How to Be a TV Composer Part 1: Intro To Music Licensing | Eddie Grey | Skillshare

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How to Be a TV Composer Part 1: Intro To Music Licensing

teacher avatar Eddie Grey,

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      What to Expect


    • 2.

      An Intro To Music Licensing


    • 3.

      Ideal Day Design


    • 4.

      The Importance of Goal Setting


    • 5.

      Setting Aside Time to Study


    • 6.

      Non-Musical Days


    • 7.

      The Proven 3 Step Process


    • 8.

      What is Required from The Modern Producer


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About This Class

Award-winning composer and T3 Apple Certified Logic Trainer Eddie Grey (with composer credits in a variety of projects such as the Kim Kardashian West documentary) wants to show you the ins and outs of the sync licensing world. Learn what it takes to make composing for TV and film, a full-time job. This course is an abridged version of a larger course that gives you the tools and systems needed to make music your career.

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Eddie Grey

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1. What to Expect: They'd seen this is Eddie Gray. I'm an award winning composer and producer in the LA area. And I am absolutely honored to be here talking to you about my experiences in the world of sync licensing. My goal today is to introduce you to the world of sync licensing. And if you're interested, to teach you how to make money monetizing your music. I've been fortunate enough to be the head composer on Emmy award-winning television shows. I have done the music for shows on Snapchat, oxygen, TLC, and many more. My most recent gig was doing the music for the Kim Kardashian West documentary called Justice Project. Check it out. Right now, there are 2.2 million men and women behind bars in the United States. And that's more than any other country has been in causing me since I was 16 years old, 238, and sending a child to prison who had never had a chance. We just threw away. I hear it all the five mom went, you know, what, it cannot be over. We have people spending there lifetime in prison because the circumstances surrounding their case where ignored a trial, the person who trafficked her was the most reliable adult in her life and he was victimizing her constantly. I held no value, but my body, there's a whole story that's never been told. Our criminal justice system is badly broken. We have people who have been rehabilitated. They've changed their lives, they've proven to no longer be a danger to society, just rotting away. We came in if we were juveniles, any doors away, they handle regard force. Basically, they committed a crime scene for a male that people can't change. Redemption is real. Society tries to sell it as though it's rehabilitation, but a lot of the time it's purely retribution. We really have to rethink the system. The person that did kill the person in his case was released in seven years and he was convicted of second degree murder accomplice, and that's a mandatory sentence of life without parole. If you've never taken a life, the state shouldn't be taking your life. Once we hear their stories and their circumstances that brought them here in the first place, then we can start focusing on the important steps needed to address this crisis. It's time that we stop looking. Men and women that had been warehoused in our prisons as numbers and start looking at them as people. My life as an example of the beta2 delays domain is out of these walls. It's time for him to come home. Could be one of family. The total mass incarceration is having on our country, both financially and on the humanitarian level is devastating. And it's time to make a change. Some people deserve a second chance. Hey guys, Real Talk. I wasn't aspiring musician my whole life. And it wasn't until I found music licensing, I got to realize my potential as a musician, as a singer, as a composer, as a producer. It finally gave me a path. And that's what I want to give to you, to those of you that are interested in making music, your livelihood in doing this full time. This is your opportunity to get there. I'm going to show you everything I know. I'm not going to hold anything back now is the time to take advantage. I really appreciate you guys picking up the course. Absolutely elated. I'm sure you feel it to share this information with you. Let's make it happen. Thank you very much. I'll see you on the next video. 2. An Intro To Music Licensing: Okay, so how does it work? Music licensing, how do I get started in the field? While the music licensing world is pretty much like the wild, wild west, you have a lot of people, a lot of companies opting the take that top spot. And it's up to you to get it. The people that usually make it, the ones that are the most persistent are the ones that have the widest network. And obviously, there's also a little bit of luck involved as well. So let's look into a little bit further. Okay, essentially there are three levels of music licensing. You've got the top, the mid-level, and then the low-level tear at the very top, you've got the big money. This is network television, television production companies, big publishers, high-level music supervisors with good budgets, et cetera, et cetera. The mid-level. This is what I call today money. So