Jay Rose's
     Library Cards

      A companion to Working with Music Libraries, Digital Video Magazine.

Who's making music? This list highlights a sampling of suppliers, with phone numbers and my opinions. While there are many other sources, I've included just those publishers who sent me actual music instead of marketing hype.

These reviews are one person's opinion. However, this person knows a lot about library music: I've worked with the stuff, from a variety of publishers, for more than a quarter century. Before that I was program director at a couple of radio stations. While classically trained, I currently produce kickass promos for rock and country radio stations around the US... and television scores using library music for Turner, PBS, A&E, Discovery, and a lot more.

** indicates libraries I keep in my studio; *** are the ones I use most.

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Note: This is a work-in-progress. Older listings are being checked and updated.
If you have a library you think should be included, check this page.

   Online search by keyword    Online audition of individual tracks     Internet delivery available

    ND=Needle Down     BO=Buy Out


Accent Music Productions

  877/876-8742  BO

A tiny library that's off to a good start. Nice compositions, with about as good an orchestral or small group sound as you can get out of samplers. Tends toward pleasant, motive, or inspirational themes useful for corporate pieces -- don't expect way-out or high energy rock.
http://www. accentmusiccds.com


  877/flashpt  BO

Single disc with 16 cues in full length and :60 versions. Mostly samplers and pads, with a live-sounding guitar at times. Nicely produced, though very electronic sounding, seemingly all by one talented composer. The disc is towards the expensive side, but has a lot of usable music.


Associated Production Music

  800/543-4276  ND

One of the biggest music sources, and a Hollywood favorite. Every possible style including pop vocals and large symphony orchestras -- over 20,000 cuts, though many haven't made it to their website's index yet.

CSS Music

  800/468-6874  BO

Large library with decent production, but pricey. Includes vocals and radio-style corporate jingles.

Crank City

  800/547-6547  BO

Small library with excellent musical values. Some of their orchestral synth work is excellent for a buyout library. Discs are not organized by style or content.

Davenport Music Library

  800/951-6666  BO

Very economical buyouts, any four for $100, or the full library (currently 23 discs) for about $20 each. Some cues are very good; others are poorly synthesized, but the library has an excellent preview policy.

Dewolfe Music Library

***  212/892-0220  ND

Well-established advertising and scoring library with about 400 discs, mostly using British pop and orchestral musicians; quite a few vocals. Excellent sound, lots of good soundalikes and archival music as well. CD-ROM audio database also available.

Fresh Music Library

  800/545-0688  BO

80+ discs with a very wide range of styles, well organized. Their CD-ROM index is among the best. Except for their orchestral and big-band sounds, which are obviously synthesized, this is one of the better-produced buyout libraries.

Gene Michael Music Library

**  800/955-0619  BO

Good creative and production on most of their discs; some unusual categories (one disc of nothing but tack piano). Will burn custom CDs with just the songs you specify.

Killer Tracks

  800/877 0078  ND

Very large collection of libraries, with arrangements to license pop music as well. One of the best on-line search engines I've seen.



  888/TRY-TRAX  BO

14 CDs with about 16 original tunes plus lots of broadcast edits on each. Excellent production with some acoustic instruments, mostly middle-of-the-road arrangements; not much in the way of contemporary styles. Very reasonably priced ($25/disc) if you buy the full library; they'll also burn custom CDs and ship cues as mp3 for $10/each.

Major Music Library

  800/223-6278  ND & BO

Long-established publisher, with a well-deserved reputation for sound-alikes and traditional sounds. They've also bundled many of their cues into reasonably-priced buyout libraries. The audition icon is half-sized because as of this writing (Spring '02) only about a quarter of their cues are on-line.

Mokal Music

**  800/524-7335  BO

Small library that does a very good job with contemporary dance and jazz sounds. Includes vocals and large orchestral sounds -- unusual in a library of this type -- as well as mixouts and broadcast edits. Company also represents some other buyout libraries, for a total of about 70 discs.


Music Bakery Library

  800/229-0313  BO

About 35 discs with lots of different styles on each. This makes flipping through CDs difficult, but you can also search online. They also have a number of category-specific discs for slightly more, plus selected cues available for online mp3 purchase. The music is not always top-notch, but everything shipped on approval.

