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Online composer dilemma

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Online composer dilemma

Postby 3tonal » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:05 pm

Dear all,

Greetings :thumbup:
I have a huge dilemma and I am asking you for a sincere help :headbang:
Thank you in advance for your time reading my post, and I will be immensely grateful, if you share your ideas and experiences with me.

Let me introduce myself – I am 39 years old, live in Serbia, and studied music composition. According to some circumstances, I was engaged in totally different jobs from my 30th birthday, but there has always been a hidden desire to come back to music.

Right now, my business life is on the turning point, and it is natural to think about music too, but I am not sure what could I find „in reality“, so I am asking you for help.

I have to mention that, when I was engaged in music, I was „old-fashioned type of composers“, so that I have never used Cubase, while I used Sibellius only for printing my music sheets. Also I have to point out that I have an academic knowledge related to music, that I am good at making compositions and playing the piano.

My idea is to invest in a small home studio (which would satisfy some basic needs) and to try to make money ONLINE working with Cubase and Sibelius. I am also willing to try hard and use all my time and efforts in order to acquire necessary knowledge for professional work in Cubase. I am familiar with Sibelius, since I have worked with it for printing my music sheets, but there is also a space for educating and improving my skills, due to the fact that the software has been improving in the meantime.

So, my plan would be to spend some time learning Cubase, Sibelius, and mastering music production.
When I acquire necessary skills, I would try the following:
1) to compose short applied music download compositions for the sites like Audio Jungle
2) to look for freelance jobs in the field of music (printing music sheets in Sibelius, music transcription, some jobs concerning music composition, dubbing pianos, maybe midi mockups and so) in the sites such as Upwork or Freelancer.

If I manage „to survive“ in that kind of jobs, I hope that I could eventually get a larger work, such as making compositions for a movie, for example.

My main dilemmas are as follows:
a) How much time do I need to learn music production to the extent that is enough for basic professional work, having in mind the fact that I would be very dedicated to that work?
b) On the basis of above mentioned, would you give me some additional suggestions what other musical activities I could do online?
c) Is it realistic to expect to earn not less than 500-600$ per month, after the phase of learning ?

I am aware that it is impossible to give me absolutely precise answers, and that there is no universal recipie for each individual. I am also aware that some online composers and musicians earn quite a lot (which is only a dream for me now).

But looking generally and objectively – what can I expect, and is it generally profitable to devote myself to it?

Thanks a lot :angel:
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby Guest271017 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:32 pm

I'll just tackle the Cubase learning curve. Watch all the vids here.

https://www.youtube.com/user/SteinbergSoftware
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby 3tonal » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:11 pm

Hi Nate and thanks!

Yes, I will do that and this will not be a problem.

But, as I mentioned, I am also interested in real-life experience of online composers in terms of “what can I expect” if I go this way.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:32 pm

I've just done a quick search for you - I would strongly suggest that you read some of the threads that it brings up...

http://www.soundonsound.com/search/forum?f[0]=is_uid%3A77271

Copy and paste the whole line into your browser address bar as the forum software doesn't recognise it properly.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby Guest271017 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:36 pm

James Perrett wrote:I've just done a quick search for you - I would strongly suggest that you read some of the threads that it brings up...

http://www.soundonsound.com/search/forum?f[0]=is_uid%3A77271

I think your link is messed up.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby 3tonal » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:38 pm

Thank You James, I`ll do that.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:40 pm

mashedmitten wrote:I think your link is messed up.

Yes - the forum software doesn't like the square brackets so you'll have to manually paste the whole line into the browser address bar to see what I'm talking about.

As well as looking at Commander's old posts it might also be worth looking at Narcoman's and also Marbury's for a view from a different perspective (as well as a load of others whose names escape me at the moment).
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 pm

If you want to do production music for sites like Audio Jungle, my suggestion would be that you team up with someone who can handle the recording and mixing side. Your skills as a composer are relatively rare -- there are quite a few people who can mix a track to a decent standard, not so many who understand counterpoint and harmony and so forth.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby Guest271017 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:58 pm

I'm wondering what kind of kit he has or plans to purchase, and what genres he's plans on hitting. Could be a consideration in the whole affair if budget's an issue and pro results expected. The learning curve could entail how to get the system to work flawlessly on top of learning a DAW, all the plugs, VSTi or VST.

3tonal wrote:My idea is to invest in a small home studio
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby 3tonal » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:47 pm

Thank You people!

