Shockwave-Sound Blog and Articles
Special artist feature: Abbas Premjee

Special artist feature: Abbas Premjee

For the past few years, among the many different artists from all over the world who regularly supply music for publishing via Shockwave-Sound, Abbas Premjee has been one of the more prolific and active ones. He has composed many great tracks of stock music for Shockwave-Sound. I was intrigued by the varied musical output and some of the interesting sounds and moods that Abbas creates with his many different instruments, so I took the opportunity to catch up with Abbas and have a nice conversation with him about music and life in general.

Leaving the actual music aside for the moment, who is Abbas Premjee and what’s your story? Have you always lived in Irvine, California?

Abbas Premjee, aged 18

First of all, thank you for this opportunity to tell you my story. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. My Father was an entrepreneur and had several businesses which were quite successful. He was a self-made man and it was assumed that my brother and I would take over his responsibilities for which we were being carefully groomed. Fate, however, had different plans for me. Ever since I can remember, music and sound have fascinated me and any kind of musical sound would have a great emotional effect on me. Growing up in Pakistan was not the same as growing up anywhere else. This was the time in the early 80’s, martial law had been enforced and Islamization was on the rise. Needless to say, finding musical instruments, supplies or instruction was close to impossible. For me, however, this just made it more exciting. Just to remind our younger readers, at that time in the world, there was no internet and information was prized and hard to come across. For this reason, I was mostly self-taught and learned by ear and through some books. However, I now believe that this has worked to my advantage. I spent many hours trying to decipher the chords and solos from my early influences which were filled with whatever Western music I could get my hands upon. Thankfully, there were some wonderful artists I was also exposed to through my cousin, who had studied in the US. Amongst these was Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Steely Dan and others that I still listen to today.

At the age of 16, my parents sent me to the US to get a university education. I was enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program at Loyola Marymount University. I decided to take a class in Jazz improvisation, I had no idea at that time what it meant. Through that class, I met other musicians and eventually understood the rudiments of jazz improvisation. I was also approached by other musicians to join their band as a guitarist. We did a lot of rock and roll and would occasionally travel up and down the California coast playing gigs. That was a really fun time for me. It was during my senior year in university that my life took a turn. I had decided to take an elective class in something which I did not understand at that time but sounded interesting. It was called “classical guitar”. I give credit to my teacher at that time. He was an inspirational figure for me and that first class with him is still fresh in my memory. He made me realize that I was just beginning a long and beautiful journey. I had no choice but to spend another year in University and declare a double major. A year later I graduated with a degree in Mechanical engineering and a degree in Music theory and composition.

My journey had just started and I had to continue. On the suggestion of one of my teachers, I applied for a Masters program at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory and was accepted. I was offered a scholarship and I was over the moon. I was flung headlong into an environment of the most amazing musicians I had ever seen. An environment full of history and academics all focused purely on music. I was very new to the classical music world compared to my peers, most of whom had been in this for many years. This was a glorious time of my life and was filled with many beautiful experiences such as playing in Masterclass for some of the top classical guitarists in the world such as Manuel Barrueco, Pepe Romero and others. I finally graduated from that reality in 1993 with a Masters degree in Classical guitar from SMU in Dallas, TX. My goal was to be a professional classical guitarist but fate had other plans in store for me.Around that time, I received a phone call from my father who asked me to return to Pakistan as he was getting old and needed help. I could have never refused him and so I returned to Pakistan at that time, a lost soul. I had all this music and knowledge inside me but was instead thrust into the business world.

