Custom Project Questions

Where does CrucialCustom find its composers?

CrucialCustom’s roster of composers is seeded from our sister site, CrucialMusic. Established in 2006, CrucialMusic is a highly successful and extremely selective music catalog, focusing primarily on independent artists and bands. We represent artists who are experts in a wide variety of styles, and our notoriously difficult review process means we only take the very best. New artists are added weekly.

Which composers will be notified about my project?

When you complete the music details section of the upload page, such as genre, subgenre, and “in the style of” sections, notifications will automatically be sent to composers whose area of expertise match up to your selections. This is based on the songs they have in the CrucialMusic catalog.

What kind of direction will the composers want?

In general, the more specific you are, the better composers will be able to realize your vision. Therefore we provide you with predetermined criteria to select from (ie Genre, Subgenre, Mood, Tempo, BPM, Intensity, Style-Alike) which narrows the field. We also provide you the ability to supply a link to outside music that represents the tone you want. Once you have selected your Top 5 tracks, you will be able to give further direction using our commenting system, so that the composer can revise the demo exactly how you want it.

Is information about my project confidential?

Yes. Every composer receiving your project details has signed our standard non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and must keep the details confidential. If they disclose details to collaborators in order to complete your demo, those collaborators are subject to the NDA as well. You will be able to see the executed NDA for each composer in their submission.

Will composers know my identity?

No. When you setup your account, we request a nickname, which is what will be displayed with your project details. Your full name and company name will remain private until a license is issued.

Are composers allowed to contact me directly outside the site?

Composers are only allowed to communicate with you using our site’s closed circuit commenting system. Any mention of outside e-mails, phone numbers, or other forms of communication will be automatically removed from posts.

Am I allowed to contact composers directly outside the site?

Similarly, you are only allowed to communicate with our composers using our site’s comment system.

Do I have to upload a video?

In order to utilize our service to its fullest potential we recommend you provide a video for composers to score to. Without video, it’s a difficult exercise. You can: 1. upload a video to our site, which resides privately on Vimeo’s secure servers and is only viewable on our site (nowhere else on the internet); 2. provide a link to an already uploaded video on dropbox, box.net, vimeo, hightail; or 3. provide a link to your ftp where the video resides. Remember, our composers have signed an NDA so the video will remain confidential. If however your company is adamant about not sharing video you may move forward without, providing as much as detail as possible, however the results may not be optimal.

Can the composer download my video?

Yes. The composer will download the video and import it into their digital workstation so that they may score directly to picture. This ensures a music track that fits your video perfectly. They will be able to upload the synched video with their music as part of their submission, so you can see the music against picture, which will help you make a better decision.

What elements should be included in the video?

Ideally, your video will have the footage edited as final picture, and include a voiceover track. In cases where you are providing a link to dropbox, ftp or other third party link, it’s preferred if all of the elements are provided separately, including dry video (without music and VO), music only track, and VO only track. A dry video works better for the composer so that they can synch up their own music and your VO to the footage for presentation.

What file type of video can I upload?

Our service uses Vimeo’s platform. You will be able to upload just about any type of video file; however, certain uncommon codecs may cause issues with the uploader. For more information on acceptable codecs, please check out the following link: https://vimeo.com/help/compression

My budget is lower than the minimum fee listed. Will you take less?

No. Custom music takes a great deal of time and effort. Remember each composer is creating a track for you with no guarantee of a license. There’s got to be more than a couple of dollars in it for them to expend the energy. For your budget challenged projects we offer our pre-cleared catalog of songs in a wide variety of genres at lower rates. You can search thru the CrucialMusic catalog by clicking the “search” button on the home page.

Do I have to pay for demos?

No. Our composers are submitting demos on spec. You will only be charged for the license fee and additional revision fees you have incurred beyond the free allotment (see below), when you select a Winning Track to license. You can walk away at any time. However, if you have incurred revision fees and decide NOT to license, your credit card will be charged for the revision fees only.

Why do I have to provide a credit card to complete the submission of the project?

Since our composers are submitting demos on spec, we don’t want to waste their time on frivolous inquiries. They need to know that they really have a chance of getting their work licensed, and making money. By providing your card, it shows us that you are serious about using our service. Your credit card will not be charged until you select a Winning Track to license. If you choose not to license a track, but have incurred revision fees, your card will be charged at that time.

