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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!
Dan Morrissey – special Artist feature

Dan Morrissey – special Artist feature

If you’re a regular user of Shockwave-Sound.com you’ve probably seen the name Dan Morrissey (full name Daniel Peter Morrissey) mentioned as the artist and songwriter for many of our tracks. In fact, with 742 tracks in our database at the time of writing, Dan is the most prolific contributor to our stock music catalog and his music spans hard rock, ambient, acoustic, electronic, experimental, light rock / pop-rock and more.

Dan Morrissey photo

Dan was born in Fulham, London England, but grew up in Wallington, Surrey (again, England), where Jeff Beck also lived. An only child, Dan spent his teens and early 20’s working in music copyrighting and motor insurance, and by the time he was 23 he was in various original bands, touring around England and, somewhat remarkably – Turkey.

Dan has played and written with many rock bands through the years, including Fever 103, Raider, Atomgod, Tantric UK and God’s Little Joke. These are not groups that most of us will have heard of, but Dan looks back with joy on these years and on playing gigs along with more famous outfits like King’s X, Filter and Sevendust.

As Dan himself puts it, he is now “just past that age where schlepping around the country in vans and lugging gear” is just beyond him. He does, however still write a lot of amazing music and produces tracks in his own studio.

Dan, in his natural habitat

I caught up with Dan for a talk recently and got the chance to ask him about his life and his music.

– I’ve seen some prolific composers in my time, but you’re quite possibly the musician with the most output I’ve ever known. Is there ever a time when you’re not producing new music? You must be working on something new pretty much all the time, I guess?

Dan: “Music is both a love of mine, a deep passion that I rarely stop thinking about, and – and obsession. My brain whirs deep into the night sometimes, considering this phrase, that beat, this sound, that mixing technique. I sometimes wish I could just switch it off. I rarely stop recording music for longer than 2 days. Then I get an itching to get back to it. If I stop writing for very long, I feel as if water behind a dam is rising and ready to burst out. 


Recently I’ve been branching out into different styles of music, mainly piano based. This means that calluses on my fingers have actually gone a bit soft! But when I get back to playing guitar, I think there will be a tidal wave of new tunes, ready to break out.”


Dan, rockin’ out




– Besides the obvious source of income that the music represents for you, what else does composing music give you, on a more personal level?

“Aside from making a living doing what I love, music is a comfort. Like an old friend. It helps me relax sometimes. Other times it gets me motivated. I feel there are just so many tracks I could write and so little time. When I sit down at my computer, I could write a track in any one of 10 different styles. I have such a large palate of sounds available to me now, it’s great to have such a wide spectrum of options.


Overall, though, writing just keeps me sane and provides an outlet for the machinations of my overactive mind. Sometimes it’s hard to switch off.”

– Do you have any favorite pieces that you’ve written and recorded?

Hmm, though question. It’s very difficult to say which are my favorites. Sometimes I actually forget what I’ve written and only when I listen a year or so later, it all comes flooding back. Often, I can’t quite imagine what inspired it’s creation. It’s almost like it was written by my identical twin in a parallel universe.


For guitar tracks, I’m quite proud of tracks like Sunblade, Incendiary, Nebula, Solar Winds and Forgive. They came out very nicely, I think. You’re never sure of how the tracks will  sound when completed; whether they will summon the spirit or convey the emotion you had wanted them to.


This random method of composition can often help you avoid the kind of chordal and melodic cliches that we fall into on our main instrument. Just from all the years of playing what we enjoy and know we are capable of playing.

A vintage AV Telecaster and a G&L l200 bass

– You’ve obviously written a lot of music that ended up being used in probably thousands of different media projects including films, games, presentations and more. Have you noticed or found some sort of pattern or “typical” criteria, that people are looking for when they look for music for their projects? What do you think people go for, and what makes them choose one music track over the thousands of other tracks available to them?

“I’d say that all my music contains one or more of the following elements – Intensity, beauty, power, space and/or epic grandeur. At least I hope they contain some of those.


I often find that American clients prefer my guitar music to compositions written by their own countryman. Even though I’m playing music influenced by many many american bands, I still manage to impart an English perspective and style to the track. perhaps it’s an element of either snotty English punk attitude or bands like Led Zeppelin that I find I can inject into my compositions.”

– The electric guitar is usually quite a dominant element in your music, and you’re obviously a highly skilled guitarist. But I notice that you also write and produce some music that doesn’t involve guitar at all. What’s the thinking behind that?