this is like up-front paid work either on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis. We're talking big publishers and music supervisors, music editors, directors, commercials, trailers, things of that nature. So, you know, you're looking at money that's anywhere between a 100 bucks to five hundred, ten hundred to $200 thousand here. And then at the very bottom of the wrong, this is what I call tomorrow money. So we're talking about backend placements, music libraries, a lot of back and work for a cable tv. And this is really a numbers game. I call this my retirement account. So how do you get paid? Well, essentially you either get paid upfront from either private clients or TV stations or music supervisors, or you get paid on the backend. So this is what's called royalty-free, right? Where do you let people license your music and then you collect those royalties from your PRO. Music licensing is really an entrepreneurial effort. So if you're a self-starter and you want to be your own boss, and this is definitely the right place for you. The process from beginning to end starts something like this. Either a, you're going to reach out to companies and ask them what their current needs are. Or B, you get signed onto a publishing deal and then you get assignments by publishers that are well-connected. The companies are going to reach out to you via a newsletter and you're gonna provide them music on a deadline basis so they might need it in a month and you can do three to five tracks or they might need it in a day as well. So it all just depends. And this is kind of where popular music and music licensing differ. Licensing the music is more of a service, whereas in Top 40 popular music, it's really a commodity. The music and licensing can sound just as good as anything on Spotify. But it can also be cheesy stock music that sounds like. Bear in mind the music you submit will both be non-exclusive and exclusive. With exclusivity, you're out, you're giving them the right to the song. The song now belongs to them. You can probably, you know, share it on SoundCloud link or something. But the song belongs to that company or that publisher. Non-exclusive, you've got a different deal altogether. They're giving you the consent to publish or pitcher song, but the song still belongs to you. You can still take it away at any point. Some exclusive deals do have terms or you can pull out the song after a couple years if it doesn't perform. But generally speaking, once it's exclusive, it's kind of always, there's to some degree because deals can take a long time to actually manifest and close. So you can have a song and library and it can take up to two years to finish a deal. So, you know, the way I like to do it is I keep a non-exclusive Library and I'm currently feeding it new material. And then I have a batch of anywhere between 15 to 20 songs at all times in case I get signed to a new publisher and they need music right away. So it's good to have both of these at your disposal. The ultimate goal and sync licensing is to build a pool of clients so that you can go to work from project to project and build your business. Building a network can take some time, so the best place to start is by joining music libraries so you can develop your production chops and make contacts in the industry before we talk about submitting your music, uh, wanna cover a couple of things that can help you stay organized as you enter the field of music licensing. I will see you on the next video. 3. Ideal Day Design: Ideal day design. So why are we talking about organising our schedule and a crash course on music licensing? Given what I know now, trust me, you're going to have to learn and do a lot to make this work. Everything from learning a new plugin, administration, submitting music, reaching out to prospects. I learned this technique from a mentor of mine and now I want to share it with you. When I first started, I was working as a personal trainer. I knew that if I was going to transition careers, I was going to have to be very disciplined about my time, my energy and focus. Here are the documents of when I was a trainer. So right here on the left-hand side you can see that, you know, I'd wake up pretty early and I would do something called the Strong Start power ritual. We're talking, you know, brushing your teeth. Although the basic stuff well, from there I had a client in the morning. Again, I was a personal trainer right after my client, I'd stop by to get coffee smoothie, and then I would go down the list. Now, the schedule back then was different than today because my needs are different. I have a daughter now. I was doing a lot more studying then. I was putting in a lot more time so I could learn more. And now I'm actually just creating more. So when you create this schedule for yourself, it organizes you in such a way where you don't feel like you're lost or like your trajectory is off, you want to stay on the path. If you look at the right-hand side now you can see that the schedule is a little bit different these days. I wake up at six, I make breakfast for my family. And then after that, I work out. What are the things I didn't do for a long time was workout and I came to bite me later on. So now I remember the importance of working out. It's funny, I was a personal trainer and for a couple of years I didn't work out because I was transitioning out of that. I get to the