags to manipulate a search engine, and selling music licenses like your selling t-shirts. I don’t see that being profitable for the bulk of composers in the long term, regardless of how much it earns the library, micro-stock, or superstar composer today.
It’s 5:18 PM EST, and today alone, there have so far been 278 more music files added.
Great reasonable points.
You need to establish your own sales and promotional channels, that’s the only way to succeed here. I am doing AJ as a full-time job more than a year and i am happy. I am not reach, but for my country my income is way way more than average. And it all depend on where you live, is your country expensive or not, etc. I also created non-exclusive part of my portfolio with aim to split my sources of income. This is very interesting job, with very high competition. You need constantly grow in your skills, because every year new authors joining store, offering awesome new and fresh tracks. So if you ready for long marathon, if you ready to learn constantly, you will succeed one day.
Yes, where you live and what your required expenses are is likely to make all the difference in the world. And I’m sure it all depends on the type of lifestyle you want and how you measure success on a personal basis. Perhaps someone earning a living from nothing but RF in a country with extremely low living expenses would be homeless in a country with high living expenses. Some people like nice cars, others don’t own a car and walk everywhere they go. But a decline in future income, is a decline in future income regardless of where you live and how expensive your taste might be. That is what I’m talking about here in terms of exclusive RF library composing.
This isn’t me guessing about making an exclusive living from composing for RF libraries. I did exactly that for six years before I saw where it was leading. I made good money, but as the market began to explode, it was dropping to a point where it wasn’t so good. The further it dropped, the more I expanded. I also used to recruit composers for a library from musician directory services and pre-screened music. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people with excellent music are in this game and I’ve watched some of their incomes fall as well. Are some people moving up now? Yes, because if you’re starting at a low level, anything can be considered an improvement. And, of course, you have your superstars and there will always be superstars just like the one in a million singer who gets a #1 hit record. But, if you stay with nothing but RF library composition, you will reach a point where there will be diminishing returns. If you’re OK with that, I guess what I saying can be taken for what it’s worth.
My advice, which I hope can be accepted if not adopted, is to diversify. Leverage RF while you can, but don’t rely on it and nothing else. If the waterfall of music and composers isn’t shut off and fine-tuned by music libraries, marketplaces and micro-stocks, you’re going to be working very hard to make their dreams come true rather than your own. And if it is shut off and the focus is made on higher quality, many people are going to be shut out if they miss the cut-off. That would be very bad for an “average” composer relying on nothing but RF composition and finds it too late to move up to other business models because he’s behind everyone else who moved before him, even if he lives well now on two licenses a week. Either way this goes, it isn’t going to be pretty for the average exclusively RF composer.
It’s 4:49 PM EST and 197 new audio files were added to AJ during the last 24 hrs.
Depends on sale, productivity and how much time you spent in music .I love music so much… that’s why I am here but not full time because I have full time job…
I find your comment helpful, thanks @AAMediaMusic!
Together with seeing how the latest changes in the search algorithm have negatively affects the sales of new tracks being uploaded, I understand that putting all my eggs in the AudioJungle basket is not a smart move.
Just out of curiosity, Where are you from? :]