A CREATOR’S STORY

Brett Heatley of HeatleyBros Music

Brett Heatley is a team member of AudioMicro, and the creator of a unique genre of “GamePop” music.  He runs the HeatleyBros YouTube Channel where he promotes his music for ‘free use with credit’ on YouTube, and provides links to purchase the licenses for his music on AudioMicro.com for use outside of YouTube.

Read his story on discovering his unique sound, turning his music and YouTube channel into a brand, and tips you can apply to your own story.

THE GENESIS – INFLUENCES OF MY SOUND

Being the younger sibling in the ’90s didn’t afford me too many options when it came to the music I listened to.  My older sister kept the radio on RnB and pop, and I would watch on as my older brother played through single-player game after single-player game.  I loved my older siblings, and respected and appreciated them. In turn, I fell in love with RnB (Boyz II Men for life) and watching my brother traverse through games like Sonic, Mario, and the Final Fantasy I had ample time to soak in the simple-sounding yet creative soundtracks. Between these two seemingly unrelated genres of music, a seed was planted in my brain that would eventually determine the unique type of music I would later create.

No matter how much older I got, and how many music options the world eventually offered, my love for the music I grew up listening to persisted. RnB advanced and changed, and Video Games left the simple synths for 100-piece orchestras focused more on mood rather than melody.  While I did find new games and artists that carried some of the spirit of the 90’s music I cherished, I still felt there was a sort of musical itch I was no longer able to scratch.

The need to scratch was eventually offset to a degree as I learned how to play the guitar and the piano. I learned songs on the radio and eventually wrote a few of my own. It was fun, but those instruments and songs could never satisfy the array of musical sounds I wanted to hear. I put down those instruments and allowed for life and its responsibilities to take up most of my time.

Years later, I found myself as a senior in college, nervously eating lunch at my apartment, terrified of the fact that I still had no idea what I would do with my marketing degree. My roommate came in and left his new MacBook open on the kitchen table. I was not too familiar with MacBooks and noticed that a program in the corner of the screen had a guitar logo. I ran the mouse over the program and asked my roommate “what’s this ‘Garageband’ program do?”. He began to explain what it was My ears and brain perked up. “You mean to tell me that in that program, I can write out an entire song, bass, drums, chords, melody, and everything, and turn that into an mp3 that I can listen to on your stereo system?”. He confirmed and asked me if I wanted to give it try. I nodded and took the laptop into my room.

I remember him knocking on the door the next morning, wondering if I still had his MacBook with me as he couldn’t find it in his room.  I responded by pressing play on the MacBook, and out of the little speakers came an entire 3:30 minute RnB song, complete with drums, bass, chords, lyrics, melody, stacked harmonies, and retro game synths. He was as amazed as I was, neither of us knew I had it in me. I was instantly hooked, and the fears of graduating without a plan were vanquished, forever.  I wanted to make my own type of music and find work in the music business. 

After I graduated from Florida State, I talked to my sister who lived in LA, told her I wanted to move out there and get into music. She was so excited she flew out to meet me and drove cross-country with me – she’s a great sister.  I soon got settled in LA and started hitting up craigslist for any indie record labels that I could intern at.  A small record label called ‘Accidental Airplay’ reached out and wanted to interview me. We met and gelled really well. I worked for them on many projects over the course of a few years. I remember having a conversation with them about wanting to make video game pop music inspired by the games of my childhood, they told me to go for it, so with that little push of support, I decided to start HeatleyBros, in 2014. 

SUCCESS STORIES

Over the years, I’ve had tracks used by a lot of big YouTubers which has really helped bring attention to my music, and seems to continually open up bigger and bigger opportunities.

For example, A Minecraft YouTuber known as AphMau who has close to 5 million subscribers found my song on AudioMicro.com and made it part of her theme song outro and used it for years for a particular series, which got a lot of traction and I received a lot of fandom around that. I learned that it was used there through the comments section of my YouTube channel, and had I not had a YouTube channel, I wouldn’t have known and it wouldn’t have helped me bring a bunch of attention to my channel, because people started acknowledging my music there.

MAKING $$

I sell licenses to use my music on AudioMicro.com, a Production Music Library and I also monetize on my YouTube channel, one, through ads when people listen to my music or come to hear my new song that they could possibly license and use, and two, through monetization when people don’t license accordingly.

I use a third-party aggregator called AdRev.net for monetizing unlicensed use of my tracks.  The more available and accessible Your music is online, the more likely it will be used without authorization. Therefore, in regards to generating revenue on YouTube, the more places your video is placed, the more you can make money on unlicensed use.

I sell licenses to use my music on AudioMicro.com, a Production Music Library and I also monetize on my YouTube channel.  This happens two ways: through ads when people listen to my music or come to hear my new song that they could possibly license and use, and through monetization when people don’t license accordingly.

I use a third-party aggregator called AdRev.net for monetizing unlicensed use of my tracks.  The more available and accessible your music is online, the more likely it will be used without authorization. Therefore, in regard to generating revenue on YouTube, the more places your video is placed, the more you can make money on unlicensed use.

MY TIPS FOR MUSIC CREATORS & YOUTUBERS

Tips I would give to music creators starting out and wanting to utilize YouTube to promote and monetize their music are:

1.CREATE A BRAND & PERSONALITY

Start a YouTube channel and then create a brand around the music you make. 

2. GET YOUR MUSIC HEARD

You need to be able to get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora and all the rest so, make sure you have a diYou want to get your music heard, first and foremost, then people can find where they can license it.  Make it available on every access point possible. You need to be able to get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora and all the rest, so make sure you have a distributor that can do this, like CDBaby.com or DashGo.com.

3. UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA

Be on every social media instance possible.  Utilize Instagram, Soundcloud, TikTok, and YouTube!  Then, connect with people as much as possible.  Share your music and your story to get people engaged.  For example, I recently did a series of live stream Q & A sessions for a few weekends in a row, to connect with some of the people that follow me. There were about 100 people listening in each time, and some of them ended up donating to my channel.  This was a great way to interface with some followers and fans.

4. CREATE UNIQUE MUSIC

Don’t overuse audio loops in your music creation.  One, it’s not unique, and two, loops can get flagged by Content ID systems and create a headache that you don’t need.

5. KEEP CREATING & IMPROVING

Keep evolving!  Keep trying to get better, keep moving forward.  You may hang your hat on one of the songs you made, but rather than trying to recreate something like it, try to create something better than that- something that speaks more closely to who you are, what you love and why you make music to begin with. As an artist, keep evolving and improving. Learn and grow, and you’ll constantly be your own competition. That way, you’ll keep raising the bar and exploring and refining your sound.

Thanks for reading!  I wish you all the best in your creative endeavors!
~ Brett Heatley

2019 MTV VMA Winners!

See the Full List of VMA Winners here, on AudioMicro.com.

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, USA – AUGUST 26: Singer Bebe Rexha wearing a custom Christian Siriano outfit, Giuseppe Zanotti sandals, and rings by KatKim and Ashley Zhang poses in the press room at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards held at the Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey, United States. (Photo by Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency)

And the award goes to….

Video Vanguard

WINNER: Missy Elliott

Video of the Year

WINNER: Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down”
21 Savage: “a lot” [ft. J. Cole]
Billie Eilish: “bad guy”
Ariana Grande: thank u, next”
Jonas Brothers: “Sucker”
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]

Artist of the Year

WINNER: Ariana Grande
Cardi B
Billie Eilish
Halsey
Jonas Brothers
Shawn Mendes

Song of the Year

WINNER: Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Drake: “In My Feelings”
Ariana Grande: “thank u, next”
Jonas Brothers: “Sucker”
Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper: “Shallow”
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down”

Best New Artist

WINNER: Billie Eilish
Ava Max
H.E.R.
Lil Nas X
Lizzo
ROSALÍA

Best Collaboration

WINNER: Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: “Señorita”
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper: “Shallow”
Taylor Swift: “ME!” [ft. Brendon Urie]
Ed Sheeran / Justin Bieber: “I Don’t Care”
BTS: “Boy With Luv” [ft. Halsey]

Push Artist of the Year

WINNER: Billie Eilish
Bazzi
CNCO
H.E.R.
Lauv
Lizzo

Best Pop

WINNER: Jonas Brothers: “Sucker”
5 Seconds of Summer: “Easier”
Cardi B / Bruno Mars: “Please Me”
Billie Eilish: “bad guy”
Khalid: “Talk”
Ariana Grande: “thank u, next”
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down”

Best Hip-Hop

WINNER: Cardi B: “Money”
2 Chainz: “Rule the World”[ft. Ariana Grande]
21 Savage: “a lot” [ft. J. Cole]
DJ Khaled: “Higher” [ft. Nipsey Hussle and John Legend]
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Travis Scott: “SICKO MODE” [ft. Drake]

