Royalty Free: The Music of Kevin MacLeod tells the story of the internet legend whose music has become the soundtrack of the digital world. Composer Kevin MacLeod released thousands of his songs for free and unwittingly became one of the most heard composers in the world, with his work ending up in millions of videos, thousands of films, and more than a few odd places – such as theme parks and rocket launches. By releasing his music royalty free, anyone can use his music in their productions, from Martin Scorsese’s Hugo to cat videos on YouTube.
The film also delves into the digital audio revolution, where one person with a synthesizer can become an entire orchestra. This democratization of music has enabled great creativity, but has also threatened the livelihood of analog musicians, from recording artists to orchestras and Broadway musicians.
Ultimately, Royalty Free is about the value we as a society place on creative work, and how the evolving technological landscape influences our consumption, production, and distribution of the work itself.
Royalty Free will be distributed by First Run Features on March 29, 2022. Apple TV, iTunes & Vimeo DVD released simultaneously!
In 1996, during the early days of the web, Kevin MacLeod, a software programmer with an interest in composing, founded a personal webpage Incompetech.com (named so after his fascination with incompetence and technology). After music he created for a composing job was rejected, he put the music on his website for free hoping that someone out there would find a use for it. Since Incompetech’s humble beginnings, it has grown from a few songs to thousands that have been heard by millions of people worldwide.
Throughout college and beyond, we, the producers, used Kevin’s music without realizing who Kevin was, or how big he had become. Curious, we began to research him, wondering how someone whose music was so widespread could be so unknown? The more we learned, the more questions we had: How does Kevin make any money if he is composing for free? What is his creative process? What do other composers think of his business model?
Ryan Camarda, Director, Producer:
Ryan cut his teeth working as a freelance, Director, DP, and Producer as well as by his stint as asst. Producer and Editor with the martial arts film company 1TEntertainment. His short, The Craigslist Files: Episode 1 – Donnie and Charlotte, was selected as a Best of New York film in last year’s 48 Hour Film Project festival. His short, Departure, has been selected for the Melbourne International Student Film Festival.
Tomas Uhliarik, Associate Producer, 2nd AD:
Tomas is an international filmmaker from Slovakia, working as a director of photography, editor, and animator. Tomas gained his experience in a two year cooperation with Wildcat Epic events and two feature films Mi America and The Fly Room, where he worked as a grip/electrician and production assistant respectively.