With only 18 years old (most of us we didn’t believe that!) he has been an inspiration for many other authors on Audiojungle for the quality of his music and achieving a great number of sales in a short period of time.
Truth is, since we started on Audiojungle, James has been always a reference and we wanted to know more about him. Let’s go!
-Hello James, we’re very pleased to have you here as the first Audiojungle author to interview. You have been lately an example for many other fellow authors there because of your amazing achievement reaching Elite and the quality of your song portfolio. So, tell us a bit about yourself, when and how you discovered Audiojungle and why you decided to give it a try?
JAMES: Hi everyone! My name is James and I live in Australia. I first came across AudioJungle late in 2014 upon discovering the world of stock music. I remember reading an article about the prospect of selling production music online and was instantly hooked on the idea.
I had read about all the possibilities, but one marketplace that stuck out was AudioJungle. I finally took the plunge and uploaded my first few tracks in April the next year (2015).
To my astonishment I had made my first sale within hours – a buyer from California, USA. It wasn’t much, but that $9.00 sparked a passion (perhaps you could call it an obsession) for AudioJungle that drove me to achieve the position I’m in today.
-It was then or after a few months that you decided to dedicate yourself full time to AJ? How did you make that decision? Did your family agreed with that?
JAMES: Towards the end of my first month I was starting to realise the potential in AJ as a platform, and it was then that I decided to go all out.
I was still in school at the time, so I couldn’t go full time, but I used every spare moment I had to prepare new material. One of the funniest, and perhaps most chaotic moments I remember was during the last few weeks of school. I had 12 exams to complete across a week and a half, so naturally you’d assume I’d be spending all the spare time I had studying. Instead, I kept going with AJ as well.
Things got more intense toward the end when I was offered a freelance job to design an audio logo for a small company in Austria, smack-bang in the middle of my last few exams! I reluctantly accepted the offer and began work on the job while juggling my exam revision.
Luckily I had the job completed in a timely manner which gave me time to focus my last few days on the exams that would ultimately determine my future at university. Thankfully, my results were sound, though the experience I had gained working at AJ was more important to me. Funnily enough, during those last few weeks of school my productivity was at its highest!
With school over and the holiday season in, I started to work even harder developing my portfolio. I decided to re-brand my profile under a name I had created with the help of my grandfather. The word ‘Aurus’ was derived from the latin word ‘Auris’ for ‘ear’. And thus, Aurus Audio was born.
By that time my earnings were hitting an all time high and horizons were looking bright.
-We know that in all roads there’s some bumps. What has been the most difficult challenge you had to overcome to be here?
JAMES: For me, the biggest obstacle on my journey happened at the beginning of 2016 when my sales began to spiral downhill, and to make things worse (or so I had thought), some fairly significant changes were made with the search engine. In the following months as my sales began a steep downward trend it was a time of contemplation for me. I almost gave up on AJ completely.
I had 20 or so new items that I had prepared but was reluctant to upload anything due to the new system. My sales continued to drop, so I finally bit the bullet and decided to upload everything. To my amazement, and contrary to my pessimistic outlook on the search changes, I had a track that started to snowball, proving not all was lost! After a week and a half on the edge of my chair that track broke into the weekly top sellers list. It didn’t end there, and with each week it continued to climb until it had hit the top row.
Shortly after, another one of my tracks had hit the popular files list. It was a truly awesome experience. My sales across the board began to skyrocket and in May I became one of the monthly top 20 authors. I learned a lot from that experience, but perhaps the greatest lesson was simply not to give up when the chips were down.
-Let us know about your working schedule. Are you the kind of person who wants to have everything under control and you work always the same hours or you go by the flow?
JAMES: My work schedule isn’t the most organised and I tend to be quite lazy at times, but I’m working on it! I guess I’m more of a go-with-the-flow kind of person.
I’ll often have periods of inspiration and productivity where I’ll be churning out several items per week, and other valleys where I don’t get a lot done. Nevertheless I’m committed to AJ and am driven to continue progressing.
