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Tonal Chaos Music Talks High-Energy Trailer Cues

Tonal Chaos Music + Sound Design is a premium boutique trailer library with refreshingly bold and innovative music from top trailer talent and mixing and mastering engineers. Their music can be heard in theatrical campaigns, promos, feature films, television spots, and video game trailers. In our interview, Creative Director Marc Aaron Jacobs talks trailer music for horror, thrillers, and high-energy ad campaigns.

How did Tonal Chaos first begin? What did the business look like in the early days?

The early days of Tonal Chaos consisted of only me, myself, and I, digging around through my categorized folders on my hard drive trying to locate tracks to send off for music searches. It was literally, Tonal Chaos. Once the business became “official”, we built our SourceAudio site and brought in a team to help support the demand that I knew was coming. We’ve got an incredible team in place, and a workflow where we produce extremely high-quality trailer music on a consistent schedule throughout the year.

What challenges did you face in the beginning of the business and what came easily from the start?

What came easily to me was building our roster of talented composers.  For some reason, that just felt natural and worked itself out.  Maybe because I'm a composer myself, so I can easily relate to the writers I bring on, and I'm always looking out for their best interests.

Our challenges were many!  I don't think most people know how many moving parts are involved in creating a music catalog.  It's intense…but I love it!  Learning and building systems to help with a smooth workflow was a challenge at first, but now that we've got these implemented into our day-to-day, things run very smoothly!  To be specific, it was important to me to monetize our catalog in every possible way.  Performance royalties, neighboring rights, Youtube, Spotify, Sub-Pubs, etc.  Navigating this and learning what needed to be done was a hurdle initially.  This leads me to the next challenge, getting our catalog into the hands of the people who need it, and will use it.  It's been a long and ongoing process, but developing meaningful working relationships with music supervisors, editors, creative directors, studios, etc., definitely isn't easy but essential in the "challenges" category.  To tackle this, I've brought on a sales/marketing team to make sure people know who Tonal Chaos Trailers are and that they're aware of all of our latest and greatest releases.

What kinds of sounds or genres have been most in demand from your clientele recently? 

We receive a lot of searches and usage in the horror and thriller genre these days.

Is there any specific customer sector that’s experiencing rapid growth right now? 

We’ve seen a trend in commercial advertising coming to us for our big epic and high-energy action trailer cues. In addition, our music outreach on YouTube has been pretty strong, which is translating into micro-license e-commerce sales directly on our SourceAudio site.

Any production secrets you can share on what goes into a great horror, thriller, or high-energy trailer cue?

When we produce any track, regardless of the genre, the priority for our team is to create very unique and custom sounds (signature sounds) in every piece.  These are created from scratch and help each track have its own identity and sound.  This is something I focus heavily on because Tonal Chaos Trailers need to have an identifiable sound, which in the end, makes us stand out among our competitors.  When it comes to specific genres, such as horror, we focus on scary sound design, unnatural rhythms, and cues that climax in a horrifying and chaotic way.  We want to make the viewer jump out of their seats!

What does a typical day look like, if one exists?

There really isn't a typical day but there are elements of this business that seem to repeat themselves. First things first, I start every day with some exercise to keep my mind fresh so I can tackle what may come.  Our industry is high-pressure and stressful, and I personally find exercise a great way to handle it.  Every day does include some composing.  I could be writing a track for an album release, creating a custom, or possibly creating sound design for one of our Trailer Tools compilations.  I'm also always listening and reviewing music submissions and making sure everything stays organized so we keep to our release schedule.  I try and release one big trailer album per month, and we squeeze in a sound design Trailer Tools release as well.  I'm also receiving music searches from music supers fairly often, so there are many days when I'm putting together playlists for specific projects.

Do you pursue any marketing initiatives to make the company stand out from the crowd? Or does most of your business development happen through direct communication. 

Our head of sales and marketing handles the majority of our direct communication with our clients. We don’t use any paid ads or marketing. Just your standard meetings, calls, and new album release emails! 