studio every day pretty much around 930 and then I just cranked depending on the projects. You know, I also teach. So that's a part of what I do, have consultations throughout the day. I work for various publishers. So you have to stay organized. When you're working the music licensing game. What will your day look like? I recommend you start to put together a basic draft of your working schedule, fill it out as necessary. Obviously, this document will change over time, but the idea is to have a reference point that you can always go back to. If you ever get confused or you feel tired, you can go back to the drawing board and remind yourself to work your plan and plan your work. This document just helps you get back on point. If you happen to feel like you are wavering. So bar any impediments or emergencies, what would your ideal day look like? It really try and picture that. What are some of the essential things that you have to do every day so that you can feel the very best. How can we accomplish our greatest feats? How can we conquer our greatest fears? If we don't feel amazing, If we don't feel like we're moving forward and our actions are purposeful. So the ideal day design is such a wonderful tool. It has helped me tremendously. He talk about feeling like you're right on track as if your life is intentional. And every day you just feel stoked and magnetic and positive. So that's what I wanna do for you. What are the things that give you life? Put those things inside of the ideal day design. What are some things that don't give you life? Maybe there are people you have to cut off. Maybe there are conversations that you have to cut off. The idea is to start building the life that you want now. Don't wait for tomorrow. Don't wait to get the perfect job. Don't wait, especially to make music your full time job before you start to live. Now is the time to live it up. Be your best self, be powerful in the world, deep powerful in your interactions. And if you do that, my friends, I guarantee you, you will start to grow and be bigger than your current position and then life will have to give you more. See, that's how it works. You graduate, you will evolve into the next chapter of your life. Master the day, and you master your life. So go ahead and get organized, figure out what you have to do. Please include metadata, include administration, reaching out to companies. And this is a very unique thing depending on where you are in the pendulum. Alright, develop a plan. Work your plan, plan, your work, plan, your work, work your plan and just keep doing that over and over and over. I'm super excited for you. Go ahead and get that done, and I'll see you on the next video. 4. The Importance of Goal Setting: One of the most important things I ever did when I first started with licensing was hire a professional working composer to consult me with my music path. He gave me a real sense of what was possible and what I needed to work on. Let me tell you. I worked on every single thing he told me to work on, and it has paid off in dividends. That being said, now is the time to identify some goals. How can you hit that target if you don't know what it is right? Here is a list of some solid goals for any beginner looking to get in the industry. Number one, write music and various genres. Number two, develop a real. Now we're talking about an audio and video real. If you're at the point right now where you haven't even written any music. This is a good time to start practicing. And if you haven't had any placements, obviously now's a good time to reach out to people and get your music out there. Number three, you want to submit and get accepted into five non-exclusive libraries for submit and get accepted into one exclusive library which has a higher tier. Number five, hire a consultant to listen to your music and give you professional feedback. Obviously, this can't be like your mom or something because they're just going to say good things about it and you need some honest critical feedback. And number six, you want to sign up for a PRO. You can start with ascap or BMI. And by all means, go ahead and check out all the other ones as well. So if you have not already, go ahead and start to build your audio and video real, this is like your calling card. You need a webpage or a SoundCloud, something like that, where you can send people your music with streaming links so they can check out what you do. The last thing you wanna do is bombard people with email attachments and make a bad impression. This is a very small step that will go a very long way. And the way that you should organize this is by playlist. So like right now I've got it subdivided per show, but it wasn't always like that. Prior to getting in the industry, I would just create different playlists like video game music, quirky music, EDM, my take on romantic ballads, acoustic songs, Latin music. And in this way, I became indispensable to different people in the industry. I mean, I've had contacts at uniquely thought. I was dedicated to just Latin music and I've had contexts that just reach out to me for rock. At the end of the day, the point is to build partnerships, diversify your income streams, and become a necessary part of somebody's business. So you become their go-to everytime they need something, they reach out to you. So this calling cards really going to help you out. You don't need a website. I mean, look, if