“Although I’ve been a guitarist for 30 years now, I learned piano and flute until I was about 13. I was also brought up on classical music, so I do love piano, plucked instruments like the harp and cimbalom, and orchestral strings. I enjoy the textures and the ease with which it’s possible to create simple but emotive phrases. 


Guitar based tracks take a lot more intense internal drive and fiery passion to record. It’s very nice sometimes to just sit down at a keyboard and kinda throw your hands down to see what happens. Beautiful moods and heart wrenching emotions can be created and reflected fairly easily like this, I find.”

An Ibanez JS1000 and a Squier Thinline chambered telecaster

– Let’s say you’re just sitting down to do some work – typically, where do you start? Do you just switch everything on, place the guitar in your lap and start experimenting until some ideas for a melody comes up?

“Yes. I just plug in, go through some guitar sounds on my Kemper amp and see what happens. Or alternatively, get a cool drum groove happening. Usually something will happen within 10 minutes, otherwise I’ll change instruments. If nothing starts evolving fairly quickly, I might stop for a while, for fear of forcing creativity. I am not, fortunately, dogged with writers block very often. I can get something interesting going quite often, and fairly swiftly. 


That’s not to say that everything I record is great. Very far from it. But I feel you have to clear the way of dross for the more inspired music to spring forth in its full glory. Does that make sense? I hope so.

Can you remember the first time you were in touch with Shockwave-Sound.com and if so, do you have any particular memories of that?

I’ve been working with Shockwave-Sound.com for a good while now. You seem to care about and connect with your composers much better than most companies. Most library music companies will treat you like just another number, one of the many thousands, usually. But Shockwave-Sound.com is a nice company to work with. Very personable, enthusiastic, dedicated and efficient. I always appreciate the massive amounts of sheer hard work you put into every project. I’m very honored and happy that you take a deep involvement in my music and give me in-depth feedback. It can be a faceless business we’re in and often, getting our music out there is a thankless task. Shockwave-Sound.com makes this job more rewarding all round, so I’m very grateful for that.

– Thanks for that, Dan! Now, do you also write bespoke music for projects “to order”, or do you now only write for stock music / production music catalogues?

I write for many different projects. Of course, it’s mostly for production music purposes and gets used around the world for an array of different projects – from beer ads and martial arts troupes, to talk sport radio, motorsports, extreme sports, magicians’ sites and “Babestation“, of all things!


Some times I get asked to write little pieces, given a specific brief and also record and co-write songs and mix vocals for a fairly successful Texas management company, for the various up and coming artists he has under his wing. These are mainly pop-rock acts from the USA and Australia.


I love instrumental music and most of what I do is exactly that, but songs are really where my heart lies. Working with vocals adds another dimension of power and meaning to music. I’m very lucky to still be able to do this, with my recording project God’s Little Joke, despite the fact that we don’t tour any more.

God’s Little Joke. Dan Morrissey fourth from left.

– I’m guessing you have a few different guitars, do you want to say a bit about them, and which one(s) is/are your favourite axe(s)?

I have a Vintage AV2 Icon Telecaster i e-tuning. It has a very low pickup output and thus great tone. Very responsive to fingers and picking velocities. It’s great for country and blues stuff.


My workhorse guitars are a Dean Doltero Braziliaburst and a Squier chambered Thinline-style Tele for drop D chunky rock tracks. A Walden acoustic which has a great resonant, room-filling sound. An Ibanez JS1000 for when I’m in the mood for some improvised lead playing – it just makes me play better, somehow. It’s also the only guitar I have with a tremolo arm.


And last, but not least, a PRS SE Clint Lowery for super detuned, chuggy metal tracks. Personally I don’t like 7-strings guitars, so the SE plays fantastically in that lower register. A brilliant guitar for the money spent.

Traben Neo Ltd bass, PRS SE Clint Lowery and Dean Soltero Braziliaburst

– Can you tell us a little bit about your recording setup, e.g. which sequencer / digital audio workstation you’re using to record and edit your stuff, and which instruments / plugins / virtual instruments / keyboards you use most in your work?

I use Logic 9, an RME Fireface 400 audio interface, and Yamaha HS80 monitors, which are absolutely fantastic. By far the best I’ve heard in their price range. I also use a Focusrite ISA One preamp and a myriad of software plug-ins. Lots of Waves plugs, mainly for compressors and mixing vocals, when I need to, Spitfire Audio harp and orchestra samples, really fantastic and unique. Sample Logic, Soundiron and 8dio stuff, which all work in Native Instruments Kontakt Player. I also use some Rob Papen and UH-E synths and Spectrasonics RMX and Trillian plugins. 


