February 21, 2017

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

Royalty Free Music Resolutions For The New Year

Don’t we always have lofty goals as a new year begins? And let’s face it: losing 100 lbs. ain’t an easy task! But organizing your music so you have quick access in your day-to-day work is something you can most likely accomplish in a day. And of course, we’d recommend using as much Royalty Free Music from CSS Music as possible! J

Seriously, a day in the office--maybe a Saturday when things are quiet and your S.O. and the kids are busy--will make the rest of the year a lot easier! How you like to organize is a personal choice, but we’ll throw out a couple suggestions just the same. The important thing is to have your music arranged in folders so it’s quickly accessible.

You probably have favorite royalty free music tracks you use in your show (besides open and closing credits) all the time that have worked well. Why not create a folder just for those? Maybe title “Favorites” or similar. See? You’ve already started your organizing! (Chances are you’ve already done this, but what the heck.)

Next, set up folders for the genres of music you most often use and assign classifications. This is where the work begins. By now you have a sense of your show(s) and where you think they’re headed for the upcoming year.  For example, have the executives asked for more heart touching moments? Or more comedic scenes—maybe they want the action scenes amped up another notch? Knowing what you’ll need, search your libraries for tracks that will best serve those needs and download into the proper folders. Hopefully, the track titles will provide a strong indicator of what the music is like.

When you have 1). Found some really useable stuff or 2). Gone batty from too much listening, color code files via option-click or right-click. Maybe red for hot tracks you want to try, yellow for “maybes,” blue for “worth keeping but not sure where to use,” etc. Even adding this final step will save you time when searching music for your next show—and will have you set for the upcoming year! And as we said earlier, don’t be afraid to load up those folders with lots of CSS Music! J

And before you download tunes that will go into your folders, you might want to also use the CSS Playlist tool.   When you’re pre-production on your projects you can open a playlist for each scene.  You can open as many playlists as you like.  It’s a free service. You can add notes on each tune you add to a playlist and when your thinking is tentatively set, you can e-mail your playlists across the hall or around the world. Your clients or cohorts can listen and read your notes and make notes of their own and send the playlist(s) back to you.  And when all is said and done and everyone gives their stamp of approval, you can download CSS Royalty Free music from your playlists.  Check the playlist utility out, we think you’ll like it. http://www.cssmusic.com/DAWN//Playlists/index.cfm?fa=Info

February 13, 2017

CSS MUSIC Announces New Rollover Download Subscription Pla

CSS Music, a leader in royalty free music (“Lifetime Blanket Licensing”) since 1982 has announced the release of its new Rollover Music Download Plan.  This new approach to royalty free subscriptions will address one of the most often sited “flaws” in plans that use reoccurring monthly credit card charges, the loss of all remaining downloads at the end of each monthly billing cycle.   This 3rd  CSS Bulk Download or Subscription plan will let subscribers keep all remaining downloads at the beginning of a new billing cycle while still adding a fresh batch to the balance.

“We think our customers shouldn’t have to give up anything to subscribe to our library,” says CSS Marketing Director Mike Fuller.  “This new plan recognizes the fact that our clients don’t always have constant activity, especially when they’re in pre-production.  Now they will be able to ‘bank’ their unused downloads and actually build up their balance over time to accommodate larger projects when they occur.

“We also decided that a smaller more affordable subscription rate would be preferable to one with large numbers of downloads and a big monthly price tag,” Fuller continued, “that’s why we selected the relatively modest monthly rate of $69 for 6 downloads.  And if our clients use up their 6 downloads in a given month, they can re-charge and re-set their account to meet the short fall.”

Licensing for the new CSS Music subscription plan is exactly the same as the company’s single track downloads.  CSS also offers 2 other subscription plans, one that counts down pre-paid downloads or one that counts down credits called D.A.W.N. Dollars.  Clients can also download entire CD volumes. 

CSS (www.cssmusic.com) offers 4 music search systems: "Most Popular by Genre" Music Supervisor Playlists, Standard Keywords, User Keywords and Waveform. Once end users complete searches, their selections can be added to Playlists they create. An unlimited number of playlists can be created for various clients or projects. These playlists can be e-mailed to associates or clients across the hall or around the world. Tracks can be downloaded from playlists. Each tune in a search result or playlist can be played in its entirety before final selection. Users can also use a utility that allows a selection to be played at any point in its timeline to more closely identify editing posts and other production values.

Established in 1982 in Los Angeles, CA, CSS Music is a royalty-free music company with a library of more than 13,000 tracks. CSS Music provides royalty free music and sound FX for film, video and television producers. CSS is dedicated to working with music supervisors, editors, directors and producers to meet their creative needs. For more information on CSS Music visit http://www.cssmusic.com/.

February 07, 2017

Piano or Guitar?

Exploring Two Popular Instruments

Did you take piano lessons as a child? Or maybe you got the urge to become a guitar hero as a teen? These two popular instruments, played alone, evoke their own particular sounds that may be just the ticket for a scene in your next show.

