Production music, also sometimes called “Library Music”, is produced by songwriters specifically to accompany the visual mediums of TV, Film, Advertising and Web content. This non-exclusive, non-custom arm of music production sprung up to serve budget-conscious audio-visual producers, but with the democratization of technology, has become an artistic and sophisticated space of its own.
If you are creating a video for a local brand or a web ad for a national one, the cost of licensing a known song or creating a custom piece of music likely exceeds the budget for your entire project. Production music sprung up as publishers like Ritual began to invest in producers, hiring them to create specific pieces of music to be used in audio and audio-visual mediums. With its roots in radio, tv, and film, we are seeing web ads dominate in this medium and create a special opportunity for producers to earn a living from their craft.
A Short History of Production Music
Production Music as we know it today can be traced back to the “Mood Music” and “Atmosphere Music” of pre-1960 in Europe, but it’s roots extend right back to early 20th century Silent Film. Originally provided as suggested incidental music in the form of sheet music throughout the early 1900’s, the 1930’s saw several publishers begin to produce and distribute records of “mood music”, marking the transition into professional recording of non-exclusive material available for theatrical, radio and film productions. In order to avoid the runaway licensing costs demanded by the musician’s unions during the early days of TV, this work for hire model, or the publisher owning the content, became a workaround to control licensing costs on repeat broadcasts.