-You’ve probably been one of the fastest authors to achieve Elite status and for sure the youngest one. What’s your magic?
JAMES: No magic, just hard work and a constant drive to improve my craft. I may be one of the youngest authors to reach Elite status but I definitely can’t say I was one of the fastest; there have been some truly incredible authors who’ve reached Elitehood in under a year, so hats off to them!
-Do you have any more personal or professional projects apart from AJ that you want to share with us? What are your next goals in AJ and in life?
JAMES: AudioJungle has been a huge part of my life in the past year and I expect it will remain one for a long time to come. Aside from being able to earn money from music, my other goal is to one day break into the video game industry as a composer. Aside from that I don’t really have any life goals yet!
-Let’s talk a little about the tools you use to produce. What’s your setup?
JAMES: My setup is pretty simple. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface, recording with Audio-Technica AT2020 and AT2021 condenser mics. For mixing and monitoring I use my trusty old ATH-M50x headphones in tandem with Yamaha HS8 monitors. My go-to DAW is FL Studio 12.
-Do you have any favourite instruments to play?
JAMES: I’m no master on any of my instruments, but my favourite to play would have to be the bass guitar. I love tracking in live recordings to my tunes; it adds a lovely warmth that I can never seem to capture with sample libraries.
-What are your musical influences?
JAMES: My influences are pretty broad, ranging anywhere from alternative rock and 80s new wave through to trance, and even music from video games I used to play. My most influential groups / artists would have to be Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Tears For Fears, The Smiths, Oasis, Zucchero, Hybrid, and my favourite video game composer, Dave Wise.
-What genres and styles did you intend to build your portfolio on and why?
JAMES: When I started I didn’t really know what I was making. Corporate music was a completely new concept to me. In my early stages I was experimenting with several different styles, working out which were more successful and those of which I was more competent at composing.
I had some modest success with cinematic, ambient and corporate music so as I progressed I began to focus more on those genres. That won’t stop me from venturing into other areas (hey, corporate music gets boring after a while, even for me!), but I have for the most part decided to focus on categories that are in highest demand for buyers.
I’m a firm believer if one seeks success in selling stock music, it’s important to see AudioJungle as not just a creative outlet, but also as a business. That means you’re writing music for AudioJungle, not yourself. I definitely had to adapt my style of composing to fit the target market. I learned a lot along the way about structure, linear composition, optimising production for voice-overs and perhaps the most important rule of all: simplicity.
-What have been some of the highlights for you on your journey so far?
JAMES: Making my first sale would have to be the top highlight, but there have been many other notable moments. Finally having a track break into the popular files list was definitely a milestone for me. After falling short several times before, it was a truly fulfilling experience to finally reach the top selling charts with one of my tracks.
Also, one of my best personal achievements was unlocking the Top Monthly Author badge. It felt unreachable for a long time, so finally being awarded the badge was definitely a big moment for me. In fact, a lot of my high points on AJ have been getting new badges. I guess it’s less about the badge itself, but more what the badge represents! 🙂
-And the last one for the newcomer authors on Audiojungle. Almost every one of them want to make their dreams come true and make a living from what they love, but most of them are not sure that they can make it and they need proof from other people. Any advice for them?
JAMES: If I can make it, anyone can. AudioJungle is full of talented creatives from around the world and competition is high, so be prepared to fall on your face a few times.
But get back up with pride every time and show the market what you’ve got. With enough perseverance, understanding of the market and its demands, enough coffee to power you through the day, and great music, it’s entirely possible to make a living here.
Also, if you’re operating an account under 18, make sure you’re doing so with your parents’ permission and complying by the terms of service!
// There’s little to add here to this amazing interview. Since we contacted him, James has been always very open to share everything with all of us and his response rate was super fast, as it has been his climb to success. Thank you very very much James for being so kind and keep inspiring other people like you do! 🙂 //
Read other interesting author interviews in our music blog!