Introducing myself, and thoughts on what it means to be a Composer in today's world

Hi everyone - just joined the forum. I’ve been on the FB Composers Group for several months now, but searching for for something that could help me think about my ‘career’ (of which more, later) a bit deeper I came across this lovely group :wink: so here I am!

In as few words as possible, my story is that I’ve been obsessed by music since about the age of 9 (of course my love for it started earlier than that). In the early 80s I did a degree in Music Theory and Composition, & Jazz Piano at the University of Miami. It was some of the best years of my life, but some of the players there were so, so good, in some ways it knocked my confidence in myself. I did try and go pro for a few years (as a session musician, in bands, and as Yamaha’s UK Hi-Tech Keyboard Demonstrator) but somehow forgot to pursue what I really had in mind, which was to become a film scorer…!

At one session musician session, where I was finally getting quite into the track I was being asked to lay down, and all was going great - some great feedback from the producer and engineer, who were the only other people in the studio, until this No1 French band came in from their day of shopping and partying, and after listening to what I had done, asked “Yes…can you make it a bit more like the Pet Shop Boys?”

At that point (or shortly thereafter) I gave up music professionally, and decided I would just keep it as a hobby/life passion. Fast forward 35 years, over which time I built up a global digital consultancy which I managed to sell a couple of years ago. I didn’t make big money by today’s standards. But, if I’m careful, it might just…just about be enough to see me through.

Which means I can finally spend some time back on my music! Aren’t I a lucky chap :wink: (and I mean that very seriously).

The music has been pouring out of me. I released an album to streaming services in Sep, and have almost the next album complete already (which is available on SoundCloud and YouTube).

The point of all that preamble is to ask the question: what does it mean for me to be a composer, at this stage in my life? At the point the world is now?

TBH - I don’t really want to be a film scorer anymore. I mean, I wouldn’t turn down a commission! But I want to write the music I want to write. I’ve waited long enough! :wink: I don’t want to have to please a director, a producer. Arguably even the audience.

So is it enough for me just write and produce my music in my studio and leave it at that? No, not really. I do want people to hear it. I would love an audience. And of course I’d like people to like it. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than if someone tells me my music moved them. But how to get an audience, especially if your music isn’t in a film/tv video game? I fear most people’s appetite for instrumental music is pretty limited! Or maybe mine just isn’t that good…but I’m old enough now not to be bothered by concerns like that. I mean, all I can do is make it the best I can. Continue to try to get better. if you don’t like it, well I’ll try again with the next one.

Anyway, this post is probably already too long, and longer than I had intended. If it appears people are interested I will add some comments on my thoughts for how I can move this forward.

In the meantime, if you’re interested:


Hmm, that’s meant to be the link to my SoundCloud profile, not just a single track…?

Oh well, if you’re interested no doubt you can find some other tracks from that link! :wink:

Welcome! nice music! I enjoyed it!

I believe you are very right about the freedom of composing for pleasure without limitations because you can develop more freedom and inspiration than being on a schedule and following the rules of the director or producers, etc

Never is too late !

Have a great day!



Thank you Javier! Much appreciated.

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imagined a scene in a movie people rushing to catch the train and build up going on. cool fusion of different styles definitely has an 80’s vibe too.

Thank you.

First, a warm welcome Mark to the best community for composers in the world! :smiley:
At least that was my intention when I founded it a year ago. I hope you will find the atmosphere friendly and professional.

As a side note, I have run several Facebook Groups for years, but they never get to the high quality bar I personally want.

Regarding your main question, what it means to be a composer in this day and age. I would say, as with every creative field, diversity is the key. Meaning, do not see yourself as “only” a composer. But find out every field of expertise you can provide and make an income within (if you really want to create a business within music).

Mikael “Mike” Baggström
Founder of this Community

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Thanks Mike. I agree there are a lot of skills to master! Not only composing, but generally we’re performing the pieces - yes, all the parts! - ourselves, need to know about mixing and mastering (big gap for me here, but have been getting better, and have watched some of your videos…;), then perhaps some video production, distribution to all the relevant channels, and then the whole wide world of marketing…

I have been dabbling with some FB advertising. It’s amazing how much you can do for £2 a day! But then, what am I really achieving with it? A few likes? Maybe a few subscribers? Sometimes some lovely comments, which is a real cathartic boost, but I’d have to multiply all these by thousands (or even millions, which, let’s be honest, is not realistic!) before there was any hope of revenue from it.

I am talking to a PR agency, who specialise in composers. I might give them a try, but the real question here, again, is what am I trying to achieve through it? I guess more exposure, a better shot at a larger audience. Since I accept only a small % of people who hear my music are going to love it (some do - I shouldn’t put myself down too much! :wink: I need as many people as possible to hear it.

One of the things I’d really love is for a good orchestra to commission a work from me, which then would be performed. Is that a realistic possibility? Well, theoretically, I guess!

But even if I managed to build up a ‘fan base’ of maybe a few thousand people who followed me, enjoyed my music, streamed/listened to it at least with some regularity, there is no income in that.

It seems (at least pre-covid!) live performance was the only way for musicians to make money these days. For a composer that has obvious challenges. So unless some major global brand wants to use some of my music in a product launch or other promotion, I think it is basically just me, in my studio, creating music at least I love, and at least making it available to the world, and doing what I can to get it in front of people’s ears.

That’s not a terrible prospect. But I would like more…:wink:


Well honestly in our niche “instrumental music”, I guess the only way to make a living from the music itself is either custom music for soundtracks, TV etc. or production music for background use.

But personally my main business income comes from education (I teach music with online courses).

Trying to make a living as a composer from pure “listening enjoyment” (meaning being an artist first and foremost), is pretty much unheard of sadly. Not even the biggest names in our industry make much money from streaming income etc.