@Sam Inglis Good point. Mature and correct thinking, good old school. But if I understood correctly most of people from Audio Jungle do everything (composing and producing) by themselves as I am not sure if it is profitable to work with a team mate. I think that today is “normal” for composer to work on that way. It would be great if I could though :) But it would also be great to finally face my self with the problems of modern music production and learn this stuff. I would anyway have to do that sooner or later, as I can rely on someone else for good.

@mashedmitten it would be a small home studio which would potentially satisfy some basic needs of professional musical productions. In money - around 2000 EUR.

1. decent computer (AMD processor 8 cores 4.0-4.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 2T SSHD)
2. 88 keys midi keyboard
3. decent audio interface (I am not sure which one yet)
4. headphones and speakers (I am not sure which one yet)

For e.g. this is the music that I did in my “ancient era” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akb21YeNLng

I am aware that I should “drop pace” a little bit and concertate my self on commercial side of music. I think I would do something like “easy film music”. Or music for commercials and so…

…dont forget some other jobs beside music composition, like: printing music sheets in Sibelius, music transcription etc.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby petev3.1 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:20 pm

I'd agree with the idea of working with a mixer. It'll take some years to get on top of mixing and mastering. I'd also agree that if you work with AJ there won't be enough money to do this. If you really can compose then you need to move upmarket. AJ can make dosh for a few but is considered at the forefront of the race to the bottom.

I'd suggest making an album as a collaboration and seeing how your collaborations work out. If it isn't good enough to submit to a better library than an RF like AJ then this is because you are not a good composer. If you are, then you shouldn't have any trouble.

If you are good then it's possible that someone might take on the mixing/mastering for a writing credit, which may be the easiest way to share any fees and royalties. You may not want to do this but the alternative is paying them up front and you may not want to do this either. However good the music the mixing will be crucial and it usually takes many years to become any good at it. (if you ever do).

I would love to collaborate in this way but it would be an experiment that might not work. I doodle with the sync business and find it fascinating, but this idea of sitting alone with a DAW doing everything oneself is not my idea of recording heaven.

Aim higher would be my advice. But also be aware that even on AJ There is some amazing music (given the price). There are far too many good musicians around for my liking.

On a more general note, as the quality of sync music improves in the face of massive cutthroat competition it may be that collaborations become increasingly important, so that everybody can work on what they're best at. It's a theory but it seems quite likely to happen.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby Guest271017 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:06 pm

3tonal wrote:decent computer (AMD processor 8 cores 4.0-4.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 2T SSHD)

Were I you, I'd get a system from one of the DAW builders. Won't get into an Intel/AMD war, but as to RAM, 16G is minimal with orchestration. Sadness can come quick, depending on the samples loaded. There's more to it than that, just suggesting you really do your homework with this aspect and see what you might be getting into and your expectations. A lot's changed since the days you were into it, don't know how prepared you are for the culture shock.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby 3tonal » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:49 pm

Thanks @petev3.1 good point there :thumbup:

Thank You @mashedmitten I really appreciate this!
I know of Intel/AMD war, I personally think that this war is a matter of marketing... This is the processor that was in my mind https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cp ... Eight-Core
32 GB RAM can be the option too.

I am donig my homework :bouncy: I read a tone of stuff, As You can see, I am talking with people on several forums, various musicians, to undestand better a current situation so that I dont make a wrong move. And I do understand that it would a hard path for me :frown:
While I am stuck with old paper and pen, possibly composing "genious" stuff that would just sometime or never be performed, kids are doing the job finished and making money...

Possibly, there is also middle-age crisis inovolved. Soon I will be 40 and this is "no return point". Now or never. So I would never know if I could achive some success in music compositions in more vital way...

On the other hand, we are not kids though. And I have my old job (I am licenced real estate agent). So it`s not the end of the world, but if I do this job, I would not have time to learn musical production (or I could manage to do that occassionally and for a very long period of time, which would end up only as a nice hobby)
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby Guest271017 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:54 pm

I understand. I'm not trying to rain on your parade, just point out things to consider so you have the best shot at success. :thumbup:
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby 3tonal » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:06 pm

...of course, it is not the problem at all, this is just what i need to "tune the instrument" well :thumbup:

As I said - we are not kids and thank You
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:26 pm

3tonal wrote:For e.g. this is the music that I did in my “ancient era” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akb21YeNLng

I am aware that I should “drop pace” a little bit and concentate my self on commercial side of music. I think I would do something like “easy film music”. Or music for commercials and so…

Wow - this is wonderful music Oliver, although as you say not particularly commercial (do I detect some Bartok influences in there? ;) )

I do suspect that having composed music like this you might find it soul-destroying being forced to write commercial music to ridiculously short deadlines that may get abandoned or changed radically on the whims of a non-musical customer.

