Sales Report for October 2015

This will be the first month that I break four digits on my stock music income! Here's how it's come together:

Audiojungle saw a big rise in sales! Agoos deal of sales on older items plus some quick success on a kids music track, Playful, helped quite a bit

Pond5 was steady from September with slightly increased page views and fewer purchases, but on more expensive items.

My first sales directly through my website occurred via Sellfy.

Here's the breakdown:

AudioJungle: 85 sales $705 (230 items available)

Pond5: 21 sales $327 (about 450 tracks plus variations available)

Sellfy: 2 sales $45 (about 150 items available)

Other marketplaces: about $100

At this point I'm looking at trying to get some of my tracks on PRO libraries and try to get a handle on how these sites work. If any readers have suggestions or experiences to share please leave a comment! So far I've tried Audiosparx but have yet to land any sales through them.

Sales Report for September, 2015

Time (or a little overtime) for my monthly sales report of my production music.

Audiojungle remains the frontrunner, although despite an ever-increasing library the income seems to have levelled off around the $500/month mark, hopefully this will change.

Pond5 has seen an increase in sales and profit, which I attribute to my increase in prices across my entire library there.

Thus far I have not sold any tracks via sellfy directly through this website. I sincerely hope this changes in the future and become my primary place to sell music, but at the moment I can't seem to bring any customers. Suggestions anyone?

Here's the breakdown:

AudioJungle: 55 sales $458.55 (200 items available)

Pond5: 31 sales $317 (about 400 tracks plus variations available)

Other marketplaces: about $100

Pricing Royalty Free Music

As a stock music composer, you come across two types of markets where your music can be sold. The first decides the price for you, as in the case with AudioJungle, Luckstock, and many others. The second type allows the author to choose the price, such as Pond5 or Sellfy

There has been a lot of discussion about the race to the bottom for music, and indeed the amount of people who search for "free music for youtube" or "free music download" far outnumber the people who search "cheap royalty free music" who far outnumber those who look for "high quality royalty-free music". With this, as well as new subscription-based stock sites being encouraged by youtube, it can really seem like us commercial music producers have hit troubled times. But all this gloom and doom goes nowhere, and the fact is that I'm a new player in the royalty-free music scene and I've been happy with my progress, so there's always room for new people and there's always people who will want new and interesting music!

A website that sets it's own prices, when done well as in the case of AudioJungle, sets the prices as they do for two reasons: the first is that they want a controlled and level ecosystem, a buyer can be sure that the great sounding track they find will reliably be a certain price. The second reason is to maximize their own profits as they choose prices that fit their clientele, presenting a boutique experience at a low price.

The sites that let you set your own price are looking for a different market and operate with a different plan. Pond5 may have less of the youtube and small business crown compared to AudioJungle, but their single-tier license covers broadcast use and is attractive to musical supervisors in TV, film, and games. With this in mind, the lower limit for music at pond5, $15, is absurdly low, and in fact could make your track look worse than it is, priced too cheap!

About a month ago I came across this thread on the Pond5 community forums

After reading the comments, I gave it a try and increased my prices from $15-$30 before up to $25-$50 now. To my pleasant surprise, sales have decreased, quite the opposite, my sales are up, even on older tracks. Does this have to do with a perception of value? I'm not so sure, but I would encourage others not to price too low when they have the option!

Sales Report - July and August

I've finally come around to picking up where I left off in tracking my sales of royalty-free music and my journey into commercial music. Squeezing in this type of update as a new parent cane be tough!

Here are the numbers:

July:

AudioJungle: $520.50

Pond5: $79.50

Other Marketplaces: $40

 

August: 

AudioJungle: $500.40

Pond5: $94.00

Other Marketplaces: $50

Custom Contract through AudioJungle: $2000

I currently host 700 non-exclusive tracks (about 400 not including edits) and 184 exclusive tracks on AudioJungle.

As is obvious from above, AudioJungle continues to be the main source of income. It should be noted, though that Pond5 has had a big upswing since September 1st, and I've sold tracks on Pond5 in pace with audiojungle so far this month. Interestingly enough, the increase in sales on Pond5 has coinciding with my increasing my prices, something I hope to learn more about and discuss in the future.

