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If you’re a composer living outside the entertainment hubs of New York or L.A., that doesn’t necessarily bar you from success in the industry, as Paul Avgerinos can attest. From his studio in Redding, CT, he is averaging nearly 4 million streams a month with his ambient music and has thousands of tracks in TV shows globally.
“That’s one of the wonderful developments of the modern era. Communication and file transfer are so electronic now, I do a lot of music for people I’ve never met in person,” Avgerinos says. “That’s actually wonderful, not being another composer flocking to L.A. trying to get a tiny piece of the pie. You can be really good and get nowhere because the luck’s not with you, or you weren’t at the right restaurant at the right time. My success is more in my own hands.”
Avgerinos started working on catalog music as he realized the difficulty in securing original score-to-picture jobs. “The industry was moving more in that direction, because it’s really fast and inexpensive for the director,” he says. “I started cranking out massive amounts of tracks, and I would say to young composers, it’s a slow burn, but it’s a good way to use your downtime and constantly add to your catalog. Over time, it adds up.”
When he started creating music for libraries, Averignos says that sort of work was looked down upon. “People talked about catalog work in a derogatory way. It was a mark of failure. It was the goal to do the score for stuff like Star Wars, but good luck with that. With catalog work, I have free reign. I can basically do what I feel like if it fits the genre of what the broker wants. You don’t have a director and editor team pecking away at you, asking for 500 changes.” To excel at that, he says, “You really have to know the genres and colors and how to achieve levels of tension. To do that, you have to listen to a lot of great examples. You should also know how to write for all kinds of orchestral instruments. If not, you can really mess things up.”
Avgerinos is currently working on a follow-up album to the Grammy winner Grace to be released in 2022. •