Do bear that in mind before committing yourself too far to a new career - while some musicians seem to thrive on such stress, others find their inspiration destroyed by the constant pressure.


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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby Sam Inglis » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:41 pm

Wow. That's great! You are clearly both a fine composer and an excellent pianist.

I could be wrong, but I think there is a good chance that production music labels might well be interested in exactly this sort of music. At the very least, it stands out from the crowd. They are constantly receiving demos of bland orchestral music composed using the same orchestral libraries. They'd jump to hear something really fresh like this, played by real musicians on real instruments. But as Pete says, don't take it to the bottom feeders, try the 'proper' production music labels first. They might even give you a budget to record with real musicians.
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby blinddrew » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:43 pm

Just been listening to "Izvoru" for female choir - that is really quite beautiful! :clap:
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby 3tonal » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:39 pm

Dear all,

Thank you very much for listening my music and on giving me nice and encouraging words!

It really counts!

Honestly, the biggest influence is “my inner self”. It carries with itself many composers, many musics, and Bartok, as well.

Considering my “dilemma”, it is obvious that all options are still on the table, and I have to put everything on the paper, to be wise and realistic.

And to think about everything seriously…

Thanks again, chears :thumbup:
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Re: Online composer dilemma

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed May 03, 2017 11:24 am

OK, let's go -

Firstly, there are all sorts of dangerous misconceptions in your post and in your business model. I'll go through these (in no special order) -

1. Use Reaper, not CuBase. CuBase is expensive and is not as good, especially for a first-timer like you, as Reaper. I have a studio that cost about one million Euros to build and equip. Our customers demand all sorts of software and I have access to anything and everything your heart could desire, but I only edit and mix nowadays in Reaper.

2. Don't buy any equipment - not even a better PC - until you are up-to-speed in Reaper and you have read some books about composing for film. Until you are ready to rock, just use whatever you are using right now. Add maybe some cheaper closed headphones from AKG or Sennheiser. Learn to use the massive MIDI tools in Reaper, as well as the notation, etc.

3. Everybody and their mothers-in-law is trying to sell their musical (and other) efforts on-line. Music for film does not work like that! It is a team effort. The composer is a part of a huge team that has to work together via the director, the producers and all their assistants. That means being together physically part of the time. That means working with and consulting with (mostly) the director and the sound designer and even with people like lighting designers and cinematographers and maybe even fight directors.

4. You need to learn the language of film. The rest of the team will not talk music to you, but will only speak the language of film. They will talk about scenes, acts, takes and beats. They will measure your music in frames and minutes, scenes and movie-beats, not in bars and movements. They will ask for 'heroic' or 'longing' sounds, not for major and minor keys. As the 'badies' start to do their business, or the 'goodies' get ready for the struggle ahead, they will ask for 'busy' music, not for something in 2:4 time!

"As that blue light hits, we need something 'tingly' in the music!"

"As the armies prepare for battle, we need something sad and orchestral to underscore the coming death and destruction, but once the battle starts, we need big, clashing metal sounds - nothing orchestral at all!"

"This movie is in a brown tint, so we need music that suggests brown!"

5. You are in the movie business and the movie business is all about entertaining people. Art-stuff that does not make a profit and pay for that all-important carry-out from Lidl, is called cinema. Cinema can have any structure you like and be about any topic you like, movies have three acts, 15 movie-beats and about 35 to 40 scenes and have one of ten topics (e.g. monster-in-the-house, fool triumphant, super hero, buddy love, etc.)

6. Your music is part of the sound design, so the sound designer has to be your second-best-friend, after the director! Your music has to make space for that creaking door, those lonely footsteps, those sounds of battle.

7. Find your rising star now! Find that local, young director that is making proper movies that stand out and offer to work for 'points-on-gross' - i.e. a percentage of the movie's gross turnover. (NB, no movie has ever made a profit, so points-on-net means you get nothing, but sometimes the learning experience and the credits are worth more than money!)

8. Learn to write music in all genres. You will have to mix 4:4 rock with orchestral sounds and piano music, guitar power-chords with choirs. If all you compose is in just one style, you will get few (if any!) gigs.

9. Sit down and listen to the great movie scores, such as the original 'Bourne' trilogy, Terminator II, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Learn from the greats and always ask yourself "How did they get 'that' sound?" and "How does the music help to tell the story?"

10. Never get involved in a gritty urban drama - they all lose money and ruin your reputation in the process! If the script has lines like "Look out- he's got a knife!" and "Dad, I'm pregnant!" return it with a polite smile.

Good luck!
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