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Session Tips:

How to Stay Organized and Customizable

 

SESSION TIPS: HOW TO STAY ORGANIZED AND CUSTOMIZABLE

 

When creating new music there are techniques you can utilize to make songs available for more projects, while helping your songs integrate more smoothly into clients' videos. To remain flexible to a client’s vision, Marmoset can mark a song as customizable — the threshold for a song being marked customizable is being open to customizing and being able to provide us with stems within 24 hours of a request — while having organized files to then pitch for current and future projects.

To bring the best tips straight to you, we sat down with our in-house composer, Graham Barton. Together we explored methods for optimizing songs and files to be fully accessible and customizable — so your music works for as many projects as possible.

  • First and foremost - Use all original samples (legal/cleared/owned — better yet, make them yourself!)

  • Make sure mixes are up to full scale volume:

    • Quiet song = bad first impression

    • Is it as loud as songs on Spotify?

TIPS FOR PRINTING STEMS

  • Group by instruments:

    • Example: Drums, Percussion, Guitars, Synths, Lead Vocals, Background Vocals

    • But possibly better to get more granular (lead guitars vs. rhythmic guitars)

    • Put things that really stand out on their own stem (such as: whistles, sound effects, wordless vocal samples, found sounds). These items are often asked to be removed by clients. If you have similar elements in a song, it might be beneficial to make a separate mix without such elements.

    • Summing Track = Take a group of tracks and route to a single bus

Organization is key!

Formatting and titling appropriately can can help ensure you’re tracking the right version of a song. As an example, here’s what our general format looks like.

Song Name_Artist Name_Version Number_Date

Example:

EasysFirstTiger_Bossfight_v1.8_021017.aif

 

For each specific stem/part file that extends to look like:

Number_Part Name_(BPM for the drum part)_Song Name_Artist Name_Version Number_Date

01_Drums_165_EasysFirstTiger_Bossfight_GW_v1.8_021017.aif

 

Here’s an example of different stems for a song:

00 Full Mix

01 Drums BPM

02 Perc

03 Bass

04 Guitars

05 Synths

06 Lead Vocals

07 Background vocals

Here’s a visual example of a folder with organized stems:

NamingStemsProperly (1).png

 

We recommend including all variations of the full length mix (with vocals, instrumental, instrumental with backing vocals).

Other tips:

  • Be clear and consistent when naming (opt for terms somebody else will understand immediately). Use instrument names, try not to be vague when describing tones/sounds.

  • Make sure all effects are baked into each respective stem (delay on guitars, room on drums, effects on vocals).

  • Keep in mind how people will be listening on laptop speakers, earbuds, and not always on studio monitors.

  • If you have stems for string parts it might make sense to separate legato parts (in a smooth, flowing manner, without breaks between notes)from tremolo/pizzicato (plucky) parts.

  • All stems should be the same length as the final mix (if not, it may be challenging to identify where each part belongs within a song, creating more work when opening sessions). 

Here’s a screenshot of how the full-length stems should look in a session:

AllStemsHaveSameLength (1).png