Best R&B

WINNER: Normani: “Waves” [ft. 6LACK]
Anderson .Paak: “Make It Better” [ft. Smokey Robinson]
Childish Gambino: “Feels Like Summer”
H.E.R.: “Could’ve Been” [ft. Bryson Tiller]
Alicia Keys: “Raise a Man”
Ella Mai: “Trip”

Best K-Pop

WINNER: BTS: “Boy With Luv” [ft. Halsey]
BLACKPINK: “Kill This Love”
Monsta X: “Who Do You Love” [ft. French Montana]
TOMORROW X TOGETHER: “Cat & Dog”
NCT 127: “Regular”
EXO: “Tempo”

Best Latin

WINNER: ROSALÍA / J Balvin: “Con Altura” [ft. El Guincho]
Anuel AA / Karol G: “Secreto”
Bad Bunny: “MIA” [ft. Drake]
benny blanco / Tainy / Selena Gomez / J Balvin: “I Can’t Get Enough”
Daddy Yankee: “Con Calma” [ft. Snow]
Maluma: “Mala Mía”

Best Dance

WINNER: The Chainsmokers: “Call You Mine” [ft. Bebe Rexha]
Clean Bandit: “Solo” [ft. Demi Lovato]
DJ Snake: “Taki Taki” [ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B]
David Guetta / Bebe Rexha / J Balvin: “Say My Name”
Marshmello / Bastille: “Happier”
Silk City / Dua Lipa: “Electricity”

Best Rock

WINNER: Panic! At the Disco: “High Hopes”
The 1975: “Love It If We Made It”
Fall Out Boy: “Bishops Knife Trick”
Imagine Dragons: “Natural”
Lenny Kravitz: “Low”
twenty one pilots: “My Blood”

Video for Good

WINNER: Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down”
Halsey: “Nightmare”
The Killers: “Land of the Free”
Jamie N Commons / Skylar Grey: “Runaway Train” [ft. Gallant]
John Legend: “Preach”
Lil Dicky: “Earth”

Best Group

WINNER: BTS
5 Seconds of Summer
Backstreet Boys
BLACKPINK
CNCO
Jonas Brothers
PRETTYMUCH
Why Don’t We

Best Power Anthem

WINNER: Megan Thee Stallion: “Hot Girl Summer” [ft. Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign]
Ariana Grande: “7 rings”
DJ Khaled: “Wish Wish” [ft. Cardi B and 21 Savage]
Halsey: “Nightmare”
Lizzo: “Tempo” [ft. Missy Elliott]
Maren Morris: “Girl”
Miley Cyrus: “Mother’s Daughter”
Taylor Swift: “You Need To Calm Down”

Song of Summer

WINNER: Ariana Grande and Social House: “Boyfriend”
Billie Eilish: “Bad Guy”
DaBaby: “Suge”
Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber: “I Don’t Care”
Jonas Brothers: “Sucker”
Khalid: “Talk”
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Lil Tecca: “Ransom”
Lizzo: “Truth Hurts”
Miley Cyrus: “Mother’s Daughter”
Post Malone: “Goodbyes” [ft. Young Thug]
Rosalía and J Balvin: “Con Altura” [ft. El Guincho]
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello: “Señorita”
Taylor Swift: “You Need To Calm Down”
The Chainsmokers and Bebe Rexha: “Call You Mine”
Young Thug: “The London” [ft. J. Cole and Travis Scott]

Fashion Trailblazer

WINNER: Marc Jacobs

Best Direction

WINNER: Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus] (dir. Calmatic)
Billie Eilish: “bad Guy” (dir. Dave Meyers)
FKA twigs: “Cellophane” (dir. Andrew Thomas Huang)
Ariana Grande: “thank u, next” (dir. Hannah Lux Davis)
LSD: “No New Friends” (dir. Dano Cerny)
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” (dir. Drew Kirsch and Taylor Swift)

Best Visual Effects

WINNER: Taylor Swift: “ME!” [ft. Brendon Urie] (visual effects: Loris Paillier & Lucas Salton for BUF VFX)
Billie Eilish: “when the party’s over” (visual effects: Ryan Ross, Andres Jaramillo)
FKA twigs: “Cellophane” (visual effects: Matt Chandler, Fabio Zaveti for Analog)
Ariana Grande: “God is a woman” (visual effects: Fabrice Lagayette, Kristina Prilukova & Rebecca Rice for Mathematic)
DJ Khaled: “Just Us” [ft. SZA] (visual effects: Sergii Mashevskyi)
LSD: “No New Friends” (visual effects: Ethan Chancer)

Best Editing

WINNER: Billie Eilish: “bad guy” (editing: Billie Eilish)
Anderson .Paak: “Tints” [ft. Kendrick Lamar] (editing: Elias Talbot)
Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” (editing: Calmatic)
Ariana Grande: “7 rings” (editing: Hannah Lux Davis & Taylor Walsh)
Solange: “Almeda” (editing: Solange Knowles, Vinnie Hobbs, Jonathon Proctor)
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” (editing: Jarrett Fijal)

Best Art Direction

WINNER: Ariana Grande: “7 rings” (art direction: John Richoux)
BTS: “Boy With Luv” [ft. Halsey] (art direction: JinSil Park, BoNa Kim (MU:E))
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus] (art direction: Itaru Dela Vegas)
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: “Señorita” (art direction: Tatiana Van Sauter)
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” (art direction: Brittany Porter)
Kanye West / Lil Pump: “I Love It” [ft. Adele Givens] (art direction: Tino Schaedler)

Best Choreography

WINNER: ROSALÍA / J Balvin: “Con Altura” [ft. El Guincho] (choreography: Charm La’Donna)
FKA twigs: “Cellophane” (choreography: Kelly Yvonne)
LSD: “No New Friends” (choreography: Ryan Heffington)
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: “Señorita” (choreography: Calvit Hodge, Sara Biv)
Solange: “Almeda” (choreography: Maya Taylor, Solange Knowles)
BTS: “Boy With Luv” [ft. Halsey] (choreography: Rie Hata)

Best Cinematography

WINNER: Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: “Señorita” (cinematography: Scott Cunningham)
Anderson .Paak: “Tints” [ft. Kendrick Lamar] (cinematography: Elias Talbot)
Billie Eilish: “hostage” (cinematography: Pau Castejon)
Ariana Grande: “thank u, next” (cinematography: Christopher Probst)
Solange: “Almeda” (cinematography: Chayse Irvin, Ryan Marie Helfant, Justin Hamilton)
Taylor Swift: “ME!” [ft. Brendon Urie] (cinematography: Starr Whitesides)

6 Productivity Tips For Freelancers

Mastering the Art of Working From Home

For many, working from home is like living the dream. Those of us living this “dream life” understand, when a deadline is approaching, being cubicle free can quickly turn from a dream to a nightmare. These are five productivity tips for freelancers to help you master the art of working from home. 

1. List it or Lose It

Nobody likes doing laundry. That is…of course…until you have an approaching deadline and suddenly…..ironing shirts sounds as delicious as Thanksgiving dinner on a juice cleanse. However productive you may feel after washing those clothes previously piled in the corner for months, don’t. Completing these tasks, however productive, is still procrastination.

To avoid the procrasti-cleaning loop, start your day by making a list of the things you ABSOLUTELY need to accomplish. Then, make a secondary list of things you would like to accomplish but are not as important or time sensitive. Put the second list away in a drawer, preferably next to your phone (outta sight, outta mind) and don’t open that drawer until you’ve completed EVERYTHING on the first list.

2. Get Out Of Bed

I love to swim, but you won’t catch me perfecting my backstroke in the bathtub. I also love to sleep, but I do not make a habit of power napping there either.  Point is, some places are better to work in than others, and your bed is not the ideal workplace. Not only is it de-motivating, but it can also negatively impact your sleep.

Picture this, it’s the end of a very long, dragging on, no good kind of day…and you’re exhausted. The eyes half closed, yawn mid-sentence, cannot be bothered to brush your teeth kind of exhausted. However, as soon as your head hits the pillow, work thoughts race in faster than Rubens Barrichello in a Ferrari. If this sad scenario plays a recurring role in your life, you’ve probably made a habit of bringing work into the bedroom. 

The human brain recognizes patterns. Whether the outcome is positive or negative, if you do something often enough, a pattern develops. Regularly working on or in your bed reprograms your brain to associate your bed with work. This fact extends to conversation. Try not to ponder over, talk about or partake in any work on or near your bed. If you consistently keep your work away from your bed, your thoughts will be a bit more cooperative. 

3. Pick Your Place

Where you work affects how you work. Numerous studies have been conducted and concluded that the physical office environment can have a significant effect on the behavior, perceptions, and productivity of employees. As a freelancer, you are your own boss. Therefore, you alone are responsible for constructing a work environment that promotes productivity. Delegate a certain space in your place that is meant for work. Not the kitchen sink, not the couch where you watch tv, but somewhere clean and organized with minimal distractions. Then add a few touches that make it special to you. Commit to working there regularly and soon it will be reeking of productivity.

