This item does not meet the general commercial quality... etc

Just as I expected, this topic has been discussed many times before, as from what I understand, AudioJungle is extremely fussy about what it will and will not publish.

For instance, there’s one fella - whose name I don’t have to hand right now - who has a YouTube channel devoted to submitting to these sites, and he has one track that had sold 15 times on ■■■■ but was still rejected here. He intimated as much to the reviewer but still got nowhere.

By the way, the reasons that I’ve not taken the time to read the other threads are twofold:

  1. The generic reply in the rejection e-mail - “This item does not meet the general commercial quality standard required to be accepted on AudioJungle, unfortunately.” - is so vague as to be virtually meaningless.

I’ve read the ‘do’s and don’t’s’ on submitting a file, and I’ve read the general guidelines on why a track might be rejected - poor phrasing, poor compositional technique, shoddy mixing, and what have you - and the generic reply could be referring to any or all of those issues or to something else entirely. The e-mail offers no help whatsoever.

  1. None of the other threads will relate directly to the track in question, which can be heard here:

Tiptoe Tango on SoundCloud

I’m not the world’s greatest living composer nor am I anywhere near the worst and, frankly, I’m utterly baffled as to what it is that the reviewer found so objectionable.

As per the advice that was given in my last rejection, I listened to the top-selling tangoes before writing this track, and I’m still dumbfounded. Some are very heavily produced while others are far less so. Mine is nearer to the latter

The phrasing has been carefully crafted, unified and varied; the only ‘orphaned’ motif - for want of a better expression - is the opening three-note figure played on the trumpet in bb. 2-3.

The outer voices are independent of one another.

The castanets and accordion have been used very sparingly so as not to overdo their role in the piece while adding to the tango-y sound they’re meant to evoke.

The snare drum and bass both use traditional tango patterns.

Each of the three sections presents the material in a slightly varied way.

The harmony makes use of a secondary dominant that forces the piece to alternate between minor and major - just as you would expect in a tango.

The mix has a little headroom with no clipping.

And, if I dare say so myself, it’s a jolly catchy little tune. What’s not to like?

If you’ve taken the time to read all of that then thanks very much. I’ve written at length in order to try and make it as clear as possible as to why I’m confused about the reviewer’s decision.

Thanks in advance for any replies.


Why track -21 dB?
Do you think the client will increase the volume to listen to your track? No, he’ll look at the wave pattern and watch the next track.

I wouldn’t call it a jolly tune, but the track is actually pretty nice and well composed and arranged. I think the biggest problems here are production and performance.
Production wise the reverb gives the impression the music is coming from the neighbour room, and while this sometimes is an desired effect this will limit the usability of this track. Try to go for a drier, closer sound using (sparingly) reverb on the separate track sends, rather than the whole mix.
I also find the performance a bit mechanical and lacking some of the passionate expression one finds in tango music. Hard to do with virtual instruments, I know…
Regarding the top sellers in this genre, I guess some of them are pretty old and wouldn’t get accepted today, as the review process gets stricter each day.

Thanks for your reply.

I should have mentioned but forgot at the time, the dB on the version linked to is different from the one submitted to AJ. The other people’s servers do something funny with the level that takes an awful lot of the top.

In other words, the level is not the issue, and even if it were, the reviewer could simply have asked me to re-submit the track at a higher dB level.

Hi Hyperprod.

Thanks for your kind words about the track.

Seeing as I’m fairly new to submitting to these libraries I will certainly take on board what you said about reverb.

I did use an inbuilt effect in Finale right across all the tracks, the one with the least reverb, as the others made it sound as though it were being performed in a church.

I had thought about the performance and was a little worried about the mechanical feel you mentioned, so I think that may well be the case.

Finale’s Human Playback algorithms can be fairly useful but they can also do a lot of very silly things that can be hard to work around. I wish that when I had the money, I’d bought Sibelius or some other program as Finale doesn’t let you use third-party sound maps, and that can make for an awful lot of work when trying to use other VST libraries that sound more human.

