Are you thinking of creating of your own sample pack? Do you feel like your sounds could be useful to other producers? In this article you’ll find 10 tips for creating professional, original sample packs you can sell online.
1. Plan the sample pack
Before starting the sound design work, it’s helpful to plan the approach to making your sample pack. By setting your goals clearly, you make sure that you’re going to be working with maximum productivity. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- How many samples do I need to complete the sample pack?
When making your first sample pack, it’s better to stick to a smaller number of samples to make sure you are not sacrificing quality for quantity.
- When do I expect to finish working on the sample pack?
After you specify how many samples you need, it’s time to set specific deadlines. Do you want to work on the sample packs for one, two weeks or more? How many samples would you need to make per day in that case?
- What type of sounds do I want to make?
Are you planning on creating drums or melodies? Do you want to make loops or one-shots? How many sounds should be included in each category? Setting up the folder structure of your sample pack in advance might help with planning its contents.
2. Targeting the right niche
Specifying the exact stylistic choices before starting sound design is going to restrict you to a certain type of sound. In this way you’re making sure that the samples you make are going to be useful to a specific niche. Specify the exact genre and subgenre you’ll be working with and characterize the character of sounds you are aiming for.
3. Naming the pack
The words you choose for describing your sample pack should not be accidental. The title should be both catchy and descriptive. If you are not well-known it’s not the best idea to call your sample pack with your producer name. Aim for short, descriptive language which brings to mind the context in which the music made with the sample pack might be played.
When making a sample pack it’s crucial to avoid illegal practices. Most times it’s not possible to use other samples for layering, but in some cases it’s possible. There might be special requirements - for instance, the sample pack manufacturer Zero-G allows using their samples for new packs only when they are used in a “musical context”. The same applies to using romplers and sample-based instruments. All the information concerning copyrights should be included in a EULA document (end-user license agreement) that comes with the pack or instrument.
5. Design sounds in context
A helpful technique of making sample packs is producing short tracks or loops and extracting their individual elements at a later stage. In this way you are making sure that the samples you’re using are going to sound good in context - and it’s sometimes more fun to create music rather than single sounds. This technique can be applied to tracks you have already made - as long as the sounds you’ve used are completely original, you can quickly create samples by exporting the stems.
6. Export samples in the right format
The universally accepted format of samples is WAV, which provides high-quality uncompressed audio and is compatible with most DAWs. Sounds are usually exported using 44.1 kHz and 24 bits. An alternative to WAV is AIFF - but it is much less common.
7. Create artwork for your pack
Most sample packs nowadays come with specially designed artworks. The graphics should match the theme of your sounds and include the title. It’s not a difficult task to design your own artwork using the basics of software editors. The best program for it would be Adobe Photoshop, but you can also use free alternatives - for example Photopea. High quality background pictures can be found on royalty free sites like Unsplash.
8. Create the audio preview for your pack
There are two approaches you can take for creating an audio preview. If you’re making a pack of loops, you can always present a set of loops and crossfade between them. The other option is creating a simple demo track. The audio preview should be attractive to the buyers - they often decide whether to buy the pack based on what they hear in the preview.
9. Write the EULA
The last element of creating a sample pack is writing the license agreement. Most times you should specify that you are licensing, not selling the samples exclusively. This means that even though the final consumer can use your sample with their projects, you still own the copyright to them. You can also state that your sample pack shouldn’t be shared or re-sold and whether the sample pack is royalty-free or if any royalties should be paid to you.
10. Choose your distribution
Finally, where do you want the sample pack to be sold? There’s two options: self-distribution and using a sample pack distributor. Distributing the sample pack yourself means that you are going to have to do all the marketing and accounting yourself - but the upside is that all you earn ends up in your pocket. If you choose to cooperate with a sample pack company, the marketing side is taken care of, but the earnings are going to be divided between you and the distributor. As PML we work with artists and release their sample packs - see our official artist co-operations and if you’re looking for distribution, get in touch!
Learn more about creating sample packs and see the process from start to finish with our course.