With budgets being squeezed ever tighter, I'm finding more and more I'm turning to royalty free production on some of my low-mid end corporates.
I'm a bit anal about music - I can't stand stuff that sounds cheap or generic as it has the overall impact of making your product feel cheap and generic and I've been pleasantly surprised by some (stress, 'some') of the Associated Production Music bundled with Soundtrack Pro.
Obviously there is a wealth of royalty free sites out there that have been highly useful at times, but It now seems worthwhile expanding my own production music archive which could save a lot of searching hours and ultimately expense.
So does anyone have any recommendations on what collections are out there? I'm looking for a wide range of styles from epic cinematic scores to funky little beds and all points in between. The only provisos are that the music needs to be well produced, non-cheesy and as non-corporate sounding as possible!
I'm a big fan of SonicFire; it is like a set of musical lego blocks, and easy to customize. You have to feed it a lot of content disks to get the most out of it, but the disks cover a wide range, are fairly reasonable as to cost, and everything is cleared license-wise.
Take a look at Video Copilot Pro Scores, well worth the money: http://www.videocopilot.net/products/proscores/
Digital Juice had a bunch of music as well, unfortunately they stopped selling it. Now all they have is Musicbox: http://www.digitaljuice.com/products/product_volumes.asp?pvid=32
Hope this helps.
Utah Video Productions
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I also tend to be picky with my music. I try to find music early on so that I can match the graphics and editing to the beat a bit. Since the per-video budget is pretty low (in-house corp. video) I can't get customized tracks for every video. I do end up spending quite a long time searching through countless royalty free tracks but the time spent is worth it and still a lot less time consuming (and usually higher quality) than composing something myself.
I'll second Stephen Smith on Video Co-Pilot. I use their sound effects collection A LOT and would assume the music collection is equally as high quality.
I've used Freeplaymusic.com once or twice, but I think the good stuff on there is few and far between. You'll spend a lot of time searching through midi-sounding generic tunes. But there are a few great-priced gems in there.
I've purchased a couple collections from stockmusic.net - although it's always been jazz collections. High quality, good price. License option is good too.
I saw an add for 615 Music in Post Magazine. I checked them out and they have some good stuff and are quite accredited but no word on pricing. You have to sign in to browse the music library.
Lastly, if you are musically inclined and have the time, a friend taught me to do some neat things in minimal time with FL Studio. It's possible to make some quick beat loops that you can layer and cut real quick. The You can simply vocalize a tune (using a mic) to the metronome and FL will identify (roughly) the notes and save them. Tweaking is necessary but it's pretty neat stuff. Especially if you have a tune stuck in your head but can't lay out the notes to make it sound right. FL was definitely worth the price.
I just recently purchased this collection with my company http://www.footagefirm.com/freeproductionmusic.html
I haven't used them yet because it's in the shipping process, but I was impressed with the demos.
I know you posed this question back in October, but I just stumbled upon your threat and I thought I would chime in.
I know it's a bit more of an investment than a royalty-free library, but we get most of our music from 615 Music. They are phenomenal and their libraries update every quarter, so we are constantly getting new music. We pay a *very* reasonable blanket license each year that covers (3) of their libraries. When then recoup our costs by charging our clients a per-cut fee. This fee is usually nominal compared to the overall budget of a project. I highly recommend their Scoring Stage and Platinum libraries.
Creative Liquid Productions
I know I am late to this discussion, but I'd like to chime in if that's ok. There is a lot of talk about "you get what you pay for", and there is a lot of truth to that.
Much of the issue here is that many of the royalty free sites now are crowd-sourced, meaning that anybody with a recording rig can upload tracks for sale, regardless of musical talent, production talent, or engineering talent. This is a HUGE reason why many royalty free sites lack in quality.
We are a proud sponsor of Creative Cow and we hand select every composer and every song that gets included in our catalog. We are not the cheapest royalty free option out there, but we are very affordable and we hire many of the same composers who work for the big libraries like Killer, Firstcom, 615, etc.
Give us a listen. I think you'll appreciate the quality and value.