Custom Submission Questions

Will I have to listen to a lot of bad music?

No. Every submission to your project will be pre-screened by one of our staff members to ensure each track is up to our high quality standards and are clear of copyright issues.

I’ve received a few good submissions but I’d like to hear more. Can I extend the deadline I originally set?

No. If you haven’t found the right track after the deadline passes, simply reject all the tracks and re-post the project with a new timeframe.

How will the audio be synced to my video?

The composer will upload the video file you’ve provided with their music synched up to the footage so you can see and hear how it will sound. When you license a Winning Track, we request our composers to deliver audio files that are the exact length of your video file, so that if you drag them into your editing software, the beginning of the audio and video will start at the same time. If you don’t want the music to start immediately, the track will simply have silence until the music is supposed to start. For example, if you have a 1:00 spot where the music starts :30 seconds in, the track will begin with :30 seconds of silence. If your requested track is less than :90, then the composer is required to upload an extended version that is :90 long so that you may edit as you wish. The longest version will also be delivered with stems for ease of mixing offline.

Why are there stars on each submission?

We provide stars for you to assign to each submission, so you can keep track of your favorites, and then sort each submission by the star rating. This will help you pick your Top 5 tracks and ultimately the Winning Track.

Why do I have to choose Top 5 tracks?

By selecting tracks to your Top 5 list, it provides a way for you to work with the tracks that really have a chance of fulfilling your music request. You don’t have to pick 5, but you can’t pick more than 5. Once a track has been listed as a Top 5 track, you can’t unselect it. That’s why we urge you to wait till your demo deadline has passed so that you can review every demo, even the stragglers that sneak in right before your deadline ends.

You are given one free revision on each of the Top 5 tracks. Once your revised demos are uploaded you will have to choose one track that is the best match for your project, the Winning Track, with one additional free revision.

How do I request revisions?

You may only request revisions on Top 5 tracks. You can click on the waveform (below the bar) at a specific time which will create a comment (with a time stamp) for you to add your requested change. You can do this as much as you want on any part of the waveform. Each time stamped comment will appear on the waveform as a musical note. If you hover over the musical note you can view the comment. If you click on the musical note it will highlight the comment below. You can also add a general comment in the box right below the waveform. Make all the comments you want then click the “Request Revision” button under the project details. This will send all your comments to the composer to review, and thereafter upload a revised demo.

How many revisions do I get?

Once you select your Top 5 tracks, you will be able to request one free revision round for each track. From there you must pick a Winning Track, of which you will receive one additional free round of revisions. Further revisions on a Winning Track may be requested at the cost of $200 each round of revisions. If you license the track, the cost of the additional revisions will be added to the license. If you don’t license the track, your credit card will be charged the total amount of revision fees. We urge you to request all the changes you want in the free revision rounds.

What constitutes a revision?

A revision is any change to the track whatsoever, no matter how small, but you may request as many changes you want in a round of revisions. Because of this, we strongly urge clients to make heavy use our comment system to communicate with the composer. Give as many notes as possible, so that you can make the most of each revision round.

How long does the composer have to make revisions?

They have 48 hours to make changes and upload a revised demo, unless you inform them that you need the revision sooner.

If I find the perfect track from the submissions, and I don’t want revisions, do I still have to select the Top 5?

Yes. You still have to select the perfect track as a Top 5 (but you don’t have to pick 4 more), and then from there you have to select the perfect track, which is now a Top 5, as a Winning Track.

Am I obligated to choose a Winning Track?

No. If none of the submissions fit your project perfectly, you can create a new project with a new direction, request further revisions, or none of the above.

Custom Licensing Questions

I have selected my Winning Track, how do I license it?

Once you have selected a Winning Track, the dashboard listing for the Winning Track, and the detail page will show a License button. When you are ready to license, click the License button, and it will alert the composer that you want to license the track. They will prepare all the music WAV files and complete assignment paperwork.

How long does the Winning Track composer have to deliver my music files and complete paperwork?

The composer has 24 hours to sign the assignment paperwork and deliver the files. If they do not deliver within that timeframe, then their track is eliminated, and you will have the ability to choose another track from the Top 5 to revise and license. The defaulting winner forfeits any licensing and revision fees. You are only responsible for the license and revision fees of the delivered Winning Track.

How do I pay for the Winning Track?