you can get it, go ahead. I just don't think it's absolutely necessary. I didn't even have a website for the longest time. And this is what kinda carried me. At the very least, you want to get yourself setup with a Soundcloud page, something like this. And then you want to build it over time. Okay, team, thank you so much for watching. I'll see you on the next one. 5. Setting Aside Time to Study: A quick story for you. When I first started, I had no connections, no experience in production, no technical experience. All I knew how to do was play guitar, sing, and write a song. That being the case, and knew I was going to have to become more, to be more. In other words, the transformation was not going to happen by itself. That was going to have to educate myself and start conducting myself like a working professional in order to get into the big leagues. This is an album I did four mega tracks. Now at the time, I had no clue what I was doing. Seriously like EQ compression, all that stuff was out the window. And I had to learn to trust my gut. I remember when I first met those guys because I knew nothing. I decided that I was going to start listening to podcasts relentlessly and just completely immerse myself in the world of mixing, mastering, production. So that when I had conversations with them, we can have conversations that were relevant. And I had a better shot at understanding them and I could build report. So you don't have to know everything about the business to get in the business. And so that's the first thing. Now, let's take a minute and go back to your ideal day design. A wanna take a minute to make sure you set aside some time every day to study. Because there is so much to learn and there's so much to adapt to. It's absolutely imperative that you allocate time every day to learn something about this craft. Think of all the moving parts that you have to learn. Especially if you're new. You're going to have to learn your DAW. Music production, mixing, mastering, how to write and produce new genres. Arranging affects, transitions, plugins, synthesis, and the list goes on. If you want to have a fighting chance, you will have to treat this like a discipline and learn every part of this craft bit by bit. The way I do it is I spend anywhere between 1530 minutes every day learning something new. So for example, I'll go on a site like ask, which is very reputable, has some great instructors. I also really like groove, really top-notch great tutorials. And then one of my personal favorites is to go on Instagram. And then just type in like, you know, mixing tricks. And you'd be surprised production tricks, you know, you'd be surprise or some great stuff out there that you could learn in a minute or two. So you want to keep a catalog of all the things that you need to learn. I use Evernote to stay organized. And you know, this is what I'm talking about. I have a tab here. It's called areas of study. So you know, I look at my studio, all the various plugins I have and I start to make a note of what it is that I need to learn and then I take it off the list as time goes by. And so you know, I've already learned the q3 extensively, so I can delete that from the list. I'll have vocal aligned pro. I've put some time in with that. And you just kinda wanna do this. As time goes on. Obviously the important thing is to apply the information that you're learning. So let's say if you learned a little bit about compression today, will all of a sudden you're writing for a new brief or a new opportunity. And this is the perfect time to directly apply that lesson on compression. The thing you learned today will not always work for that particular song. But what is happening beneath the surface is that you're building experience and you're building your character day after day. And as you build your production toolkit, you can access different tricks on different days. This approach will add up exponentially over time and before you know it, you'll barely be able to recognize who you are and be blown away at how polished and fat your music productions resounding. Please do not misinterpret what I'm saying. I'm not telling you to put all of your attention on learning. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is to put 80% of your attention on productivity and 20% of your attention on organization. So that way you're always moving forward the business and you're staying organized in the process. So work when it's time to work. And then maybe at the end of the day you organize a little bit or as you're rendering of file, That's kind of the point here. So in other words, don't spend all your time learning. The learning is just a means to an end to get what it is you want. Which is to be a better music producer, which is to have more gigs, which is to tune vocals, which is to have better drum sounds, right? The learning is only just a part of you evolving. So 80% of the time putting in the work, 20% of the time learning, organizing, administration, et cetera, et cetera. Thank you very much for listening. Thank you so much for watching. I will see you in the next video. 