JUly Blog - Celebrating Studio Musicians

Studio musicians are the unsung heroes of recorded music.  They are sight-reading ninjas, masters of many styles, nimble and level-headed musical wizards.  I have worked with hundreds over the years and I am grateful for every one.

Did you know that, in general, studio musicians must record music without any rehearsal?  They may do a single play through on some parts of the score that are exceptionally difficult.  And there may be some spot re-recording after the fact (punching in), to correct mistakes.  But the majority of the project is recorded as the musicians are seeing and playing the music for the first time ever.  Unbelievable! 

Can you imagine being that good?!?  Studio musicians truly are the crème de la crème.  The best of the best!  And they handle the pressure exceptionally well.  Like juggling bowling balls and razor blades while dancing across a tightrope 100 feet in the air over spikes in molten lava.  Without breaking a sweat. 

(I do enjoy hyperbole, so maybe it's not quite that intense.  But it’s still pretty intense!)

This month, HUGEsound Records shines a bright spotlight on two studio musicians in particular, whom I've had the pleasure of working with for many years - flutist Jeannine Goeckeritz and cellist Nicole Pinnell.  Both have played on HUNDREDS of recording sessions, including many of my own music scores. 

Each has their own solo project out that we are promoting this month.  Jeannine’s debut album, Come Dream With Me, and Nicole’s brand new EP, Songs from Mother Earth (exclusively at HUGEsound Records, July 2021).  

 With enthusiasm, 

Chance Thomas, President of HUGEsound Records 

June Blog - Game SCoring vs Film Scoring

THE IRONY,  THE HUMOR,  THE PEEVES 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Young Composer:   I want to be a film composer!   

Me:   That’s awesome.  Film is a fabulous canvas to create for.  Video games are another avenue to explore, have you ever looked into that?  

Young Composer:   No, I want to write real music.  

Me:  [face-palm]  

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Person at a Party:   You’re a composer, right?  What have you done?  

Me:  Music for video games, TV shows, movies, and VR.  

Person at a Party:   Anything I might have heard of?  

Me:   Sure! Videogame scores for Avatar, King Kong, X-Men, Lord of the Rings, and lots more.  

Person at a Party:   Cool! You did music for those movies?    

Me:   Um, no, I scored the video games.  

Person at a Party:   Oh... (disappointed look on face) …only the games… (turns and walks away)  

Me:  [face-palm]  

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Music Student:   Game music is easy, film music is hard, right? 

Me:   Well, for a film score, standards of originality and quality are very high.  Production expectations may include a live orchestra, choir, soloists, and surround or Atmos mixing.  And an extended Director’s Cut may have as much as 3 hours of original music, scored to picture from beginning to end.   

Music Student:   Yeah, that sounds hard. 

Me:   For a video game score, standards of originality and quality are also very high.  Production expectations may include a live orchestra, choir, soloists, and surround or Atmos mixing.  A game I scored last year required 16,243 pieces of music, arranged in an interactive matrix that generates the score in real-time based on harmonic probability tables, changing game states, gameplay vector, and many other variables.  The music score continually reflects the gamer’s choices as they occur.  Plus, the music score never ends and never plays the same way twice. 

Music Student:   I’m sorry, what were you saying? 

Me:  [face-palm] 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Game Developer:   So, you did the music for King Kong?   

Me:   Yes.   

Game Developer:   I played that game, it was really fun!   

Me:   Right? The developers did a great job.   

Game Developer:   I remember the music was really good.  How did you adapt the film music for the game?   

Me:   Actually, I wrote a completely original score for the game.  In fact, my entire video game score was composed, recorded, and mixed before the film composer even STARTED on the film score.   

Game Developer:   So then, how did you get the film music into the game?   

Me:   [face-palm]  

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Acquaintance:   So you did video game music for The Lord of the Rings? 

Me:   Yes, I’ve worked on 9 LOTR games, plus several expansions. 

Acquaintance:   Must be easy, you just copy the music from the movies, right? 

Me:   Actually, no. I started working on JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth Online back in 1998, long before the films came out.  I did my own research, digging out every word that Tolkien wrote about music, sounds, songs, voices, instruments, etc.  I crafted a 26-page Tolkien Music Style Guide based on my research to focus the music across several games and franchises, so the music would resonate with the literature and a wide range of audiences.  I defined home keys for each race, plus instrumental palettes and vocal ranges based on references and inferences in the literature.  I composed original themes and variations for each race, as well as important locations and events in the books.  Every note of my LOTR music from the past twenty plus years has flowed from that research. 

