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Diversifying with Stock Music and Audio: Opportunities for Passive Income

Introduction

While dominated by photography and video, stock music and audio provide promising side income streams for multi-disciplinary creatives. From production music to sound effects and voice overs, these in-demand audio assets monetize in the background.

This comprehensive guide covers launching stock music and audio side hustles:

  • Evaluating leading stock audio marketplaces
  • Producing diverse catalog offerings from ambient to corporate tracks
  • Setting up affordable home studios optimally
  • Recording and editing broadcast quality audio and voice overs
  • Composing original catchy podsafe music
  • Mixing and mastering compositions professionally
  • Capturing premium sound effects and samples
  • Tagging audio assets thoroughly for discoverability
  • Building your music brand through online personas
  • Promoting new audio through social media
  • Establishing clear pricing tiers by usage and exclusivity
  • Generating multiple licensing revenue streams
  • Automating participation across platforms efficiently

Audio may seem daunting but complementing your visual stock portfolio with diverse sonic creations can earn substantial passive income over time through these techniques. Let’s dive in!

Evaluating Leading Stock Audio Marketplaces

Major platforms offering distribution:

  • AudioJungle – Broadest catalog across music and production SFX geared towards video editing.
  • Envato – Parent company of AudioJungle also owning photography/video sites like PhotoDune.
  • Pond5 – Large marketplace for stock music and business media productions.
  • StoryBlocks – Combining video, images, and audio.
  • Shutterstock Music – Major stock agency aggregating music tracks.
  • Epidemic Sound – Focused subscription model providing rights to use catalog tracks freely.

Producing Diverse Music Catalogs

Appeal to myriad video use cases:

Cinematic Background Scores

  • Orchestral film scoring styles set dramatic moods.
  • Useful for gaming, advertising and video backgrounds.
  • Leverage virtual instruments for convincing digitally created suites.

Corporate Business Themes

  • Upbeat corporate tracks for professional brand productions.
  • Avoid vocals. Lengths around 30-60 seconds work best.
  • Use prominent piano, strings, drums conveying sleek optimism.

Ambient Environmental Moods

  • Down tempo minimal compositions for relaxing atmosphere.
  • Layer natural field recordings like ocean waves or birds chirping.
  • Accent with soft piano, acoustic guitar or light percussion.

Podcast Intro Jingles

  • Create short catchy musical stings 5-15 seconds long.
  • Include podcast name vocals or sound clip hooks relevant to show topics.
  • Tools like Audacity make recording/editing simple.

Upbeat Pop Background Music

  • Fun, energetic tracks incorporating pop band instruments.
  • Avoid overpowering vocals that compete with voiceovers.
  • Lengths under 2 minutes work best.

Building an Affordable Home Music Studio

Produce broadcast-ready audio on a budget:

Audio Interface

Scarlett 2i2 provides studio quality digitization of mics, instruments and vocals.

Studio Monitors

HAVIT or Mackie studio monitors accurately represent your mix for about $100 each.

MIDI Keyboard

Small 25-49 key controllers by brands like Akai connect to compose melodies and harmonies.

Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica AT2020 captures vocals and acoustic instruments cleanly for around $100.

Acoustic Treatment

DIY sound dampening panels minimize room echoes.

Closed-Back Headphones

Quality Sony or Audio-Technica headphones mix precisely without sound bleed.

Music Production Software

Start with free DAWs like Garageband or Cakewalk before subscribing to Abelton or Pro Tools.

Virtual Instruments

Sample packs provide realistic sounding virtual guitars, keyboards etc.

Recording High-Quality Voice Overs

Capture clear narrations with crisp audio:

  • Choose large diaphragm condenser mic like Audio-Technica AT2035.
  • Position microphone just off axis instead of directly in front to prevent popping.
  • Room treatment like acoustic foam eliminates echoes.
  • Use pop filter to reduce percussive breath sounds and occlusion.
  • Record in 24-bit depth without compression for editing headroom.
  • Capture multiple takes and splice together best deliveries.

Editing and Mastering Productions

Refine composositions and professionally finalize:

  • Edit waveform zoomed in to fine tune starts, ends and transitions between sections or layers.
  • Tone shape with EQ high passing low rumble and sculpting muddy mids. Boost clarity between 2-5khz range.
  • Use compressors and limiters to amplify quiet dynamics and control peak volumes.
  • Add spacious reverb and three dimensional depth through subtle delays. Automate for interest.
  • Pan supporting layers subtly around centralized leads and vocals providing width.
  • Output 16 or 24 bit 44.1k wav files without normalization for mastering headroom.

