Royalty Free Music for Magicians

Royalty Free Music Found!

by Glenn S. Tenney KOTJ

You find the most interesting things in the strangest places. At MacWorld 1996, in San Francisco amongst the computers, printers, and software I stumbled upon a most interesting product -- music CDs. You might wonder "What could be so interesting about a CD?". Well, these aren't just CDs for listening, they're CDs marketed to be used as background music for multimedia productions without any further royalties.

What's more interesting is that the royalty free license also includes a royalty free performance right for magicians! Actually, the composer hadn't anticipated this use, but he was glad to extend the royalty free license to include magicians' performances when I asked.

The music is all originally composed by Gary Lamb who lives and records in Santa Cruz, California. Gary's credits include: albums appearing four times on the Billboard charts (two hit the top ten); his music has been on quite a few TV shows (e.g. Melrose Place, Entertainment Tonight, Guiding Light, and others); he's provided music to a variety of airlines for inflight programming; and his original music has been used by companies such as Disney, Paramount, Apple Computer, and IBM.

Gary currently has eight CDs available. These have all been produced and sold (his label has sold over 400,000 CDs) to be played. However, he understands that many of us now need music for a variety of multi-media projects and has decided to sell these eight CDs (and hopefully more later) as royalty-free music (including performance rights).

Most of the CDs include a fair amount of MIDI (synthesizer) music, especially Gary's Yamaha grand piano. One of the CDs includes twelve artists (piano, flute, guitar, violin, cello, sax, bass, and drums). Another includes piano and violin duets. Yet another includes piano, cello, violin, and oboe.

At times the music has a jazz feeling, sometimes it feels like "chamber music", and at other times it feels like Kitaro or Yanni (which isn't surprising since some of Gary's albums hit the Billboard charts' Adult Alternative and New Age categories). The eight CDs will provide a wide range of styles, tempos, and "feelings". The CDs should be very usable as background music for a variety of magical acts -- especially if you edit pieces together to create the combination of tempos and styles that best suits you. Of course, you could just select the single cut that best suits your act and use it as-is. Most of the cuts seem to run three and a half to four and a half minutes with a few nearer to two minutes and some even six or seven minutes.

If you're looking for music to use in a performance (or a multimedia project), then these CDs should be near the top of your list. As a matter of fact, they're quite nice "easy listening" music, so you might want to buy them even if you don't use them for a performance.

Gary's MacWorld offer ranged from $15 for one CD, $50 for four, $70 for six, or $90 for all eight CDs (the prices were slightly higher outside the US) including tax and shipping. Those prices are very good for nearly SIX HOURS of royalty free music you can use for only $90. He accepts credit card orders by calling him at 800-772-7701 (or 1-408-476-6068 for those outside the US) or you can check out his web page at If you decide to order Gary's CDs (he also has cassettes too), please let him know you're a magician and are interested in the royalty free performance rights. (Note, these prices may have changed since this article was written in 1996 -- check with Gary!)

It's tough to summarize six hours of music, but here's some very brief info on the eight CDs:

Weeping Angel: piano and violin duets with a light and airy feeling, pieces offer a wide range of tempos, total time 57:11

Watching the Night Fall: piano and electronic instrumentals, total time 46:37

Imaginations: lots of synthesizer with a strong beat and a TV background-music feel, total time 41:40

Distant Fields: instrumentally orchestrated without such a strong synthesizer feel, cuts range from romantic to dramatic, often feels somewhat familiar, middle-of-the-road (MOR) listening music, total time 43:30

A Walk in The Garden: solo piano, light and airy to passionate, nice listening music, total time 34:10

Love Themes: piano, cello, violin, oboe; the title matches the feeling... love of many things and people, total time 41:23

Christmas: piano, violin, cello, oboe, bells; believe it or not, a Christmas album that doesn't have any traditional Christmas songs on it --- it doesn't "feel" like any holiday album you've ever heard; it does have an ethereal feeling though, total time 37:34

Twelve Promises: piano, flute, guitar, violin, cello, sax, bass, drums; a mellow jazz instrumental album that occasionally is reminiscent of Kenny G.; total time 47:12

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