Acquaintance:   Yeah, Howard Shore’s music is great. 

Me:  [face-palm] 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

:)  Chance Thomas, President of HUGEsound Records 

May BLOG - Fast food and music streaming

I recently stumbled onto a quirky article about McDonald’s.  I learned that the average employee is paid about $200 to make 100 hamburgers.   

Compare that to what streaming services pay composers. My last streaming statement showed payments ranging from $0.0001 per play to $0.01 per play.  That calculates to an average of about $0.002 per play.  

Now back to McDonald’s.  To feed 500 people with 1 burger each, McDonald's pays $1,000.  

Music feeds the soul.  If I feed 500 people with 1 song each, streaming services pay $1.  One dollar!

Make burgers = $1,000.00.  Make music = $1.00.  Are you seeing the problem here? 

That’s just wrong, all kinds of wrong.  Nothing against McDonald’s employees, I’ve been known to eat a quarter pounder myself once in a while.  But it’s wrong to value someone who makes burgers at a rate that is 1000 times higher than someone who makes music! 

Until streaming services change their royalty structure radically, I encourage everyone to own the soundtrack music they enjoy, rather than just streaming it.  When you buy directly from artists, or from an artist-owned label like HUGEsound Records, your purchase goes straight to music makers, not corporate money hoarders.  Your purchases here support composers, musicians, artists, and those directly involved in making great soundtrack music.  In April we featured the works of Austin Wintory.  In May we featured Penka Kouneva.  This month, my own new release ROGUEBOOK is being featured.  July will bring new artists to support.

Streaming, on the other hand, supports people like Spotify CEO Daniel Elk, whose current net worth is over $4 billion.  And he didn’t write a single note of all the music you enjoy.  

As I said at the end of last month's blog, we don't have to accept the status quo.  You can make a difference.  Join us in supporting soundtrack composers and musicians.  Choose to own the soundtracks you love.  Join our mailing list (page bottom) to keep apprised of featured guest artists each month.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn about special promotions and live events.  And thank you for your love of music!  We absolutely understand.  Music carries us all away to fantastical worlds of astonishment and wonder.  Let's keep it rolling!

Chance Thomas, President of HUGEsound Records

April BLOG - Music purchase vs music Streaming

SUPPORT MUSIC MAKERS, NOT MONEY TAKERS

One reason to purchase music is because the music streaming services pay only a pittance to most soundtrack composers. Here are some of the actual royalty amounts paid, as reported on a recent royalty statement:  

     Spotify, $0.0001 per song  |  Apple, $0.003 per song  |  YouTube, $0.002 per song

These are on the low end.  It's just not possible for soundtrack composers and musicians to make a living from such pitifully low payments.  

FUND THE FLOATERS, NOT THE BLOATERS

Music streaming is kept afloat by the creativity of composers and musicians.  Their creativity also lifts society.  Soundtrack music lifts our spirits, our moods, our ambitions!  Funding soundtrack composers and musicians directly through purchasing music keeps the revenue where it will do the most creative good.  Good for artists, good for society.

CLIMB ON BOARD, END THE HOARD

Owning music is a fabulous way to bypass the money hoarding, and directly support composers and musicians.  Purchasing music costs very little compared to most forms of entertainment, but does a world of good.

MAKE A HUGE CHANGE

That's why HUGEsound Records was formed.  To introduce soundtrack music lovers to curated works they can purchase from gifted composers, giving composers a revenue boost to support them and the musicians they hire in the continual creation of inspiring music.  Purchasing music here helps us and our featured composers.  In April we featured the works of Austin Wintory.  In May we featured Penka Kouneva.  But honestly, purchasing soundtrack music from anywhere helps composers.

JOIN THE RESISTANCE

We don't have to accept the status quo.  You can make a difference.  Join us in supporting soundtrack composers and musicians.  Choose to own the soundtracks you love.  Join our mailing list (page bottom) to keep apprised of featured guest artists each month.  Follow us on Facebook to learn about special promotions and live events.  And thank you for your love of music!  We absolutely understand.  Music carries us all away to fantastical worlds of astonishment and wonder.  Let's keep it rolling!

Chance Thomas, President of HUGEsound Records

 

Explore our soundtrack collection

"Lord of the Rings Music for a new generation..."

"Lord of the Rings Music for a new generation..."