Roundup: How to Sell Sound Effects



It’s quite exciting to see many field recordists and sound designers eager to begin sharing sound fx with the community. I receive many emails from people curious about selling sound.

Writing about sharing field recordings on the Web is one of my favourite article topics. However, as the site grows larger, those posts are a bit trickier to find amongst the other articles.

That may be why I still receive many questions about sharing sound, such as:

  • How do I sell sound effects?
  • How do I create a sound fx library?
  • How do I design a sound effect library?

Those are all good questions. So, it’s time for a refresher. Today’s article is a roundup of all previous posts about sharing sound.

Beginning Selling Sound Libraries

Let’s look at the scope of selling sound effects first. Then I’ll share links that address the ideas in detail.

Here are the broad strokes of starting a new sound library:

  1. Brainstorm 10 sound fx library ideas. Browse what people are sharing already. Use the Sound Effects Search search engine for research. Use this info to come up with either a fresh idea or a completely new spin on an existing one.
  2. Gather the audio. Record sounds for the very best topic of your ten choices. Include many variations (e.g., distance, perspective, performance). Record as many sounds as you can.
  3. Edit and master the tracks. Polish the audio to remove all problem sounds and production audio. Keep only your very best work that you are absolutely proud of. Trash the rest, or save those clips for your private sound library.
  4. Name or add metadata to the sound fx. This gives the library a boost, looks professional, and cuts it away from the competition.
  5. Assemble your “support files.” Create bonus files such as text lists, images, an audio preview montage, user licenses, and so on.
  6. Choose your sound sharing strategy. You have two options:
    1. Build your own store.
    2. Share your sound library on a distributor’s website in return for a percentage of your sales. Options include “independent sound fx library bundle shops" such as Sonniss, A Sound Effect, and Wild Track Sound Library. There are also "a la carte" shops like Sounddogs that sell clips one at a time.
  7. Build your network. Create accounts for the social media of your choice: SoundCloud, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Join groups, and comment on forums. When you launch, share your library in these places.

Let’s learn more.

The Basics of Sharing Sound FX

These articles begin with the basics:

Exploring Sound Library Distribution

There are dozens of ways to share sound on the Web. Mostly, though, it is split between two options: selling them yourself, or allowing a distributor to share them for you. These posts explore those options.

Advanced Web Shop Suggestions:

Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, follow up with these articles. They amplify the impact of your Web shop:

Sharing Superior Sound FX

Want to share superior sound clips? Here are posts with ideas on how to improve your sound fx:

Books about Selling Sound FX

Want to know more? I also sell two books about selling sound on the Web:

  • Selling Creative Sound. How to create impressive sound effects and sell them in the best shops on the Web. This books is meant for people who want to sell sound clips on someone else’s website. It requires just a bit of effort and is usually a good way to begin sharing sound.
  • Sharing Sound Online. How to build your own indie bundle sound library and sell it from a Web shop you build yourself. This book takes sharing sound fx to the next level. It has ideas for building indie sound fx bundles, and tips for sharing sound on your own website.

Next roundup: Sound FX Library Ideas and How to Choose Them.

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