Well today marks my 1-year AJ-versary, and what a journey it has been so far!
I started AudioJungle as a side income project back in April 2015 when the stock music world was still new to me. It all started when my first two items went live on April 5th, 2015 and I made my first sale that morning - what a feeling that was! I quickly started creating and uploading more tracks and the sales went up from there. The thought of being able to actually make decent money from doing what you love is one of the greatest gifts in life for me.
A simple start though it was - I began composing for AJ armed only with FL Studio 11 and some synths, plus NI Komplete Elements 7. Though the sales kept flowing in and I was quickly able to reinvest into my studio.
As the months went by I quickly learned which styles and genres were most in-demand, and began to adapt my composing to fit the codes and conventions of stock music. Later in 2015 my sales started to really grow as I began further refining my composing and production to maximise commercial viability and usability for buyers. I’ve come quite a way since I started - it’s fun to look back and see where I was early last year! Some of you may know me as JamesVMusic back when I started
So far I’ve been able money from doing what I love in my spare time. I’ve since been able to re-invest into several new libraries, studio monitors, a new high end PC, and lots of other gear to help elevate my production.
Since I started this time last year I’ve made 823 sales, reached level 5, and this year I plan on going further!
So I thought I’d share with everyone some of the things I’ve learnt so far about selling on AJ and stock music in general.
Some advice for new authors:
Get to the point! - with such heavy competition nowadays, it’s of utmost importance that you make the best first impression of your track as soon as possible. Buyers often won’t listen for more than 20-30 seconds (they’ve got a lot of tracks to choose from!). In most cases, avoid long build ups and slow starts - ideally you’ll want to catchy the listener’s attention with a gripping introduction, and reach the main point of the track in less than 40 seconds. Also consider that your music may be used in 15, 30 or 60 second videos, so structuring your track to accommodate for these is key.
Strike the perfect balance between originality and commercial viability - some of the best top-sellers on AJ have been the result of an excellent mix between a tried and tested genre, and a unique aspect that sets them apart from the rest. Whether it’s an unfamiliar instrument, a special sound or an uncommon chord progression, having something that makes your track unique is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd. Yes, a large part of it is working out what buyers want from what is already selling, and this is not to say you shouldn’t take inspiration (forgive the pun) from others, but believe me, trying to copy top-sellers is a waste of time. Items become top-sellers because they had something other tracks didn’t - trying to engineer the perfect copy is futile - it will never sound as good as the original, plus you’ll live with the feeling that your work isn’t all your own. On top of that, I’ve seen a few authors banned for doing this. Moral of the story: make it your work!
Mood is key - a lot of authors feel trapped in a specific genres, thinking that buyers are only interested in one specific genre of music for their videos. This is true in some cases, but what I’ve come to realise is that the mood or feeling of the track is what’s important, and genre is interchangeable here. You can have an inspiring corporate track, but also an inspiring orchestral track, an inspiring pop track, and an inspiring cinematic track - all different genres and styles, but ultimately conveying the same emotion or feel. We’ve seen this in the Popular Files list especially, with several successful tracks of different styles and genres, but covering the same mood or emotion. Corporate music doesn’t have to be boring! Corporate music can be so many things, so get creative and start a new trend!
Use appropriate titles - summed up very nicely by @ElevateAudio not long ago. It doesn’t have to be a single-word generic title. The best titles are those that most accurately describe your track. If your ‘Epic Cinematic’ track is more dark and heroic, consider a name like ‘Dark Epic’. Think adjectives or phrases that buyers would enter to find your track and go from there. You may get more views by using common titles, but you may not benefit from more sales, unless your track’s title exactly describes the music.
Don’t invest all your hope and energy into one track - I’ve been burnt by this countless times where I’d work for days and weeks on a single track using all the time I had to craft ‘the perfect track’. The reality is, there’s no way of predicting for sure whether something will sell or not - so don’t get disappointed if your favourite track doesn’t take the market by storm like you thought it would ;). I’ve developed a workflow where I work on at least two tracks at once in my spare time, and as soon as one is finished and submitted, I temporarily forget about it and move on to the next one. Working on several tracks in a session is a great idea as it keeps the ears fresh and the creative juices flowing, often resulting in cross-inspiration between tracks!
Quality over quantity - unless you have the time to churn out amazing tracks daily, it’s best to focus on quality. The selling potential for a single item of high quality and commercial value is incredibly high on AJ. If you can have the edge of quality, usability and versatility, focusing on small details where others ignore them, you’ll always come out on top. A consistent, compact, high-quality portfolio will always beat a massive collection of lower quality items. Obviously the ideal solution would be both quality and quantity, but if you have to choose from the two, focus on quality. With so many new items coming in every day, battling with numbers is no longer a viable selling model in my view, and it’s crucial that you stand out in every way possible.
…and just when you thought it was all over!
I’d like to make a few shout outs to some great authors who I’ve gotten to know on AJ:
The first is @InspiringSound, who’s been a fellow AJ colleague and friend of mine for a while now. His portfolio is a fresh blend of ambient electronic, sentimental piano and string pieces with a dash of jazz and orchestral. Focusing specifically on music for business and commercial projects, his sound is sophisticated and distinguished. Go check out his portfolio! http://audiojungle.net/user/inspiringsound
Next, I’ll be making a shout-out to @MusicBoxStudios - an author who’s proven himself across a wide variety of genres with a very diverse and rich portfolio. My favourites are his hybrid cinematic pieces, but you decide for yourself! http://audiojungle.net/user/musicboxstudios
@ValmontMusic is another author who I’d like to mention. His portfolio showcases an excellent mix of ambient, corporate and electronica, each with a modern electronic spin. Check out his portfolio! http://audiojungle.net/user/valmontmusic
Next I want to shout to @ElevateAudio, one of the first authors I discovered when I started on AJ - a collaboration between producers and musicians Avery Berman and Will Manning. Their portfolio is a killer blend of cutting-edge EDM, pop and rock music, though not limited to these genres. I’ve gotten to know Avery specifically in the past few months; he’s a great guy, and a super cool producer with a fresh outlook on modern music creation and more entrepreneurial know-how than most. http://audiojungle.net/user/elevateaudio
@SpinToneMusic is another author who I’d like to acknowledge. Aside from fantastic music (just take a look at his featured track!), he’s a great community member, always offering valuable advice and tips in the Project Feedback section of the forums. http://audiojungle.net/user/spintonemusic
Finally, I’d like to shoutout to @ZacNelson, whose music caught my attention back in December 2015 when he began on AJ. His portfolio has some of a coolest hard-hitting rock tracks I’ve ever heard (just listen to his featured track and you’ll see what I’m talking about), inspired by some of my favourite bands. On top of that, he’s got some fantastic cinematic, ambient and electronic tracks that are definitely worth a listen! http://audiojungle.net/user/zacnelson
So that brings me to the end of this extremely long post. Kudos if you made it to the end!
I look forward to getting to know more of you in the future, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for this year on AJ. It’s been a blast so far, but I’m a dreamer - and something tells me it’s just getting started