Nightingale Music Library

  416/221-2393  BO

Small new library with 10 of their own discs, plus repping arrangements with 10 other libraries (about 160 CDs in all). Contemporary sounds and some well-produced (though partly synth) classical/scoring discs, with very good creative. Lots of themes on each disc.


OGM Production Music

  800/421-4163  ND

Ole George, who managed the Capitol Production Music library for years, appears to have gone on his own with a giant library of cues recorded in the past quarter-century. Some of the sounds are dated, but there's a lot of good music here. Excellent on-line search/audition with CDs, or electronic delivery of uncompressed files (large!) promised within 24 hours.


***   800/962-6664  ND

About 300 discs with lots of good composers and excellent production. Their pop discs are particularly American and authentic-sounding -- a good thing for some projects -- and recent jazz and classical/corporate discs use lots of live players and vocals. Recently started including a couple of small European contemporary libraries as well.



Large library with excellent production on some cuts, including large groups and vocals. Also features "LiquidTrax": selected songs are available as separate rhythm, solo, harmony, etc. Sync them up in a workstation and then create a mix to your own specifications; could be handy for the more musically-inclined. Oddly enough, their site doesn't list licensing terms or prices; for that, you have to contact a human rep.


Studio Cutz

**  866/252-7788   BO

Small, reasonably-priced library. Authentic and live sounding, except for the drum programming. Nice themes and arrangements, with very good production. While they don't quite understand mainstream corporate music, the other discs are a best buy in buyout. But you have to use their online search engine; the CD descriptions are useless: "Bright and contented, this delightful song will bring any production to life"... come on, people.


  877/Videohelp   ND

This is one strange library. About two dozen discs, with 60 or more short (~1:00) themes on each. They're not structured like normal library cues. Instead, they seem through-composed for somebody else's video (:17 of sad motif, then orch hit, vamp for :08, then chimes enter.). Despite claims of choirs and orchestral instruments, the library appears to be entirely sampler-based and has a slightly muddy sound. Many cues sound similar, as if they were cut from a longer piece. At least the catalog descriptions are cutting-edge: "A musical interpretation of what it was like in Kathy Lee's sweatshop".

...to be continued

These listings haven't yet been updated, as of April '02...


  541/345-0212  BO

Decent buyout library with wide range of musically creative pop and specialty sounds, long enough for scoring, with good production.


  800/322-7879  ND

Acts as a representative for many European production libraries, including much contemporary orchestral and live jazz sounds.

River City Music Library

  800/755-8729  BO

Well-written buyout disks. Many small-group cuts use live players, but the orchestral pieces are obviously synthesized. Despite otherwise good production, some cuts are in mono.

Signature Music

  800/888-7151  BO/ND

Decently-produced music that's clearly designed for background applications. Many of the 31 discs have acoustic instruments or real-sounding orchestrations. Lease/purchase program with annual blankets that accumulate to a full buyout.

Sound Ideas

  800/387-3030  --

57 CDs available as annual blanket or buyout. Decent creative with fairly good production, but you have to buy everything -- you can't select individual disks.

Soundquest Music Library

  914/358 6846  BO

CD with about 60 short themes. This is good music for special effects and bumpers, but not long enough for full scoring.

Worlds Greatest Music Clips

  914/426-0400  BO

CD ROM with 250 short clips from the Major music library; very good built-in search utility lets you specify emotions or styles as keywords.

Sound Effects

*DeWolfe Music Library  212/382-0220

*Dimension  800/634-0091

*Gefen Systems  800/545-6900

*Hollywood Edge  800/292-3755

*Sound Ideas   800/387-3030

*Valentino  800/223-6278

Aware, Inc  617/577-1700

Creative Support Services  800/Hot Music

Energetic Music Library  800-323-2972

InterActive Publishing  914/426-0400

Manhattan Production Music  800/227-1954

Music Factory  617/595-0684

Softbit  714/261 7336

*The first six are the biggest sound effects companies, supplying broadcasters and film studios (Gefen acts as a reseller for a number of professional sound effects publishers). Their disks cost betwen $50 - $150 each, have only original and well-recorded sounds, and include rights for just about every commercial use except reselling the effects as part of a library. The more marginal libraries may have some second- or third-generation sounds, and usually include rights for non-commercial use only (sorry, business presentations and sales meetings don't qualify).

Copyright 1997, 98, 99, 00, 02 Jay Rose. May not be reproduced without written permission.
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First posted 13Sep97; most recent update 04/02