Abbas Premjee in his first studio, in 2006

For ten long years, I tried to the best of my ability to help him. Eventually, my father passed away and the business collapsed. During these ten years, I hardly did any music and I was like a fish out of water. I was dying to get back in. The year was 1996 and the world had changed a lot during those years. Digital audio was in its infancy and I knew I wanted to get back into music but being ten years older I was looking at things from a business standpoint as well. I was now married and starting a family. I did not want a gigging/touring life anymore. I was looking for stability and having an engineering background as well, decided to invest in a music composition and production studio and teach myself all I could. At this time, I was still living in Pakistan but I could see that this was not the place I wanted to bring up my family and so in 2009, I sold my studio and returned to the United States. A year later my family also joined me and we moved to Irvine. I was desperately trying to find my place and spent the first couple of years teaching and playing classical guitar gigs at weddings and events, just trying to survive. Around this time, I started writing, just for fun and discovered that there was a royalty-free market for music and put a few tracks up. I saw a few sales and even though the returns were minuscule, I saw the potential If I had a lot more music. At that time, we were living in Little Rock, Arkansas. I decided I had to be bold and we made the decision to move to Irvine, California. I spent the next six years there and exposed myself to all the opportunities available. I discovered the phenomenon of production music, which I did not know existed. I attended as many events, conventions etc as I could and soon developed a network of publishers, agents etc. All the while, I was writing feverishly and in almost any genre I could. The only way of getting good at anything is to do it and the more you do it, the better you get at it. I used this logic and soon enough developed a sizable catalogue in many genres, including several that I was not very good at. I understood the values and priorities of production music but at the same time tried to retain my personal identity. Looking back, I can see that I was fortunate in that along the way, in my musical life, I had played many different genres including rock, pop, jazz and classical. I had also extensively studied Indian classical music, the ragas etc which had a profound impact on my musical vocabulary. After living in California for six years, and establishing a path ahead, I felt I could now move to any place and be able to work remotely. Over the summer we moved to Houston TX, to be closer to family and that is where I am currently living with my lovely family which consists of my lovely and wife, without whose support I would never have been able to come this far, and three beautiful kids.

That is a truly remarkable story and I guess it goes to show how people can end up in a place, and in a life, that they would never have imagined. I’m sure your story would make for a pretty good Autobiography sometime down the line. Did you ever think of writing about your story and your life’s journey?

I never really thought of that, but am open to the idea, especially if reading my story helps or inspires others.

You mentioned the situation in Pakistan in the early 80’s with Islamization and martial law coming in the way of your development as a musician – though, clearly, they did not succeed in keeping you down. Can you tell us a bit more about the plight of musicians and artists working under those circumstances and how they can overcome the obstacles in their way?

Abbas Premjee, 2015, Irvine California

Today the plight is not about access to information, like it was in those days, because today, with access to the internet, information is no longer a barrier. The real plight, as it also was back then, is poverty and class structures that don’t allow the poor to improve themselves. I was very fortunate that I came from a family where my parents could afford to send me to the United States for further studies. Today, in Pakistan, there is amazing talent and there are some accomplished musicians and bands but it is mostly Western or Bollywood influenced. The folk and classical music has suffered and, unfortunately, may be on the brink of extinction.

During the time you’ve been actively composing music, how would you say this art form changed and developed, for you personally – and in general?

Over the years of writing music, my writing has changed considerably. Before I was only trying to express as an artistic statement of some sort. I remember it always had to be profound. It was a lot more personal and I was a lot more possessive about my music and very closed to criticism. I changed a lot! I had to look at this very personal phenomenon through a business lens and that was very difficult initially, but the more I wrote, the easier it got. I developed an openness to criticism and started listening to a lot more different genres and started listening very critically to my own work and worked to overcome my weaknesses and I started to approach it more clinically. I am still doing that and I don’t think that process ever stops. You keep trying to improve the quality of your music and that is the fun of it. The beauty of this journey is the ever-changing terrain.

As a publisher and distributor of production music, I like to keep my ears open and listen out for what kind of music actually gets used in today’s productions, be it on TV, online or in other media, and it occurs to me that a lot of the music that works best in media is, for lack of a better term, “simple music”, with maybe just one or two instruments playing at any given time. However, the music that we receive for publishing often tends to be much more layered, with a lot more instruments playing on top of each other, and perhaps “overproduced”. Do you have thoughts on this, and do you ever set out to produce music with only one or two instruments playing?

