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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Feb 17 > GO PRO

GO PRO

MusicTech presents an enormous feature designed to help you take your music to the next level. We’ve got advice, we’ve got interviews, we’ve got tips, we’ve got contacts, we’ve got professionals lined up to give you all you need to know to get your music in film, video games, TV… everywhere!

If you’re a regular reader of MusicTech, we like to think that over the (14!) years that we have existed, we’ve offered enough advice for you to make your music sound professionally recorded, mixed and mastered (if not, don’t worry, there’s plenty more advice on that to come over the next 14 years). So we could assume that you have some great music sitting on your hard drive just waiting for someone to discover it and make you some hard cash – but of course, the only problem with that is, it won’t be discovered if you just leave it there.

With that conundrum in mind, we’ve assembled many parts to create a feature focusing on what your next steps should be. We’re assuming that you want to do something with your sound; create some waves, even some money and the news that won’t be entirely unexpected is that there isn’t one straightforward route. We’ll also get this one out of the way, too: much of your future success will depend on chance encounters, who you know and who they can introduce you to. That’s not to say that there aren’t ways in which you can smooth those routes to glory out, however, and that’s what we’ll help with here.

But it won’t just be us that helps, as we’ve assembled a cast of professionals to offer some outstanding advice. We have the video-game guru Petri Alanko, who is responsible for the soundtracks on titles including Quantum Break and Alan Wake. Representing Hollywood film scoring we have Matthew Margeson, who is part of Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions studio and has penned the scores on Skyline, and Kingsman: The Secret Service, among others. Our TV soundtrack expert is Sheridan Tongue, who has worked on high-profile BBC dramas and documentaries including Silent Witness, Spooks and Wonders Of The Solar System.

General advice

Over the years, we have run several advisory features on getting your music out there, and while this feature is more dedicated to getting your music onto soundtracks and for you to become a professional musician, much of the advice still stands: although the landscape for composers is a shifting one, with budgets and technologies changing on a daily basis.

Some things remain constant, though. Whereas in the olden days of getting your music out there, a demo (on CD, or even cassette) was the order of the day, the principle remains the same, but has become a little more sophisticated. Upload services like SoundCloud are king here. Sending files is not now neccessary, but sending links is. You’ll need to sell yourself in any covering email – not too much, mind, remember attention spans are low… your key selling points should be short and succinct. The music itself – according to the assembled experts here – should be no longer than three tracks. You can use these to demo different styles, or variations of your own unique approach. Better still, do a one- or twominute ‘Best Of’, again showcasing your styles, perhaps blended one after the other. Or better still

RAISE YOUR PROFILE TIP 1

MEET, MEET AND MEET

It’s the most popular piece of advice from our pros: get out there and meet people. Industry events, conventions, you name it – go, shake hands, offer music, smile, be friendly…

COMPOSING TIP 1

KNOW YOUR GEAR INSIDE OUT

If you’re going to be composing music professionally, there are times that you’ll have to be fast. So knowing your hardware or plug-ins inside out is key. Get a good balance of sonic tools – but not too many – and learn everything about them.

When demos become showreels

We’re talking music-to-picture here, so the ideal demo is your music against picture – preferably a moving one. So there are several ways that you can approach this. You could use stock video images from several libraries, film the video yourself (if you’re feeling particularly creative), use a filmmaking friend’s footage or, as some colleges these days seem to do, set your music (and sound effects) against a famous piece of footage.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all four approaches: stock video libraries offer all sorts of weird and wonderful footage (and some pretty dull stuff, too) which may or may not be ‘real world’ or cinematic enough, but which can be free, or be yours for a small subscription. If you film the footage yourself, you’ll learn more about the filmmaking process, which could set you up well for your career later, but will take much longer to learn and you also risk it not looking great. Using a friend or acquaintance’s footage is probably the best option and will (hopefully, anyway, if they’re any good) result in decent-quality visuals. Another bonus is you’ll also make contact with someone who might well rise through the ranks as you do – these sorts of contacts are all-important, as we shall soon see. Using pro footage will give you the best visuals, but has inbuilt limitations, as you are using someone else’s pro visuals and piggybacking your soundtrack (so obviously don’t broadcast it publicly, whatever you do). Will a library company or film company see that as cheeky or tenacious? You decide…

Networking is key

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