Izotop provide my mastering software. Ozone 7 is a great tool for us non-mastering engineers, with which to polish up and add punch and a pro sheen to the tracks.


One of my best buys from recent years is the Kemper profiling amp. An astounding and amazing piece of kit. Truly a wonder of modern technology! Through this wonderful object I can obtain the sound of over a thousand different amplifiers. And it takes up a great deal less space! When I sold my treasured ’82 Marshall JCM 800 split channel head, I went to a JMP guitar preamp… but then came the Kemper and I’ve not looked back since.


You gotta have some pedals!

– What about your Piano sounds; where do you typically get the samples/sounds for that?

For piano sounds, recently I use Native Instruments-The Giant, 8dio’s 1990 Prepared Piano, Native Instruments – Una Corda, and Soundiron’s Emotional Piano.

– With all that time spent writing and recording music, do you ever get a chance to simply listen to music?

I’ve noticed that the time I have to actually listen has badly diminished over the last 5 years or so. It’s a bit tragic really, but I feel I have so much music to write. Some times I just have to make myself stop, relax and absorb someone else’s creative spark. My CD and record collection has gone from about a thousand vinyl and a thousand CD’s, right down to about 300 CD’s now. I realized I was hardly touching most of them and thus wouldn’t miss them that much.


Mostly, I listen to music in the car. It’s a great way to be able to go on a musical journey whilst also on a geographical one! They enhance and compliment each other very nicely, I’ve found.

– What are some of your favorite artists?

Hmm, so many influences. I suppose, in some kind of rough chronological order, I’d say Beethoven and Rossini from my childhood and the influence of my parents.


Then came Abba, Queen, XTC, Blondie, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, UFO, early Whitesnake, Rush, Aerosmith, Toto, Thin Lizzy, Jourrney, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, and many, many hair metal bands who are often unlistenable in this day and age!


Then on to Pearl Jam, King’s X, Alice in Chains, Killing Joke, Quicksand, Nine Inch Nails, Our Lady Peace, Flyleaf and Imogen Heap. And perhaps the top of the pile – Tool, a truly terrifying band. I just hope they start recording again soon. They’ve been away far too long.


Tool, one of Dan’s favorites and inspirations



Some of my favorite guitar players would include George Lynch, Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Joe Satriani, Gary Moore, Neal Schon and Steve Lukather. But I admire thousands of players, I really could go on and on.

– Finally before I leave you alone and let you get back to your recording, Dan — Would you have any advice or guidance for a young music writer just starting out on a long journey, trying to make a living on writing music? Any do’s and dont’s?

  • I’d say – Listen to all sorts of bands and music, even if it’s just once. 
  • Take on board what other musicians tell you, and if you can find a mentor, listen hard to what that person says. 
  • Always go with your heart. 
  • Learn to play what you want to hear.
  • Practice until your hands and your head hurt.
  • Play along with anything that comes on to your TV: Commercials, jingles, soundtracks. It’s all good training for the ears. 
  • Never make music just to please others – you’ll lose your soul.
  • Gain as much experience as humanly possible.
  • Try to find a balance in your playing, between technique and gut instinct, and you might find yourself half way to brilliance.
  • Commercial success is not what makes a musician great… or happy.

Thank you for those words of wisdom, Dan! And thanks for taking the time to speak with us. It’s been a pleasure.

For those who wish to check out the work of Dan Morrissey, you can hear all of his available production music catalog here: https://www.shockwave-sound.com/browse/artist/dan-morrissey

Dan also has 21 solo albums out for sale via CDBaby.com. Here are just 4 of them:

Four of Dan Morrissey’s solo albums, available via CDBaby.com
Classical Piano Favorites Vol. 2 – and why it’s so great!

Classical Piano Favorites Vol. 2 – and why it’s so great!

Classical Piano Favorites Vol. 2 (2016)

Dear customers, visitors, passers-by and everyone who might stumble across our site today..