With my new website, which launched September 8th,  I am attempting to host my non-exclusive track on sellfy.com, which takes only 5% of sales. I've written about this switch in a recent post here

As for the custom contract - this was a wonderful surprise, being contacted by a customer who found my vocal music work on AudioJungle and desired a set of 10 custom tracks for their video series. This contract was a huge success, both the customer and I were satisfied with the contract and resulting music and I hope to get more work like this in the future.

New Daughter and Website, moving my library to Sellfy.com

I'm pleased to announce that I'm now the father of a beautiful little girl, born June 16th as well as the owner of a brand new website, moving from Weebly to Squarespace

The bigger change is also now that I have a sizable library of production music in a wide variety of styles and genres, I'm uploading my tracks to Sellfy and organizing my website as what will hopefully be the main place where people come looking for my music.

The advantage of sellfy is that they are basically just a hosting site for digital goods, taking only %5 of sales, much less than stock music sites or even most other digital goods marketplaces. The downside is that Sellfy will not likely be bringing me any customers, I will have to advertise and promote my music on my own.

The other downside to moving towards Sellfy is that I am responsible for the license and protecting my work.  This goes both ways, however, I set my own price and write my own license agreement, which although it's more work for me it's also more personal control over the work. Furthermore, hosting my own tracks on my own site means that, at least for now, customers may browse by genre, but there is no search function, something I hope to change in the future.

I will post again soon regarding if my switch to sellfy has worked for a new income stream or not. 

I will post again soon, to catch up on my July and August sales reports and hopefully also make an entry about some things on the creative side of production music.

June Sales Roundup (migration of July 1st, 2015 post)

June has been a big month for me: the birth of my first child, a healthy daughter, on June 16th also coincided with my biggest sale day  to date in my Royalty-free music libraries.

June 2015:
Audiojungle: 46 sales ($314.50 profit) 
Pond5: 15 sales ($119.50 profit)
Unity Store: 1 sale ($14 profit):
Unreal Marketplace: (not yet known, sales info comes about 5 weeks after the end of each month)
Luckstock: 0 sales and have suspended uploading for the time being

On Audiojungle I have 83 items available, adding approximately 5 new items a week. On Pond5 I have 389 item, some of which are variations and sound effects, and I add about 10 items a week. 

I've been quite please with my overall momentum on Audiojungle, seeing sales increase in step with the items I add. I have been careful to try and vary the genres of music I am uploading as I go to get the widest possible net on the site. I have generally been leaning towards cinematic, classical, children's, and ambient tracks, but have managed to get a couple new corporate tracks approved as well.

While Pond5 continues to get some sales, I'm a bit disappointed that my sales aren't increasing in step with the size of my portfolio. Hopefully this is just some kind of Summer lull or drop as they upgrade their site. 

On Inspiration and Productivity (migration of June 18, 2015 post)

Early 20th century French pianist, Erik Satie, wrote a satirical daily schedule that included very specific times to "feel inspired." I always found this both humorous and insightful: the idea that people not involved in a creative activity see it so differently from other types of activities and work is strange to anyone involved. As a composer, there is something unknown and mysterious that can happen when making music, but the saying is true that it's 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. 

I've been thinking more and more about the issue of the creative spark/inspiration and its relationship with productivity over the past few months as I've been producing stock music steadily. In this time I've made an average of 3 tracks a day, not including additional variations and edits. During this time I've experienced highs and lows of excitement and interest for the music I'm making. At the best of times (the most "inspired"), I feel like I'm creating tracks that sound fantastic and I'm immensely proud of, and at other moments I find myself going nowhere with a track, forcing myself to finish to meet my daily quota. 

When the interest of the composer wanes, so too the quality of the music, which means that keeping interest and love for the music is not just an ideal, but means better quality music and more sales. In discussing this I should mention that I'm limiting myself to what is commercially viable - the comments only pertain to commercial music and I keep the music for music/experimental side of my work completely separate. 