Thanks again for your helpful reply.

The track is perfectly fine composition wise. But I concur with @Hyperprod, the issue is with the production. From your last post, it seems you used Finale for producing this track. This is what the issue is. Finale is not a DAW, and shouldn’t be used for anything else than mock-ups. You need to produce it in a real DAW. With a correct production, your track would most likely get approved.

Hello there, l really liked it, it seems ideal to me. Maybe the snare sound was a little muted (on my headphones). I hope that’s not the reason though, because l’ve got an old song with a distant drum roll in it … !

Thanks for that, PurpleFogSound.

I will take your advice and see if I can start working with one of the free DAWs that are out there. I expect that I will have to take on a fairly huge learning curve but if that is the advice, I’ll go with it.

As @PurpleFogSound says, Finale won’t do it as a tool to make music for AudioJungle (and the same goes for Sibelius). You’ll need a DAW such as Cubase, Logic etc. which will give you more control over both mixing, which sounds/instruments to use, performance and expression.

Thanks, GPA. I’m glad you liked it. Hell, I’m glad if anyone likes it!

Whatever the reason, I just wish that the reviewers were able to take a little more time with their rejection e-mails and include something beyond the generic reply that could indicate one of umpteen different issues that only seasoned industry pros might be able to guess at.

I remember from reading about the review process that some tracks may be rejected, but with the option to re-submit after fixing this or that issue.

The posts here have been great in helping me understand what the issue(s) might be, but the e-mail may as well have been written in Mandarin for all the use help it was.

I just haven’t got the big dough needed for any of those programs. Tomorrow, I’ll start researching the free ones to see if any of them can cut it.

Because I’ve always worked with a score writer such as Finale, I’m completely baffled as to exactly what I’m meant to do with a DAW. But that is a problem I will have to work out for myself, just as all you people have had to do.

I use Audacity for the final mix. The castanets in Finale are so quiet that I had to add them as a separate track and up the dB big time.

But that is about the extent of my experience. It looks as though I’ve got my work cut out for tomorrow and the coming weeks.

I wonder what people here think of “LANDR”? Online automated mastering service, voted highly in a comparison survey l once saw. Google --> LANDR mastering (a featured YT vid mentions a similar service called eMastered).

Not very highly regarded by the pros around these parts l’m guessing.

I’ve heard that Reaper, while not the easiest to use, is a good and cheap alternative.

A DAW will let you record instruments via an midi controller (keyboard) and/or record real instruments through a mic and an audio interface. It can get really expensive, but these are the tools needed for producing music. And compared to what it did cost to record and produce music 20 years ago, it’s nothing.
Check this video from AudioJungle composer Adi Goldstein for an example how to use a DAW to compose:

Thank you all for your help.

I’m new both to submitting to stock music sites and to this forum, so I had no idea whether or not I would get any responses, but the responses have been extremely helpful.

Aside from the practical advice on mixing and what software I need to use, it’s good to know that I’m not the only person on the planet - apart from my dear old mum - who thinks that the track has merit.

Now to the task of understanding how to use a DAW.

Thanks again.

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Hi Michael!

You seem to handle constructive criticism well so here are my thoughts:

You are obviously a good composer, but being a composer and a producer are two very different skill sets. Traditionally, they are even two completely different occupations.

Here, in the world of stock music, you usually need to be both. It seems you are lacking in the producer area. To people with experience, it is quite obvious that this track does not meet “the general commercial quality standard”.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad composition, absolutely not. It’s very nice. It just needs to be recorded and produced properly.

As others have pointed out, Finale is not a DAW. It is not a tool for producing music. It’s like showing up on a bicycle to a Formula 1 race. Others mentioned Reaper, but if you’re on a Mac, GarageBand is also free, and capable of producing a professional sound. It is quite limited, however.

There are many other alternatives, one of which you will have to start using sooner or later, be it Cubase, Logic, FL Studio, ProTools or any other competitor.

Your track was made in notation software, and that’s what it sounds like. As soon as you start watching YouTube videos about producing music in a DAW, you will understand the complexity in getting a “live” sound with fake instruments. It is not something you just do, but it’s a lot of fun!

