Sunday, May 20, 2018

What's Happening: Week of May 21, 2018

Nothing new to report.

That might be an exaggeration, but I am in sort of a lull. If you kept track of my Twitter feed, you saw that several items I had in the pipeline are now online. I'm planning to work on some new ideas this week, but sometimes those pan out and sometimes they don't.

I was more active than usual on the Pond5 forums this week, and commented on a question from a fellow composer wondering how many tracks were needed to get sales. I was curious, so I checked my own portfolio. I found that I'm up to over 600 separate items. The bad news, though is that just ten of those make up more than one-third of my total downloads.

It got me to thinking: how much quantity is too much?

A lot of that output dates from times when my production skills were very raw. I've thought about trying to remix some of those older tracks, but am not sure if it would be worth my time.

In the meantime, my featured stock music item this week is Dark Tense Interlude. When I wrote this I was thinking of "dark secrets, tense waiting and other chilling scenes." I hope you'll check it out.

Sorry to be brief, but my dear Windows wants to run an update that it says is going to take awhile. That's also why this post and my other regular updates are appearing relatively early. Now, I'm going to go find something else to do.

Until next time, be well.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Don't Panic Over Laurel And Yanny

I woke up this morning, hopped on Twitter, and was confronted by the Laurel-Yanny debate. I happened to have my headphones on and took a listen. I clearly heard "Laurel." Show's over. Move on.

I was doing something else later, and ran across it again. This time I played the audio through my laptop speakers . . . I clearly heard "Yanny."

What gives?

I did some research and found where the New York Times had tracked it down to a high school student in Georgia (USA). In the course of his studies the other day, he used his computer mic to record the audio of the word "Laurel" being pronounced at vocabulary,com. When he played it back, it sounded like "Yanny." He posted the audio on Reddit with a poll asking what others heard, and it took off from there.

More than just a huge time waster (it's that too) this was in interesting exercise in psyhoacoustics. The mic used, in addition to the ambient background noise at the moment of recording, added certain frequencies to the original content. Those additional frequencies create the "yanny" effect. Depending on what you use to play back the audio, it might either emphasize those frequencies so it sounds like "yanny" or emphasize the lower frequencies that dominated the original recording.

There's also the matter of the age of the listener. As we age our sensitivity to higher frequencies decreases, so younger people would find it easier to hear "yanny" when the listen to the audio.

Out of curiosity, I used my own base mic to make some recordings. First, I recorded my own voice saying "Laurel." A spectrum plot of that looked like this.
My "baseline" recording
Then I used the mic to record the controversial Laurel-Yanny audio at different distances from my speakers. The first one was sort of middle of the road.

Notice the spikes in the 1500-2000 Hz range. My guess is this is what got picked up and causes the "yanny" effect. On the next one I held the mic closer to the speaker.
This one I heard as closer to sounding like "Laurel." The spikes are still there, but the lower frequencies where "Laurel" comes across most strongly are very full.

Finally, there's this one.

It was recorded with the mic at the greatest distance from the speaker, and the lower frequencies are less dominant, allowing the higher transient frequencies to shine through, making it more likely that you'd hear "Yanny."

If you go to the Times you can find where their staff has created a little app that lets you adjust the pitches and frequencies to hear more "Laurel" or more "Yanny." It's a pretty cool little effect.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

What's Happening: Week of May 14, 2018

I have some new stock music in the pipeline since my last post here, so let me start with that.

My latest submission to my podcast intro collection is highly dramatic. So I'm calling it "Highly Dramatic Intro." My original idea was to call it "High Drama Intro," but I already have an item called "High Drama" and didn't want to risk getting confused later. It features lots of aggressive staccato strings and big legato brass, with percussion (of course!). I'm offering it in :30, :15 and stinger versions (no loop version on this one). Check out a preview of the :30 version.

New to my inspirational and motivational music collection is "Making The Difference." This is upbeat, motivational background music to help you convey positive messages in healthcare, lifestyle, political and other subject matter. It's a little over two minutes in length; here's a thirty second sample from the beginning of the track.

Both items are in curation at Pond5. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for more information when I have confirmation that they are online and available to license.

My featured stock music item this week is Moving Ahead. It's a nice, bright soft rock tune that features a melodica/harmonica melody and is a good choice for healthcare, lifestyle backgrounds or character development montages in your family-friendly or rom-com projects. If you're interested, please check it out at Pond5.

Finally, here's a strange thing. Last time I was on the ASCAP site to register titles for the items now in the pipeline, I noticed I had royalty revenue for the April 2018 quarter. I'm not expecting performance royalties, because no one has licensed any of my stock music for broadcast (that I'm aware of yet). No cue sheets yet. So I looked at the report.

Apparently, ASCAP has worked out deals with various internet companies like YouTube, Spotify and iHeart to collect performance royalties on music. And that's good. On the less good side, my royalty total for all my stuff came out to exactly $0.01. And that might have been generous. At least they can't say I haven't contributed anything to their bottom line.

And so it goes. As always, I thank you for your support, whether it's licensing, streaming my album, EPs or singles, or just stopping by to read. Please feel free to stop in again, leave a comment or contact me using the form in this blog.

Until next time, take care.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

In The Pipeline May 8, 2018: "Big Idea"

I've finished one of the tracks I was working on and submitted it to Pond5. I call it "Big Idea." It's a heavily-sequenced electronic track that's intended to bubble underneath how-to or explainer videos. Check out the sample below.

Assuming all goes well, I'll be tweeting soon that "Big Idea" is live and online, so keep an eye on my Twitter feed. If not, you'll hear about it in my next weekly update.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

What's Happening: Week of May 7, 2018

As I write, clouds are gathering here in southwestern Ohio. Thunderstorms are coming later this afternoon and evening. I'm sitting on a quiet Sunday afternoon and contemplating the moment.

The photo at left was taken on a more sunny day earlier this week while I was out and about. I had just gotten a haircut (in fact, I got them all cut) and was enjoying the change of pace and scenery.

That's kind of where I'm at right now, changing pace (but not so much scenery). I've been spending the last couple of weeks working on different ideas and trying out new things. On the production music side, I'm thinking about creating some music to augment my podcast intro music collection. I'm thinking of maybe doing some minimalist, atmospheric things with electronics and percussion to use as backgrounds for dramatic audio and visual content. I don't have anything to share just yet, but hope to do so soon.

My featured stock music item this week is Dramatic Moments (60 Second). It's a sort of tension-building orchestral piece that resolves at the end. It's also available in a looped version that doesn't have the resolution. I hope you'll check them both out.

On the "music for your lifestyle" front, my thoughts are not so positive. I'm not depressed about it or anything, but the plain reality is that this doesn't seem to be a good time to pursue that side of things. For one thing, I'd like to be able to release stuff in different styles and genres. But since I lack an audience of any size for any of it, to an outsider it probably looks like I'm throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.

The long and short of it is, for now I'm putting new releases on hold. I may decide to throw a single out there from time to time, but it seems to make no sense to do albums or EPs. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do about DistroKid going forward. Certainly I'll renew it for another year (it's coming up soon) but the prospects of it paying for itself frankly seem remote. I might be better off to put that money on the lottery once a year instead. If I do continue with releases, I'll probably stick to quieter material along the lines of Circadia.

I can hear thunder in the distance now, so I think I'll stop here and do something else for a while. I do appreciate everyone who stops by to read, as well as those of you who license my work or check out my releases on Spotify or Apple Music. If you're interested in more frequent updates and other infor, please follow my Twitter feed, since I'm more active there in short form.

Until next time, take care.