In recent years, royalty free stock photography has become very popular. With images for around $1, the service helps many who need cheap stock images for their projects. I am a big fan of this. However, it seems that this is now starting to become a worrying trend with certain stock music sites selling royalty free music tracks from $1.
Why is this a problem?
I guess you could say that this is healthy competition… Well, I am sorry, but this is not healthy for the royalty free music industry.
First of all, without even considering the level of skill involved in taking a good photograph, in my opinion, it is drastically less time consuming than composing and producing a piece of original music.
I certainly don’t claim to know anything about photography, but in comparison, it’s literally seconds spent taking a picture compared to days, weeks or even months creating a good original music production.
On this basis, it is no wonder that the quality of this cheap music is poor and in many cases you will have to sift through the rubbish to find the good stuff.
Fortunately, most of the ‘good’ self-respecting composers who are making a living from selling their music through quality royalty free music libraries would not dream of adding their music to these low quality sellers.
The big difference here is that royalty free music licensed from reputable sellers for around $30-$60 per track is infinitely better than 99% of the tracks licensed from these $1 bargain basement music sites.
Put simply, reputable royalty free music sellers carefully select quality music from reliable quality composers, whereas, these websites stocking music at bargain basement prices are usually nothing more than automated user-generated systems where anyone can join and instantly upload their music or audio. Maintaining quality is not their priority.
Furthermore, reputable royalty free music businesses have a business structure that depend on its expert staff to maintain the quality and excellent level of service; they are not just a website. They are concerned with maintaining quality and pricing composers works at a fair and respectable amount.
What is the answer?
Personally, I don’t think many of the serious professional buyers will be tempted by these low quality and low budget music sites. For these people, the quality of the music is more important than the throwaway price.
On a broader point, I believe that if these sites take hold, the royalty free music industry could be seriously damaged. Composers will not be able to sell their music at the price needed to sustain a living as a full time composer. And with revenue reduced to a measly few dollars, the industry could see a turn for the worse.
I recommend that buyers avoid the cheap offerings and continue to support the reputable suppliers of royalty free music. By doing this, the composers and royalty free music distributors will continue to thrive and provide you with an endless source of quality music when you need it.
Likewise, I urge composers not to be tempted by adding their music to these type of bargain basement music libraries. Yes, it is another (small) revenue stream, but it could be very damaging for music distributors that provide your main licensing revenue.
For the amount of work and dedication involved in composing music, $30-$60 is not an unreasonable license fee for a royalty free music track. I would say this is more than fair. Many reputable sellers ensure that the composer gets 40-50% of the music sale.
Please help Media Music Now and other reputable sellers to maintain a quality product, to preserve the value of original music, and most importantly, to respect the work and time that independent composers invest in their compositions and their craft.
I believe in good music at a fair and affordable price, with a clear 50% going to the composer.
If you have an opinion or wish to support my view, please leave your comment below.