4. Unplug To Plugin

Whether it be family, friends or Instagram models, there are a plethora of people in your life lusting after your attention. Technology allows us to stay connected 24/7. This seems especially true when the clock is ticking on that project due.

That’s why it’s important to go radio silent. Switch your phone to airplane mode and put it somewhere out of sight (the farther, the better). This allows you to focus your mind on the task at hand instead of bouncing it back and forth from your work to your text messages, which interferes with the creative process. Besides, you can give much better advice to your friends once you’ve finished what you need to.

5. Work It Out

Some days, the motivation just isn’t there. Unfortunately, more often than not, the days that you want to do the least are the ones that you have to do the most. It’s difficult to feel motivated when your exhausted, and fatigue is the nemesis of productivity.  If you find yourself staring at your screen with dead eyes, get your ass up and go to the gym…or yoga studio, or outside for a run. Studies have shown that a short medium to high-intensity workout acts directly on the central nervous system to increase energy, reduce fatigue and feed your brain some much-needed endorphins. You can then use that momentum towards knocking out the task at hand.

6. Move To Groove

So you’ve written the lists, hide your phone, hit the gym, put down the detergent, and you still cannot drown out the sound of the new Madonna album your neighbor has been, oh so politely, playing on repeat…as loud as possible…allllllll day.

If all else fails, leave your place and move to a space that facilitates productivity. In recent years numerous people have actualized the dream of working remotely, and businesses around the world have caught on. There is a selection of coworking spaces, coffee shops and restaurants happy to fuel your working fire. Museums, parks, and libraries are other lovely alternatives.

Good luck out there Freelancers. You. Can. Do It!

Written by: Megan Mari

Navigating the Landscape of Royalty Free Music

3 Tips To Make Your Life Easier

Any seasoned editor will tell you that finding music for a client is the bane of their existence.  They will also tell you it’s the most time spent with the least amount of pay off.  Hearing things like, “I don’t totally hate it,” or “well it’s not totally terrible” or my personal favorite, “love the cut, hate the music” regarding a cut you show a client that was supposed to be ‘final’ draft, will induce responses that are unbecoming of the totally ‘sane’ people we editors are.  I say ‘sane’ lightheartedly as we all know you have to be a little crazy to enjoy sitting in Premiere sifting through your client’s content, trying to piece together a puzzle that would make Walter Murch proud.  

Through years of experience, I’ve come up with three easy steps to steer you in the right direction for when you put on your newly delegated ‘producer’ hat and have to scrape the Internet for the perfect track or sound effects that will help you sell your edit.

#1: Know Your Client

This may not always be easy, especially with a new client, but knowing their taste in music is super helpful!  This goes far beyond that though and reaches deeper than knowing their genre of choice.  I don’t have to tell you that music and the psychology of sound are way deeper than the music itself.  Knowing things like the client’s age and upbringing, types of film they enjoy, and what their favorite color is, etc. will help you to determine their musical taste.  Now obviously you won’t always get a chance to do extensive research on your client, nor will you always get to hand them a questionnaire that will answer some of these things.  But as anyone who has read this far will know, nowadays we are more than likely the videographers shooting, as well as the editors, and we tend to wear multiple hats throughout production.  I often tell my clients that I’d like to be on set during the shoot days if I’m not the one shooting, just so I can better understand them and their vibe.  Simple things like letting them choose the music on set, or discussing favorite films, colors and clothing/fashion can all be super useful pieces of information that can be gleaned simply by you being there on set interacting with them.

#2: Know your Footage/Content

This one should be obvious as an editor, but I’d be lying to you if I told you every edit I do, I sift through all the footage and watch ALL of it.  We of course scrub through a majority of it, but in today’s fast-paced environment of Post production, where they wanted it yesterday, it’s hard to view it all.  There are a few key things to check for that can really help you understand the intention/direction of the edit and thus start you in the right direction for your music search.  

The first and obviously most telling thing, is frame rate.  I shoot and edit a variety of content from underwater, to fashion, to narrative, and one thing that’s always changing is the frame rate.  For the majority of my fashion clients, I shoot in slow motion for a couple of reasons, one to help smooth out less than ideal camera work when clients don’t want to pay for a Free Fly Systems movi pro gimbal and/or ready rig vest for stabilization, and two because life is just more sexy in slow motion. (If it wasn’t, the infamous Baywatch running scene wouldn’t have been a thing.)  Based off of that info alone, I know a slower song is in order to match the mood and vibe of the slow-motion footage.

Another key piece of information to look for in footage is color. How did the DP light the scene? Did he have a lot of color contrast? Is it heavily gelled, or are the color palettes neutral?  This is hard to assess if you’re looking at log or raw footage but hopefully your DP was nice to you and shot proxies with a look baked in so you can get a sense of what he was going for.  Better yet, maybe he was nice enough to give you the LUT he was using to monitor color on set.  By looking at the color, you can begin to get a feel for the mood of the piece, which again, gets you started in the right direction for your musical hunt.

#3: Know your Audience/Target Market

Now this one can be difficult because with the ‘budget squeezing’ we’ve been seeing in our industry, more and more clients are creating less content and pitching it to all the markets, hoping it will land with a few of them. But if the client has a target market in mind for the content, this can be extremely helpful.  For example, one of the brands I work for is a rental-based fashion brand.  Their customers can rent ‘looks’ for the month and can either return them or can purchase and keep their look permanently.  This knowledge helps me understand their target market a bit better and since it’s fashion client, I know the content is going to be seasonal and trend driven. 

That’s an example for one type of client and content creation, while another example is my underwater shooting.  This tends to be slow motion and depending on where I’m diving, determines the water color, either green or blue, which addresses step one and two, but leaves it open ended on step three the ‘target audience’.  For most of my underwater personal work (i.e. not for TV or commercials) I have a theme of conservation, therefore I can better determine my target audience.  With conservation you want to reach a broad audience. You want the older generations to see and hear your message but really, I think it’s more important for the younger generations to see and hear the message.  They are the future, will be coming into voting power, and will be the ones most affected by climate change.  Therefore, my target audience, although broad, will lean towards a younger market.

These tips are the first three areas I consider before I begin my music search, and honestly, it helps me cut my time in half.  An added benefit is it also allows me to find songs for later projects as I’m browsing for the current project, since I’ve come to learn my repeat client’s aesthetics, style, and target audience.  I’ll have days where I’m browsing through AudioMicro.com and I’ll hear a song that may not be right for my fashion client, but would be perfect for that sustainable fish sourcing project I’m working on, so I’ll download it and save it for later.

Hopefully, these tips help you navigate your way through the bumpy seas of finding royalty free music for your client video projects.  Thanks for reading.

______________________________________________________________________________

Ryan Waller is a true nomadic soul, at heart. Finding his grounding in the world of film and motion production, Ryan has been working passionately as a colorist and editor in Los Angeles, California. Ryan’s first love though is and always has been the sea. When he isn’t working on land as a filmmaker and artist, Ryan is leading expeditions on the water teaching people the values of sustainable fishing and proper ecological practices. His merging of art and water has helped him become one of the predominant water based motion picture artists in Los Angeles.

5 Simple Tips for Editing Music in Your Videos

Create Mood and Impact in Your Video Projects

Adding music to your video projects gives them a huge boost of energy and helps you create the right feeling. Music also helps the viewer better understand the meaning of your video and guides them on how to react.

As viewers, we instantly react emotionally as music changes within a film even if what we are seeing lacks significant action. When information is being presented, music creates an enjoyable experience for the viewer and makes it easier for them to keep watching until the end.

However, adding a track to your video and simply letting it play isn’t always enough. There are simple ways you can get the most out of your music with a few editing techniques that provide big impacts.

1. Choose a Track with Musical Variety

Using different sections of one song helps you create the mood of your video project and maintain a flow of sound. By choosing a music track with variation, you can leverage different sections of the track to create the feeling that something new is happening when a track moves from mellow to dramatic, for example.

Look for tracks with faster and slower sections, tracks that add or subtract the amount of instruments during different sections, and tracks with sections that include vocals or change the vocals.

2. Match Movements to the Beat

Make sure what you are visually presenting is consistent with what your viewer is hearing by making your cuts on the beat of the music. You can avoid being predictable by cutting on different types of beats such as beats made by different instruments.

However, synching the visual and auditory experience of your video isn’t just about cuts. Listen for moments in the track when you can line up visual action with the beat of the music. You can even adjust the speed of your video slower or faster to synch better with the music moment and surprise the viewer.

3. Visualize Unique Moments in the Music

Listen for unique moments in your music track where something a little extra or different happens. It may only be a second or two, or it could be an entire 30 seconds, but either way you have to work with.

Match the unique musical moment with a unique visual. It could be captured with a change in expression, change in perspective or change in environment. If you have a longer unique musical moment, it’s a great opportunity for you to include visual footage that otherwise appears out of place.

4. Use J and L Cut Transitions

You can better connect different sections of your video project by using music to overlap your transitions and prepare your viewer for what’s coming next . This is perfect if you are cutting back and forth between quieter sections of someone talking and sections of visual action where you are using music.

Slowly introducing music before you cut to the video section where it will be used is called a J cut. Letting the music continue and fade out and down after you have cut to the next scene is called an L cut. Inside your video editing software, like Premier Pro, you’ll notice these cuts make the shape of a J or L respectively and that’s where they earn their names.

5. Drop Out and In to Music to Create Punctuation

A great way to emphasize something in your video is to abruptly cut the music, feature a scene of interest, and then start the music again. This allows you to create a strong statement, highlight a unique visual moment, or even break for a little humor.

Make your cut on the beat of the music and, if possible, at the end of a musical section. Restart the music on a strong beat and begin a new musical section. This way you will be instantly pulling your viewer back into the action of your video.

Hopefully these quick tips will help you create some emphasis and mood in your next video project. AudioMicro is a great place to find everything you need to make your projects a success, whether it be Royalty-Free Music, or premium Sound Effects.

Let us know what other tips you think would be helpful to editing video projects, in the comments below!


How to Utilize Artificial Intelligence In The Music Industry

One of the goals of the industrial revolution was to have machines simulate physical tasks to produce outputs more efficiently. Fast forward to the present. The purpose of artificial intelligence, also known as AI, is to simulate any mental task. Machine learning is arguably one of the most important subsets of AI because it effects all other fields within AI. In any industry, you have a pattern or a model that you know to be true, you make a prediction, and then you update your model based on the result. This represents the learning process of machine learning. The introduction of this technology into industries like music, online dating, online publications, video-sharing and sports is becoming vital to each organization’s competitive sustainability.

When you lift your sieve out of the water, you pick up dirt, rocks and a whole bunch of stuff you do not need, but somewhere in there is your gold, otherwise known as your actionable engagement data.
When you lift your sieve out of the water, you pick up dirt, rocks and a whole bunch of stuff you do not need, but somewhere in there is your gold, otherwise known as your actionable engagement data. Courtney Menard

The more data you have, the better the accuracy of your machine learning algorithm. In the music industry access to information presents a big challenge, but once you have it, the question becomes, how can you use and manipulate it using machine learning?

Let us quickly recap why access to data is such a big challenge in the music industry.

The picture about depicts the challenges around access to streaming data, otherwise known as 'gold.'
The picture about depicts the challenges around access to streaming data, otherwise known as ‘gold.’ Courtney Menard

DATA ACCESS IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

In this metaphor, the “majors” represent Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The “streams” represent streaming companies like, but not exclusive to, Spotify and Apple. The “gold” represents consumer data from streaming platforms. The majors and the streams sit knighted at the roundtable. The streams rule the island of consumption and as a result control access to the gold. The majors are granted access to the gold because they own most of the island of content and a share of land on the island of consumption. The independents own a smaller portion in the land of content, and as a result, they have to get their gold from Robin Hood. Also known as direct-to-fan platforms that provide consumer data to artists such as Pledge Music, Hive or Superphone.

The question is, once you have access to the gold, what do you do with it and how can you maximize its value?

ENGAGEMENT DATA IS GOLD

Have you ever been hunting for gold? How do you go about it? You get a sieve, you dip the pan into the water, and you pull up a whole bunch of dirt, mud, rocks, and stuff that you do not need. However, somewhere in there is your gold, otherwise known as your actionable engagement data. Engagement data can be the “rate of collections,” “follower change,” “plays per user,” or a “save,” otherwise known as a “collection” from a playlist. The term, “collection,” on Spotify, refers to when someone listens to a song, presses the add sign and adds the song to their library. Tapping into engagement metrics increase the likelihood of reaching potential super fans. Focusing on engagement data will allow a label to make more targeted business decisions across all verticals while driving revenue. According to a Goldman Sachs report released earlier this year, streaming will drive over $34 billion dollars worth of total revenue in the music business by 2030. That is a whole lot of streams, a whole lot of royalty payments, and a tremendous amount of data.

The motivations of the person holding the filter dictate how the filter is shaped and how the filter is shaped dictates what gold you get.
The motivations of the person holding the filter dictate how the filter is shaped and how the filter is shaped dictates what gold you get.  Courtney Menard

DATA FILTERS

The motivations of the person holding the filter have a direct impact on how the filters are designed, and subsequently how much gold you get. For example, the primary goals for a streaming platform like Apple, Spotify, Google Play or Deezer is to turn non-paying subscribers into paying subscribers. A major label’s goal is to create, and then market hit songs while turning passive fans into super fans, similar to the rabid Beliebers of the world.

Two years ago, Spotify launched a marketing campaign called “Found Them First.” The microsite lets users see which musicians they heard on Spotify before they became a breakout artist. From a label perspective, Spotify quantified what it means to be an early adopting fan. The point is that this potentially impactful mechanism was used to drive subscriber growth, not artist careers.

Industry players who have access to the gold are now competing with the help of their filtration ability. How can you design your sieve to get the gold you need, when you need it, to drive a higher return than your competitor.

But music is not the only industry working to create the perfect filter. In fact, one should pay attention to the advancements being made in other industries because of the parallel applicability to the music industry.

Just like how dating algorithms match couples together, so can those similar algorithms match artists to potential super fans.
Just like how dating algorithms match couples together, so can those similar algorithms match artists to potential super fans.  Courtney Menard

DATING ALGORITHMS & AUTOMATED MARKETING TOOLS

In 2013, Amy Webb went on the TED stage and spoke about hacking the online dating code. She amassed 72 data points of her perfect man, everything from Jewish, to athletic, wants two children, is an adventurer, to even his appreciation of things. It was crucial for Webb that her perfect man appreciated an excellent spreadsheet. She then prioritized each data point, breaking them down into two tiers, giving each data point a score between 1 and 100. Amy then built a scoring system. If her perfect man scored 700 points she would send him an email, if he scored 900 points, she would have a phone call, and if her potential ideal man scored 1500 points, that meant there was long-term relationship potential, and they could go on a date.

Amy started getting all of these fantastic matches, except there was one problem. These men didn’t like her back. Amy had forgotten to analyze the competition. She scraped the top profiles on the dating site, in music this could be compared to examining the social or streaming patterns of similar artists. She analyzed her competition’s photo, humor, tone, voice, communication style, the average length of description, and time between posts. Amy’s profile ended up becoming the highest ranking profile on the dating site. Soon after, a man scored 850 points, which she hadn’t seen before. Three weeks later they went on a date. A year and a half later they got engaged, and two years later they had their first child. Now, If an algorithm can be used to narrow down your choices for a lifelong partner, then an algorithm can be used to find a fan that is guaranteed to spend $100 on your artist per year.

Just as Webb broke down her perfect man into 72 data points, so an artist can break down the characteristics of their potential super fan. For example, suppose Beyonce’s base of super fans could be broken down as female, ages 27-34, with a typical purchasing pattern of buying premium brand diapers because they want to show that they are good mothers. If you rank these points, give them a score and run them through a scoring system. It is then possible to target the fans that are most likely to engage with your artist. For example, if your fan scores 700 points, you send a targeted Facebook ad, if your fan scores 900 points you send them an email and if your fan scores 1500 points you send them a personalized email with a free concert ticket.

The ability to find your true fan suggests that automatic marketing capabilities are not only possible but in our near future. However, the type of marketing actions that a label might engage in will differ based on the stage of the artist and genre. This assumes that fan types differ per genre and fan engagement differs depending on the stage of the artist. However, online dating algorithms are not the only industry that provides interesting parallels to music.

The image above showcases different types of engagement metrics as well as data that is insightful but not necessarily actionable.
The image above showcases different types of engagement metrics as well as data that is insightful but not necessarily actionable. Courtney Menard

YOUTUBE & RECOMMENDATION ENGINES

Assume that you have access to granular level engagement data from streaming platforms such as the “rate of collections” and the “rate of replays per user,” all by a zip code level granularity. How could you use this information to not only target market but predict the likelihood of a potential superfan? The best industry parallel to consider in this example is YouTube’s Recommendation algorithm.

Youtube, fueled by their parent company’s artificial intelligence division, Google Brain, has successfully accelerated their recommendation capabilities through a series of micro-improvements. For example, roughly four years ago, YouTube made its first significant improvement to its recommendation algorithm when it decided to value the number of times users spent watching a video more than the number of video clicks per person. With this one move, creator’s saw their view counts decline, who had originally profited from misleading headlines and thumbnails. All of a sudden, higher quality videos which were directly correlated with long watch times came to the forefront. As a result, watch time on YouTube grew 50% year over year over the next three years.

Google Brain learns independently by picking up on less apparent patterns at an accelerated rate. This technique is called unsupervised learning. Another micro-change caused by Google Brain was the choice by YouTube to recommend shorter videos for users on mobile apps and longer videos on YouTube’s TV app. Google brain picked up on the notion that varying video length by platform would result in higher watch times. In music, this could be compared to varying advertising length based on the platform assuming shorting ads for mobile and longer ads for the desktop.

In 2016, Youtube launched 190 micro-changes on Google Brain and is said to be on pace to release 300 more microswitches by 2017. The implementation of Google Brain has increased the time people spend watching videos on YouTube by 70%.

Deep Reinforcement learning technology like this will be a catalyst to drive the music industry forward. This will likely be the case for United Masters, a recently publicized record label. Led by Steve Stoute, the former president of Interscope records, $70 million dollars was raised in a Series A investor round, led by Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet. Other investors include Floodgate, Andreessen Horowitz, and 20th Century Fox. One of the company’s core competencies will be its ability to target market high potential superfans based on learned data from sources including YouTube and Spotify.

Image above showcases examples of actionable engagement metrics.
Image above showcases examples of actionable engagement metrics. Courtney Menard

NBA & IDENTIFYING PATTERNS

When Joe Lacob became the owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, he adopted a data-driven strategy. Lacob and his team analyzed player behavior across the NBA and identified the number of three-point shots taken as being “market inefficient.” They concluded that roughly the same number of shots were being made from just inside the three-point line as outside it. Therefore they built their strategy around the notion that if their players, particularly Stephen Curry moved back a few inches from the three-point line before shooting, it would improve their point scoring average by 43%. With a data-driven strategy, Jacob Lacob took the Golden State Warriors, a team that hadn’t won an NBA Championship since 1975, to win against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 Championships.

The NBA identified a pattern based on a common activity within the game. Here are a few examples where patterns are likely to be found in the music industry; the genre of playlists people are listening to, the time of day people listen to certain genres, and the effect that holidays, political events, or an artist’s passing have on music consumption.

Image above showcases another example of engagement data.
Image above showcases another example of engagement data. Courtney Menard

BUZZFEED & ENGAGEMENT DATA

Buzzfeed is a social news and entertainment company. Buzzfeed invented an internal proprietary metric that curates articles based on reader preference. They do this by measuring the “rate of shares over time,” within the first weeks of an article’s release. Buzzfeed decided that a reader sharing a piece was more valuable than a click. Have you ever clicked on an article or played a song and walked away from your computer? What the act of sharing an article or saving a song to your Spotify collections shows is a higher level of engagement in comparison to a stream or a click. Arguably, this is helping to ensure a return on your investment.

So a “share” is more valuable than a “click,” and a “collection” is more valuable than a “stream.” By calculating the “rate of shares over time” or the “rate of collections over time,” you’re not only making sure that the consumers you are targeting are engaged but that they are growing significantly over time.

As of mid-2017, Buzzfeed was estimated at approximately $1.7 billion dollars and was processing roughly seven billion monthly content views.

With the sheer volume of streaming data growing year over year, the ability to enhance and fine-tune marketing capabilities in the music industry is endless. It comes down to access to the data that you need and the software capabilities to intelligently process and act upon that information. Moving forward into 2030, success as a label will come down to a company’s ability to pair its human capital with intelligent software.

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Kristin Westcott Grant. Contributor

Kristin Westcott Grant. Contributor

I am the CEO of Westcott Multimedia, an advertising technology and software firm that leverages streaming data to optimize online engagement for the entertainment industry. I am originally from Toronto, Canada or as Drake calls it, “The 6.” As a contributor at AudioMicro.com, I write about the business of music technology, media and entertainment. Previously I managed Global Playlist Strategies at Universal Music Group in Nashville and worked as an Entertainment Analyst at Magna Investments in New York City. I received my Masters in Music & Business from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture and studied at the Stern School of Business. My work has also appeared in Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Medium and The Hook Brief.

The 4 Principles of Luck

The Four Principles of Luck, and How to Bring More Luck Into Your Life

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LUCK

A ten-year scientific study into the nature of luck has revealed that, to a large extent, people make their own good and bad fortune. The results also show that it is possible to enhance the amount of luck that people encounter in their lives.

Researched and published by Professor Richard Wiseman, The Luck Factor project scientifically explores why some people live such charmed lives, and develops techniques that enable others to enhance their own good fortune. The research has involved working with hundreds of exceptionally lucky and unlucky people, and the findings have been published in The Luck Factor.

Prof. Wiseman has identified the four basic principles that lucky people use to create good fortune in their lives.

Principle One: Maximize Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune
Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

We found Professor Wiseman’s work through an adorable YouTube Video created by PBS.  It goes a bit farther info the psychology of these 4 principles.  Check it out here. ??

Thanks Professor Wiseman & It’s Ok To Be Smart !

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Links

BBC Online article on Prof Wiseman’s luck research

Forbes.com carries Prof. Wiseman’s article on the psychology of opportunity.

Fast Company article on The Luck Factor in business.

The Times reports Prof Wiseman’s work on creating opportunities and his book, Did You Spot the Gorilla?

The Daily Telegraph reports on an experiment on connectivity and luck.

Report on Prof Wiseman’s work exploring luck and superstition.

Data Privacy, Social Media, Visual Content and Adobe: Through The Lens Of Generation Z

Understanding the Think Tank that is Gen Z

“With Creativity, rich ideas flow through the system from the minds of Gen Z. With Intelligence those ideas are executed. With Power Gen Z takes control of what happens around the world with the use of social media.”  – Marco Garcia . (Social Media Command Center, We Are Gen Z, 2018)

On March 25, 2018, Adobe, a software company, hosted its annual Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference had “experience” as its theme and brought together influencers from all walks of life, from the founder of NVIDIA, Jensen Huang, to Sir Richard Branson.

Adobe teamed up with 12 students representing eight high schools in Charlotte, North Carolina, from the 11-largest school district in the U.S. This was facilitated as a part of the We Are Generation Z initiative and Career Technology Education Program, a new trend in interactive education. Adobe empowered the students to act as influencers and report on their interpretation of what they see and hear.

I got the chance to sit down with four of the Generation Z representatives. In a candid conversation we discussed data privacy, social media and the growing importance of visual content to convey information all through the lens of personal experiences.

The Significance of Gen Z 

Generation Z is made up of young people between the ages of 14-22 years old, born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. According to a study conducted by The National Retail Federation and IBM’s Institute for Business Value, the members of this cohort are considered to be “digital natives,” and cannot remember what it is like to exist without the internet. Globally, they hold $44 billion in buying power. They love collaborative and interactive engagement, such as online games and product reviews. Gen Z representative, Alana Jones, explained that she feels that her generation works harder than they are portrayed. Damien Watson Jr. told us that 75% of his high school already has a job. They explained that this behavior was in part a result of their digital environment and the pressure to overachieve was related to the feeling of being, “always on.”

We Are Gen Z Initiative & CTE Program

According to “The Next Era of Human Machine Partnerships” report published by Dell Inc., 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet. The Career Technology Education and Marketing Pathways Program prepares students with 21st-century skills by engaging with industries to better understand their needs. To date, the program has generated 777 paid internships. One of the optional CTE pathways requires students to attain five certifications in Adobe visual design and graphics in preparation for careers involving the creation of online content. The We Are Gen Z initiative is spearheaded by Kathleen Hessert. As Hessert notes, “our intention is to create and connect children within a network so the voices of Generation Z can be heard.”

Gen Z Representatives

Each of the four Gen Z representatives that I spoke with – all seniors in high school and participants in the CTE program – showcased varying perspectives. Damien Watson Jr. shared with us that it is his goal to start a non-profit that introduces minority groups to interests beyond athletics. Jogle De Leon is currently studying 3D modeling, simulation, game design and posts his graphic work regularly on Behance, Adobe’s social portfolio platform. Alana Jones is a certified Adobe associate and is working toward her goal of joining the military after graduation. Social media enthusiast and community activist, Avery Primis, has spoken publicly about generational differences in social media. The rest of the Gen Z team was stationed back in Charlotte and was responsible for manning the social media command center. They included Marco Garcia, Nina Merritt, Ashley Dickenson, Patricia Garcia, John K Bell, Harmoni Riggins and Trent Couse. Trent, a senior data analyst, was responsible for analyzing the engagement of his fellow students on Twitter, in order to optimize their effectiveness throughout the summit.

Data Privacy

When it comes to data privacy it appears that Gen Z is rather desensitized to the request for access to their personal information. As Damien describes it, “if someone really wants to find something out about you on the internet, they can. So I’m pretty open to my information being shared.” Alana is willing to make a trade-off, stating, “If you are going to use my data I want to know what you need it for. That way, I know that my data is being used for a purpose.” It is possible that widespread acceptance of personal data collection as the status quo could get in the way of realizing its long-term ramifications. Across all generations, instantaneous gratification in return for personal data distracts consumers from considering the impact that carte blanche access to their information will have twenty years from now.

As Alana noted, data transparency as it relates to the purpose of its acquisition plays a role in her willingness to provide it. It is important to note as we move from awareness to managing data privacy, that intention and value to consumers differ drastically based on the industry and players involved. In the music industry, access to consumer data and understanding how fans are listening to their music is vital to grow and sustain an artist’s career.

“In the music industry, access to consumer data and understanding how fans are listening to their music is vital to grow and sustain an artist’s career.”

Social Media

When speaking to the representatives of Generation Z, their clarity and awareness towards social media and the environment that it creates was apparent. According to Avery Primis, social media is creating an increasingly large number of job opportunities from social media influencer to managing a brand’s social presence. Social media also creates opportunities to communicate with different industries and people all over the world. However, when touching on its negative side effects Primis stated, “I can see a spike in mental health issues because of social media.” The students went on to describe how they felt that social media was impacting their generation’s people skills. Damien elaborated on this saying, “I feel like we create a persona online and are so open on social media and when it comes to talking and having a conversation in person we lag in that category.” Beyond social media, the web facilitates a commercial arena where content is in abundance.

Importance of Visual Content

Across all generations, the challenge now becomes: how do I most efficiently determine the information I need from the information I do not want. In Alana’s view, “there are so many things that you can do with an image, if you can convey information with a picture, you have done your job.” When I asked the group if they felt like their attention span was shorter than their parents’, the unanimous response was, “yes.” In Jogle’s view, when speaking about how best to garner that attention, he explains, “To me, the design is the most important part because it guides your interpretation, which is the most important part of the marketing.”  Beyond just standard emoji’s, the need for visuals to communicate complicated subjects is becoming increasingly apparent.

Taking the time to understand the perspectives of Generation Z and generations to come is vital. Their interpretation of our current environment foreshadows the future. It is time we start paying more attention.

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Finders, Keepers: How to Get Your Production Music into the Right Hands via Music Libraries?

Tips for music producers

Production music libraries have become the go-to music tool for many producers and music teams looking for the right music to match their picture. A great deal of production music work used to be custom work for hire, but that’s changing as projects face ever tighter timelines and budgets–and as more and more people and organizations are creating video and seeking out licensed music for it.

I’ve been working as a composer for much longer, but ten years ago, I started uploading cues to libraries like Audiomicro, which has become one of my favorites. It started out as a way to fill my time, to keep writing for fun between scoring gigs. Revenue from libraries now makes up 60% of my yearly revenue. I keep writing and it keep growing and to keep building my rep. Like many dedicated production composers, I write all the time, as much as I can.

Search is key to making the most of these platforms, and that means you need to understand how to communicate what your cue’s all about in a few short words, tags, and other features. A little thought and common sense can go a long way to getting your cues found and kept by producers.

Discovery is a numbers game

Production music is a numbers game. Full stop. You have to produce a lot of music. It is a biz for people who write well and efficiently without a lot of torment. You can’t spend three days on two minutes of music. Do that for your own compositions, but not for production library use. These catalogs are growing every day. You can’t write 20 pieces of music, submit it to Audiomicro, and then complain about your lack of revenue. You need to produce.

Figure out what it really sounds like

I think my experience in working with real producers and doing custom music has permeated my sense of how to describe things. If I’m writing a few sentences, I try to think about what my friends in video or film might be looking for. How can I give them a sense of what this is? No need for long description, no need to implant metadata. I want my reader to understand what to expect. Match the mood of the music.

Is it moderately paced or driving? Is it quirky or contemplative? Take up the space with the word. That list will be the descriptors that make someone go, “Yep, that’s what it is, thank you!” Then if you’re allowed, use reasonable synonyms to improve your chances of discovery. For example, optimistic and positive mean the same thing in tags. Don’t know exactly what people are looking for.

Give it a title

Titles are metadata, hints to what the piece is about. It needs to really sound like that title. It’s a mistake to give something an abstract or very specific or personal title. It may be important to you, but it won’t mean much to a producer.

When I start writing, I start with the title. If someone is browsing via genre, like say, folk or pop, my titles need to convey something. If they see “Warm Spring Morning,” and it sounds like a cold autumn night, they won’t listen to anything else you’ve put out there. But if it sounds like its title, you develop trust.

Often, I’ll come up with 10-15 titles before I write a note. I want to come up with the pictures and images, words the evoke a feeling or sound to me. I jot them down. I can write to that title. The music and title need to have a real connection.

Step away from the computer

Hear me out. It’s easy to get caught up in data and dropdowns, but sometimes you need to take a few moments away from the screen to sit and listen. Jot down a few adjectives or genres or other words that come to mind as you do. You’ll have a clearer, more honest reaction to your work, and you’ll save yourself the trouble when you need to add tags to your cues when you upload them to a library.

Resist the temptation to overtag

A cue with a ton of tags looks suspect. If you have dozens of different mood tags, you’re likely seeing diminishing returns. You’re likely stretching. You may win a battle by getting in search results, but you’ll lose the war.

Producers with limited time want tags to let them zero in on their options as quickly as possible. When they see the word “pretty” and the cue is not really “pretty”, they are going to get frustrated. If you’re overloading pieces with every possible tag, you’re out of bounds. That will make producers not want to go back.

Length matters

One client I worked for always wanted three versions of cues: 60 seconds, 30 seconds, and “a thing.” (Don’t ask.) I’ve kept to that approach, as it helps with the numbers game. You’re submitting three pieces instead of one. You can legitimately fill up more data space and get bigger hits.

It also helps clients who have a wide range of needs. Lots of clients don’t want to do a lot of editing so 60- and 30-second cues are helpful.

That said, don’t take shortcuts. You have to do a good edit. Don’t fade out, anyone can do that. When you’re writing and you’re in your DAW, if you have a sequencer say, when you finish the full piece, make nice smaller pieces. Cut and paste and snip. Then add the final ending you imagine for the piece. Producers don’t want to hear a chop; they want to hear the last four seconds that would be the same as the end of the full track.

There is no perfect or right way to make music, of course, and there’s no single answer to how to get that music to come up in an interested producer’s search. However, if you take a few extra moments to think through your tags, titles, and cue lengths, you’ll expand your repertoire and make its essence instantly recognizable, building trust and radically improving your chances at a placement.

Bruce Zimmerman

Bruce Zimmerman is the composer and owner of Sound Productions, a film scoring project studio located in Windsor, Connecticut. Zimmerman began his career over 20 years ago, after attaining a Doctorate of Music from the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Zimmerman has scored over 500 programs for clients such as AT&T, IBM, PBS, History Channel, Connecticut Public Television, FOX Network, The Learning Channel, MasterCard, Pratt and Whitney, Random House, Sony Kids Music, Simon & Schuster, McGraw Hill and Warner Brothers. Zimmerman has won three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Original Music Composition for his work in Public Television. He is a member of ASCAP and the International Documentary Association (IDA).

Congratulating 2019 Grammy Winners: The Complete List

Congratulating 2019 Grammy Winners: The Complete List

 

Album of the Year

(This award is given to an entire album and all of its songs.)

  • Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B
  • By the Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile
  • Scorpion, Drake
  • H.E.R., H.E.R.
  • Beerbongs & Bentleys, Post Malone
  • Dirty Computer, Janelle Monáe
  • Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
  • Black Panther, Kendrick Lamar

Record of the Year

(This award goes to the overall production of a single song and is awarded to the artist who records it.)

  • “I Like It,” Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin
  • “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
  • “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
  • “God’s Plan,” Drake
  • “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
  • “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar, Sza
  • “Rockstar,” Post Malone
  • “The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey

Song of the Year

(This award goes to the songwriters of a song.)

  • “All the Stars,” Kendrick Duckworth, Solana Rowe, Al Shuckburgh, Mark Spears, Anthony Tiffith
  • “Boo’d Up,” Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai, Dijon McFarlane
  • “God’s Plan,” Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels, and Noah Shebib
  • “The Middle,” Sarah Aarons, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Kyle Trewartha, Michael Trewartha & Anton Zaslavski
  • “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth, and Tim Hanseroth
  • “In My Blood,” Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, Shawn Mendes, and Geoffrey Warburton
  • “Shallow,” Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt
  • “This Is America,” Donald Glover and Ludwig Göransson

Best New Artist

(This award is given to artists who have released their breakthrough recording during the Grammy eligibility period — October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018, in this case — not to artists who made their first recording during that time.)

  • Chloe x Halle
  • Luke Combs
  • Greta Van Fleet
  • H.E.R.
  • Dua Lipa
  • Margo Price
  • Bebe Rexha
  • Jorja Smith

 

Pop Categories

Best Pop Solo Performance

  • “Colors,” Beck
  • “Havana (Live),” Camila Cabello
  • “God Is A Woman,” Ariana Grande
  • “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?),” Lady Gaga
  • “Better Now,” Post Malone

Vocal Album

  • Camila, Camila Cabello
  • Meaning Of Life, Kelly Clarkson
  • Sweetener, Ariana Grande
  • Shawn Mendes, Shawn Mendes
  • Beautiful Trauma, Pink
  • Reputation, Taylor Swift

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

  • “Fall In Line,” Christina Aguilera featuring Demi Lovato
  • “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Backstreet Boys
  • “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
  • “Girls Like You,” Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B
  • “Say Something,” Justin Timberlake featuring Chris Stapleton
  • “The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

  • Love Is Here to Stay, Tony Bennett & Diana Krall
  • My Way, Willie Nelson
  • Nat “King” Cole & Me, Gregory Porter
  • Standards (Deluxe), Seal
  • The Music … The Mem’ries … The Magic!, Barbra Streisand

Best Dance/Electronic Album

  • Singularity, Jon Hopkins
  • Woman Worldwide, Justice
  • Treehouse, Sofi Tukker
  • Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, Sophie
  • Lune Rouge, Tokimonsta

Best Dance Recording

  • “Northern Soul,” Above & Beyond featuring Richard Bedford
  • “Ultimatum,” Disclosure (featuring Fatoumata Diawara)
  • “Losing It, “ Fisher
  • “Electricity,” Silk City & Dua Lipa featuring Diplo & Mark Ronson
  • “Ghost Voices,” Virtual Self

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

  • The Emancipation Procrastination, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
  • Steve Gadd Band, Steve Gadd Band
  • Modern Lore, Julian Lage
  • Laid Black, Marcus Miller
  • Protocol 4, Simon Phillips

 

Urban, Rap, and R&B Categories

Best R&B Album

  • Sex & Cigarettes, Toni Braxton
  • Good Thing, Leon Bridges
  • Honestly, Lalah Hathaway
  • H.E.R., H.E.R.
  • Gumbo Unplugged Live, P.J. Morton

Best R&B Performance

  • “Long As I Live,” Toni Braxton
  • “Summer,” The Carters
  • “Y O Y,” Lalah Hathaway
  • “Best Part,” H.E.R. featuring Daniel Caesar
  • “First Began,” PJ Morton

Best Traditional R&B Performance

  • “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand,” Leon Bridges (TIE)
  • “Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight,” Bettye LaVette
  • “Honest,” MAJOR.
  • “How Deep Is Your Love,” PJ Morton featuring Yebba (TIE)
  • “Made for Love,” Charlie Wilson featuring Lalah Hathaway

Best R&B Song

  • “Boo’d Up,” Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai & Dijon McFarlane
  • “Come Through and Chill,” Jermaine Cole, Miguel Pimentel & Salaam Remi
  • “Feels Like Summer,” Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson
  • “Focus,” Darhyl Camper Jr, H.E.R. & Justin Love
  • “Long As I Live,” Paul Boutin, Toni Braxton & Antonio Dixon

Best Urban Contemporary Album

  • Everything Is Love, The Carters
  • The Kids Are Alright, Chloe x Halle
  • Chris Dave And The Drumhedz, Chris Dave and the Drumhedz
  • War & Leisure, Miguel
  • Ventriloquism, Meshell Ndegeocello

Best Rap Album

  • Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B
  • Swimming, Mac Miller
  • Victory Lap, Nipsey Hussle
  • Daytona, Pusha T
  • Astroworld, Travis Scott

Best Rap Performance

  • “Be Careful,” Cardi B
  • “Nice for What,” Drake
  • “King’s Dead,” Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake (TIE)
  • “Bubblin,” Anderson .Paak (TIE)
  • “Sicko Mode,” Travis Scott, Drake, (Big Hawk) & Swae Lee

Best Rap/Sung Performance

  • “Like I Do,” Christina Aguilera featuring Goldlink
  • “Pretty Little Fears,” 6lack featuring J. Cole
  • “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
  • “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar & SZA
  • “Rockstar,” Post Malone featuring 21 Savage

Best Rap Song

  • “God’s Plan,” Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib
  • “King’s Dead,” Kendrick Duckworth, Samuel Gloade, James Litherland, Johnny McKinzie, Axel Morgan, Mark Spears, Travis Walton, Nayvadius Wilburn & Michael Williams II
  • “Lucky You,” R. Fraser, G. Lucas, M. Mathers, M. Samuels & J. Sweet
  • “Sicko Mode,” Khalif Brown, Rogét Chahayed, BryTavious Chambers, Mike Dean, Mirsad Dervic, Kevin Gomringer, Tim Gomringer, Aubrey Graham, Chauncey Hollis, Jacques Webster, Ozan Yildirim & Cydel Young
  • “Win,” K. Duckworth, A. Hernandez, J. McKinzie, M. Samuels & C. Thompson

 

Rock and Alternative categories

Best Rock Album

  • Rainier Fog, Alice In Chains
  • M A N I A, Fall Out Boy
  • Prequelle, Ghost
  • From The Fires, Greta Van Fleet
  • Pacific Daydream, Weezer

Best Rock Performance

  • “Four Out Of Five,” Arctic Monkeys
  • “When Bad Does Good,” Chris Cornell
  • “Made An America,” The Fever 333
  • “Highway Tune,” Greta Van Fleet
  • “Uncomfortable,” Halestorm

Best Rock Song

  • “Black Smoke Rising,” Jacob Thomas Kiszka, Joshua Michael Kiszka, Samuel Francis Kiszka & Daniel Robert Wagner
  • “Jumpsuit,” Tyler Joseph
  • “Mantra,” Jordan Fish, Matthew Kean, Lee Malia, Matthew Nicholls & Oliver Sykes
  • “Masseduction,” Jack Antonoff & Annie Clark
  • “Rats,” Tom Dalgety & A Ghoul Writer

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, Arctic Monkeys
  • Colors, Beck
  • Utopia, Björk
  • American Utopia, David Byrne
  • Masseduction, St. Vincent

Best Metal Performance

  • “Condemned to the Gallows,” Between The Buried And Me
  • “Honeycomb,” Deafheaven
  • “Electric Messiah,” High On Fire
  • “Betrayer,” Trivium
  • “On My Teeth,” Underoath

 

Country Categories

Best Country Album

  • Unapologetically, Kelsea Ballerini
  • Port Saint Joe, Brothers Osborne
  • Girl Going Nowhere, Ashley McBride
  • Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
  • From a Room: Volume 2, Chris Stapleton

Best Country Song

  • “Break Up In the End,” Jessie Jo Dillon, Chase McGill & Jon Nite
  • “Dear Hate,” Tom Douglas, David Hodges & Maren Morris
  • “I Lived It,” Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley & Ben Hayslip
  • “Space Cowboy,” Luke Laird, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves
  • “Tequila,” Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds & Dan Smyers
  • “When Someone Stops Loving You,” Hillary Lindsey, Chase McGill & Lori McKenna

Best Country Solo Performance

  • “Wouldn’t It Be Great?” Loretta Lynn
  • “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” Maren Morris
  • “Butterflies,” Kacey Musgraves
  • “Millionaire,” Chris Stapleton
  • “Parallel Line,” Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

  • “Shoot Me Straight,” Brothers Osborne
  • “Tequila,” Dan + Shay
  • “When Someone Stops Loving You,” Little Big Town
  • “Dear Hate,” Maren Morris featuring Vince Gill
  • “Meant to Be,” Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line

New Age and Jazz Categories

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

  • “Some of That Sunshine,” Regina Carter, soloist, from Some Of That Sunshine (Karrin Allyson)
  • “Don’t Fence Me In,” John Daversa, soloist, from American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope, Music Of Freedom (John Daversa Big Band featuring DACA Artists)
  • “We See,” Fred Hersch, soloists
  • “De-Dah,” Brad Mehldau, soloist, from Seymour Reads The Constitution! (Brad Mehldau Trio)
  • “Cadenas,” Miguel Zenón, soloist from Yo Soy La Tradición (Miguel Zenón featuring Spektral Quartet)

Best Jazz Vocal Album

  • My Mood Is You, Freddy Cole
  • The Questions, Kurt Elling
  • The Subject Tonight Is Love, Kate McGarry, Keith Ganz, Gary Versace
  • If You Really Want, Raul Midón With The Metropole Orkest Conducted By Vince Mendoza
  • The Window, Cécile McLorin Salvant

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

  • Diamond Cut, Tia Fuller
  • Live in Europe, Fred Hersch Trio
  • Seymour Reads the Constitution, Brad Mehldau Trio
  • Still Dreaming, Joshua Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley & Brian Blade
  • Emanon, The Wayne Shorter Quartet

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

  • All About That Basie, The Count Basie Orchestra Directed By Scotty Barnhart
  • American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, John Daversa Big Band featuring DACA Artists
  • Presence, Orrin Evans And The Captain Black Big Band
  • All Can Work, John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble
  • Barefoot Dances and Other Visions, Jim McNeely & The Frankfurt Radio Big Band

