I grew up in New Zealand and now live in the US writing for trailers, TV, games and film.
-- Where can I buy your music?
I have albums up on CD Baby, iTunes etc as well as Spotify - search for my name and they'll all pop up.
-- Can I use your music for free in a YouTube video?
Thanks for asking! I'm always thrilled to find out someone has taken the time to create a video featuring my music. I very much appreciate the support!
Music licensing companies who own the music are mostly supportive of it, within reason... non-monetized, non-commercial YouTube videos are ok. You might get a '3rd party matched content' notice on some tracks but you're not in any trouble.
-- How do I get into writing for trailers?
High end trailer music is one of the toughest genres for a composer to produce. The music is deceptively simple, with relatively uncomplicated harmony and melodies. To keep it fresh and modern we need to use these usually basic musical building blocks in a way that isn't cliched or dated. On top of that challenge, the level of expectation for the 'sound' (production value) of trailer music is huge...you could argue that trailer music has to sound as good or better than blockbuster film music. a small fraction of the work that goes into producing trailer music is composition, the rest is production - making the music sound fresh, huge and real.
Lots of composers get one side of that equation right, but to really nail the trailer music sound, so that it sounds AUTHENTIC (which I think is the deciding factor whether or not a track gets used), you need to be skilled at both composition and production.
Because of these high expectations, it took me about 7 years of composing full time to get to the level where I was ready to START writing/producing music specifically for trailers. It might not take you that long, but be prepared for years of honing your craft.
To a beginner composer, I would suggest setting their sights a little lower for a while - there are plenty of avenues for making money from music that are far less demanding. What's important is that:
- you write something every day, or at least consistently 5 days a week
- you finish what you start
- you constantly compare your music and production value to that of established composers. This speeds up improvement (if you're listening carefully to the differences between your work and theirs) and helps keep you humble : )
Deadlines are your friend - they force you to do those first two on the list, so writing for companies that supply music for TV and commercials would be a great start. A lot of libraries will take your music, but won't pay upfront, while a few still do (your music has to be valuable to them though).
Important: try to sign exclusive deals ONLY if you get upfront money.
Building a residual income (royalties) is a great way to fund studio /software upgrades (which you need to do often, especially if you want to write for trailers). Having that income stream also allows you to be more picky with gigs. You'll need about 500-800 decent tracks in a handful of well connected libraries to make a living from royalties. If you're regularly writing for indie films where you can keep the rights to all that music, you'll get there in 4-5 years. If you don't have film projects, or someone breathing down your neck for tracks...
Write when you don't have to. This will pay off in the long run - your future self (and family) will thank you.
-- What software do you use?
I use Logic. For an epic trailer track there are about 100 - 120 virtual instrument tracks (made up of several different orchestral libraries, a dozen perc libraries, 3-4 choir libraries, maybe 5-20 synths depending on the genre), along with EQ, compression and reverb on most of them.
Mark Petrie Composer’s tracks