I wish you the best of luck!


Hi Flumen,

Thanks for that.

Your post answered the question that was vaguely forming in my mind, but which I couldn’t quite frame as I didn’t know exactly what a DAW would do as opposed to a score writer.

Your contribution clarified that for me.

I did download Reaper in the past but was baffled by the absence of any sort of musical notation in the interface. That can be tricky if you’re used to working with a manuscript, where you can easily spot poor doublings, consecutives and what have you.

Today, I’ve been looking into the other free stuff that is out there, and I found that Tracktion give away their slightly older programs completely free and with absolutely no inbuilt restrictions. T7 is their latest free offering. The idea on their website is that if you use their older program, they hope you’ll stick with them and eventually upgrade to their new program. Sounds pretty fair to me.

Anyway, I’m still looking into what the various offerings out there do, who uses them and what they use them for. I assume that T7 is meant to do pretty much the same kind of stuff that Cubase and its competitors do but have yet to know that for sure without further research.

I know that I’ve got my work cut out with this DAW stuff, but I’m looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into it and, who knows, maybe actually making a few quid from my music.

Thanks again. Your post really was very helpful.

Hi Michael, if you’re more comfortable writing music in finale, it is possible to do that and then export the music as a midi file so that you can then import the midi file into your DAW of choice in order to tweak the notes to make it sound less computerised and work on the production side of things.

Budget DAW software sometimes has a rudimentary score editor included, but it probably wouldn’t serve you as well as finale does for writing music in this way.

Your mention of Tracktion 7 got me interested and I found this awesome video guide which will help you immensely if you decide to give T7 a go.

Also very useful is this T7 manual.

It doesn’t seem to feature a score editor, but as I mentioned before, you will be able to import midi files exported from Finale and edit them in T7. See this guide for how to export midi files in Finale. To import the midi file into your T7 timeline, find the midi file in the T7 browser and drag and drop it onto the timeline and you’ll be all set to start tweaking and then further down the line, use eq, reverb, delay, compression etc. to craft your track.

The only major limitation that I could see with T7 is the lack of a ‘console’ style mixer view. Other than that, it seems like a very powerful piece of software that you’ll be able to get professional sounding results from, for free. Impressive.

Here is a link to a series of youtube tutorials that I think might help you get started with T7.

On a different topic, here is a link to the best youtube tutorials to do with mixing and mastering that I’ve seen anywhere online. He uses FabFilter plugins in the tutorials, but you can apply many of the techniques he teaches to other similar plugins that you can find in most DAW software.

Hi criskcracker,

Thank you for taking the time to give me all that info.

About an hour ago, I stumbled across the review of T7 that goes with that video you posted. I haven’t watched the video yet as it was just short of an hour long. At the time of writing, the reviewer said that there wasn’t a manual, but as both you and I have found, that problem has been rectified.

Once I’ve installed T7, I’ll go to those tutorials that you linked to and begin my Music Production 101, as it were.

When a newbie like myself is reading up on this stuff, it can be extremely difficult to understand, as the authors continually use terms that beginners don’t have any frame of reference to. You know the sort of thing, LFO, etc.

It’s a little like me trying to explain what an Italian 6th chord is or what it’s used for to someone who hasn’t the faintest idea of how unstable tones are meant to resolve, or what on earth an unstable tone even is.

No doubt, an immersion in a few good tutorials will begin to remedy that problem.

Thanks again. All these replies have been unbelievably helpful and will save me weeks, if not months, of banging my head against the wall with generic rejections that I simply don’t understand.

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Good luck Michael. I know the video is quite a long one, but it doesn’t seem so when you watch it. The guy presents it well.
I was quite impressed with the quality of the sound that you managed to get from Finale and Audacity, so I’m sure that you will pick up the new producing skills quickly.

Shout if you need any help with the terms or techniques.

Thanks, criskcracker. I’ll do my best to get my head around things and come back here if I’m stumped.