Lost love art? Not exactly. Think of it as a vein of music that lurks in the shadows, along with all the starving artist tendencies that came with it. Its all contained within what is best known as ‘the world of library music’ – where music is ready-made for licensing.

Library Music, aka production or stock music, is so strange partly due to its conception. It arose out of the 1950s with the practical purpose of providing a large resource base for commercial enterprises in TV, radio, film, and advertising. Eventually, it would also be used in the music industry in order to mitigate long-run production costs. With a nice assembly-line approach to producing music, major record labels could mass-produce and license these ready-made style tracks for commercial use world-wide.

Presently, websites such as De Wolfe Music or APM Music offer plenty of stock audio, where you can insert search descriptions such as “Sinister“, “Romantic Nostalgia“, “Slow Fantasy“, and “Emotional Orchestra“. What you’ll find are both vintage and freshly produced tracks from a field of starving artists who couldn’t figure out how to sell that high-school prom inspired love story (e.g. Playground of the Stars). Let’s add to the fact that some of these tunes have even paved their way into some of the steamiest soft-core porn films to date.

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Because of their strange upbringing, rarity, and limited number of releases, music library albums have now become collectors items. They’ve also been sampled by many DJs, record producers and major pop stars such as Kanye West or Beyonce. While this certainly rings the artistry bell for all the wacko sampling producers out there – unfortunately they’re unavailable for purchase unless you work for a TV show, movie, advertising agency, or radio program.

To top it all off, Fuel has created a book that serves as an exhaustive compilation of cover artwork from some of the most important and beautiful music library records produced throughout the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. A fully revised and expanded version of the original Music Library book, it features 625 diverse record cover designs from 230 labels (twice the content of the first edition). You can check it out here.

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