Outlook 2018: The growth of music libraries
Anna Maria Hall
Issue: December 1, 2017

Outlook 2018: The growth of music libraries

Killer Tracks is a leader in production music and a global source for pre-cleared music for film, television, advertising and interactive media. With more than 2,800 active albums from 39 global libraries, the Killer Tracks catalog spans a wide range of genres and features original works from some of the music industry’s most innovative composers, artists and producers. Here, I'd like to address Post’s SWOT subjects and look at our vision for the year ahead.

STRENGTHS: We’ve stepped up our game. Production music used to be called “elevator music.” Not anymore. You will find amazing music in production music libraries. Producers who have worked with big acts like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus now also work with us. At Killer Tracks, we tap into an amazing talent pool of composers, producers and artists. Those people are excited about working in production music. It’s a great revenue stream for them and it enables us to provide our clients with fresh music from top-notch talent.

Our music is specifically written for production. It’s not just a hodgepodge collection of songs on a Website. It was commissioned for our library and written to be easy to edit. That’s important. When people are working on tight deadlines they need music that is editable and consistently mastered. We provide that.

We have a diverse catalog. Some music libraries take whatever comes in. There is a lot of repetition in their catalogs. We listen to our clients and build our catalog around their needs. Some of the albums we create may not license a lot, but they are very important to clients who need them. If you need an Irish jig, we’ve got it. 

We also provide great tools. Score Addiction is our new stem mixing tool. Clients love it. If a client wants to take an instrument out of a track, they can do that right on our Website and download the remixed track into their editing software. It’s an example of a technology we’ve pioneered. It’s all about increasing choice and making things easier for our clients.

WEAKNESSES: There are a lot of newer music libraries out there and the quality of the music they offer can be uneven. It’s a challenge to educate the market about all the options and new business models. Eventually, some of the lower-end players will drop out, as they do in other industries. People gravitate toward consistent quality. 

The varying business models adopted by music libraries can raise copyright issues. It poses a risk to their clients. Some sites will allow anyone to upload music and ownership is not always clear. It’s important for clients to work with a partner that understands copyright law and has a proper screening process. It’s very important to us to ensure that our music is cleared for use. We own almost all of the music in our catalog. That’s a great benefit to our clients as rights issues can be difficult to navigate. That’s our specialty.

OPPORTUNITIES: At no time in history has there been more opportunity for people who are producing content for television, film, advertising and digital. The volume grows every year. On YouTube, an average of five billion videos are watched every day. That represents a huge opportunity for our clients and for us. People are not only producing more, they are working on shorter deadlines. They need an experienced partner to assist them with music. That’s an opportunity for Killer Tracks, as we have a lot of experience with high-volume production.

“We also see opportunities in the shift in viewership from broadcast to the Internet. Big broadcasters are getting into that game and they all now have a digital presence. All these new digital channels include content around the content…behind-the-scenes videos, sneak peeks, etc. All that extra content must be produced and edited, and it all needs music. 

THREATS: There is a lot of noise out there. Some of our competitors are Internet companies that have gone into the music business. We’re a music company that has developed digital tools. Today, technology is as important as the music. We have a saying here: "You can have great music, but if you can’t find it, if you can’t search it, it’s meaningless." Our use of technology has consistently grown in scope and sophistication to help our clients find the great music they are looking for.

OUTLOOK: We expect tremendous growth in social media videos for content and advertising. It could be ‘micro’ short-form (less than :10) and we are providing our clients with shorter cut-down versions of tracks to accommodate them. We anticipate the development of new digital tools to assist production companies with cue sheets needed to deliver television shows to broadcasters. 
We also see improvements in software tools that can make the music search process easier for our clients. Such innovations will provide better and more targeted results for music users.  

Anna Maria Hall is Vice President/Head of Music Licensing at Killer Tracks (killertracks.com) in Santa Monica, CA.