Music Licensing

Embracing the Negative (in searching for production music, that is)

3 Minute Read |

Jonathan Parks

It’s 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon when you get the call.

The deadline for that promo you’re cutting has been pushed up and you now need to deliver it Monday. While the client brief is pretty straight forward and you know where you’re going visually, the music has you stuck.

Suddenly, a familiar dread takes over as you imagine spending your weekend trying to figure out what track you like for this spot.

“ You’re stalled... the multitude of choices taunting you like one of those obnoxious Cheesecake Factory menus times 100. You browse, eye the descriptions and ask yourself repeatedly, 'What do I want here?'”

Why is it often so hard to choose the right production music, and what can you do to make your library search much easier?

I say: Embrace the negative.

Sometimes it’s easier to start with the music you know you don’t like.

You could certainly use the old “I’ll know it when I hear it” approach, but how long will it take you to get there? Faced with a barrage of choices, one thing is usually pretty clear. Chances are you already know what’s not a good option for you, just like you would know what restaurant menu items elicit a resounding “NOPE.”

In other words, while it can be difficult to figure out what production music we like for a particular project, most of us definitely know what music we don’t want. The key is learning how to use this to your advantage while seeking out the perfect library track, something we call Negative Search.

how to use negative search for commercial music

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What is Negative Search and how can it help you find the perfect track?

Negative Search allows you to quickly narrow music search results by eliminating keywords for the particular elements you don’t want. Whether that means cutting out a sub-genre, instrument type, tempo, length or several such elements, a negative search can boil hundreds of possible results into a page or two depending on how far you take it.

While ALIBI has always offered Negative Search – something I insisted we do from Day 1 – the launch of our new website has allowed us to customize this functionality and truly take it to the next level.

We’ve perfected Negative Search in a way that’s far more powerful, intuitive and obvious. No more boring tutorials or confusing instructions… but rather a simple field-driven tool that has the potential to dramatically reduce the effort expended searching for the right track.

In the end, it’s all about giving our clients the tools they need to generate the most successful production music searches while saving valuable time.

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