The Future Outlook of Media Music for Composers

Question

Write an essay on the future outlook of media music for composers.  Some topics you discuss may include the following: 

The changing social media landscape and how that impacts career strategy for composers.

Streaming music and future of public performance royalties. (If most composers maintain a “comfortable” lifestyle due to their Pro royalties, and if those royalties are gradually going away due to the streaming music model…what does that say about the future viability of the profession of being a media composer?)  Or…is this entire premise completely wrong?

The importance of developing a brand. How much does successful branding play a role in getting hired on a project?

What a composer is worth?  How much can one charge for their services?  Why is there such a vast compensation difference for composers essentially all doing the same job?

The differences between traditional “employee” work, as seen in most unionized Entertainment industry jobs and the entrepreneurial /  “independent contractor” job of a media composer. 

The impact and influence of technology on the viability of someone making a successful living as a media composer.

Sample paper

The Future Outlook of Media Music for Composers

Media music has been experiencing a series of evolution after the sound synchronization breakthrough was recorded in the late 1920s. Since then, media music composition has been given high level of attention, with majority of film composers focusing on producing unique and highly sophisticated music to enhance their marketability. However, this is not without facing a number of challenges that range from change of technology to growing level of competition in the market, to an extent of some composers offering free services. Technological change is one of the factors influencing film music composition and dynamic changes in the music industry. Film composers are currently utilizing the real instruments to enhance and support their synthetic sound.  This may be not be needed tomorrow to satisfy the audience needs, especially since most of the audiences may not be able to differentiate between synthetic and real sound. Technology advancement is likely to enhance democracy in the composition act. New technology comes with new and endless chances to generate new sounds via new composition methods. The modern technology is thus anticipated to play a great role in changing media music composition dynamics. It is also expected to contribute a great deal in molding the film music composition future. This paper discusses the future outlook of the media music composers.

The Changing Social Media Landscape and How That Impacts Career Strategy for Composers

The world is experiencing extensive use of the internet and mobile devices to access social media platforms and network. Social media refers to the collection of applications that comprise of collaborative projects, blogs, multimedia sharing sites, and social networking sites. The growth and expansion of social media use has highly been associated to the growth of internet coverage in both developed and developing nations, and extensive use of smartphones across the globe. Based on 2018 statistics, there are over four billion individuals around the globe using the internet. Among them, over three billion individuals are said to use social media every month, with 90% of these individuals accessing their platforms of choice via mobile devices (Datareportal, 2019).  Social media is used for different purposes by different people. Some use it just for social networking, sharing with friends and relatives and advancing social network. On the contrary, there is a very large group of individuals who use social networks to market their businesses. Most organizations have considered opening social network page or platform to interact with their customers, especially through sharing information on new products or services advancement, or getting customers feedback. In other cases, individuals have taken into using social network to market their skills, talents, brand or their own products. This has highly made it easier for majorities to access the market and to attract a considerable number of audiences, compared to how the situation was before. This has highly enhanced growth of upcoming professionals with little market command, or those working alone and not under any organization or registered company.

The use of social media for marketing has been highly embraced in the music industry. With invention of video attachment in normal social media accounts such as YouTube, most upcoming composers are trying to produce their work without following the normal procedures followed in traditional production of music. This helps in cutting production expenses and increasing the chances of easy marketing of personal music skills and talent to the targeted audience. YouTube is one of the most extensively used social media platform in the world. YouTube is currently said to have more than 1.8 billion users each month, becoming the second highly used social media from Facebook that contain over two billion users. This increases the chances of modern music composers using YouTube to stream their music, a step that offers them a chance to reach their targeted audience. With this regard, social media is perceived as an important element in the future changes in the media music composition, by eliminating the complexity initially experienced in music composition and production, especially for beginners (McAndrew & Everett, 2015).