Once the files are uploaded and the assignment paperwork is signed, you will receive an email to complete the payment process by credit card. Credit card processing is SSL encrypted during transmission using the latest standard technology, and credit card numbers are held securely by our processing company Stripe. We do not hold any credit card numbers on our site.

Once processed, you will receive an email receipt from Stripe and another email from CrucialCustom with the executed license, which you may print from within your account as well.

I don’t want to pay by credit card, can I be invoiced?

When you setup your account, you will have the ability to alert us that you’d rather pay by a Purchase Order (PO). We will review your account and approve payment via PO. When you license the track, during checkout, you will be given the opportunity to include your PO number and other invoicing details. We will send you an invoice separately for payment.

After I’ve paid for the Winning Track, how will I get the music files and what type of files can I expect?

The next page will show a download link of all the files and display your printable license, both of which will also be emailed to you. You will have 30 days to download the files.

The composer will provide the following files in a minimum of 44khz/16bit WAV format:

What is a non-exclusive license?

A non-exclusive license gives you the right to use the music for your project within the parameters of the terms you have selected. Since it is non-exclusive, Crucial may license the same track to others on a non-exclusive basis in the future. Custom music and pre-cleared/existing tracks are available for non-exclusive licensing. Crucial owns the copyright to the custom music and the artist owns the copyright to a pre-cleared/existing song.

What is an exclusive-to-category license?

An exclusive-to-category license gives you the sole right to use the music for your project within a certain advertising category such as automobile, fast food, retail etc. in a certain territory during a specific time period. Crucial may not license the track to a competitor in the same advertising category in the same territory and within the term of your license. Crucial may only license the track to others outside the specific category. Only custom tracks are available for exclusive-to-category licenses. For example: you license a track for a Toyota spot to run in the United States on television and worldwide on the internet from Jan 1, 2016 to Jan 1, 2017 exclusive-to-the-automobile-category. Crucial may not license your custom track to Jaguar during that year. However, Crucial may license it to Google for a spot they are running on television and the internet.

What is a work-for-hire?

A work-for-hire means you will own all of the rights to the music (master and composition copyrights) and may exploit it however you like. You will never need to license it again, and all future revenue generated by the track will go directly to you (except the writer's performance share from the performing rights society). Your printable document will actually be an assignment of copyright proving you have purchased the copyright and are now the owner of the music. Crucial may not license your track to anyone else. Only custom tracks are available as work-for-hire.

Pre-Cleared Searching Questions

I need music right away. How can I search for pre-existing tracks through CrucialCustom?

Just click the Search button on the home page. From there you can browse the entire CrucialMusic catalog, which has over 12,000 tracks in all musical genres and periods.

How do I search for songs?

Search our site for music by Category (Indie Artist or Library Track), Genre, Sub-Genre, Mood, Orchestration, Lead, Tempo, Era or Lyric Theme. A Keyword box is also supplied to do quick searches by specific words. If you are looking for music that sounds like a specific artist, you can type in the artist or band name between " " in the keyword box. Example “Frank Sinatra” will bring up crooner big band male vocals.

When I do a search, how are the selections sorted?

On the search results page, songs are sorted alphabetically by Artist name and the by song Title.

What if I'm not getting any search results?

The more search criteria you select the smaller the universe becomes. If you are not successful in finding a song with every criteria selected, try expanding the universe by deselecting some of the search criteria.

Multiple selections within a drop down search criteria are not possible; multiple selections can be typed into the keywords box. Use the singular form of the word first i.e. "violin" instead of "violins" in the Keyword search.

If a certain Keyword search is null, try another Keyword that means the same thing or is similar. For example…if a Keyword search by "aria" is null, try "choir" or "opera" to find selections.

Be sure to press the Clear button before each new search.

What if I'm getting too many search results?

The more search criteria you select the smaller the universe becomes. Try choosing more criteria to narrow your search.

I don’t have time to do a search, or can’t find what I’m looking for.

Feel free to call us at 818-985-5810. We are happy to assist with searches or simply do them for you.

Pre-Cleared Quick Project Questions

How do I create a quick project?