6. Non-Musical Days: Non music days. So what should you do on non music days? While it's important to talk about this because you're not always going to be creating music. The job of a composer is 80% production, 20% organization. So we're talking, researching other companies, other opportunities, qualifying those leads, prospecting new opportunities, emailing, pitching, submitting your music, filling out the metadata. It's important to keep up with your contacts daily. You want to be in front of them. You want to start to build rapport and build a relationship. So that requires follow-up. And that's going to require a certain degree of networking and making yourself available so you can build relationships for the future. Now, for those of you that loved to learn, this is a perfect day to spend covering an entire course, maybe reading the manual of a new plug in. This is exactly what you want to do on a non-musical Day. And why would you take a day off? Well, from time to time, we all need a little break. But besides that, sometimes, you know, you're just burnt out. Sometimes, you know, you, maybe you worked on a very long project and you just want to change gears. So perfect opportunity to focus on another aspect of your craft. Composing is not only artistic, but it's also very technical. And so we need to go back and forth and develop both the systems. Another thing you can do on days off as troubleshoot, anything from making sure your plugins are compatible to upgrading your software. These are only things that should be happening during downtime hours. Do not troubleshoot during prime earning hours. When you should be moving your business forward. When you work, you should always doing one of two things. Number one, generating new deals and connections to create business in the present and the future. Number to make new music and prepare accordingly so you are ready for any and all opportunities that may come. Remember the old saying, Don't be ready, stay ready. 7. The Proven 3 Step Process: If you really want to make it in the sink licensing world, you essentially have to follow a three-step process. Number one, you have to find leads. You can find these leads wherever you want. It just depends on your resources. After you find your leads, you have to reach out. You have to get music briefs due the metadata, submit your music and then rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, don't get it twisted. This is definitely a sales job. You have to knock on several doors in order to find the right opportunity for you. And the process of finding the right deal is merely a numbers game. Just like, you know, asking people out. It's just a matter of time before you find someone that's gonna say yes. So remember finally leads, Make music, pitcher music. Let me tell you a quick story about the oak tree. If you didn't know anything about it, it has a fascinating story. When it's first planted. Every year, it grows and meter two feet. The first five years, every single year it only grows to feet. And then after Year five, for whatever reason, on year five, the oak tree has a massive growth spurt and grows ten feet. And then after that cataclysmic growth, it just grows and grows and grows. And it's really fascinating because for the first five years, it's just showing small signs of growth. You don't really see the overall potential, although you know the potential of an oak tree, because of the evidence that goes behind us, right. We have evidence that there had been oak trees before, and so we know they have great potential will in the same way, if a guy like me has succeeded, you can too, I am evidence that anybody can do it. So long as they follow the proper system, they have the right mentorship, they have the right relationships, and of course, they have to get to work. So always remember the story of the oak tree. To inspire you. It's going to take some time. In all fairness, you should give yourself three to five years to really see if this is going to pan out for you. And regardless of the circumstance, regardless of what happens, the person that you will become will be a better person because you followed your goals, because you pursue your dreams. And you have that follows through to be the best. So thank you very much for watching. And remember the oak tree. 8. What is Required from The Modern Producer: In the modern era, what is required from today's composer? What is required from today's producer? We're currently in a stage where you have to know a lot of things. If you want to have a sustainable career, it's not enough to be a specialist anymore. You're really going to have to pull from various sources. Have a wide network that you can draw from. And of course, have a pool of clients that will subsist over the course of a year, five years, ten, 20-30, etcetera. So what is required from the modern producer, from the modern composer? Well, number one, you have to know some degree of music theory. We're talking basics, chords, harmony, rhythm. I'm not saying you have to have 12 years of schooling in order to understand theory. I believe you can learn it in a month, a couple of weeks if you wanted to. But you do have to put in that time so that you can use different tricks when you compose. You can use different approaches to writing your music. In the same way, if you have an extensive knowledge of music theory, there are various concepts that you can pull in different situations. And so I cannot tell you how valuable it is to take some time and learn some of the basics of music theory. And we'll talk a little bit about it. But I really want you to research it on your own and develop. Okay, so on to the next, you really have to learn music production. It's