The Importance of Developing a Brand and Brand Success Role in Getting Hired On a Project

Brand development refers to the process of strengthening and creating the professional identification that define what one does. Brand represents a contemporary product features and characteristics that are unique and identifiable with a certain product or talent. Modern products or skills are only known by use of their brand. Brand stands for the perceptions of the consumers and the product sentiment and performance. It is therefore important for any individual to build his or her brand, with intention of making it intensely known and identifiable in the market. Music composers should focus on developing him or herself as a brand in the market. To do this, a composer must define him or herself as a unique brand with unique features that are only related to him or her. This can include the piece style where one gets into the market with a unique composition style that is hard to be copied and that defines a specific individual. The unique feature can also include creativity and high level of flexibility in ones composition among other features. These features play a great role in identifying a brand and in enhancing its marketability (Keller, 2009).

Another aspect that determined brand development and marketability is the brand strategy. This includes how one selects the brand name, brand logo, and brand slogan and the strategies used to introduce the brand into the market. Brand name, logo and slogan should play a great role in marketing the brand. The name should be attractive, easy to remember and somehow associated with the composer style. Brand development also includes using effective brand marketing strategy. A composer should be able to identify the targeted customers; films directors and producers, and consider using marketing strategies that will reach them. Some of the strategies include offering free composition as portfolio, opening webpage to offer parts of their products, having YouTube streams, working as a composer assistance where one can get chances of meeting more producers and directors under a famous composer, and maybe get a chance to sneak their portfolio. Targeting small productions that can easily take free services can also be used as a marketing strategy and brand development, among other strategies (Kayser, 2013).

Brand success is highly measured by the level of acceptability and demand in the market. A strong brand is likely to be loved by its targeted customers, and hence it is likely to be highly successful. Once a brand is successful, it is quite easy to sell the brand. In this case, a composer with a strong brand is highly likely to secure jobs, projects and contracts in the market without struggle. Such composers are highly likely to have a higher bargaining power in terms of payment. Successful brand in film composition is considerably expensive, since it is of high quality. This means it has a higher competitiveness in the market, and it is always likely to be sourced by directors of big projects that focus on quality. There is a high association between brand success and ability to secure jobs as a music film composer. It is therefore important for future music composers to focus on building their brand to make a strong brand, to be able to gain market dominance in this competitive field.

What a Composer is Worth?  How much can One Charge for their Services?  Why is there Such a Vast Compensation Difference for Composers Essentially All Doing the Same Job?

Music composer worth varies from one composer to another based on individual’s quality of compensation or brand strength. Majority of upcoming composers offer their services for free. This makes it hard for composers with low quality music or upcoming composers to secure a well-paying contract. In most cases, the payment varies based on individual experience, where those with high experience get a chance to secure well-paying projects compared to newbies. In addition to this, quality plays a great role in salary quotation of an individual composer. Famous composers with strong legacy in their music composition can charge higher than other composers with the same level of experience in terms of year of operations but without high performance legacy. Composers with unique style that is highly liked in the industry or that can fit in vast majority of films are in high demand in the market. This gives them a chance to have a higher price per minute of finished music bargaining power than replaceable composers. In addition, creative composers who are highly flexible, and easily introduce different styles to fit different scenes and still manage to maintain high quality are also highly marketable (UNIDO, 2013).

Based on the above discussed factors, composer worth varies greatly in this industry. In a normal lineup, their price varies from 50$ to $1000 per minute of complete music. However, the compensation of those with strong brand and legacy in the market varies greatly. Their pricing is way above the normal defined range, with some receiving tens of thousands for a single minute of complete music. This means, different composers can have different worth based on their content, skills, level of experience, creativity, style, level of development in the market, and directors’ trust in their ability to give quality music at any given time, in any given situation. The worth also varies based on individuals’ ability to market their skills. Those that are good in marketing their skills are likely to fetch better deals than those that are not able to market their brand.

The Differences between Traditional “Employee” Work and the Entrepreneurial or “Independent Contractor” Job of a Media Composer

The traditional employee work centers on establishing a standard working condition and compensation for different professionals working in the entertainment industry, based on individual qualification and level of experience. This is mostly enhanced by formation of unions that ensure that there are laws that dictates on professionals working condition, employment and dismissal terms, promotion, salary provision and salary addition, as well as workers disputes resolution in their place of work. On the other hand, independent contract job involves building one’s brand with the aim of commanding the market. Entrepreneurs focus on self-development to gain a high competitive advantage in a manner that they can command a high level of compensation, way beyond what is set in a traditional set up (Fim-Musicians.org, 2016).

