There are a lot of music licensing sites out there – some good, and others… well, not so good. In some cases, stock music sites simply just don’t offer high quality music. These lower-tier sites are often designed to appeal to the corporate world, and usually offer the cheapest solution for anyone looking for a royalty free track. On the flip side, there are sites that have some really great music, but their prices can be very high and they lack the search tools to help filmmakers find the most relevant music for any given project.
That said, Marmoset – a music agency based out of Portland, OR – seems to offer a best of both worlds solution when it comes to finding the perfect music track. Unlike many other licensing sites, Marmoset is truly a full service agency that is comprised of real musicians, which is why they offer a lot more than just the ability to license tracks. For instance, you can work with Marmoset to have a custom score created for your film, or can bring their team on board with your project to work as music supervisors.
As creatives themselves, the musicians and team at Marmoset really understand the mind of a filmmaker, as their site’s functionality has been designed in a way that makes it highly efficient to find the right track.
Picking music from a library can be an extremely frustrating process. I’ve often spent hours, if not full days going through page after page of music results on different websites, only to have to settle for a track that might not have been perfect for my project. This isn’t because good stock music isn’t out there, but because it can be very hard to find.
Most stock websites use very broad terms to help filter their search results, which don’t really help to narrow things down all that much. You’ll choose from lists titled “Ambient” or “Rock”. Essentially catch-all genres that are not specific enough to narrow search results now, leaving you as the filmmaker with the task of having to sift through hundreds (if not thousands) of un-usable tracks.
Marmoset takes a different approach. They have arguably the most intuitive tool for searching a music library that I have ever used. It very much mimics the methodology that might be applied in a meeting with an actual composer. Instead of being faced with a bunch of generic musical categories to search from, you’re faced with this:
This tool lets you filter results in a very unique way. You start by selecting musical qualities (or moods) that may relate to either your character, project, or story. From there, you can further refine your results in the rest of the categories: Energy, arc, length, vocals, instruments, genres, and customizable tracks.
Some of these filters are very powerful. One in particular that I love is the “arc” filter. In this tab, you can choose to find tracks with a steady build, multiple crescendos, a frenetic pace, or several other variables. This is massively helpful, as it not only allows you to find music has the right sound, but also music that matches the pace of your edit. In many ways, this filter replicates your first conversation with a composer, where you are bound to discuss pacing along with mood and genre.
Other stock licensing sites offer some of the same tools, but rarely are they actually implemented this effectively. I’m finding that I have the ability to locate a great track in far less time using this tool set, which is a testament to both the search tool itself, and the quality of music on the platform.
So if you’ve been having a hard time finding the right tracks for you projects, give Marmoset a whirl. It might help to speed up your process and deliver some really great quality results. I’ll leave you with their promo spot below, which outlines their process:
Be sure to check out www.marmosetmusic.com for more info, and let me know what you think.