Today at Shockwave-Sound.com we released our new album Classical Piano Favorites, Vol. 2. I just wanted to take a moment to write a few words about this album because I feel that this is not “just another classical piano album”. These days, with all the technology we have available and all of the amazing sounding samples and virtual instruments, it’s pretty easy for anybody to obtain sheet music of classical piano masterpieces, enter them into the computer, and export this as a pretty decent sounding recording of the piece in question.
However, we feel that this isn’t really the way to go, and especially so with calm and soothing classical piano works, because we feel that it’s vital to have the pieces performed by a human with some insight, some experience, some touch and sensibility as to what this beautiful music really is about and what it means to us.
This is why, for both of our Classical Piano Favorites Vol. 1, and Vol. 2, we decided to seek out the services of Vadim Chaimovich, a renowned and accomplished concert pianist. Vadim is a prize winning musician, originally from Lithuania, who studied the piano from the age of 5 and is today a popular concert pianist, traveling the world and playing to audiences’ great delight.
We were lucky enough to get Vadim on board with us, and for these projects he hired an amazing grand piano and had it tuned up especially for the recording sessions. He rehearsed for weeks and then recorded the album over a period of a few days, with top-of-the-line recording equipment in a pro studio. 
Because, well, if you’re going to do something, why not do it right?! We feel that these amazing compositions by Satie, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Bach, Chopin and many others deserve this kind of treatment from a true connoisseur of classical music.
Listen to the beautiful, unique and touching performances of our “Classical Piano Favorites” albums and we think that you’ll be amazed. Honestly, it’s quite unheard of, that performances and recordings of this quality is made available for “anyone” to license for such low license fees. (Starting from around $30 for a track or $100 for the whole album).
Classical Piano Favorites Vol. 1 (2015)
Mechanical Rights administration and stock music / production music

Mechanical Rights administration and stock music / production music

As I’m writing this article, my target audience is composers / musicians who would like to get into the business of writing music for stock music / production music, and who does not yet fully understand the way in which the administration of your Mechanical Rights through an organization such as GEMA, MCPS, STEMRA etc. basically prevents you from being able to sell / license your music as stock music.

To manufacture a disc that contains music, you need to obtain the Mechanical Rights.

First of all, what are Mechanical Rights administration organizations?

Many composers, at one time or another, decides to join one or more societies or organizations that help them to police and administer their rights as a composer. Such organizations include ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, PRS, MCPS, GEMA, SIAE, BUMA/STEMRA, TONO, APRA and many others.

Some of these organizations administer Performing Rights (meaning your right to some income when your music is performed in public or broadcast on TV/Radio), whilst other organizations administer Mechanical Rights (meaning your right to some income when your music is duplicated on physical media such as DVD, Blu-Ray, CD).

Then there are some organizations that administer both Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights.

Mechanical Rights is where the conflict with stock music / production music happens.Why? Because the license sold by the stock music website / production music library overlaps with the exclusive administration that you have assigned to the Mechanical Rights organization when you joined them as a member.

When a stock music site / production music library sells a track to a customer, they sell a license which allows the customer to put the music in a film/game, and then to go ahead and make physical copies of this film/game. For example, at Shockwave-Sound.com when you buy the Standard License for a track, you may put the music to a film/game and then manufacture up to 5,000 copies of that product. For more than 5,000 copies, you need the Extended License. Most other stock music sites operate with something similar, although perhaps slightly different license configurations. The stock music site sells a license to the customer, which includes mechanical reproduction rights.

The issue here is that, if you are a member of an organization that administers your Mechanical Rights, then that organization has the exclusive administration of your Mechanical Rights, and that organization is the only one that can issue such a license.

With Performing rights this problem doesn’t come up, because the stock music site doesn’t get involved with the performing license. The License that the stock music site sells is a Sync License (the right to put your music to film or other media) and a Mechanical License (the right to reproduce physical copies of that film or other media).

If that film should end up being broadcast on TV or in a cinema, your Performing Rights organization should collect performing royalties for you and you will get these royalties from your Performing Rights organization — but this doesn’t really affect the stock music customer / user in any way, because these royalties come from annually paid blanket license fees that broadcasters pay to the Performing Rights organization in their own country.

To sum up, if you are a member of an organization that administers your Mechanical Rights, you cannot have your music sold as stock music / production music from Shockwave-Sound.com or from other stock music sites. Any company that sells your track to a customer and thereby allows that customer to manufacture physical copies of your music, is doing so in violation of the exclusive Mechnical Rights administration that you have assigned to the Mechanical Rights organization when you signed the contract with them.

When I first started out in the stock music business, I was both the composer and also the stock music business owner. I was a member of PRS (Performing Rights Society) and MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) which are the UK organization for Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights respectively.