Abbas playing electric guitar at a studio photo shoot in 2008

You’re absolutely right. Today we have a tendency to say a lot more than required, too many instruments and cluttered sounds etc. It is a lot more difficult to say something of importance in a few words. It requires elegance and eloquence, these things come after many years of trial and error. It reminds me of what I learned in Graduate school, that beauty is in subtlety. In today’s quantized and perfect world, much beauty has been lost. The production music industry has mostly newcomers and a few seasoned composers that think that way. I think it would be a real challenge to deliberately make an album with just two instruments, any two instruments and make it work in a production music setting. That may very well be my next project, thanks for the idea.

What are your favourite artists for when you just want to relax and listen to good music?

Aah, that has been one of the few drawbacks of this lifestyle. I rarely get a chance to just listen like it used to be. Before I would curl up with a favourite album/CD and do it just for the fun. Now, when I do have spare time, which is rarely, I like to give my ears a rest and let them refresh. I listen to a lot of music but a lot of it is for work-related research or the kids at home blasting their own tunes.

A quick search for Abbas Premjee on YouTube brings up a video in which you play an unusual instrument – the Mohan Veena – with a very beautiful sound. What is this instrument and how did you get into playing it?

Abbas Premjee playing Mohan Veena at a gig in Pakistan 2007

I first came across the Mohan Veena, at a friends place in Pakistan in 2005. I was musically at a point where I had recently gotten back into music after my 10-year hiatus and had started to write a little bit. I was in a mood to explore new sounds and ideas and this seemed like the perfect direction to take. To tell you a bit about this instrument, It is also called “Indian slide guitar”. It is fitted with 20 strings and played lap style with a metal slide. 12 of the strings are sympathetic strings and add a beautiful resonance to the instrument. By sympathetic I mean they are not struck but tuned to the notes of the raga being played and they vibrate sympathetically. Being a slide instrument it is capable of playing microtonally which allows the true essence of Indian classical music to come through. I bought the instrument on a trip to India and took instruction with Ustad Raees Khan, the renowned sitar maestro and gave me the opportunity to study the theory of Indian classical music. The theory of Indian classical music has been evolving for thousands of years and has a deep understanding of the connection between notes and human emotion. For a few years, that is all I did at that time. This music captured my spirit and gave me a totally new vision of the experience of music. I found here, a vocabulary of sounds and emotions that were totally alien to Western ears and I was very intrigued by the possibility of combining these sounds with jazz. This also led to my first commercial album release in Pakistan which was called “Elements” which you can listen to on my website and two more follow-up albums called “Crescent Moon” and “Symbiosis”. These three albums represent my efforts at finding a synthesis between Western jazz and Indian classical music. I hope to do more of this in the future sometime.

Do you play, or have you played in the past, any other unusual and exotic instruments?

As part of my efforts to constantly improve, I am always on the look for new and unusual instruments. I try to make an effort to use real instruments whenever possible, even if that means just a shaker! Real instruments add soul to the music. None of my other instruments can be considered exotic. I have many guitars, basses, ukuleles, mandolins and lots of percussion instruments which I have started to collect. I love instruments.

You seem to have a wide repertoire of styles and genres that you work in – is this a deliberate choice, and do you feel there are some styles of music in which you do your best work?

Abbas Premjee a recital of classical guitar with tabla and flute 2006

Growing up, I played and listened to many genres of music. However, after studying classical guitar and getting into classical music, a sort of musical snobbery came over me, as is often found with classical musicians. I had to make an effort to get over that and play other styles of music, this was essential and very liberating. Music has so many forms and in my opinion, the best things happen when you do not have any compartments or genres but freely use and borrow across styles and cultures. I love music in all its manifestations and I want to play and experience them all, from rock and jazz to classical and funk and across continents. So yes, it is a deliberate choice and production music allows that to happen.

Do you still actively play in any band, group or ensemble – live concerts, anything like that?

Live music has always been a part of my life but unfortunately, lately, that has not happened. I hope to change that in the near future and get involved with like-minded souls who like to explore new sounds.

Can you tell us something about your recording setup, e.g. main pieces of hardware and software that you use for your composing and recording sessions?