CSS Music has an abundance of solo piano tracks and a respectable number of solo acoustic guitar tracks. (We recommend using the Keyword Alpha Search and choosing Acoustic Guitar from the A-G drop down menu and Solo Instrument from the R-Z menu.) Why so much piano music versus guitar?

First, the piano is the only instrument that essentially covers the entire music spectrum. The low end of the piano covers the range of the contrabass (or bass guitar) while the upper range goes nearly as high as a piccolo. The acoustic guitar on the other hand, while flexible in the midrange and upper end, lacks the lower note range of the piano. Add the fact that you can have 10 “instruments” (fingers) with the piano, the guitar only allows for 5 (or most commonly 4) “instruments.” On the other hand, (pun intended) you can’t bend notes on a piano, a hallmark technique of the guitar.

So the issue becomes, which of these solo instruments is best for a scene? If you want something with a Country feel, a Floyd Cramer-style piano (i.e. “Closing Time” Reprofile Plus Volume 7) may fill the bill. But this is one of those situations where you’ll probably find more Country variety with a guitar-based track. Need something classical? While an Adrés Segovia-style guitar track might work, you’ll probably have better luck with one of CSS Music’s piano renditions. When the need is for a Nature scene, chances are the acoustic guitar wins out; not to say a light piano track couldn’t work just as well. Need Jazz? Probably a toss up—depending on tempo, each instrument brings its own flavor to the table.  

While both the guitar and piano are now electrified, there’s still nothing like the purity of their acoustic predecessors. CSS Music will continue to provide updated music using these wonderful instruments to keep your shows fresh and timely.

January 30, 2017

Understanding Film Music

When A Big Orchestra Is Too Much and Vice Vera

At CSS Music we love the movies! We see just about every major release and have done so for too many years to count. And if you’re like us, you probably pay close attention to the music! But what makes a great soundtrack and what type of orchestration works best for different films?

While a small, independent film might benefit from a large orchestral score—say for a scene of sweeping vistas—most often a smaller movie requires more intimacy. If you think about it….a quiet love scene with a huge string section playing the “lovers theme” could come off as quite camp. More likely a string quartet, solo piano or guitar or light synthesizer wash will best serve that type of scene.

The same applies to action scenes. An indie film chase scene will generally be on the low budget side and a huge orchestral track will probably sound out of place. The major action-adventure motion pictures thrive on spectacular special effects and a huge bombastic orchestral score--and of course, huge 5.1 surround-sound sound effects. The smaller film’s action scenes will be better served with a rock or country-based track or a driving synthesizer-sequencer track.

The current trend in both smaller films and certain major releases is to go the Singer-Songwriter route. This particular music style is often heard in the closing credits and may employ lyrics that relate back to the story of the movie. For you guys: CSS Music offers instrumental versions of the Singer-Songwriter style. Use our Hand Picked Genre menu and you’ll find suitable tracks under Country, (all styles except Wild West) Emotions (Lite Side) Film and Rock (Swampy-Southern Edge-Rural Rebellion.) Or try a search for “Folk” from our Keyword Alpha or Build-A-Search menus.

We want your productions to reflect current musical trends. Whether it’s a huge orchestra playing an emotional theme or a smaller group providing musical support for a comedic scene, CSS Music is here to make your shows sound great!

January 24, 2017

Using Alternate Mixes

Doing It Movie Editor Style

At CSS Music we’ve always believed in providing alternate mixes. In fact, our PowerTrax library was built around this premise. And you’ve probably noticed some new Project Platinum albums with alternate mixes and even some cue loops. The question is, how to most effectively use these in conjunction with the full mix cut? And what exactly are these alternate mixes?

Starting with the latter, an alternate mix is generally the track sans melody. This allows the alternate track to provide “space” for (usually) dialog. These mixes can also be simple stems—i.e. drums and bass, high synth sequencer, rhythmic pad, etc. Or with some of the CSS Music vocal tracks, we’ll supply a full mix without the vocal. Cue loops are very sparse repetitious sections of a track that typically run :15 to :40 that you can paste together as needed.

How to best use these alternate mixes? Let’s create a typical scene—we’ll call it “Catching The Wiley Walleyed.” Here’s how you’d use a track/companion alternate mix. (We’ll assume these are all hard edits.)

INT. truck; on way to lake; dialog                            Alternate mix
EXT: boat launches in water                                     Full mix; action section
EXT: talent in boat; ambient SFX                            No music or light rhythm
CU: casting from boat; montage of casts                 Full mix; quieter section
MS: talent talks; decide on different locale             Alternate mix under
EXT: LS of boat moving                                          Full mix; action
CU: casting from boat & dialog                               Alternate mix
CU: fish strikes!                                                        Full mix; timed to track ending

The beauty in this type of editing is your show sounds like it has been custom scored. Plus all dialog will be heard without having to duck the track very much. CSS Music recommends you audition our PowerTrax library and Project Platinum volumes 14-19. We think you’ll be cutting like a film editor in no time!