Finders, Keepers: How to get your production music into the right hands via music libraries?

Tips for music producers

Production music libraries have become the
go-to music tool for many producers and music teams looking for the right music
to match their picture. A great deal of production music work used to be custom
work for hire, but that’s changing as projects face ever tighter timelines and
budgets–and as more and more people and organizations are creating video and
seeking out licensed music for it.

I’ve been working as a composer for much
longer, but ten years ago, I started uploading cues to libraries like Audiomicro,
which has become one of my favorites. It started out as a way to fill my time,
to keep writing for fun between scoring gigs. Revenue from libraries now makes
up 60% of my yearly revenue. I keep writing and it keep growing and to keep
building my rep. Like many dedicated production composers, I write all the
time, as much as I can.

Search is key to making the most of these
platforms, and that means you need to understand how to communicate what your
cue’s all about in a few short words, tags, and other features. A little
thought and common sense can go a long way to getting your cues found and kept
by producers.

Discovery
is a numbers game

Production music is a numbers game. Full stop.
You have to produce a lot of music. It is a biz for people who write well and
efficiently without a lot of torment. You can’t spend three days on two minutes
of music. Do that for your own compositions, but not for production library
use. These catalogs are growing every day. You can’t write 20 pieces of music,
submit it to Audiomicro, and then complain about your lack of revenue. You need
to produce.

Figure
out what it really sounds like

I think my experience in working with real
producers and doing custom music has permeated my sense of how to describe
things. If I’m writing a few sentences, I try to think about what my friends in
video or film might be looking for. How can I give them a sense of what this
is? No need for long description, no need to implant metadata. I want my reader
to understand what to expect. Match the mood of the music.

Is it moderately paced or driving? Is it
quirky or contemplative? Take up the space with the word. That list will be the
descriptors that make someone go, “Yep, that’s what it is, thank you!” Then if
you’re allowed, use reasonable synonyms to improve your chances of discovery.
For example, optimistic and positive mean the same thing in tags. Don’t know
exactly what people are looking for.

Give it
a title

Titles are metadata, hints to what the piece
is about. It needs to really sound like that title. It’s a mistake to give
something an abstract or very specific or personal title. It may be important
to you, but it won’t mean much to a producer.

When I start writing, I start with the title.
If someone is browsing via genre, like say, folk or pop, my titles need to
convey something. If they see “Warm Spring Morning,” and it sounds like a cold
autumn night, they won’t listen to anything else you’ve put out there. But if
it sounds like its title, you develop trust.

Often, I’ll come up with 10-15 titles before I
write a note. I want to come up with the pictures and images, words the evoke a
feeling or sound to me. I jot them down. I can write to that title. The music
and title need to have a real connection.

Step
away from the computer

Hear me out. It’s easy to get caught up in
data and dropdowns, but sometimes you need to take a few moments away from the
screen to sit and listen. Jot down a few adjectives or genres or other words
that come to mind as you do. You’ll have a clearer, more honest reaction to
your work, and you’ll save yourself the trouble when you need to add tags to
your cues when you upload them to a library.

Resist
the temptation to overtag

A cue with a ton of tags looks suspect. If you
have dozens of different mood tags, you’re likely seeing diminishing returns.
You’re likely stretching. You may win a battle by getting in search results,
but you’ll lose the war.

Producers with limited time want tags to let them zero in on their options as quickly as possible. When they see the word “pretty” and the cue is not really “pretty”, they are going to get frustrated. If you’re overloading pieces with every possible tag, you’re out of bounds. That will make producers not want to go back.

Length
matters

One client I worked for always wanted three
versions of cues: 60 seconds, 30 seconds, and “a thing.” (Don’t ask.) I’ve kept
to that approach, as it helps with the numbers game. You’re submitting three pieces
instead of one. You can legitimately fill up more data space and get bigger
hits.

It also helps clients who have a wide range of
needs. Lots of clients don’t want to do a lot of editing so 60- and 30-second
cues are helpful.

That said, don’t take shortcuts. You have to
do a good edit. Don’t fade out, anyone can do that. When you’re writing and
you’re in your DAW, if you have a sequencer say, when you finish the full
piece, make nice smaller pieces. Cut and paste and snip. Then add the final
ending you imagine for the piece. Producers don’t want to hear a chop; they
want to hear the last four seconds that would be the same as the end of the
full track.

There is no perfect or right way to make music, of course, and there’s no single answer to how to get that music to come up in an interested producer’s search. However, if you take a few extra moments to think through your tags, titles, and cue lengths, you’ll expand your repertoire and make its essence instantly recognizable, building trust and radically improving your chances at a placement.

Bruce Zimmerman

Bruce
Zimmerman is the composer
and owner of Sound Productions, a film scoring project studio located in
Windsor, Connecticut. Zimmerman began his career over 20 years ago, after
attaining a Doctorate of Music from the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford,
Connecticut.

Zimmerman has scored over 500
programs for clients such as AT&T, IBM, PBS, History Channel, Connecticut
Public Television, FOX Network, The Learning Channel, MasterCard, Pratt and
Whitney, Random House, Sony Kids Music, Simon & Schuster, McGraw Hill and
Warner Brothers. Zimmerman has won three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Individual
Achievement in Original Music Composition for his work in Public Television. He
is a member of ASCAP and the International Documentary Association (IDA).

Congratulating 2019 Grammy Winners: The Complete List

Congratulating 2019 Grammy Winners: The Complete List

 

Album of
the Year

(This award is given to an entire album and all of its songs.)

  • Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B
  • By the Way, I Forgive
    You,
     Brandi
    Carlile
  • Scorpion, Drake
  • H.E.R., H.E.R.
  • Beerbongs & Bentleys, Post
    Malone
  • Dirty Computer, Janelle
    Monáe
  • Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
  • Black Panther, Kendrick
    Lamar

Record of
the Year

(This award goes to the overall production of a single song and
is awarded to the artist who records it.)

  • “I Like It,” Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin
  • “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
  • “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
  • “God’s Plan,” Drake
  • “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
  • “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar, Sza
  • “Rockstar,” Post Malone
  • “The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey

Song of
the Year

(This award goes to the songwriters of a song.)

  • “All the Stars,” Kendrick
    Duckworth, Solana Rowe, Al Shuckburgh, Mark Spears, Anthony Tiffith
  • “Boo’d Up,” Larrance Dopson,
    Joelle James, Ella Mai, Dijon McFarlane
  • “God’s Plan,” Aubrey Graham,
    Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels, and Noah Shebib
  • “The Middle,” Sarah Aarons,
    Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Kyle Trewartha, Michael
    Trewartha & Anton Zaslavski
  • “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile,
    Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth, and Tim Hanseroth
  • “In My Blood,” Teddy Geiger,
    Scott Harris, Shawn Mendes, and Geoffrey Warburton
  • “Shallow,” Lady Gaga, Mark
    Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt
  • “This Is America,”
    Donald Glover and Ludwig Göransson

Best New
Artist

(This award is given to artists who have released their
breakthrough recording during the Grammy eligibility period — October 1, 2017,
to September 30, 2018, in this case — not to artists who made their first
recording during that time.)

  • Chloe x Halle
  • Luke Combs
  • Greta Van Fleet
  • H.E.R.
  • Dua Lipa
  • Margo Price
  • Bebe Rexha
  • Jorja Smith

 

Pop Categories

Best Pop
Solo Performance

  • “Colors,” Beck
  • “Havana (Live),” Camila
    Cabello
  • “God Is A Woman,” Ariana
    Grande
  • “Joanne (Where Do You Think
    You’re Goin’?),” Lady Gaga
  • “Better Now,” Post Malone

Vocal
Album

  • Camila, Camila
    Cabello
  • Meaning Of Life, Kelly
    Clarkson
  • Sweetener, Ariana Grande
  • Shawn Mendes, Shawn
    Mendes
  • Beautiful Trauma, Pink
  • Reputation, Taylor
    Swift

Best Pop
Duo/Group Performance

  • “Fall In Line,” Christina
    Aguilera featuring Demi Lovato
  • “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,”
    Backstreet Boys
  • “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and
    Bradley Cooper
  • “Girls Like You,” Maroon 5
    featuring Cardi B
  • “Say Something,” Justin
    Timberlake featuring Chris Stapleton
  • “The Middle,” Zedd, Maren
    Morris, and Grey

Best
Traditional Pop Vocal Album

  • Love Is Here to
    Stay, 
    Tony
    Bennett & Diana Krall
  • My Way, Willie Nelson
  • Nat “King” Cole & Me, Gregory
    Porter
  • Standards (Deluxe),
    Seal
  • The Music … The
    Mem’ries … The Magic!
    , Barbra Streisand

Best
Dance/Electronic Album

  • Singularity, Jon
    Hopkins
  • Woman Worldwide, Justice
  • Treehouse, Sofi
    Tukker
  • Oil Of Every Pearl’s
    Un-Insides
    ,
    Sophie
  • Lune Rouge, Tokimonsta

Best Dance
Recording

  • “Northern
    Soul,” Above & Beyond featuring Richard Bedford
  • “Ultimatum,”
    Disclosure (featuring Fatoumata Diawara)
  • “Losing It,
    “ Fisher
  • “Electricity,” Silk City
    & Dua Lipa featuring Diplo & Mark Ronson
  • “Ghost
    Voices,” Virtual Self

Best
Contemporary Instrumental Album

  • The Emancipation
    Procrastination
    ,
    Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
  • Steve Gadd Band, Steve Gadd Band
  • Modern Lore, Julian
    Lage
  • Laid Black, Marcus
    Miller
  • Protocol 4, Simon
    Phillips

 

Urban, Rap, and R&B Categories

Best
R&B Album

  • Sex & Cigarettes, Toni
    Braxton
  • Good Thing, Leon
    Bridges
  • Honestly, Lalah
    Hathaway
  • H.E.R., H.E.R.
  • Gumbo Unplugged Live, P.J.
    Morton

Best
R&B Performance

  • “Long As I
    Live,” Toni Braxton
  • “Summer,”
    The Carters
  • “Y O Y,”
    Lalah Hathaway
  • “Best Part,” H.E.R. featuring
    Daniel Caesar
  • “First
    Began,” PJ Morton

Best
Traditional R&B Performance

  • “Bet Ain’t Worth the
    Hand,” Leon Bridges (TIE)
  • “Don’t Fall
    Apart On Me Tonight,” Bettye LaVette
  • “Honest,”
    MAJOR.
  • “How Deep Is Your Love,”
    PJ Morton featuring Yebba
     (TIE)
  • “Made for
    Love,” Charlie Wilson featuring Lalah Hathaway

Best
R&B Song

  • “Boo’d Up,” Larrance
    Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai & Dijon McFarlane
  • “Come
    Through and Chill,” Jermaine Cole, Miguel Pimentel & Salaam Remi
  • “Feels Like
    Summer,” Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson
  • “Focus,”
    Darhyl Camper Jr, H.E.R. & Justin Love
  • “Long As I
    Live,” Paul Boutin, Toni Braxton & Antonio Dixon

Best Urban
Contemporary Album

  • Everything Is Love, The Carters
  • The Kids Are Alright, Chloe x
    Halle
  • Chris Dave And The
    Drumhedz
    ,
    Chris Dave and the Drumhedz
  • War & Leisure, Miguel
  • Ventriloquism, Meshell
    Ndegeocello

Best Rap
Album

  • Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B
  • Swimming, Mac Miller
  • Victory Lap, Nipsey
    Hussle
  • Daytona, Pusha T
  • Astroworld, Travis
    Scott

Best Rap
Performance

  • “Be
    Careful,” Cardi B
  • “Nice for
    What,” Drake
  • “King’s Dead,” Kendrick
    Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake (TIE)
  • “Bubblin,” Anderson
    .Paak (TIE)
  • “Sicko
    Mode,” Travis Scott, Drake, (Big Hawk) & Swae Lee

Best
Rap/Sung Performance

  • “Like I Do,”
    Christina Aguilera featuring Goldlink
  • “Pretty
    Little Fears,” 6lack featuring J. Cole
  • “This Is America,”
    Childish Gambino
  • “All the
    Stars,” Kendrick Lamar & SZA
  • “Rockstar,”
    Post Malone featuring 21 Savage

Best Rap
Song

  • “God’s Plan,” Aubrey
    Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels &
    Noah Shebib
  • “King’s
    Dead,” Kendrick Duckworth, Samuel Gloade, James Litherland, Johnny
    McKinzie, Axel Morgan, Mark Spears, Travis Walton, Nayvadius Wilburn &
    Michael Williams II
  • “Lucky You,”
    R. Fraser, G. Lucas, M. Mathers, M. Samuels & J. Sweet
  • “Sicko
    Mode,” Khalif Brown, Rogét Chahayed, BryTavious Chambers, Mike Dean,
    Mirsad Dervic, Kevin Gomringer, Tim Gomringer, Aubrey Graham, Chauncey
    Hollis, Jacques Webster, Ozan Yildirim & Cydel Young
  • “Win,” K.
    Duckworth, A. Hernandez, J. McKinzie, M. Samuels & C. Thompson

 

Rock and Alternative categories

Best Rock
Album

  • Rainier Fog, Alice In
    Chains
  • M A N I A, Fall Out
    Boy
  • Prequelle, Ghost
  • From The Fires, Greta Van Fleet
  • Pacific Daydream, Weezer

Best Rock
Performance

  • “Four Out Of
    Five,” Arctic Monkeys
  • “When Bad Does Good,”
    Chris Cornell
  • “Made An
    America,” The Fever 333
  • “Highway
    Tune,” Greta Van Fleet
  • “Uncomfortable,”
    Halestorm

Best Rock
Song

  • “Black Smoke
    Rising,” Jacob Thomas Kiszka, Joshua Michael Kiszka, Samuel Francis Kiszka
    & Daniel Robert Wagner
  • “Jumpsuit,”
    Tyler Joseph
  • “Mantra,”
    Jordan Fish, Matthew Kean, Lee Malia, Matthew Nicholls & Oliver Sykes
  • “Masseduction,” Jack
    Antonoff & Annie Clark
  • “Rats,” Tom
    Dalgety & A Ghoul Writer

Best
Alternative Music Album

  • Tranquility Base Hotel +
    Casino
    ,
    Arctic Monkeys
  • Colors, Beck
  • Utopia, Björk
  • American Utopia, David
    Byrne
  • Masseduction, St.
    Vincent

Best Metal
Performance

  • “Condemned
    to the Gallows,” Between The Buried And Me
  • “Honeycomb,”
    Deafheaven
  • “Electric Messiah,” High
    On Fire
  • “Betrayer,”
    Trivium
  • “On My
    Teeth,” Underoath

 

Country Categories

Best
Country Album

  • Unapologetically, Kelsea
    Ballerini
  • Port Saint Joe, Brothers
    Osborne
  • Girl Going Nowhere, Ashley
    McBride
  • Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
  • From a Room: Volume 2, Chris
    Stapleton

Best
Country Song

  • “Break Up In
    the End,” Jessie Jo Dillon, Chase McGill & Jon Nite
  • “Dear Hate,”
    Tom Douglas, David Hodges & Maren Morris
  • “I Lived
    It,” Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley & Ben Hayslip
  • “Space Cowboy,” Luke
    Laird, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves
  • “Tequila,”
    Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds & Dan Smyers
  • “When
    Someone Stops Loving You,” Hillary Lindsey, Chase McGill & Lori
    McKenna

Best
Country Solo Performance

  • “Wouldn’t It Be Great?”
    Loretta Lynn
  • “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,”
    Maren Morris
  • “Butterflies,” Kacey
    Musgraves
  • “Millionaire,” Chris
    Stapleton
  • “Parallel Line,” Keith Urban

Best
Country Duo/Group Performance

  • “Shoot Me
    Straight,” Brothers Osborne
  • “Tequila,” Dan + Shay
  • “When
    Someone Stops Loving You,” Little Big Town
  • “Dear Hate,”
    Maren Morris featuring Vince Gill
  • “Meant to
    Be,” Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line

