Great music makes even average video productions memorable. But, if you’ve ever wandered into the swamp of music licensing, it is easy to give up and ask Uncle Louie to perform something clever on his kazoo.
Recently, the folks at Audio Network reached out and asked me to take a look – first at their website and, second, at their panel for Adobe Premiere. Audio Network was new to me, so I was happy to take a look.
NOTE: I’ve since learned that Audio Networks is very popular in Europe, but still introducing themselves in the U.S.
Founded in 2001, Audio Network is an independent global music company with more than 100,000 original tracks of music, spanning every conceivable style, mood and instrumentation.
NOTE: In an email from their website, they tell me that they currently have 125,384 original music tracks in their library; just in case you wanted to know the actual, precise number.
According to their website, the company focuses on three key values:
You don’t need to be a member to explore the music on their website. In fact, exploring their library is a fun way to spend 30 minutes discovering all the musical styles that you never knew existed.
As you can see, their musical styles are wide-ranging.
Clicking any category displays tracks you can listen to.
Licensing ranges from $9.99 per track for a personal project, up to $695 for the same track licensed for commercial advertising use. The Professional category covers most paid web-work, with a license fee of $195 per track. Details for each classification can be found on their website.
The search function, at the top, allows very detailed searches using key adjectives, so exploring is both fast and fun.
THE ADOBE PANEL
While you can easily access, search and download music from their website, if you edit using Adobe Premiere, you can install a free extension panel that allows you full access to Audio Network music from within Premiere.
To install the Audio Network panel for Adobe Premiere, download it from their website – adobe.audionetwork.com.
Depending upon how you’ve enabled System Preferences > Security on your Mac, you may need to change them long enough to allow installing the panel.
After enabling security, installing the panel is 1-click easy.
When installation is complete, restart Premiere – if it is currently running – then access the new panel from Windows > Extensions inside Premiere.
This opens a floating panel, which can be docked anywhere in your Premiere workspace, or left to float free, that accesses the full search capability of the Audio Network website from within Premiere Pro.
While you can search the library without cost, even without being a member, the real power happens once you sign-up (which is free) and log-in.
At this point, the search screen changes. Your user name appears at the top, along with pricing for each track and the ability to download or buy it.
Downloading is especially helpful because, before you purchase a track, you can download an MP3 version, edit it into your project and decide if it works.
If you like it, buy it. Downloading the purchased version downloads a WAV file which automatically replaces the MP3 with the high-quality version, without you needing to re-edit it into your project.
The first time you download, Audio Network creates an Audio Network Music folder in your Project panel, with all downloads going into that folder.
OTHER COOL THINGS
You can mark clips as Favorites, allowing you to easily find them again in the future. Review your purchases, even create projects on the Audio Network website, adding audio files as you find them, and have them automatically synced with the Audio Network panel in Premiere.
You can change the location of the download folder from its default in your Home Directory.
Recently, I emailed Alyssa Stringer, product manager for the Audio Network, in order to learn more about their service. Here is our conversation.
Larry: What is Audio Network?
Alyssa: Audio Network is an independent music company that believes in liberating music for creators everywhere. Our straightforward licensing and pricing keeps things simple – we have over 125,000 tracks which are cleared for use on any platform, anywhere in the world, forever.
Larry: Why was it founded?
Alyssa: We’re inspired by composers, artists and producers, as well as the sounds they create. We believe these are far too important to be bound up in rules and red tape – which is why we’re setting our music free. We started in 2001, and now collaborate with over 750 composers, artists and producers from across the globe, as we continue to build our own world-class catalogue of original music spanning every conceivable style, mood and instrumentation. We focus on making music easy to access and easy to use.
Larry: Do you record your own music, or license music from other companies?
Alyssa: We record our own music, with the best, authentic musicians and composers at the top recording facilities in the world. We do not license or buy music from other companies.
Larry: Would you consider yourself more “royalty-free” or “needle-drop” music?
Alyssa: We consider ourselves a high-quality music catalogue, with simple licensing for any type of user.
Larry: When we purchase the rights for a song as a “Professional” does that allow us to use the song, or pieces of a song, multiple times in the same production?
Alyssa: Your license allows you to use the music in one project or video and covers all sync and dubbing rights. It doesn’t cover performing rights, which are normally the responsibility of the hosting platform (eg. YouTube) or broadcaster (eg. a TV channel) and can be easily cleared directly with performing rights societies.
Larry: When we purchase the rights for a song as a “Professional” does that allow us to use the song in more than one production?
Alyssa: We have a range of single use licenses available to buy online. However, if you need to license music more regularly or need to license for a campaign or series, our account management team will help support you to provide the appropriate solution.
Larry: I’ve visited the pricing page on your website, but I’m still confused about what your licensing covers, where can I get answers?
Alyssa: While music licensing is complicated, we do try to make it as simple as possible. The best place to go is the <Pricing> button on top right of our website (after hitting <Log In> or <Sign Up>). You will then get to a pricing popup that takes you through the rights of our five main licenses: Creator, Creator +, Professional, TV and Commercial. For the latter two, you can get to that price popup by clicking on <Show Prices> at the bottom of the initial page. If still stuck, you can contact us and speak with an Account Manager.
Larry: What’s the benefit of the Premiere panel compared to using your website?
Alyssa: The Audio Network music panel in Adobe Premiere Pro is designed to help you work seamlessly. Access our entire catalogue of music directly within your editing suite, instead of having to leave to find the perfect music for your project. Trial tracks instantly, and download these directly from the panel into your Adobe bin. You can save tracks for later by creating your own “projects” or by favoriting tracks.
Larry: What other NLEs do you support?
Alyssa: We are also in Beta launch with Lightworks, and you can download the latest version here to see how Audio Network music is accessible directly. We are always looking to help music editors work more seamlessly and hope to release integrations with other top NLEs over time.
Larry: With so much music out there, why should someone consider licensing music from the Audio Network?
Alyssa: There are a few reasons for choosing Audio Network for your music needs. We have a substantial catalogue of world-class music that has been built up over 15 years. While others have large libraries, we don’t purchase songs or libraries from others, so we maintain consistent quality and have 100% ownership of the songs so we can freely license in perpetuity, for any country or territory. Further, since we have both an online service and experienced account managers, we can work with any type of creator. Finally, our technology innovation – as evidenced by the Adobe panel – is helping us stand out from other music companies in our space by streamlining the customer workflow.
There are two big problems with adding music to our projects: finding the right clip in a reasonable amount of time and licensing it.
I really like the speed and flexibility of the search. It is fast enough to make searching fun, yet deep enough to provide the flexibility we need to find exactly the right clip.
The issue of licensing and pricing is more thorny, though. There is no doubt that we’ve commoditized music to the point where all of us expect high-quality music to be free. From a consumer point-of-view, that’s ideal. But, musicians need to eat, too.
What I like about Audio Network is that they allow us to download the entire track for free, play with it in our project and decide whether it works. Only then do we need to buy it. And, while the $195 Professional license seems a little steep (see “commoditization,” above) they are currently running a promotion which cuts the price almost 50% to $99 per track.
If you, like me, have not heard of Audio Networks before, give yourself a treat and head over to their website. I know you’ll find some music you’ll fall in love with.
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