Is your music available to listen to on DSPs? 

Yes.  We are streaming on pretty much all platforms.

Where does Tonal Chaos source its material? Are you currently looking for new composers?

I have an amazing team of composers on our roster.  That being said, I’m always looking to bring on new talented trailer composers.

Any advice for up-and-coming sound designers, composers, or recordists striving to create professional, industry-quality tracks?

Practice, practice, practice! First and foremost, you have to be a great composer, but just as important is the production value you bring to your music. Watch YouTube tutorials, take classes, and ask questions to established writers. I receive music daily, and I know if I will continue listening or move on to the next submission within the first few bars. If the production quality isn’t top-notch, I have a hard time listening to the entire track.

Does Tonal Chaos have a company mission that guides business development or client experience?

Our mission has always been to create high-quality music and develop genuine and meaningful working relationships with our clients. We curate our catalog based on industry needs, thanks to consistent conversations with music supervisors, editors, and studio executives.  

What’s the best way to get a music supervisor to listen to your tracks?

For us, it was patience (it takes a while), consistency, and of course, creating a high-quality product. Developing relationships with music supervisors will happen over time. Be kind, offer truthful expectations, and be respectful, and if your music is the right match for whomever you're trying to connect with, I'm confident you'll make that connection. Music supervisors are always looking for great, new, and fresh tracks, so if you can provide that, it's a win-win. Get out of your studio and meet them face to face at conferences, music showcases, or wherever else the industry comes together. 

Any all-time favorite placements?

Every new placement is my favorite. I loved being in the latest Scream campaign. That was a “thrilling” one!

Friday, 27 May 2022
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A Complete Guide to Track Artwork

Whether you want to apply artwork to all your tracks or just a few, our interface makes it easy!

Assigning Artwork

Artwork application is built on the SourceAudio organizational hierarchy of catalogs, labels, and albums. 

Catalogs are the broadest organizational level, so if there isn't any artwork applied to a given track on an album or label level, this artwork will be applied. You can view your catalogs at the link that looks like https://yoursite.sourceadio.com/catalogs, click “Detailed” for the view setting seen across the top of the page just below the nav tabs, and change any catalog’s artwork by clicking "Edit This Catalog" on the right end of the catalog listing.

Labels live within catalogs, so as described above, if you haven't applied artwork to a label, it will inherit the artwork from the catalog it's contained in. If you apply different artwork to a label, that artwork will be applied to all the material in that label that would otherwise receive the catalog's artwork (provided the tracks aren’t receiving artwork on the album level). You can view your catalogs at the link that looks like https://yoursite.sourceadio.com/labels, click “Detailed” for the view setting seen across the top of the page just below the nav tabs, and change any label’s artwork by clicking "Edit This Label" on the right end of the catalog listing.

Finally, albums, which exist within labels, are the most specific organizational level, so artwork applied to any albums (once that album data is in place) will overwrite any artwork that would otherwise be applied from the catalog or label's artwork. You can view your catalogs at the link that looks like https://yoursite.sourceadio.com/albums, click “Detailed” for the view setting seen across the top of the page just below the nav tabs, and change any album’s artwork by clicking "Edit This Album" on the right end of the catalog listing.

Downloading Tracks with Embedded Artwork

Your tracks will be downloaded with their assigned artwork as long as you have metadata injection engaged for that specific label. You can view and adjust this setting in Manage Metadata > Downloading > Metadata injection.

Delivering Artwork as Image Files

You can deliver image files of your tracks’ artwork using the file delivery tool. This setting is found on the second page of settings when formatting your delivery. Just tick the box for Album Art, and then use the Album Art Filenames tool to set the naming protocol for these files (which draws from album metadata fields), as well as their folder organization for how they will accompany the audio files.

Friday, 20 May 2022
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Customize the Contents of Emails Sending Tracks, Albums, and Playlists

We make it easy to control the material in the emails delivered when you send tracks.