One day I got a telephone call from an Italian customer. She had licensed my music track from my website, used it in a film, had the film put to DVD, manufactured 10,000 copies of that film in a professional DVD pressing plant, and a few weeks later she received a huge invoice from SIAE, the Italian organization who looks after both Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights in Italy. The bill she got was for Mechanical Reproduction Rights for 10,000 copies of my music, and the bill was many times larger than the amount that she had paid me to license the music from my stock music site.

It was this episode that really made me sit up and force myself to learn about these different rights and organizations, and how they affected my ability to license my music as stock music. After a bit of to and from, I believe I managed to talk MCPS into letting the client off the hook so she didn’t have to pay after I explained the whole thing as a misunderstanding to MCPS and SIAE, the Italian rights collections society.

I ended up quitting my MCPS membership but remaining a member PRS. Since then, I’ve had no problem. Since terminating my contract with MCPS, there is no longer any organization that has the exclusive administration of my Mechanical Rights.

  • In USA, I believe all three societies: ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are all Performing Rights based and do not administer Mechanical Rights (somebody correct me if I’m wrong?)
  • In the UK, the organization for Performing Rights is called PRS For Music and the organization for Mechanical Rights is called MCPS. If you are a member of PRS, you may want to check if you also joined MCPS at the same time.
  • In Italy you’re dealing with SIAE and in Germany you have GEMA, and I believe both of these are organizations that take care of both Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights, so really if you are member of SIAE or GEMA, you can’t have your music sold as stock music — although you may be able to sign a special addendum to the Agreement that you have with them, which would make them administer only your Performing Rights, and not your Mechanical Rights – you need to contact GEMA/SIAE to inquire about this.
  • In the Netherlands, I believe BUMA is for the Performing Rights and STEMRA is for Mechanical Rights, so you may want to make sure that you have signed a contract only with BUMA, and not with STEMRA.
  • Sweden, Denmark and Norway each have their own organizations for Performing Rights (STIM, KODA and TONO respectively), but they share one Mechanical Rights organization called Ncb (Nordic Copyright Bureau) which administers Mechanical Rights. So if you want to try to sell your music as stock music, make sure you’re not in Ncb.

If you have specific and confirmed information about similar situations with the organizations in other countries than the ones I have mentioned above, please feel free to comment below. If it’s good info, I will include it here in the main article too.

New version of Shockwave-Sound.com launched today

New version of Shockwave-Sound.com launched today

Dear friends, users, visitors of Shockwave-Sound.com.

This weekend we are launching the newly redesigned Shockwave-Sound website. We hope that you will enjoy using it. The new site features a slick, new design, more modern and perhaps more pleasing to the eye – although, of course, that is a matter of personal preference.

Shockwave-Sound.com new site 2015

More importantly, though, the new Shockwave-Sound.com has functional improvements beyond the purely visual. “Under the hood”, the handling of database queries such as browsing, searching etc. in the music catalogue is better optimized and uses more cache features, which means that everything should be faster, more streamlined.

The new site, compared with the old one, features:

  • Faster browsing and page loading.
  • Faster search, much less load on the server.
  • Fully Adaptive/Flexible design that works well on screens of any size, including tablets, cellphones, etc.
  • No Flash, all HTML5 built.
  • Choose between Standard or Condensed View in all track listings (Condensed view shows less details of each track and a preview sound player for only the “Full track” version of each track).
  • More track sorting options including “Most sold forever” and “Most sold recently”.
  • A simplified and easier accessible Advanced Browse functionality that lets you combine different criteria such as Moods/Emotions, Music Genres, Tempo, Instrumentation and more, to find your perfect track.
  • “Find Similar Tracks” feature which automatically pre-fills the Advanced Browse page for you, to enable you to find more tracks that match several criteria from the track you just heard.
There are many other smaller improvements, which hopefully you will find along the way as you start to use our new site. We hope you enjoy it.

A bit of history

Just for fun, we decided to dig out some pictures of older versions of Shockwave-Sound.com, going back to 2001. Actually, the site itself was started in April 2000, but we don’t have any historical images of the site until February 2001, when the first picture below is from. Looking at the pictures below, you can see that we have pretty much operated with the same core design / look since 2002. That’s 13 years, without a major overhaul of the look and design. I guess it was about time! Although I have to say, that the “2002 design”, made for us at the time by Gert Duinen, combined with the core programming work and database connection created for us in 2005 by Richard Davey, has served us extremely well.
Shockwave-Sound.com, 2001
Shockwave-Sound.com, early 2002
Shockwave-Sound.com, 2003
Shockwave-Sound.com, 2008
Shockwave-Sound.com, 2014