STRATEGIES

Back to the point: the strategies for staying inspire/interested. In my experience, I have found the following strategies to work well for me. The list is in no particular order:

1. vary style/genre
2. exploring different sound libraries/instruments
3. exploring different effects/processing plugins
4. taking short breaks
5. listening to other peoples music


1. Vary Style/genre
At 3 tracks a day, that's almost 100 per month, and if every track were in the same style, the monotony would quickly become unbearable. - However, if one day I'm going to work on electronic music, the next day it could be recording folk guitar, the next day maybe orchestral horror music, this is much more interesting for me. For example, if I haven't made a corporate track in a week, then when I sit down to do so, I'm able to engage with a fresh perspective. The other benefit of this is that my portfolio is diverse (though I tend to lean on the cinematic genre) and thus have more exposure on the sites where I upload material. In particular, AudioJungle, lists their tracks from newest to oldest within each genre, which means that in the less popular genres, my music has a good chance of being noticed for longer and a diverse portfolio benefits from this.

2. Exploring different sound libraries/instruments
This one is pretty obvious - any sound library has it's strengths and weaknesses. A digital instrument will never be as versatile as a real one, but like a physical instrument, one must learn how to orchestrate to bring out the things they they feel work. For example, The Spitfire Enigma library contains an amazing collection of patches that I have used to create a number of ambient tracks that I'm quite pleased with. In this case, the sounds themselves inspired how the track ended up.

3. Exploring different effects/processing plugins
Similar to number 2 - an interesting plugin can also direct the music. For example, if I open up some distortion plugin, hook it up to a french horn and play around I might stumble across a musical idea that leads to an interesting track.

4. Taking short breaks.
When progress seems to stall, rather then getting frustrated, if I get up out of my char and do something else for 5-10 minutes, the problem I was experiencing before has usually alleviated itself somehow and the work is much better off for it.

5. Listening to other peoples music
I've gained a lot of respect for stock music and film music composers since I began doing it myself. The level of sound design and precision in the high-end corporate tracks is quite impressive. While I have no desire to copy anyone's tracks, a tone or idea that I hear can be quite inspiring as a challenge - how did they achieve that sound and can a replicate something along those lines? Another example of this is from the Game of Thrones soundtrack: The music itself is quite simple and transparent, especially the slower tracks, but the production is at a very high level. When I am writing my orchestral tracks, I think to myself "is this the same level of quality as the GOT soundtrack?"  could I even achieve something even more convincing and complex in this style?

Final Thoughts

There are dozens upon dozens of ways one can make music, changing up the work flow and using the strategies above has been very helpful to me and I hope others will find some use. Please comment if you have any thoughts and further ideas to share.

My music can be found principally on AudioJungle and Pond5 (no overlap, two different libraries)

Considering Sales and Profit (migration of June 10 entry)

This post will provide a follow-up to my first blog post, "My First Month Selling Stock Audio", where I laid out my entry into production music. 

Thus far, my experiences have been the same in terms of sales, where Pond5 and AudioJungle provide the majority of the sales. I continue to test the waters and hope for success with other sites. For instance, I've been trying to put packs of my music on the Unity and Unreal stores as I think my work is particularly appropriate for video games.

Library and Sales Data as of April 30th, 2015:
AudioJungle: 22  tracks, 11 sales ($51 profit) (exclusive artist)
Pond5: 209 tracks, 12 sales ($100 profit) (non exclusive)
Luckstock:  105 tracks, 0 sales (non-exclusive)
Tunefruit: 1 track, 0 sales (non-exclusive)
Audiosparx: 26 tracks, 0 sales (exclusive artist)

Compared to today, June 11th, 2015:
AudioJungle: 65  tracks, 42 sales ($313 profit) (exclusive artist)
Pond5: 337 tracks, 31 sales ($248 profit) (non exclusive)
Luckstock:  105 tracks, 1 sales ($12 profit) (non-exclusive)
Tunefruit: 4 tracks, 0 sales (non-exclusive)
Audiosparx: 26 tracks, 0 sales (exclusive artist)
MusicDealers: 5 tracks, 0 sales (non exclusive)
Unity Asset Store: 4 music packs, 0 sales (non-exclusive)
Unreal Marketplace: 1 music pack, 3 sales ($44.97 profit)

Production of Tracks and Momentum:
I continue to write music at a rapid rate, aiming for a minimum of three new tracks daily, which I achieved with the exception of one weekend where I had to travel for a concert of my contemporary classical music in another city. This rate of production has at times been difficult to keep up and I noticed that if I ever forced myself to make a track it usually wasn't of a quality I would have liked unless I could find something inspiring to work with. My solution is to vary the type of music and challenge myself. I'll write more about this in a future post concentrating on the issues of inspiration and it's relationship with quality of music (and life!).