The main difference between the traditional employee and the entrepreneurial or independent contractor is that, the latter always focus on self-improvement, to enhance their level of payment, while those in a traditional setup can only follow the set promotion and salary increment laws. In additional to this, entrepreneurial or independent contractors bargain for their pricing based on their level of performance. This creates a great difference in the operability of the two, and the levels of earning. Those in independent contract always focus on creating legacy and strong brand name to increase their chances of being rehired or re-contracted. On the contrary, those in unions or permanent employment only work as a routine to get their monthly pay. This limits their level of growth and development, as well as their ability to adapt the use of new technologies to enhance their competitiveness.

Composers in traditional form of employment are permanent workers with high job security and guaranteed salary, while those in entrepreneurial are in a business with high level of uncertainty. Entrepreneurs’ ability to remain in business is highly determined by their brand image in the market, quality of their compensation and their price competitiveness. Destruction of one’s brand image can result to lose of business. They thus invest a lot in protecting their brand image, and in improving their quality of performance, to improve their worth. The current high competition in the industry gives those entrepreneurial composers a higher chance to survive in the industry in the future, compared to those in traditional employment. This is due to the fact that as entrepreneurs try to remain competitive, they get to learn and to embrace technological changes taking place in their industry today. Those in traditional employment however do not put extra efforts to remain viable in the market as entrepreneurial composers do (Fim-Musicians.org, 2016).

The Impact and Influence of Technology on the Viability of Someone Making a Successful Living as a Media Composer

The world has been experiencing technology advancement in the last few decades. This is still anticipated to continue in the future, especially with regard to development of apps that focus on life enhancement in different sectors.  Technology has made life easier, especially for young composers who are trying to introduce themselves in the market. With the new technology, young and broke composers can use free available media such as YouTube to stream their performance and release it in social media. This creates a likelihood of getting customers to appreciate and endorse their work and talents, creating a chance for future employment. Technology has highly enhanced marketing and individual introduction in the market. It has also made it easier for known and experienced composers to expand their market to international level. With internet and social media, composers of all levels get a better chance to market their abilities, talents and styles, increasing their visibility in the market. Technology also widens ones market, increasing chances of being hired (McAndrew & Everett, 2015). However, this only happen to those that are aggressive enough. Technology advancement increases the level of composers visibility in the market and hence the level of competitiveness. Although technology assist in enhancing composers accessibility, it plays little role in enhancing individual composition quality. It is therefore unlikely for technology alone to enhance individual ability to be successful. On the contrary one must have what it takes to produce quality music, and technology will supplement this by enhancing marketability of such individuals.

References

Datareportal. (2019). Digital 2019: global digital overview. Retrieved from https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2019-global-digital-overview

Digital Humans. (2013). The effect of digital & social media on the music industry. Music Panel Interviews from Like Minds. Retrieved from< https://theorganicagency.com/blog/effect-digital-social-media-music-industry/>

Fim-Musicians.org. (2016). The future of work in the media, art & entertainment sector, meeting the challenge of atypical working.  Retrieved from https://www.fim-musicians.org/wp-content/uploads/atypical-work-handbook-en.pdf

Kayser, M. L. (2013). Personal branding secrets for beginners: a short and simple guide to getting started with your personal brand (short and simple series). Blue Ink Publishing. Kindle Edition

Keller, K. L. (2009). Building strong brands in a modern marketing communications environment. Journal of Marketing Communications, 15(2-3), 139-155.

McAndrew, S., & Everett, M. (2015). Music as collective invention: A social network analysis of composers. Cultural Sociology, 9(1), 56-80.

UNIDO. (2013). Creative industries for youth: Unleashing potential and growth. Retrieved from https://www.unido.org/sites/default/files/2013-05/13-81037_Ebook_0.pdf

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