Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Search tips to find and play music previews for your projects

Searching and finding the right stock music (songs, tracks, cues, etc.) for upcoming projects is mission critical, especially for busy advertising creatives, music supervisors and licensing buyers who need to find and play music preview files to quickly narrow down their music production options. This article provides guidelines, examples and tips for using the music search features towards the top of all LicenseQuote powered music licensing stores.

As an example we’ll use the Live Demo Licensing Store which you can access from this link:

Music search features in each publisher’s LicenseQuote powered store includes:

1. Search music by Keywords
2. Search music by Brands
3. Search music by Genres or Subgenres
4. Search music by Tags

We’ll discuss each of these in more detail below.

Search music by Keywords…

The “Search keywords” field lets you enter any keyword or combination of keywords, such as a keyword phrase. When you hover your mouse over this field for about 4 – 5 seconds, a tooltip will appear with these search guidelines:

Type “dog” to search for “dog”, “dogs” or “doggy”
Type “dog cat” to search for “dog OR cat”
Type “+dog +cat” to search for “dog AND cat”
Type “dog -cat” to for “dog BUT NOT cat”

These are the basic music search logistics used to search for keywords which may appear in a song’s title, digital file name or description meta data field.  In the Live Demo Store you can follow along with these actual search examples:

Enter “arrange” which returns 4 tracks using “arrangement” in their description fields. If a track title or file name includes the word “arrange” or “arrangement”, it will also be returned.

b) Enter “big hook” which returns 2 tracks. One, Next Flight, uses “big hook” in the description, while the other, Big Waves, has “grooves” in the description which the music search engine finds as a subset of “hook” because of the two “o’s”.

c) Enter “+heavy +rock” which returns 2 tracks. In this case both tracks include the keyword phrase “heavy” AND “rock” in the description field.

d) Enter “rock -oldies” to search for rock songs which are NOT also described as “rock oldies” or “oldies”. Currently there are 19 of these which are described as other forms of  “rock” (modern, classic, alternative, etc.) or just “rock”, but not as “oldies” or “oldies rock” music.

Search music by Brands

Below the “Search keywords” field, are the other search filters, (aka combo boxes), the first of which is the Brands search filter. The default is “All Brands”, but when you open the combo menu you’ll see other options which are typically available. For example in the Live Demo Store, you’ll see these listed: Custom Music Production, Golden Classics, Rock Stars Express and We Rock You!. Select any of these and you’ll see the list display along with total number of track items.

For example, Rock Stars Express has 1 page with 9 items, meaning there are 9 tracks (song titles) which belong to this catalog brand. Brands can include any of the following catagory names: Album, Artist, Band, Catalog, Collection, Composer, Featured, Group, Library, New, Performer, Vocalist. Most frequently it will be either an artist, catalog or music library which will then appear in the row below the track title.

Search music by Genres

In the example of the Live Demo Licensing Store, you’ll find several Genres, the most common of which is “Rock”. The others are now used for unique demonstrations,  but if you scroll down to Rock, you’ll see that there are also a number of subgenres listed: Alternative, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Modern, Oldies and Pop Rock.

Click any of these to see the results. For example, Classic Rock will return 3 songs, while Oldies will return 6, etc.  If you select the main Rock genre (which appears in bold letters), you should see a search return of 24 items available over a total of 3 pages.

Search music by Tags

Search for Tags by clicking the Tags combo box (down arrow icon) and then selecting any of the available tags or short tag phrases. These are used to describe a song/track’s attributes in more detail. For example “80’s” will return all songs which are tagged as belonging to the 1980’s music styles for this store. Other tags include options like: harmonies, male vocals, loop, radio rock, slow tempo, up tempo, variable tempo, etc.

Of course each publisher will have their own list of Tags for the songs and instrumental tracks in their stores to best describe their own music specialties.  You’ll also notice that all these combo box search fields are context sensitive, so if you type the letter “d”, it will take you down to the first word, “dance”, which starts with the letter “d”. If you type “f”, it will take you down to “female vocals”, and so forth.

Additional music search tips

To switch to another search filter (Brands or Genres), you can reset the Tags back to “All Tags” to start a fresh search, after which you can narrow down by selecting some other Tags again. Or you can leave the selected Tag and see what appears after switching the Genre or Subgenre selection.

Note: In some cases the returns may be empty (or null) if for example another Genre or Subgenre doesn’t have tracks which contain exactly the same tags. If this happens, select another genre or subgenre, or reset the Tags filter back to “All Tags” to start a fresh search.  Normally it’s best to start with specific keyword searches or Genres first, and then narrow down by using the Tags, but you may also get good results the other way (searching by Tags first) in most larger catalogs and libraries.

Playing the music preview files

After you’ve narrowed down your search and found a manageable list of tracks to preview, simply click the Preview button (to the left of each song title) to hear the tracks. They will open up in a flash player or new page with music player so you can play the streaming MP3 preview versions of the master files available for licensing. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, or would like an edited or custom version of what you’ve found, please use the Contact form at top of store to contact the Publisher directly with your request.

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