Recording Premium Sound Effects

Capture distinct natural ambience and sounds:

Field Recording

Wander locations capturing high fidelity audio snapshots like city sounds, nature ambience etc.

Foley Techniques

Use props to closely mic sounds like writing, footsteps, handling objects. Remove background noise.

Vocalizations

Record various human sounds like laughing, shouting, breathing exertions.

Musical Rhythms

Sample percussion patterns by mic’ing kits, tapping surfaces etc.

Software Synthesis

Design unique sci fi effects through synth modulations and smart sound design.

Found Sounds

Creative recordings of anything with interesting textures – bells, machinery, animals.

Tagging Music and Audio for Discovery

Optimize metadata so buyers can find your assets:

  • Include detailed descriptions summarizing exactly what listeners will hear.
  • Map audio carefully into stock site categories and genres.
  • Add conceptual tags related to mood, activities, eras, emotions.
  • Notate instrumentation like guitars, piano, strings etc featured.
  • hyper-specific descriptors like “Upbeat corporate motivational rock drums piano royalty free music track background positive upbeat”

Building Your Artist Brand Through Online Personas

Launch separate creative identities:

Producer Moniker

Create producer alter ego like DJ Solis to brand music creations.

Themed Artist Channels

Dedicate composer identities to genres like ambient nature and cinematic scoring.

Personal Website

Launch music portfolio site to collate licensing links and offerings.

Social Media Pages

Establish dedicated social media accounts showcasing catalog and new releases.

Youtube Channel

Upload your tracks allowing preview streaming to Youtube Music’s giant audience. Monetize views.

Artist Biography

On sites establish background story and artistic philosophy.

Promoting New Audio Releases

Generate interest in latest assets:

Teaser Content

Share previews building buzz before launch across social media and Youtube.

Playlists

Curate themed public playlists at Spotify highlighting your tracks.

Deals and Bundles

Offer limited-time sale pricing or bundles around launches promoting across channels.

Hashtag Challenges

Participate in relevant viral hashtag challenges on TikTok featuring your music.

Influencer Marketing

Send new instrumental tracks to aligned content creators for use in videos driving discovery.

Behind the Scenes

Give fans value by revealing your creative process and tools for producing.

Structuring Clear Licensing Tiers

Provide options catering to budget and scope:

Non-Exclusive

Multiple buyers can license the same track in their own projects. Lower cost.

Exclusive

Lock track rights to one customer for uniqueness. Charge premium rate.

Sample Clearance

If samples used, clear and provide documentation of rights. Charge accordingly.

Podcast/Monetized Youtube Licensing

Higher licensing rates if audio used in monetized properties earning ad revenue.

Limited Use

Restrict number of distributed end media like under X videos or USD$X in ad spend.

Unlimited Use

Higher license fees allow clients to use audio in unlimited end usages. Popular for enterprise.

Generating Multiple Licensing Revenue Streams

Monetize audio across models:

Marketplace Distribution

Sell audio through stock media sites that handle license issuing and payments. This removes hassles of independent selling but they take commissions on sales.

Direct Custom Licensing

Sell audio licenses directly through your site and handle delivery. More work but you keep 100% of license fees charged.

Non-Exclusive Library Access

Subscription model allowing unlimited use of your entire catalog for flat monthly/annual fee. Steady recurring income.

Performance Royalties

Register with PROs like BMI to collect public performance royalties when your music airs. Extremely passive income.

Sync Licensing

Land placements in film, TV, advertising, brands and trailers. Big payouts but challenging to break into without connections.

Streamlining Distribution Across Platforms

Automating makes selling at scale feasible:

APIs and Integrations

Leverage developer APIs like from Envato allowing pushing new tracks from central hub automatically.

Distribution Platforms

Services like Tunecore, Distrokid and CD Baby easily publish music across all platforms.

Metadata Templates

Create reusable track profile templates with default descriptions, tagging, authoring and licensing info.

Online DAWs

Browser-based music studios like Soundtrap sync easily with cloud storage for accessing projects anywhere.

Collaboration Tools

Co-write and produce music by sharing sessions remotely through interfaces like Ohm Studio.

Subscription Management

Services like Royalty Exchange allow selling off future royalty streams from tracks in bulk upfront for quick income.

Conclusion

While visually focused stock dominates, audio presents enticing incremental income opportunities for multi-disciplinary creatives. Through home studios and automation, composers can diversify into stock music sales and licensing at scale. The passive revenues then further support your creative career and artistic expression.

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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