I grew up in New Zealand and now live in the US writing for trailers, TV shows, games and films.
Frequently Asked Questions:
-- Where can I buy your music?
I have an album called 'Genesis' up on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Google and BandCamp. The album has 27 tracks from trailers and films I've worked on.
Here are some of the links:
CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markpetrie
Bandcamp: (hi res files) http://markpetrie.bandcamp.com/album/genesis
-- 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:
This is usually ok:
Non-monetized, non-commercial YouTube videos.
This is not ok:
- Monetized videos (the music will get the video flagged for a copyright dispute)
- if you're advertising something commercial, or using the music within anything that has the potential to generate money
Just to be clear: I can't give anyone formal authorization to use my music for free. If YouTube is asking for it (which usually happens if you're trying to monetize), then it's probably best that you don't use the track.
-- More details on using my music:
If you plan on monetizing a video, or are working on something you're getting paid for, or are advertising something that could one day make money, you really need to get a formal 'license' (paying the owner of the music for the legal right to use it and to be whitelisted on YT). If you don't, you'll probably get an automatic claim from the publisher of the music on your video. This means you'll be unable to monetize the video, and you'll be taking the chance that the publisher will find out you didn't pay them for the commercial use of the track (uh oh).
If you want permission to use a track, by all means get in contact with the publisher / library that owns it. Unfortunately, most music libraries (especially ones focused on trailers) don't cater to low budget projects - they might not even reply to your request unless you can afford $500 or more for a license. To find their contact info, I usually list their contact info in the track description on SoundCloud. You can also google their name, or if you can't find them, contact me through SoundCloud or Facebook and I'll pass their info along.
My solution for low/no budget productions - I recently launched a website where you can immediately download music that you can license for less than $45 per track. The albums work out to be less than $10 per track.
I even have a lot of music on there for free.
Here's the website where you can license music for professional projects and YouTube partner accounts (and even get some for free): www.royaltyfreekings.com/
You won't find the latest trailer music I've done - but there is a lot of action, comedy, acoustic, jazz, dramatic and some epic music there.
Note: buying any music from iTunes / CDBaby etc. is just for listening purposes only - you're not actually getting a license to use the music in a project.
-- What software do you use?
I use Logic. For an epic trailer track there are about 100 - 120 virtual instrument tracks (including several different orchestral libraries, a dozen perc libraries, 3-4 choir libraries, maybe 5-10 synths depending on the genre), along with EQ, compression and reverb on most of them.
-- How do I get into writing for trailers?
High end trailer music is one of the toughest things for a composer to produce. The music is deceptively simple, with relatively uncomplicated harmony and melodies, but to keep it fresh and modern, a composer needs to find ways to use basic musical building blocks in a way that isn't cliched or dated. In addition to that challenge, the level of expectation for the 'sound' or production value of trailer music is huge, you could argue that trailer music has to sound as good or better than blockbuster film music. Less than half of the work that goes into producing trailer music is composition, the rest is making the music sound fresh, huge and real. It's an entirely different skill set to purely writing music, but just as important.
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 music specifically for trailers.
I would suggest to a beginner composer, to set their sights a little lower for a while, as 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, finish what you start, and constantly compare your music and production value to similar work by established composers.
Writing for companies that supply music for TV shows and commercials would be a great start. Most libraries will take your music, but won't pay upfront, while a few still do (your music has to be valuable to them though). 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, write when you don't have to. It will pay off in the long run - your future self (and family) will thank you.
Once you think your production skills are ready for trailers, compare yourself to the established guys (Really Slow Motion, TSFH, Audiomachine, Immediate Music etc) and if you're certain your stuff stands up to theirs, go for it!
Mark Petrie Composer’s tracks