Here is my setup:

Front End
Neumann KM 183 stereo pair
Mojave audio MA 200
Shure SM 57
Focal monitors CMS 50
Millennia HV 3C
Grace audio 101
Interface Steinberg UR 28M

Software
Cubase 8.0
Nektar LX 88 key midi keyboard
Spitfire audio Albion, Woodwinds
East West Quantum leap Gold and Hollywood Brass
Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Trillian, Stylus RMX
Native Instruments Komplete, Session Horns and some others
U He Zebra 2
Alchemy
Addictive Drums
Many others

various guitars and amplifiers

At a gig in Los Angeles 2013

Here is the Abbas Premjee catalogue of royalty-free music / production music tracks composed for Shockwave-Sound.

Here’s a video of Abbas performing on the Mohan Veena instrument:

Abbas Premjee was interviewed by Bjorn Lynne, who is also the founder and manager of Lynne Publishing and Shockwave-Sound.com

New Stock Music highlights for September 2017

We hope you’re well and that you’re working on some great projects. Here at Shockwave-Sound we have – as ever – been busy with developing new albums and tracks of Stock Music, now available for immediate licensing and download.

Action Thriller, Vol. 8:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/753/action-thriller-vol-8
12 aggressive, tension filled blockbuster tracks for thrillers, armed conflict, special operations and more.

Christmas Choir, Vol. 1:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/757/christmas-choir-vol-1
It’s not quite Christmas yet, but it’s a great time to work on Christmas projects. We hired a small Welsh choir and recorded 19 favourite Christmas carols.

Relaxation & Meditation, Vol. 9:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/752/relaxation-meditation-vol-9
Introspective, relaxing, soothing and reflecting tracks for yoga, relaxation, chilled “me-time”, or for use in reflective, ambient media.

The 1950’s and 60’s, Vol. 3 :

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/759/the-1950-s-60-s-vol-3
11 fun and charming retro tracks that will take you and your project back to the golden era of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Tracks of Inspiration, Vol. 9:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/758/tracks-of-inspiration-vol-9
11 tracks with an inspirational, motivating and heartening/uplifting feel. Build communities and build futures to these tracks.

Planet Apocalypse, Vol. 9:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/756/planet-apocalypse-vol-9
Tracks to help illustrate a dystopian future, perhaps a dark future, otherworldly dangers and bleak horizons….

Feelgood Trax, Vol. 21:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/755/feelgood-trax-vol-21
A collection of uplifting, energizing, happy and motivating tracks, with elements from pop, rock, electronica and folk.

Easy Days, Vol. 5:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/754/easy-days-vol-5
Easy-going tracks with a natural flow and a care free, trouble free approach. Great for use in media or on-hold.

This is not a complete representation of all the new music we’ve released since our previous newsletter. We’re always busy releasing new tracks and recording new projects. Not all of our tracks end up on CD-collections either.

With all of our “CD collections” (as above), each track can also be licensed individually. Just click on the track title in the audio player at the bottom of the page, and you will be taken to that track’s individual track page, where you can license the track or any sub-version of it.

Please remember to “Like” our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/swsound/. And if you have any questions, issues, suggestions etc., please get in touch with us through the Contact page on our site. We are here and always happy to hear from you.

All the best from all of us at Shockwave-Sound.

Royalty-Free Christmas Carols Choir

Royalty-Free Christmas Carols Choir

Anybody who’s been working in media production for a while, whether it be TV commercials, corporate presentations, videos, greeting cards or what ever the platform, will know the feeling of working on a Christmas project in high summer. It feels a little odd, but there’s no better time for it. And here at Shockwave-Sound, we spent some of our summer working on a really wonderful new project; a collection of 19 beautiful Christmas songs, sung and recorded exclusively for us by the Bobby Cole Chamber Choir, from Wales UK.

Here at Shockwave-Sound, we spent some of our summer working on a really wonderful new project; a collection of 19 beautiful Christmas songs, sung and recorded exclusively for us by the Bobby Cole Chamber Choir, from Wales UK.

It was a wonderful project to work on, with such dedicated and talented singers, and working alongside conductor and project manager, Bobby Cole.