Best Latin Jazz Album

  • Heart of Brazil, Eddie Daniels
  • Back to the Sunset, Dafnis Prieto Big Band
  • West Side Story Reimagined, Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band
  • Cinque, Elio Villafranca
  • Yo Soy La Tradición, Miguel Zenón featuring Spektral Quartet

 

Gospel and Contemporary Christian Music

Best Gospel Performance/Song

  • “You Will Win,” Jekalyn Carr; Allen Carr & Jekalyn Carr
  • “Won’t He Do It,” Koryn Hawthorne
  • “Never Alone,” Tori Kelly featuring Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin & Victoria Kelly
  • “Cycles,” Jonathan McReynolds featuring DOE; Jonathan McReynolds & Will Reagan
  • “A Great Work,” Brian Courtney Wilson; Aaron W. Lindsey, Alvin Richardson & Brian Courtney Wilson

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

  • “Reckless Love,” Cory Asbury; Cory Asbury, Caleb Culver & Ran Jackson, songwriters
  • “You Say,” Lauren Daigle; Lauren Daigle, Jason Ingram & Paul Mabury, songwriters
  • “Joy,” For King & Country; Ben Glover, Matt Hales, Stephen Blake Kanicka, Seth Mosley, Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone & Tedd Tjornhom, songwriters
  • “Grace Got You,” MercyMe featuring John Reuben; David Garcia, Ben Glover, MercyMe, Solomon Olds & John Reuben, songwriters
  • “Known,” Tauren Wells; Ethan Hulse, Jordan Sapp & Tauren Wells, songwriters

Best Gospel Album

  • One Nation Under God, Jekalyn Carr
  • Hiding Place, Tori Kelly
  • Make Room, Jonathan McReynolds
  • The Other Side, The Walls Group
  • A Great Work, Brian Courtney Wilson

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

  • Look Up Child, Lauren Daigle
  • Hallelujah Here Below, Elevation Worship
  • Living With a Fire, Jesus Culture
  • Surrounded, Michael W. Smith
  • Survivor: Live from Harding Prison, Zach Williams

Best Roots Gospel Album

  • Unexpected, Jason Crabb
  • Clear Skies, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  • Favorites: Revisited By Request, The Isaacs
  • Still Standing, The Martins
  • Love Love Love, Gordon Mote

 

Latin

Best Latin Pop Album

  • Prometo, Pablo Alboran
  • Sincera, Claudia Brant
  • Musas (Un Homenaje Al Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de lost Macorinos), Vol. 2, Natalia Lafourcade
  • 2:00 AM, Raquel Sofía
  • Vives, Carlos Vives

Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album

  • Claroscura, Aterciopelados
  • Coastcity, COASTCITY
  • Encanto Tropical, Monsieur Periné
  • Gourmet, Orishas
  • Aztlán, Zoé

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)

  • Primero Soy Mexicana, Angela Aguilar
  • Mitad Y Mitad, Calibre 50
  • Totalmente Juan Gabriel Vol. II, Aida Cuevas
  • Cruzando Borders, Los Texmaniacs
  • Leyendas de Mi Pueblo, Mariachi Sol De Mexico De Jose Hernandez
  • ¡Mexico Por Siempre!, Luis Miguel

Best Tropical Latin Album

  • Pa’ Mi Gente, Charlie Aponte
  • Legado, Formell Y Los Van Van
  • Orquesta Akokan, Orquesta Akokán
  • Ponle Actitude, Felipe Peláez
  • Anniversary, Spanish Harlem Orchestra

 

American Roots Music Categories

Best American Roots Performance

  • “Kick Rocks,” Sean Ardoin
  • “Saint James Infirmary Blues,” Jon Batiste
  • “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
  • “All On My Mind,” Anderson East
  • “Last Man Standing,” Willie Nelson

Best American Roots Song

  • “All the Trouble,” Waylon Payne, Lee Ann Womack & Adam Wright
  • “Build a Bridge,” Jeff Tweedy
  • “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth
  • “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door,” Pat McLaughlin & John Prine
  • “Summer’s End,” Pat McLaughlin & John Prine

Best Americana Album

  • By the Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile
  • Things Have Changed, Bettye LaVette
  • The Tree of Forgiveness, John Prine
  • The Lonely, The Lonesome & the Gone, Lee Ann Womack
  • One Drop of Truth, The Wood Brothers

Best Bluegrass Album

  • Portraits in Fiddles, Mike Barnett
  • Sister Sadie II, Sister Sadie
  • Rivers and Roads, Special Consensus
  • The Travelin’ McCourys, The Travelin’ McCourys
  • North of Despair, Wood & Wire

Best Traditional Blues Album

  • Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
  • Benton County Relic, Cedric Burnside
  • The Blues Is Alive and Well, Buddy Guy
  • No Mercy in This Land, Ben Harper And Charlie Musselwhite
  • Don’t You Feel My Leg (The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker), Maria Muldaur

Best Contemporary Blues Album

  • Please Don’t Be Dead, Fantastic Negrito
  • Here in Babylon, Teresa James And The Rhythm Tramps
  • Cry No More, Danielle Nicole
  • Out of the Blues, Boz Scaggs
  • Victor Wainwright and the Train, Victor Wainwright And The Train

Best Folk Album

  • Whistle Down the Wind, Joan Baez
  • Black Cowboys, Dom Flemons
  • Rifles & Rosary Beads, Mary Gauthier
  • Weed Garden, Iron & Wine
  • All Ashore, Punch Brothers

Best Regional Roots Music Album

  • Kreole Rock and Soul, Sean Ardoin
  • Spyboy, Cha Wa
  • Aloha From Na Hoa, Na Hoa
  • No ‘Ane’i, Kalani Pe’a
  • Mewasinsational – Cree Round Dance Songs, Young Spirit

Reggae and world music category

Best Reggae Album

  • As the World Turns, Black Uhuru
  • Reggae Forever, Etana
  • Rebellion Rises, Ziggy Marley
  • A Matter of Time, Protoje
  • 44/876, Sting & Shaggy

Best World Music Album

  • Deran, Bombino
  • Fenfo, Fatoumata Diawara
  • Black Times, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
  • Freedom, Soweto Gospel Choir
  • The Lost Songs of World War II, Yiddish Glory

 

Miscellaneous

Best Children’s Album

  • All the Sounds, Lucy Kalantari & The Jazz Cats
  • Building Blocks, Tim Kubart
  • Falu’s Bazaar, Falu
  • Giants of Science, The Pop Ups
  • The Nation of Imagine, Frank & Deane

Best Musical Theater Album

  • The Band’s Visit
  • Carousel
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert
  • My Fair Lady
  • Once on This Island

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

  • Black Panther
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Coco
  • The Shape Of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media

  • Call Me By Your Name (Various Artists), Luca Guadagnino, compilation producer; Robin Urdang, music supervisor
  • Deadpool 2 (Various Artists), David Leitch & Ryan Reynolds, compilation producers; John Houlihan, music supervisor
  • The Greatest Showman, Hugh Jackman (& Various Artists), Alex Lacamoire, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul & Greg Wells, compilation producers
  • Lady Bird (Various Artists), Timothy J. Smith, compilation producer; Michael Hill & Brian Ross, music supervisors
  • Stranger Things, (Various Artists), Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer & Timothy J. Smith, compilation producers; Nora Felder, music supervisor

Best Song Written For Visual Media

  • “All the Stars,” from Black Panther, Kendrick Duckworth, Solána Rowe, Alexander William Shuckburgh, Mark Anthony Spears & Anthony Tiffith (performed by Kendrick Lamar & SZA)
  • “Mystery of Love,” from Call Me By Your Name, Sufjan Stevens (performed by Sufjan Stevens)
  • “Remember Me,” from Coco, Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez (performed by Miguel featuring Natalia Lafourcade)
  • “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt (performed by Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)
  • “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (performed by Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble)

Best Comedy Album

  • Annihilation, Patton Oswalt
  • Equanimity & The Bird Revelation, Dave Chappelle
  • Noble Ape, Jim Gaffigan
  • Standup For Drummers, Fred Armisen
  • Tamborine, Chris Rock

Best Spoken Word Album

  • Accessory to War (Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang), Courtney B. Vance
  • Calypso, David Sedaris
  • Creative Quest, Questlove
  • Faith — A Journey For All, Jimmy Carter
  • The Last Black Unicorn, Tiffany Haddish

Best Music Video

  • “Apes***, “ The Carters
  • “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
  • “I’m Not Racist,” Joyner Lucas
  • “Pynk,” Janelle Monáe
  • “Mumbo Jumbo,” Tierra Whack

Album Notes

  • Alpine Dreaming: The Helvetia Records Story, 1920-1924
  • 4 Banjo Songs, 1891-1897: Foundational Recordings Of America’s Iconic Instrument
  • The 1960 Time Sessions
  • The Product Of Our Souls: The Sound And Sway Of James Reese Europe’s Society Orchestra
  • Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 (Deluxe Edition)
  • Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris