A CREATOR’S STORY

Brett Heatley of HeatleyBros Music

Brett Heatley is a team member of AudioMicro, and the creator of a unique genre of “GamePop” music.  He runs the HeatleyBros YouTube Channel where he promotes his music for ‘free use with credit’ on YouTube, and provides links to purchase the licenses for his music on AudioMicro.com for use outside of YouTube.

Read his story on discovering his unique sound, turning his music and YouTube channel into a brand, and tips you can apply to your own story.

THE GENESIS – INFLUENCES OF MY SOUND

Being the younger sibling in the ’90s didn’t afford me too many options when it came to the music I listened to.  My older sister kept the radio on RnB and pop, and I would watch on as my older brother played through single-player game after single-player game.  I loved my older siblings, and respected and appreciated them. In turn, I fell in love with RnB (Boyz II Men for life) and watching my brother traverse through games like Sonic, Mario, and the Final Fantasy I had ample time to soak in the simple-sounding yet creative soundtracks. Between these two seemingly unrelated genres of music, a seed was planted in my brain that would eventually determine the unique type of music I would later create.

No matter how much older I got, and how many music options the world eventually offered, my love for the music I grew up listening to persisted. RnB advanced and changed, and Video Games left the simple synths for 100-piece orchestras focused more on mood rather than melody.  While I did find new games and artists that carried some of the spirit of the 90’s music I cherished, I still felt there was a sort of musical itch I was no longer able to scratch.

The need to scratch was eventually offset to a degree as I learned how to play the guitar and the piano. I learned songs on the radio and eventually wrote a few of my own. It was fun, but those instruments and songs could never satisfy the array of musical sounds I wanted to hear. I put down those instruments and allowed for life and its responsibilities to take up most of my time.

Years later, I found myself as a senior in college, nervously eating lunch at my apartment, terrified of the fact that I still had no idea what I would do with my marketing degree. My roommate came in and left his new MacBook open on the kitchen table. I was not too familiar with MacBooks and noticed that a program in the corner of the screen had a guitar logo. I ran the mouse over the program and asked my roommate “what’s this ‘Garageband’ program do?”. He began to explain what it was My ears and brain perked up. “You mean to tell me that in that program, I can write out an entire song, bass, drums, chords, melody, and everything, and turn that into an mp3 that I can listen to on your stereo system?”. He confirmed and asked me if I wanted to give it try. I nodded and took the laptop into my room.

I remember him knocking on the door the next morning, wondering if I still had his MacBook with me as he couldn’t find it in his room.  I responded by pressing play on the MacBook, and out of the little speakers came an entire 3:30 minute RnB song, complete with drums, bass, chords, lyrics, melody, stacked harmonies, and retro game synths. He was as amazed as I was, neither of us knew I had it in me. I was instantly hooked, and the fears of graduating without a plan were vanquished, forever.  I wanted to make my own type of music and find work in the music business. 

After I graduated from Florida State, I talked to my sister who lived in LA, told her I wanted to move out there and get into music. She was so excited she flew out to meet me and drove cross-country with me – she’s a great sister.  I soon got settled in LA and started hitting up craigslist for any indie record labels that I could intern at.  A small record label called ‘Accidental Airplay’ reached out and wanted to interview me. We met and gelled really well. I worked for them on many projects over the course of a few years. I remember having a conversation with them about wanting to make video game pop music inspired by the games of my childhood, they told me to go for it, so with that little push of support, I decided to start HeatleyBros, in 2014. 

SUCCESS STORIES

Over the years, I’ve had tracks used by a lot of big YouTubers which has really helped bring attention to my music, and seems to continually open up bigger and bigger opportunities.

For example, A Minecraft YouTuber known as AphMau who has close to 5 million subscribers found my song on AudioMicro.com and made it part of her theme song outro and used it for years for a particular series, which got a lot of traction and I received a lot of fandom around that. I learned that it was used there through the comments section of my YouTube channel, and had I not had a YouTube channel, I wouldn’t have known and it wouldn’t have helped me bring a bunch of attention to my channel, because people started acknowledging my music there.

MAKING $$

I sell licenses to use my music on AudioMicro.com, a Production Music Library and I also monetize on my YouTube channel, one, through ads when people listen to my music or come to hear my new song that they could possibly license and use, and two, through monetization when people don’t license accordingly.

I use a third-party aggregator called AdRev.net for monetizing unlicensed use of my tracks.  The more available and accessible Your music is online, the more likely it will be used without authorization. Therefore, in regards to generating revenue on YouTube, the more places your video is placed, the more you can make money on unlicensed use.

I sell licenses to use my music on AudioMicro.com, a Production Music Library and I also monetize on my YouTube channel.  This happens two ways: through ads when people listen to my music or come to hear my new song that they could possibly license and use, and through monetization when people don’t license accordingly.

I use a third-party aggregator called AdRev.net for monetizing unlicensed use of my tracks.  The more available and accessible your music is online, the more likely it will be used without authorization. Therefore, in regard to generating revenue on YouTube, the more places your video is placed, the more you can make money on unlicensed use.

MY TIPS FOR MUSIC CREATORS & YOUTUBERS

Tips I would give to music creators starting out and wanting to utilize YouTube to promote and monetize their music are:

1.CREATE A BRAND & PERSONALITY

Start a YouTube channel and then create a brand around the music you make. 

2. GET YOUR MUSIC HEARD

You need to be able to get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora and all the rest so, make sure you have a diYou want to get your music heard, first and foremost, then people can find where they can license it.  Make it available on every access point possible. You need to be able to get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora and all the rest, so make sure you have a distributor that can do this, like CDBaby.com or DashGo.com.

3. UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA

Be on every social media instance possible.  Utilize Instagram, Soundcloud, TikTok, and YouTube!  Then, connect with people as much as possible.  Share your music and your story to get people engaged.  For example, I recently did a series of live stream Q & A sessions for a few weekends in a row, to connect with some of the people that follow me. There were about 100 people listening in each time, and some of them ended up donating to my channel.  This was a great way to interface with some followers and fans.

4. CREATE UNIQUE MUSIC

Don’t overuse audio loops in your music creation.  One, it’s not unique, and two, loops can get flagged by Content ID systems and create a headache that you don’t need.

5. KEEP CREATING & IMPROVING

Keep evolving!  Keep trying to get better, keep moving forward.  You may hang your hat on one of the songs you made, but rather than trying to recreate something like it, try to create something better than that- something that speaks more closely to who you are, what you love and why you make music to begin with. As an artist, keep evolving and improving. Learn and grow, and you’ll constantly be your own competition. That way, you’ll keep raising the bar and exploring and refining your sound.

Thanks for reading!  I wish you all the best in your creative endeavors!
~ Brett Heatley

Meet A&R Manager – Joshua Priest

T E A M   M E M B E R   P R O F I L E :
AN INTERVIEW WITH AUDIOMICRO’S A&R MANAGER:

At AudioMicro, we’ve got a commitment to the high quality of music we provide, and our A&R Manager is at the heart of this mission.  Meet the man, behind the man, behind the man, Joshua Priest.

– Thanks, Josh, for interviewing with me today.  So you are the resident music expert and A&R manager for AudioMicro!  How long have you been working with the company?

Answer: I’ve been with the company for four years, and I’ve been managing A&R and the ingest contracts for artists for the past two years.

– Very nice. What’s your background with music?

Answer: Well, I’ve been playing guitar for 14 years. And I’ve always been into music ever since I was a kid.  I mean, basically, music has just been a big part of the journey in my life. Because, you know, when you play an instrument, you’re forever learning and struggling with things that you don’t know. Your music within itself is a language, so you’re always kind of learning, every single day. And it’s great. I deal with other people’s music every day as well.  I get to kind of get a snapshot of their musical journey as well.

– So it’s almost like music is a teacher in a way.  And what’s your background before working in the music industry for AudioMicro?

Answer:  I used to work in TV, for  G4 TV, which is now defunct, unfortunately, and I also worked for a year with NBC. I started off as a production assistant for about a year and half, then became a producer myself.

– Ok, so you have a background in music and in producing. With that experience under your belt, what are some top things that you’re looking for as far as the quality of the tracks that you’re ingesting for AudioMicro’s library?

Answer: Well I definitely want to listen to how things are mixed.  We want to provide top-quality music so mixing is very important.I also want to listen to how the melodies fit into the genre that they’re trying to achieve.

Then I also like to listen to the quality of their plugins. Say with a song that has flute, you can basically tell when they have a really good plugin because you can’t tell the difference between a real flute and a really good plugin of the flute.

Sometimes I hear a film score, and I can’t tell if the artist recorded an orchestra or just on his computer doing this?  Either way, it doesn’t matter because it sounds amazing.

I can hear their level of professionalism and effort within the first 30 seconds.

And then there’s timing.  Sometimes people will upload tracks, and you can just hear that the drums are off, or the rhythm guitar is going at a certain beat per minute. But then, the lead guitar is playing way too quick, or way too slow compared to it. And you can tell that it’s not something that they’re actually trying to achieve.

And, one more thing I’d like to add. When you listen to someone’s music, if you can close your eyes, and you can see the song that they’re making being used in some sort of production, like I can see this being in a movie, or I can see this being the background of a blog on YouTube or something like that, then you know that you’ve got something good.

– So the way that it’s mixed, the melody fitting the genre, the quality of the sounds and plugins, and the timing, those are some of the things that you look for when you’re rating.  And, because of your background and TV and music, you need to imagine where it could be used, and it may need to evoke some emotion in you?

Answer: Yeah. Actually, I won’t lie. There’ve been a few times I’ve uploaded contracts to AudioMicro and I was going through a new artist’s music that were just very sad songs. And I felt a very strong reaction, my heartstrings were getting pulled, and I was like, “Oh, I better stop listening to this. I don’t want to start crying at my desk!”

Some of these artists they are really good at what they do. And if I can listen to music and feel emotional, that’s a winner right there.

– I think a lot of video production is telling a story; and that could be a happy story or a sad story, or many times to inspire, right?  Especially motivational videos on YouTube, they’re definitely telling a story, but also evoking some positive, motivational, or inspirational feelings, right?

Answer: You’re absolutely right, because when it comes down to it at the end of the day, if you have a video with audio, the audio is 50% of your video’s impact. If you have a video with audio that doesn’t match what you’re watching, it takes you out of the experience- 100%.  But if you have audio that matches what you’re watching, it can make the impact of the video 100 times better.

– It’s almost as if the measure of a well produced movie or video is that when you’re so involved in the story, that you don’t even notice the music, because it just corresponds so well, it all goes together.

Answer: Yeah, that’s what we hope for at AudioMicro. Content creators for YouTube,  production film houses, or for people that do podcasts. We’re here to help provide music to compliment your visual aspect to make your production the best it can be.  To Complement and Enhance your project.

– Do you ever get requests to help people find music or suggest music for their production?

Answer: Yes, I’m always more than happy to help our customers if they need assistance.  They can just write in to us with info like, “Hey, we’re doing like a little podcast about history and science, that we kind of want something that’s mellow acoustic.” I’ll point them in the right direction or put together 5 or 10 tracks of things that I think they might like.

– It’s great to know you all are there to help!  So, what’s something about AudioMicro that people probably don’t know.

Answer:  It’s a really great working environment at AudioMicro – We all have each other’s backs.  We’re all very chill & casual with each other- I could go talk to my supervisor or CEO and could talk about work or I could talk about something personal.  When you have a work environment where everyone meshes together so well, the productivity and the company morale becomes so high that it feels like the sky’s the limit.

We also have a room that is dedicated to chilling and taking a break.  We have an acoustic bass, a piano, bean bags and couches, and a PlayStation 4 for people want to play video games.  Throughout all hours of the day, you can hear someone in there either banging on the piano, plucking on a guitar, or playing a video game.

I think that is the best way to blow off some steam and clear your head, like if you’re working on something and you kind of hit a brick wall. You can go in there for 10 or 15 minutes, noodle around on the guitar to get some creative juices flowing, and then before you know it, you might be in the middle of playing a song and you go, “Oh, I got it!”  And go back to what you were working on.

– That’s perfect, because they say human beings can only focus efficiently for so long, and then they actually need to take a break and shift into something else.  So last question Joshua, what kind of music are you into right now?

Answer: Right now I’ve really been into Lo Fi Hip Hop to work to.  It’s kind of jazzy, there are a lot of samples from old jazz musicians and they tweak them to create some interesting sounds, and then I’m also really into classical rock and bands I grew up with like the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd .

And also, I normally don’t tell people this, but I have a guilty pleasure… I like to listen to Korean Pop Music or K Pop.  My best friend from elementary and middle school was Korean so I’d always be at his house and that’s what him and his sister listened to all the time. So I learned about it back in 1997 and have been listening to it off and on for a long time, but more recently I’ve kind of gotten back into it.

I’m really digging this girl group called Black Pink.  They’ve been around for a couple of years but recently put out a new album and their sound is pretty different.. It’s like Korean girl rap trap music. Here’s the link to my favorite video.

Awesome Joshua, thanks for your time!

 

T O D A Y ‘S   T A K E A W A Y S

Takeaway 1:  Joshua’s A&R rating is based on track mixing, the melody fitting the genre, the quality of the sounds and plugins, the timing, and if the sounds help to evoke emotion or could help tell a story.

Takeaway 2:  It’s essential to find background or production music that matches your creative project in order to complement and enhance its impact!

Takeaway 3: Joshua and the team at AudioMicro are there to help if you need assistance in finding the right sounds for your production project.  Just write in Here.

Takeaway 4: AudioMicro promotes a work environment that is friendly, supportive, and honors their employees need to express creativity and take breaks!

Takeaway 5: Joshua secretly loves K-Pop! 😉