There are of course different types and sizes of choirs, and the choir used on this project was a relatively small one, resulting in a nice and intimate choral sound. Besides the 17 choir tracks, the album also features two vocal duets (“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” and “O Holy Night”).

Like all our music, these wonderful recordings of Christmas songs are available to license for use in your own media productions, such as YouTube videos, in-public play, telephone on-hold, TV commercials, online / web projects and more. See our “License” page for full details.

The full album track listing:
  1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing

    Piano keys decorated with golden Christmas decorations, close up

    Christmas music

  2. O Holy Night
  3. The First Noel
  4. We Three Kings
  5. Away in a Manger
  6. 12 Days of Christmas
  7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  8. Joy to the World
  9. O Come All Ye Faithful
  10. Silent Night
  11. Deck the Halls
  12. Once in Royal Davids City
  13. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  14. Good King Wenceslas
  15. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  16. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  17. Jingle Bells
  18. I Saw Three Ships
  19. Auld Lang Syne

As with all our music collections/albums, all tracks are also available to license individually, if you don’t need the whole album. You can just search for the track title in the “Search” box top in the left-hand corner of our website, or click on the track title in the audio player at the bottom of the screen, while a track audio preview is playing.

We hope that some of you will find this album suitable for use in your projects, and we hope that you’ll enjoy it. Here is a link to the album:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/757/christmas-choir-vol-1

August 2017 new royalty-free music selections

August 2017 new royalty-free music selections

It’s been almost two months since the last time we sent out one of these newsletters, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve been lazy. 🙂 Okay, we took a couple of weeks of summer chill-out, but for the most part, we have been working on our music catalogue, in order to be able to provide you with the best stock music available, carefully curated and produced to the highest standards. Here is just a small selection of our latest additions:

Sweet & Flowery, Vol. 1:
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/736/sweet-flowery-vol-1
The music here is all about candy, soda, cute little kids and summery fun.


Fantasy Worlds, Vol. 15:
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/737/music-collection-fantasy-worlds-vol-15
The “Fantasy Words” series is some of our most popular and powerful music, suitable for grand adventures and grave dangers, in an adventure or fantasy setting.


Classical Chamber Strings, Vol. 2:
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/738/music-collection-classical-chamber-strings-vol-2
A live performing string quartet, playing 16 of the most famous and loved classical pieces by Händel, Mussorgsky, Bach, Brahms and more – recorded live in the studio.


Classical Favorites, Vol. 7:
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/739/music-collection-classical-favorites-vol-7
16 more timeless, classical jewels by Mendelssohn, Haydn, Strauss, Grieg, Mozart and more – with a full, large orchestra.


Vacations & Fun, Vol. 2:
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/740/music-collection-vacations-fun-vol-2
Uplifting and refreshing sounds with a sense of adventure, exploration, fun and discovery.


Dark Cues, Vol. 10:
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/741/music-collection-dark-cues-vol-10
15 tracks of cold, dark, eerie and disturbing music for horror flicks, thrillers, mysterious tales…


Emotional Underscores, Vol. 15:
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/stock-music-collection/742/music-collection-emotional-underscores-vol-15
Music to tug at the heartstrings: These subtle, tasteful, fragile and reflective pieces lend themselves perfectly to stories on the human condition.


This is in no way a complete representation of all the new music we’ve released since our previous newsletter. These are just a few highlights. 🙂 We hope you enjoy them.

With all of our “CD collections” (as above), each track can also be licensed individually. Just click on the track title in the audio player at the bottom of the page, and you will be taken to that track’s individual track page, where you can license the track or any sub-version of it.

Please remember to “Like” our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/swsound/. And if you have any questions, issues, suggestions etc., please get in touch with us through the Contact page on our site. We are here and always happy to hear from you.

All the best from all of us at:
Shockwave-Sound.com

Writing good descriptions and keywords for your stock music tracks

Writing good descriptions and keywords for your stock music tracks

This article is meant for the many talented and wonderful music composers / artists who regularly submit music for publishing by Shockwave-Sound.
One thing that we all have in common is that we want our music to be heard, licensed, and used in media. Media producers these days are looking for music for a wide variety of different projects; from casual games, video games, little YouTube clips, amazing nature videos, up to full production feature films and TV commercials.
How do media producers (customers) find the music they need? There are millions of tracks out there. Some are great, some not that great. But even if your track is really great, what good is that, if your track just disappears in an ocean of other tracks — or even worse, in a soup of mediocre tracks presented on a page with annoying titles and bad descriptions?
Making headway as a composer/artist, producer, contributor of music tracks to the music licensing business, relies on spending a little bit of thought into how your tracks are presented to potential listeners, before they have even heard the first note. From the very title of the track, through to the on-screen description and the behind-the-page Keywords that make up the track’s ability to be found in user searches, musicians these days are forced to not only be good at writing and producing music – but also to understand the basic psychology of customers looking for music tracks.
Let’s start with…

Track descriptions

Too braggy:

“This feel-good dance track will have you going in no time! Packed with energy and loaded with awesome sounding synths, this is a really great energy super-pack that will really get your audience going! Huge drums kick and drive behind sizzling layers of synths and bass. This track will be suitable for lots of different media projects!”

If you’re writing like this, you are spending too much energy on trying to make this a really great description and trying to convince people reading it that it’s the right track for them. With a good track, the music will brag enough for itself – you don’t have to brag in the description. Instead, be neutral, short and to the point: “This electronic dance track has a high level of positive energy throughout. Feelgood / Dancing / Celebration”. THAT IS ENOUGH. 🙂

Too specific:

“Imagine yourself on the white beaches of a paradise tropical island, with a cocktail drink in your hand and the sun setting behind the ocean waves….”

Don’t try to weave exact images for the readers, because you are only distracting the customer/user from the possibility of imagining this piece of music in their own production. By writing something like the above, you are setting your music in connection with a very specific visual image, and this image will 99.999% certainly not be the scene that the customer needs a music track for. So you are in a way excluding your music from being imagined inside the scene that the customer is actually looking for a track to go with. Instead of the above, just write “A romantic track with a sense of relaxation and natural beauty. Hint of tropic / island paradise.” This way, you are leaving it open for the user/reader to imagine the track within their scene – not yours.

Too descriptive:

“This track starts with a simple choir melody. Then the strings join in and play in unison with the choir. Then some big drums start pounding and after a while they rise in intensity. The energy then drops and a mystical harp starts to play. Then the drums come back in and start to play a faster rhythm…”

Well, you get what I’m trying to show here. This is a description that quite literally explains and describes what the track does as it goes along, and it’s just no good. There’s no point to this. I mean, if something very drastic happens at a certain point in the track, you are allowed to mention it. For example, at the end of the description you can add one sentence such as this: “The intensity picks up and reaches a climax at about 1:30.”

Examples of good descriptions:

“Quirky and humorous, yet hard hitting Hip Hop piece, with cheeky samples, big beats and cool cuts.”

“Modern and uplifting indie soundtrack piece, with airy wordless vocals and positive strings. Builds strength and power to a rousing finish. World fusion feel.”

“An uplifting pop-rock track with multiple guitars, drums, bass and subtle piano melodies and a very slight country feel. Inspiring / Heartening / Motivational.”

As you can tell from the above examples of good descriptions, actually, these are easier to write than the more fanciful and flamboyant descriptions that some of you are trying to write. Keep it simple. Keep it neutral. Short, to the point. Notice at the end of the last example, it’s not even a sentence. You can add something like this to the end of your description: “Inspiring / Heartening / Motivational.” If you feel that you simply want to describe the track with a few more words than you have written, but you don’t wish to actually write any more full sentences. I often do it like that. Here’s another example:
“Pop / Drum’n Bass track with a reflective synth and piano heavy track with a fast, uptempo feel. Light and springy. Soft, but also active. Dreamy, Heavenly, Positive.”  — Note the additional three descriptive words added at the end, after the full sentences are done.

Keywords:

Please supply at least 30 different keywords / key phrases for each track.
After we receive the materials from you, we here at Shockwave-Sound will also add to these. We spend 5-10 minutes listening carefully to the track and write down everything we can think of, that you haven’t already written. We then end up with a keywords / key phrases field that’s the result of two people trying to think of everything that customers will search for, when it will make sense for them to find this track — and usually the result is pretty good.

Don’t list common instrument names in the keywords field

Even if your track contains guitar, bass, drums, synth etc., do not write “Drums, Guitar, Synth” etc. into your Keywords field. There is no point. There are 20,000 tracks and nearly all of them contain drums, synth, bass, etc. There is no chance that a customer will come to the website, type “bass” into the search field on the track, and this will bring up your track, which turned out to be the perfect track for the customer because he searched for “bass” and your track contains bass. Try to “think like the customer” a little bit and imagine what you would search for, if this track is what you’re looking for. It’s not going to be “bass” or “guitar”.
You can write instrument names into the keywords field if the track is truly defined by the sound of that one instrument. An example of this can be “hang drum” which has a very specific sound, or perhaps “bagpipes” or “didgeridoo”. These are special instruments which, conceivably, a user could come to the site and make a search for. And even then, don’t include it in the keywords if it’s only just used in the background, as part of the overall orchestration of the track. The only case in which it will be right to bring up your track in the search result after a customer has searched for “didgeridoo” is if your track really features the didgeridoo, prominently. Because somebody who comes and makes a search for “didgeridoo” is actually looking for a music track where the didgeridoo is very dominant.

Don’t just copy your keywords from one track to the next

Most of you will submit a batch of tracks that are a bit different, and even though you’ve found a few keywords that you think are nice (like “corporate”, “advertise”, “beauty”, “background”), don’t just automatically include these with every track. Consider each one for every track and consider if it’s suitable for that track. I mean, the entire concept of searchable keywords will simply fall apart if “advertising” is added as a keyword to every single track. What point is there then, in anybody searching for that keyword?
The only circumstance in which we accept keywords just being copied from one track to the next is if you have worked on a batch/collection of tracks which really are very similar. For example, we hired you to produce a collection of deep-house tracks. All have exactly the same mood and feel. In this case we will accept some “copied” keywords fields.

Don’t forget to include alternate forms of your keywords

If you write “Motivating”, don’t forget to also include “Motivational”. If you include “Inspiring”, don’t forget to also include “Inspirational” and “Inspired”. Same with Happy -> Happiness. Joy -> Joyful. Cheery -> Cheerful -> Cheer -> Cheery. Celebration -> Celebrate -> Celebratory. Victory — also include “Victorious”. And so on. Some “combined words” will be spelled in one word by some users, but in two words by others, so include both. Examples of this will be “Feelgood, Feel good, Carefree, Care free, Lighthearted, Light hearted”. And so on.

Feel free to include “music” after some of the keywords

Some customers come along and they do searches like: “feelgood music”. This will not be found if you simply have “feelgood” in your keywords. So, within reason, feel free to include something like this:
“feelgood, feelgood music, dancing, dance music, exciting, excited, exciting music, pumped, pumped music”. If somebody comes along and searches for one of these words with “music” after it – in this example, maybe somebody searches for “exciting music” – your track will be found. Use it.
Conclusion
I hope this has been helpful. We’ve all seen stock music websites with an “open for all” track upload and track configuration policy — where anybody, amateur or professional, English speaking or not, can just upload their own music, provide their own description, and it just goes out on the site, in front of customers. It’s like taking any musician off the street (talented as he may well be!) and put him behind the counter in your store, in charge of presenting products to customers. Madness. 🙂
Shockwave-Sound.com is not such an open, “free for all” type of place. Everything that goes out in front of our customers here is actually checked, heard, descriptions read and corrected, keywords looked and and added to as needed. Having said that, we too require our composers/artists to submit Descriptions and Keywords (along with BPM tempo and writer information) along with their track submissions. And the better content you can deliver — musically and description wise — the more sales you will achieve.
Good luck!