Email template customization occurs on a per user basis, so any changes you make won’t affect what appears in an email sent by another user. Both admins and non-admins can use these tools to customize their email contents when sending material in accordance with their designated permissions.

To customize the contents of the email sent out when sending a track, album, or playlist, first make sure you’re logged into your SourceAudio user account. Click your user icon in the top right » Dashboard » Email Settings, and make sure the checkbox for “use custom mail template” is ticked.

Edit the contents of your email directly in the “your email template” box. No coding is necessary (or permitted) in the customization of your email template.

To customize the contents of the email sent out when sending a track, album, or playlist, first make sure you’re logged into your SourceAudio user account. Click your user icon in the top right » Dashboard » Email Settings, and make sure the checkbox for “use custom mail template” is ticked.

Edit the contents of your email directly in the “your email template” box. No coding is necessary (or permitted) in the customization of your email template.

This page includes instructions for adding:
- Images and text- Download buttons
- Links- A coded link to the tracks
Plus “magic variables” to drop in:
- A message to be included with the delivery- A link to the homepage of the site
…and more!

When you’re finished formatting your email template, click Save Changes towards the bottom of the page, and the new formatting of your emails will take effect immediately.

Looking for more info on SourceAudio playlists? Check out our complete guide to playlists here!

Friday, 13 May 2022
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InfraSound Music Talks Commitment to Their Craft and Creating Great Music by Putting People First

InfraSound Music is a trailer music company that specializes in original, high-end music and sound design. The InfraSound team consists of trailer music veterans that spare no expense in delivering the highest quality material: contemporary, authentic and innovative work for motion picture advertising, video games, film and television, as well as commercials. In our interview, Co-Owner/Director of Music Goran Dragas shares his story of building a team of 75 composers, the importance of an in-house studio, and the thrill of hearing his music paired with a great story.

How did InfraSound Music first begin? What did the business look like in the early days?

November of 2019 is when InfraSound Music first opened its doors to the world. Before we even had a name for the company, we had a motto that we are still using today: We want to release editor-friendly trailer music with the highest standard of production. I'm glad that with each new album we are pushing that boundary slightly higher and higher.

The early days were spent trying to build up the material and letting people know that we exist, and that we aren't just another music publishing business out there. To say it was hard would be an understatement, but we wouldn't change a thing about it. I'm blessed to have met so many amazing people because of InfraSound Music. I truly feel we are all now a small family working together to achieve many amazing things.

What kinds of sounds or genres have been most in demand from your clientele recently?

We came out blazing with a couple of big, hybrid, "as epic as it gets" kind of albums since we all love those big orchestral themes that send shivers down the spine. After we had a fair share of those projects done, we did one horror album entitled DREAD which really opened doors for us and was used many times in various horror movies. Most people know us for our epic stuff, but a lot of our placements were horror and sound design. I'm really big on music supervision and we spend an insane amount of time polishing everything to the tiniest possible detail. I'm really known for saying "Make the hits bigger." Haha!

Is there any specific customer sector that’s experiencing rapid growth right now?

TV usage, which is kind of strange. We are only releasing music made for trailers, but we are seeing a steady growth in TV usage all around the globe. We also did a complete visual redesign of our website and introduced something called micro-licensing, just to test how much traffic it will generate. We have been pleasantly surprised with how many YouTubers, small businesses and student filmmakers reach out for those licenses.

Do you pursue any marketing initiatives to make the company stand out from the crowd? Or does most of your business development happen through direct communication?

To be honest, we haven't spent one dollar on marketing services. We are releasing albums almost on a monthly basis, but we are mostly doing industry releases – only for the clients. We like to send albums and for them to know that songs won't see the light of day until they appear in their marketing campaigns. Because of that, there was no need for us to do marketing campaigns.

On the other hand, we are doing extensive marketing research, checking which new movies are coming out, trying to figure out what type of music might be popular in six or twelve months. Besides composing, this takes most of our time.