Summary:
So far so good, considering how new I am to this industry, While I've been enjoying making this music, I hope that I can eventually diversify and do custom music and scoring, which will hopefully not only allow for a new artistic and technical challenge, but also be financially worthwhile in the long run.
 

Advertising Stock Libraries (Migration of May 9th, 2015 post)

Following my last post regarding my first month making stock audio for online marketplaces, I would like to follow up with a bit about how I tried to publicize my work and get my name out there.

I should say first that I am a beginner and this entry only describes by own experiences as a beginner. I will give an honest and straightforward account of how I have promoted myself and what I think has and has not been working. 

The places where I tried to get my name out there were:

1. Soundcloud
2. Youtube
3. Forums
4. Twitter
5. Facebook
6. Website

It should be stated right away that I do not have advanced analytics and that I'm stuck with the built-in analytics that come with the various stock music site. Audiojungle has info about views and entrances on the page, which is a good first step, but I still do not know if the entrance is from twitter or my website or a search engine. Pond5 shows global statistics for all your work, which is interesting to see overall success but gives even less information about people clicking through to the site from my marketing.

1. Soundcloud
I have been uploading tracks to my soundcloud profile with links in the description to where the music can be licensed. Although exact numbers regarding clickthroughs and sales as a result are not accessible to me, I have had about 750 plays of my tracks, which is a number I am happy with seeing as I've done nothing besides uploading the tracks and a few tweets to promote the uploads.

2. Youtube
Thus far I've uploaded 5 videos that feature my music along with either basic footage or stills and a waveform to youtube. At this point I have gotten very few views on these videos. I will continue to upload music to youtube and hopefully get results in the future, but for now I have not had any success. 

3. Forums
I have been active on both the AudioJungle and Pond5 Forums, as these are the two sites where I have been able to make sales. I find that the Pond5 forum is not very active, but have been able to find one collaborator who makes footage to feature my work for mutual publicity. The Audiojungle forum is much more active, and while it is generally not a place to advertise work, I have discovered some interesting musicians there and become exposed to a wider range of quality work through the forums. There is also a section on the forum where buyers make requests, which usually gets about one post a week, but is still a chance for exposure and possible sales. Lastly, there is a thread "feedback for feedback" where authors post work and comment on others - through this thread I have generated many comments on my work, which I feel looks good to potential buyers and other visitors to my tracks. 

4. Twitter
I actively tweet out my new tracks as well as sometimes advertise sales via twitter. I do not know if I have gotten much attention or sales by doing this, but it has led to a slow and steady growth in Twitter followers which will hopefully become more and more beneficial as I establish my practice.

5. Facebook
Thus far I have found it hard to reach any potential buyers via Facebook. However, the AudioJungle and Pond5 Facebook groups have been interesting in getting feedback on work. For now I am not concentrating on publicity with Facebook, but will continue to maintain my page and occasionally post my work there to see how things progess.

6. Website and Blog
I view my website as a necessary calling card for my work. I have posted the site on forums and classifieds looking for work in video game music which has led to some interactions and one small collaboration. 

My first blog post from a few weeks ago concerning my first month selling stock audio has definitely increased the traffic to my site, if only marginally. Before this post I would have under 5 visitors a day and sine then I have been getting anywhere from 10 to 80 visitors. I created this blog with the intention of sharing the experiences that I found interesting and would have been interesting for me to read while beginning with stock audio, and the increased traffic is a great byproduct of what I hope is something that people will find useful and interesting.

