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Ukulele Overload

When I first started seriously composing stock audio on AudioJungle last summer, many of the highest selling songs on the site featured the ukulele. Fast forward a year, and this really hasn’t changed. What once seemed like a trend has become something different…and I’m not sure what. Even this current national advertisement features a song from AudioJungle that’s over 2 years old, and has been sold over 1600 times (!). To say that the ukulele is played out and overused is an understatement, particularly in advertising. The fact it persists as the musical focal point of so many of today’s commercials either speaks to the public’s insatiable love for the runty instrument, or of a severe lack of creativity in advertising.

I found a great New York Times article on the ukulele’s popularity from over a year ago, and even then the article spoke of the instrument’s over-saturation in advertising. It also pointed out the possible origin for this craze: Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole’s cringe-inducing version of “Over the Rainbow”, a song I heard at virtually every wedding I did sound for while living in California (so we’re talking 50+, maybe?). The article goes on to tout the ukulele as the instrument for the non-musician, and while I’m not sure I’d go there, I will say that at this point it’s kitsch. Period.

While people may love the uke because of the warm feelings it helps generate, there is more than one way to skin a cat. A different approach will likely yield the same results, and will alleviate the risk of people tuning out at the first strum. So, please, if you have to use a ukulele, please do so in moderation.

 

Don’t Sweat the Sign Up – An Overview of the Envato Marketplace

As you may have noticed, nearly all of my royalty free music is available for purchase via AudioJungle, which is part of the Envato Marketplace. Despite the fact that they have a little more downtime than I’d like, as an author I find the site attractive, the music of high quality, and the community very helpful. Since purchasing my music requires you to sign up for an account with Envato, I wanted to highlight some of the best parts of a diverse marketplace that includes something for everyone.

The Envato Marketplace consists of 9 different sites which all sell a different range of royalty free products. Aside from AudioJungle, I have experience with ThemeForest and PhotoDune. ThemeForest sells HTML and CMS templates, providing an easy way to revamp your website without having to hire a designer or spend hours coding HTML. Want an example of a template available from ThemeForest? You’re looking at one! The amount of excellent content at ThemeForest is amazing, and the customer service you get from the designers themselves is an added bonus that really makes the service an outstanding bargain. Examples of products from PhotoDune are also on display on this site. Most obvious are the large, high quality photos displayed on the home page advertising my music. While PhotoDune is a new site, the images are plentiful and professional, and will surely provide options for those in the market for stock photographs.

Happy with your website or blog, and not in need of any stock music or photography? Try VideoHive for After Effects project files, video, and motion graphics. GraphicRiver provides Powerpoint themes, and Photoshop templates to spruce up your resume or business cards, for example. 3DOcean sells all things 3D for advanced modeling, and CodeCanyon provides HTML script for everything from plug ins to players to forms for your website. Looking for eBooks or “How To” guides? TutsPlus is for you.

So, please don’t sweat the sign up. Envato is a wonderful marketplace with a wide variety of quality items, and I’m sure you’ll be glad you took the extra few seconds to make an account when checking out.

My Take on Royalty-Free Audio

When I was putting together this new site, organizing all of my royalty-free music in my portfolio was a little overwhelming. The fact that the majority of these tracks were composed and produced within the last few months alone makes it even more surprising. While my catalog is by no means as large as some of the most successful authors at AudioJungle, there is still a lot there, and all of it I’m proud of. I’ve discussed the pros and cons of this in a prior blog entry, but now that I’m a few months in, I have had a little time to reflect on the influence it has had on my composition and production…As we all know, sometimes it’s tough to stay focused on where you want to be and how you’ll get there when the circumstances of where you are take so much of your time and energy.

Currently, the most important thing for me is to stay motivated. As we all know, sometimes it’s tough to stay focused on where you want to be and how you’ll get there when the circumstances of where you are take so much of your time and energy. Composing and producing royalty free audio has given me an outlet I can take advantage of today, and a way to share and diversify my portfolio with people all over the world. The fact that a growing number of people are using works I created as part of their own productions is amazing to me. It also allows me to showcase my ability to do different types of music, from electronic, to orchestral, to acoustic. Sure, I may do some things better than others, but it’s all a learning process, and there is no better way to learn than by doing. It is my hope that someday soon my commissioned works will outnumber my royalty-free work, but until that happens, keep an eye on my AudioJungle portfolio!

– t

License Music from ProgressNotes at AudioJungle.net!

Call it “spring cleaning in July” if you must, but I’ve blown the digital dust off of some of my past compositions and featured them on AudioJungle for your licensing pleasure. I feel these pieces deserve better than being hidden on my hard drive for a rainy day, and may work perfectly now for the person in search of something unique to add to their video, film, podcast, etc. The list of exclusively available pieces is ever growing as I root through the archives, and they are available for a very, very reasonable price.

Now this whole thing is a bit of a double edged sword. While I feel like the amount of compensation I’m getting for the licensing of my works doesn’t nearly equate to what they’re worth with regard to how much time I spent on them, it is promoting both the use of original music in independently produced media (ie not illegally used popular music), and myself as a composer, producer, and artist. Missing from all of this is composing specifically to a visual, which is something I very much enjoy and prefer, but I’m hopeful that these pieces on AudioJungle will get people interested in having me do just that for their future projects.

The pieces I am putting up for sale now are mostly orchestral in nature, and I plan to stick to that format as I feel like there is always a lack of quality produced, authentic sounding orchestral music on these types of sites. Heck, I hear obviously MIDI derived scores on television all of the time, when a little more money spent on quality samples combined with a little more time spent addressing the sounds might have fooled even the most ardent of listeners. I’ve done my best to provide pieces I feel fit this criteria that also feature some character often missing in much of the sterile, synthesized material on comparable sites. While this might not garner me any “hits”, I’m hoping it will enrich people’s projects in a way that sets them apart from the rest.

Until next time…
- t

Check out my portfolio here. 
Interested in licensing my music? Click here.