Besides music supervising, I'm also doing complete production on our albums, including mixing and mastering. We built a studio last year and I'm really glad that now everything regarding music is done in-house without having to outsource anything. This definitely is a big step because now when we do customs we can always deliver high-quality music and production instantly, especially when it is time sensitive.

Is your music available to listen to on DSPs?

Yes, it is. Our first few albums are available on around 60 streaming services. Even though we didn't do any marketing promotion for them, they have millions of YouTube views and our streaming count is getting higher and higher. And that's all organic. We are monitoring everything daily, how many new listeners we've had, subscribers, how did this song fair compared to the other, etc.

It really fills my heart with joy knowing that our music has a fan base which keeps expanding, especially since we are only doing this for such a niche market.

Where does InfraSound Music source its material? Are you currently looking for new composers?

We started out with just a handful of people and now we have around 75 composers working for us from all around the globe. I never thought we would come to this number, it's such a big one compared to just around 10 when we started out. We are getting submissions each and every day, but since we are keeping the standard so high and we have a good amount of composers already, we are accepting only the highest quality we receive, so with that being said, we are always looking and searching for high quality music and amazing people to work with.

Any advice for up-and-coming sound designers, composers, or recordists striving to create professional, industry-quality tracks?

I can give the advice which guided me through the business. Prior to creating InfraSound Music, I worked for years with some of the biggest publishing names out there. When I started out, I didn't know a thing about production music, about DAWs nor mixing and mastering. One day, I had just heard Two Steps From Hell and told myself: "I want to create something like this." And that was basically it. Step by step, 10 hours a day, working on your craft non-stop and I stumbled upon trailer music. It just blew my mind how you can create a song and tell a story in 2 minutes. I love reading those YouTube comments where people listen to your music and write a story line for it. And especially when you hear your music blasting through speakers in a cinema accompanying those amazing visuals in trailers. That's just another world of emotions. The first time I heard it, I knew I was put on this earth to do this.

So, my advice would be – work each and every day on your craft. There are no shortcuts. If you work on something for a long time, you will become better at it. If you work even longer and spend insane amounts of hours – you will master it. I know for sure that each and every publisher out there won't say NO to an amazing track. It just takes time to get to that amazing one.

Does InfraSound Music have a company mission that guides business development or client experience?

Yes, we do. Besides the one about creating amazing and editor-friendly albums, one of the main reasons we created InfraSound Music is because we wanted to treat our composers like human beings, almost like a part of the family. We are always there for them, spending time talking, phone calls, trying so hard to always give them proper guidance without having to wait weeks and weeks for inputs. I can't even put into words how many composers I've talked with over the phone, not just about music, but about everything in general. I know this company is business oriented, but it doesn't have to be business all the time. Since I was blessed to have my music used for so many movie trailers out there, I was also blessed to work with amazing publishers and some who were not so amazing. So I want to be one of the amazing ones for our composers. It takes almost all of my time, but at the end of the day, it is worth it when you know that you have amazing people you are working with. The least I can do is to be there for them for whatever they need.

Any all-time favorite placements?

There are a lot of them, but I'll just name a few. It definitely has to be the first one we ever did, even though it was sfx for a movie called Brightburn. It just gave us that wind in the back knowing that someone liked something we've created enough to use it in a TV spot.

I love our placement for The Irishman because... well, Martin Scorsese is one of my all time favorite directors. Cruella was an amazing placement too since it was such an awesome swagger track and the edit on the trailer was absolutely amazing.

My all-time favorite has to be Golden Globes Cecile B. DeMille award for Tom Hanks which has a cool story of how it came to be. They needed a track that was created with live orchestra and we had sent them the track, and after a few months of silence, we were contacted just a few days before the Golden Globes letting us know they'll use it. Seeing Tom Hanks and all those amazing actors watching footage of highlights from his career with our music throughout 90 percent of it... It brought me almost to tears and is something I'm very proud of.

Friday, 29 April 2022
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