Future steps:
You always hear that you need to spend money to make money. This morning I opened up my first Google Adwords campaign. I decided to star with a very low-cost and targeted campaign in order to test the waters. Once I've played around with this a bit I will write another blog entry concerning advertising stock audio with Google Adwords.

A second possibility that I have yet to explore is LinkedIn, which I generally have an aversion to, but could perhaps be useful. If any readers have had experiences using LinkedIn to promote themselves or their work please speak to it in the comments below.

Please share your own experiences below or any reactions to this post!

First Attempts (Migration of May 1, 2015 Blog entry

Roughly a month ago I began writing music for stock music websites. This opportunity arose as I had a couple months break in my composing of concert music and had a chance to finally pursue producing commercial music, something I've wanted to try for quite some time. My first intention was to compose for video games but quickly discovered an over saturation or composers who were willing to work for free among a sea of developers that seemed unlikely to complete their projects. Basically, things didn't look great and I realized I needed something to show to get real work.

This is when I discovered the stock websites. I thought to myself:  hey, if I'm making a portfolio for myself anyways, I may as well upload and try to make a bit of money and get my stuff out there. I'm a person who makes songs quickly as well, so I figured that it may be a good match. Since this point I've been producing between 1 and 5 tracks per day. 

How Does Selling Stock Actually Work and How to Get Started?

Which site to upload to was the big question. I was able to find limited guidance online, but did come across a few interesting articles such as:

http://filmandgamecomposers.com/guides/selling-music-online-the-stock-audio-market/

http://demoduck.com/2014/04/stock-music-for-video/

http://www.dayinthelifeofacommercialmusician.com/2014/03/best-sites-to-buy-stock-music-2014.html


Which Stock Music Libraries to Upload to?

It became clear that AudioJungle and Pond5 seem to dominate the market so these were my first choices. I also thought it prudent to branch out to sites that serve different audiences, and for this reason I also opened accounts at Tunefruit, Luckstock, and AudioSparx, Productiontrax, and PremiumBeats. Premium Beats and ProductionTrax turned me down after reviewing a portfolio, but the others were all a go. It's important to remember that different sites tend to specialize in different music, and my music did not fit well with a company like PremiumBeats, who do very well in their more niche market. After many rejections at first from AudioJungle, I decided to go exclusive on their site as well as exclusive on AudioSparx, where I concentrate on cinematic orchestral music) and then upload the remainder on all the other sites/

Rejection, Acceptance and Sales:

AudioJungle: 73 Rejected, 22 accepted, 7 sales ($51 profit) (exclusive artist)
Pond5: 7 Rejected, 209 Accepted, 12 sales ($100 profit) (non exclusive)
Luckstock: 6 Rejected, 105 accepted, 0 sales (non-exclusive)
Tunefruit: 0 rejected, 1 accepted, 0 sales (non-exclusive)
Audiosparx: 26 accepted, 0 sales (exclusive artist)

Compare and Contrast of Stock Music Site:

As one can see clearly from the above data, I've only made sales on AudioJungle and Pond5. Moreover, Audiojungle has rejected many of my tracks. This blog post isn't about quality, but I would agree with the majority of their rejections as being a correct assessment of the commercial viability of the music, especially for their client base. Luckstock is easy to use and upload to, but I have gotten very few views and no sales on this site. As for Audiosparx, I get the impression that they are either becoming obsolete or that they are not hugely supportive of new artists. While they have a hot new artists program, I never received a reply after applying for this status. In any case, I will be putting Audiosparx on hold, unless I get a sale and then will continue uploading there.

What's Next?

As of the last day or two I've begun working on indie rock songs, in order to compete in Audiojungle's current competition. For me this is a way to stay interested and have a goal. I've made a ton of orchestral tracks and ambient tracks, which are what come easily to me, but I am enjoying the challenge of making indie songs right now, which requires more recording of vocals and guitars and a very different sensibility. I uploading my very first indie track today, and it will hopefully show up on AudioJungle in a few days, provided it is accepted.

Conclusions:
Having no connections in commercial music coming into this, I did not expect to be selling tons right away. I'm happy with my current progress and I hope to keep moving forward and build up an interesting library and increase my sales to a steady income stream.