In order to create quick projects (called quick to differentiate it from your custom projects) you must login or create an account. You will be prompted to do so when you click the FOLDER icon in the actions column or you can click the “My Account” menu item in top right corner and select “Client Login”. Login using your email and password or select “I don't have a Crucial Custom client account yet” and setup an account. Once you are logged in your NAME will appear in place of “My Account”

Once you have created an account or have logged in, when you find a track you like, click the folder icon underneath the play and stop buttons, on the right hand side of the search results list. That will add the track to a playlist (quick project). With the first track, you will be asked to create a new quick project – we suggest a simple name that describes what you’re doing. You will also have to choose your licensing terms/pricing at that time. Any subsequent tracks you choose can be added to that quick project or you can create a new one.

How do I see my quick project once I’ve picked out all the tracks?

Just click on “Quick Projects” in the menu bar and a list of all your quick projects will appear. Click View on the quick project you want to review. From the quick project page you can listen, copy the project, email, download, and license.

Can I download the tracks to try out before I license them?

Yes, but you must have a credit card on file in order to download mp3s for temping (your card will not be charged until you return to license a track). You can add your credit card by clicking your NAME menu drop down, and selecting “Payment Methods” or you will be prompted to add a card when you click Download. Once your card is on file, return to your quick project and click Download. You will be able to download 128k MP3s for temp purposes. When you license the track and make payment by credit card, you will have access to WAV files. You may not use the 128K MP3s for final broadcast without a license as that would be a copyright violation.

I've downloaded the songs, how do I identify the song on my desktop?

All MP3 and WAV files are named by the "catalog#.title". The MP3 files are id-tagged so that if you play them in iTunes, you will see all of the information about the song, including artist, composer, and publisher info. Windows Media Player and other players do not show as much info as the iTunes player, but enough for you to track the song back to us. The WAV files are actually BWAV files, so that if you are using editing software such as Adobe Audition, all of the song information will appear in the "WAV properties" or "file properties" menu item. If your software doesn't recognize the BWAV data, don't worry, you'll still be able to play/edit the file as a regular WAV.

Can I email the project to other people for review?

Yes. Click Email in the Quick Project, and complete all the details in the pop-up form and click Send. Your recipient will get an email with a link to click. When they do so, they will be directed to the Quick Project page, where they may listen and download if you have your credit card on file.

Pre-Cleared Licensing Questions

How do I license the track(s) on my playlist?

The fastest way to license a track from your quick project is to click “Checkout” in the menu bar and select the Quick Project you want to license which will take you to step 1 below. You can also click the License button from within the Quick Project you are working on which will take you to step 1 below.

  1. Your account info will be pre-filled as the Licensee info. If your Licensee info is different than your account info because it needs to be your client’s name, you can replace that info here.
  2. Make sure to change the Production Title to the actual title of the Production in case you added a fake name for confidentiality purposes. This title will be on the actual license.
  3. Confirm the License Terms, and add a Start Date.
  4. Remove any titles you don’t want to license (if you haven’t already removed them from your Quick Project playlist previously).
  5. Select the Usage and Number of Uses for the track you want to license.
  6. Click Continue, and you’ll see the Checkout page, where you can review your order, and select/add a credit card. Credit card processing is SSL encrypted during transmission using the latest standard technology, and credit card numbers are held securely by our processing company Stripe. We do not hold any credit card numbers on our site.
  7. Click Checkout and then a page will appear where you may Download Audio and print your Non-Exclusive license. You have 30 days to download the audio files which are available as 320k mp3s or WAV files. You can return to this receipt/license page by clicking NAME dropdown and selecting “Quick Invoices/Downloads”. You will receive 2 emails… one from CrucialCustom with a copy of your license and one from Stripe for the credit card charge receipt.

What is a non-exclusive license?

A non-exclusive license gives you the right to use the music for your project within the parameters of the terms you have selected. Since it is non-exclusive, Crucial may license the same track to others on a non-exclusive basis in the future. Custom music and pre-cleared/existing tracks are available for non-exclusive licensing. Crucial owns the copyright to the custom music and the artist owns the copyright to a pre-cleared/existing song.

Other Questions

I'm not receiving notification emails?

Some email clients have strict spam settings regarding emails and images from new contacts. In order for us to give you the best experience possible, please add info@crucialcustom.com and admin@crucialcustom.com to your address book, and make sure to click "Always display images from" our email addresses. Depending on your mail program, you may have the ability to designate an email from each of our addresses as "not spam" and that should ensure the delivery of future emails to your inbox.

I have a question that is not covered by this FAQ. Can someone help me?

Yes! Please contact info@crucialcustom.com or call 818-985-5810.