very important that you learn to become the best producer that you can. Regardless if you're interested in only writing your music, you still have to learn to produce that music. So it's in order to say, you need to learn how to EQ, you need to learn how to compress, how to apply reverb. Not too much, not too little to become experienced with delay. These are the things you're going to have to start learning. I believe those four things are essentially the cornerstone of mixing. So you've got EQ, compression, reverb and delay. And then the fourth is imaging the way you position things that way you pan things. Stereo mano, if you guys are interested, There's a lot of great content out there. I have a mixing course called mixing 101, and I do believe it will help you. Okay, and then on to the last sound design. So what I like to use for sound design is a nifty little app called syntax. If you have no background and you just need somewhere to start. This iOS app is fantastic. It just really kind of takes you through the journey of how does sound start, how do I make it and how do I develop it over time? It's really great. Recommend you checking that out if you just need a place to start. The world of sound design is a universe onto itself. So do your research and get on the up and up. Okay, so let's move to music theory. So obviously making music is fundamental to human nature. But what is music and how was it made? Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician, first developed the general idea of scales and began to look at the science of music around 600 BC. To this day, music theory is still used as a means to understand the language of music. Understanding the rudiments of basic theory can help you better understand music as a whole. So what am I talking about exactly? Music theory is a means to understand the language of music. It's not enough just to be intuitive and feel it out. I think that's very necessary and you have to learn how to trust your musical IQ and your musical instincts. But at some point, again, you're going to have to rely on other sources, especially when you're writing a lot of music. And believe me, in the licensing world, you're going to write a ton of songs. So this is one approach to music theory, and it's pretty basic. Tonal harmony uses major and minor keys. It has a tonal center and we're going to talk a little bit more about that. And the basis of it is you're playing chords and it's like you're telling the story. So you want to start with a little tension, build on that, and then resolve the tension at the end of the story. So think of any story arc, right? Starts, goes up, you have the apex and then it goes back down. So tonal harmony helps you achieve that story arc. Now the great thing about it is that it's very easy to use. All cords have a function or they have a purpose. So let's look at this chart right here. If we think about a basic progression. And what we're trying to do is essentially mix and match and create a pattern. So vertically, you've got the Roman numerals 145, and those are major keys. The minor keys are in turquoise, and then you've got the diminished Q0 all the way to the right. So I'm gonna go ahead and mix and match and create a chord progression. So I've got C. Alright, I'm gonna go to the five, which is G. On that, go to F-Major, the 4x. And then I'll go minor six and major G phi. And this is the idea that I created an arc. We start somewhere, we go somewhere else, create a little bit of tension, and then we bring it home. So this is pretty easy to understand, right? Like it doesn't matter which key you choose. All the variables will adjust. For example, if I use that same chord progression, but I started on the key of E major. Then we go E major, a major, minor, major, the five, and then back home to, well, the same applies to the minor key as well, except the order of things have changed. So if I wanted to create a chord progression and really is the same concept, let's start with a minor at the top there. So we're gonna go a minor, G major, F major minor. So I highly encourage you to look into this science. It's a very deep, deep world and you can spend a lifetime on it. I'm just showing you some of the rudiments that you're going to need in order to write music today. And look, if you want more, I highly encourage you to go into modal harmony, which is a lot more extensive and you can kind of stretch out your wings. Whereas in the tonal system you're really kinda confined to the box. And other things you can do to keep this tonal quartal relationship interesting is you can stay in the box, but then you can break the rules. So let's say we're back to Major chord progressions. Where in the key of G, All right, well, we can stay in the system. G-major. Then go to a minor, then go to C major. And then rather than sticking to the box, I'm gonna go see minor. And now all of a sudden we've created a little bit of surprise. And this is good that the years of welcome, this moment, it's almost like a welcome surprise. You know, when we listen to music theory, we want it to be predictable. And yet sometimes we want it to be unpredictable as well. So this is an ever-changing thing. I encourage you to look into it. It is very important in the grand scheme of things to have a strong grasp on the subject. Alright guys, let's keep it moving. Key push and keep learning, keep evolving, keeping frequency high.