New Age and Jazz Categories

Best
Improvised Jazz Solo

  • “Some of
    That Sunshine,” Regina Carter, soloist, from Some Of That Sunshine (Karrin
    Allyson)
  • “Don’t Fence Me In,”
    John Daversa, soloist, from American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope,
    Music Of Freedom (John Daversa Big Band featuring DACA Artists)
  • “We See,”
    Fred Hersch, soloists
  • “De-Dah,”
    Brad Mehldau, soloist, from Seymour
    Reads The Constitution!
     (Brad Mehldau Trio)
  • “Cadenas,”
    Miguel Zenón, soloist from Yo
    Soy La Tradición
     (Miguel Zenón featuring Spektral
    Quartet)

Best Jazz
Vocal Album

  • My Mood Is You, Freddy
    Cole
  • The Questions, Kurt
    Elling
  • The Subject Tonight Is
    Love
    ,
    Kate McGarry, Keith Ganz, Gary Versace
  • If You Really Want, Raul Midón
    With The Metropole Orkest Conducted By Vince Mendoza
  • The Window, Cécile McLorin Salvant

Best Jazz
Instrumental Album

  • Diamond Cut, Tia Fuller
  • Live in Europe, Fred
    Hersch Trio
  • Seymour Reads the
    Constitution
    ,
    Brad Mehldau Trio
  • Still Dreaming, Joshua
    Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley & Brian Blade
  • Emanon, The Wayne Shorter
    Quartet

Best Large
Jazz Ensemble Album

  • All About That Basie, The Count
    Basie Orchestra Directed By Scotty Barnhart
  • American Dreamers: Voices
    of Hope, Music of Freedom, 
    John Daversa Big Band
    featuring DACA Artists
  • Presence, Orrin
    Evans And The Captain Black Big Band
  • All Can Work, John
    Hollenbeck Large Ensemble
  • Barefoot Dances and
    Other Visions
    ,
    Jim McNeely & The Frankfurt Radio Big Band

Best Latin
Jazz Album

  • Heart of Brazil, Eddie
    Daniels
  • Back to the Sunset, Dafnis Prieto Big Band
  • West Side Story
    Reimagined
    ,
    Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band
  • Cinque, Elio
    Villafranca
  • Yo Soy La Tradición, Miguel Zenón featuring
    Spektral Quartet

 

Gospel and Contemporary Christian Music

Best
Gospel Performance/Song

  • “You Will
    Win,” Jekalyn Carr; Allen Carr & Jekalyn Carr
  • “Won’t He Do
    It,” Koryn Hawthorne
  • “Never Alone,” Tori
    Kelly featuring Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin & Victoria Kelly
  • “Cycles,”
    Jonathan McReynolds featuring DOE; Jonathan McReynolds & Will Reagan
  • “A Great
    Work,” Brian Courtney Wilson; Aaron W. Lindsey, Alvin Richardson &
    Brian Courtney Wilson

Best
Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

  • “Reckless
    Love,” Cory Asbury; Cory Asbury, Caleb Culver & Ran Jackson,
    songwriters
  • “You Say,” Lauren
    Daigle; Lauren Daigle, Jason Ingram & Paul Mabury, songwriters
  • “Joy,” For
    King & Country; Ben Glover, Matt Hales, Stephen Blake Kanicka, Seth
    Mosley, Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone & Tedd Tjornhom, songwriters
  • “Grace Got
    You,” MercyMe featuring John Reuben; David Garcia, Ben Glover, MercyMe,
    Solomon Olds & John Reuben, songwriters
  • “Known,”
    Tauren Wells; Ethan Hulse, Jordan Sapp & Tauren Wells, songwriters

Best
Gospel Album

  • One Nation Under God, Jekalyn
    Carr
  • Hiding Place, Tori Kelly
  • Make Room, Jonathan
    McReynolds
  • The Other Side, The Walls
    Group
  • A Great Work, Brian
    Courtney Wilson

Best
Contemporary Christian Music Album

  • Look Up Child, Lauren Daigle
  • Hallelujah Here Below, Elevation
    Worship
  • Living With a Fire, Jesus Culture
  • Surrounded, Michael W.
    Smith
  • Survivor: Live from
    Harding Prison
    ,
    Zach Williams

Best Roots
Gospel Album

  • Unexpected, Jason Crabb
  • Clear Skies, Ernie
    Haase & Signature Sound
  • Favorites: Revisited By
    Request
    ,
    The Isaacs
  • Still Standing, The
    Martins
  • Love Love Love, Gordon
    Mote

 

Latin

Best Latin
Pop Album

  • Prometo, Pablo
    Alboran
  • Sincera, Claudia Brant
  • Musas (Un Homenaje Al
    Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de lost Macorinos), Vol. 2
    , Natalia
    Lafourcade
  • 2:00 AM, Raquel
    Sofía
  • Vives, Carlos
    Vives

Best Latin
Rock, Urban or Alternative Album

  • Claroscura,
    Aterciopelados
  • Coastcity, COASTCITY
  • Encanto Tropical, Monsieur
    Periné
  • Gourmet, Orishas
  • Aztlán, Zoé

Best
Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)

  • Primero Soy Mexicana, Angela
    Aguilar
  • Mitad Y Mitad, Calibre 50
  • Totalmente Juan Gabriel
    Vol. II
    ,
    Aida Cuevas
  • Cruzando Borders, Los
    Texmaniacs
  • Leyendas de Mi Pueblo, Mariachi
    Sol De Mexico De Jose Hernandez
  • ¡Mexico Por Siempre!, Luis Miguel

Best
Tropical Latin Album

  • Pa’ Mi Gente, Charlie
    Aponte
  • Legado, Formell Y
    Los Van Van
  • Orquesta Akokan, Orquesta
    Akokán
  • Ponle Actitude, Felipe
    Peláez
  • Anniversary, Spanish Harlem
    Orchestra

 

American Roots Music Categories

Best
American Roots Performance

  • “Kick Rocks,” Sean Ardoin
  • “Saint James Infirmary Blues,” Jon Batiste
  • “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
  • “All On My Mind,” Anderson
    East
  • “Last Man Standing,” Willie
    Nelson

Best
American Roots Song

  • “All the
    Trouble,” Waylon Payne, Lee Ann Womack & Adam Wright
  • “Build a
    Bridge,” Jeff Tweedy
  • “The Joke,” Brandi
    Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth
  • “Knockin’ On
    Your Screen Door,” Pat McLaughlin & John Prine
  • “Summer’s
    End,” Pat McLaughlin & John Prine

Best
Americana Album

  • By the Way, I Forgive
    You
    , Brandi Carlile
  • Things Have Changed, Bettye
    LaVette
  • The Tree of Forgiveness, John Prine
  • The Lonely, The Lonesome
    & the Gone
    ,
    Lee Ann Womack
  • One Drop of Truth, The Wood
    Brothers

Best
Bluegrass Album

  • Portraits in Fiddles, Mike
    Barnett
  • Sister Sadie II, Sister
    Sadie
  • Rivers and Roads, Special
    Consensus
  • The Travelin’ McCourys, The Travelin’ McCourys
  • North of Despair, Wood &
    Wire

Best
Traditional Blues Album

  • Something Smells Funky
    ‘Round Here
    ,
    Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
  • Benton County Relic, Cedric
    Burnside
  • The Blues Is Alive and
    Well
    , Buddy Guy
  • No Mercy in This Land, Ben Harper
    And Charlie Musselwhite
  • Don’t You Feel My Leg
    (The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker)
    , Maria
    Muldaur

Best
Contemporary Blues Album

  • Please Don’t Be Dead, Fantastic Negrito
  • Here in Babylon, Teresa
    James And The Rhythm Tramps
  • Cry No More, Danielle
    Nicole
  • Out of the Blues, Boz Scaggs
  • Victor Wainwright and
    the Train
    ,
    Victor Wainwright And The Train

Best Folk
Album

  • Whistle Down the Wind, Joan Baez
  • Black Cowboys, Dom
    Flemons
  • Rifles & Rosary
    Beads
    ,
    Mary Gauthier
  • Weed Garden, Iron &
    Wine
  • All Ashore, Punch Brothers

Best
Regional Roots Music Album

  • Kreole Rock and Soul, Sean
    Ardoin
  • Spyboy, Cha Wa
  • Aloha From Na Hoa, Na Hoa
  • No ‘Ane’i, Kalani Pe’a
  • Mewasinsational – Cree
    Round Dance Songs
    , Young Spirit

Reggae and
world music category

Best
Reggae Album

  • As the World Turns, Black
    Uhuru
  • Reggae Forever, Etana
  • Rebellion Rises, Ziggy
    Marley
  • A Matter of Time, Protoje
  • 44/876, Sting & Shaggy

Best World
Music Album

  • Deran, Bombino
  • Fenfo, Fatoumata
    Diawara
  • Black Times, Seun Kuti
    & Egypt 80
  • Freedom, Soweto Gospel Choir
  • The Lost Songs of World
    War II
    ,
    Yiddish Glory

 

Miscellaneous

Best
Children’s Album

  • All the Sounds, Lucy Kalantari &
    The Jazz Cats
  • Building Blocks, Tim Kubart
  • Falu’s Bazaar, Falu
  • Giants of Science, The Pop
    Ups
  • The Nation of Imagine, Frank
    & Deane

Best
Musical Theater Album

  • The Band’s Visit
  • Carousel
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
    Live In Concert
  • My Fair Lady
  • Once on This Island

Best Score
Soundtrack for Visual Media

  • Black Panther
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Coco
  • The Shape Of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best
Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media

  • Call Me By Your
    Name 
    (Various
    Artists), Luca Guadagnino, compilation producer; Robin Urdang, music
    supervisor
  • Deadpool 2 (Various
    Artists), David Leitch & Ryan Reynolds, compilation producers; John
    Houlihan, music supervisor
  • The Greatest Showman, Hugh Jackman (&
    Various Artists), Alex Lacamoire, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul & Greg
    Wells, compilation producers
  • Lady Bird (Various
    Artists), Timothy J. Smith, compilation producer; Michael Hill & Brian
    Ross, music supervisors
  • Stranger Things, (Various
    Artists), Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer & Timothy J. Smith, compilation
    producers; Nora Felder, music supervisor

Best Song
Written For Visual Media

  • “All the
    Stars,” from Black
    Panther
    , Kendrick Duckworth, Solána Rowe, Alexander William
    Shuckburgh, Mark Anthony Spears & Anthony Tiffith (performed by Kendrick
    Lamar & SZA)
  • “Mystery of
    Love,” from Call
    Me By Your Name
    , Sufjan Stevens (performed by Sufjan Stevens)
  • “Remember
    Me,” from Coco,
    Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez (performed by Miguel featuring
    Natalia Lafourcade)
  • “Shallow,” from A
    Star Is Born
    , Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew
    Wyatt (performed by Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)
  • “This Is
    Me,” from The
    Greatest Showman
    , Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (performed by
    Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble)

Best
Comedy Album

  • Annihilation, Patton
    Oswalt
  • Equanimity & The
    Bird Revelation
    , Dave Chappelle
  • Noble Ape, Jim
    Gaffigan
  • Standup For Drummers, Fred
    Armisen
  • Tamborine, Chris Rock

Best
Spoken Word Album

  • Accessory to War (Neil
    deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang), Courtney B. Vance
  • Calypso, David
    Sedaris
  • Creative Quest, Questlove
  • Faith — A Journey For
    All
    , Jimmy Carter
  • The Last Black Unicorn, Tiffany
    Haddish

Best Music
Video

  • “Apes***, “ The Carters
  • “This Is America,”
    Childish Gambino
  • “I’m Not Racist,” Joyner
    Lucas
  • “Pynk,” Janelle Monáe
  • “Mumbo Jumbo,” Tierra Whack

Album
Notes

  • Alpine
    Dreaming: The Helvetia Records Story, 1920-1924
  • 4 Banjo
    Songs, 1891-1897: Foundational Recordings Of America’s Iconic Instrument
  • The 1960
    Time Sessions
  • The Product
    Of Our Souls: The Sound And Sway Of James Reese Europe’s Society Orchestra
  • Trouble No
    More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 (Deluxe Edition)
  • Voices Of Mississippi:
    Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris