All posts by Music Library Reviews



Artists: Probably thousands
Quality: Good for Royalty free, mediocre otherwise (3/5 stars)
Pricing: 20+ // Blanket Licensing possible
Exclusive: Some, but also non-exclusive material

The Review

Pond 5 is without question one of the most influential music libraries out there, with offerings not only in music but also stock footage, pictures, and more. What I like about them is how varied the music is – With sites like Audio Jungle for example, I feel they usually cater to polished, corporate music mostly, but with Pond5, there seems to be a greater selection with very substantial amounts of offerings in, say, the Documentary or Cinematic or Ambient fields. While their quality isn’t as consistent as, say, Premium Beat, or any of the “boutique” libraries, they still have some very good sounding tracks (though you may have to weed through some poorly produced music to get there at times). Also, for a royalty-free website, the actual website looks pretty good and doesn’t feel overwhelming to navigate.

Filmmaker’s Perspective:

For the price, i’d say Pond5 provides a decent quality and standard of music. The quality isn’t the best by a good amount, but their prices are hard to beat, and their size allows them to provide deals/sales/etc. that smaller companies usually can’t. After listening through tracks for 30 or so minutes, I wouldn’t say I came across any terrible music, but I wouldn’t say most tracks are particularly good either. If you have some time to look I think you can find great quality for a great price, but time can be a luxury and listening through mediocre stock music can get fatiguing fast. I wouldn’t say I feel particularly inspired when browsing. You may want to check out Premium Beat though if looking for a step up. Still – not bad, and definitely not the worst! Maybe you’re not as snobby as I, and will find everything you need here.

Composer’s Perspective:

I have submitted to this company, and think Pond5 is really the only royalty-free company of this size worth submitting to in 2018. There is a curation team that reviews every track, but the standards aren’t very high, which makes it a great place for tracks of yours that may have been rejected by a more selective library, but that you still want to host somewhere. This would also be a good place to test the licensing waters if new to the business, as wait times aren’t too long (looking at you Audio Jungle) and your contact is terminated at your will (unlike AudioSparx who demands content “in perpetuity”…Stay FAR away). So say you get another contact and want to submit your music to another library? No problem, you can just remove from Pond5 and change places without a hassle. Payout rates are fair, though I wouldn’t expect much until you host 50+ tracks. Little chance for backend/PRO royalties, but even with their size Pond5 has enough traffic to provide a respectable amount of front-end sync sales. While I wouldn’t recommend Pond5 be your primary focus, over time this could remain a great home for your material that just doesn’t quite fit in elsewhere.

Music Vine

Size: 2500-3000 tracks (Mid Size)
Artists: 172
Quality: Boutique (best)
Pricing: Sync Licensing from $13 (Student Project) – $220 (Budget >50,000)
Exclusive Content: Yes 

The Review:

If Music Vine isn’t on your radar, it should be. They’re top notch from content, to ease of use, and feature a stunning website. What becomes evident very quickly is how selective and curated their music is. With the licensing industry booming it seems more important than ever to find a library that not only has good content, but that only has good content. The whole experience of browsing the website is also just a pleasure – without tacky watermarks detracting from the listening experience and a design that’s sleek and beautiful. This would without a doubt be one of the first places I’d go as a content producer/filmmaker. 

Further thoughts:

After listening for a good 30 minutes or so I haven’t come across a single track lacking depth or artistry – which for the music licensing world is no easy feat given the nature of “commercial” music. Music Vine is also a relatively new name, having just launched in 2015, however, i’ve been following them more or less since their initial launch, and have every confidence their approach will be rewarded. 

Filmmaker’s perspective:

As i’ve mentioned, the quality of music in this library is really quite exceptional. And not only that, I find navigating the website to be both intuitive and an all around pleasant experience. I really can’t take seriously some of the awful websites that many licensing companies seem to have (seriously, *so many* music licensing companies have embarrassingly ugly websites). They also offer some unique and easy to use filters, namely by “edit type” (Aerial, Glitch, Time lapse, Slow-mo, etc), “Occasion”, and “Culture” . This combined with their watermark-free listening experience, and a library size that’s not terribly overwhelming, makes Music Vine a delight to use.

Composer’s perspective:

Music Vine looks like they generate most of their income from upfront sync payments (much like Audio Jungle, Premium Beat, Etc), but appeal to a more selective clientele. Fees are split with the composer (rather than a buyout), though I see little promise of substantial PRO payments (though everything is registered with your PRO in case something gets placed in a royalty generating production. Having directly worked with music vine in the past, I think they have fair, transparent approach and treat their artists well. Even though I ultimately removed my music from the site due to a personal need to consolidate my content, if I was looking for a library to produce income from upfront client payments Music Vine would definitely be a top contender. I’m sure their website traffic has only grown since I was working with them, and I found their A&R to be responsive, polite, and quite helpful. It also speaks to their merit that removing content as an artist was painless and quick, something that can’t be said for all libraries i’ve worked with.