MediaMaker Spotlight: JHunger


Today, we have another MediaMaker Spotlight, the full video of Joel Hunger (Jhunger), who was featured in the Pondcast this month. Joel is a Pond5 musician from Portland, Oregon, who produces stock music for Pond5. Along with this video, where we find out a bit about his process and learn how recording stock music has improved his overall musicianship, we did a special interview with him. 

(Interview by Martin Ellerbeck)

I have been purchasing music for corporate videos from Pond5 for several years now. As far as I am concerned, Pond5 is THE place to go for music; the selection of music is vast and it’s incredibly easy to browse and purchase.

The style of music I prefer for my videos is “acoustic”, “uplifting” and “fun”. If you put these words into the search engine along with “corporate” and “motivational” you will come across the beautiful music of Joel Hunger (username Jhunger). With ukuleles, guitar, piano and banjo, he creates music that reminds you of sitting back watching the clouds in the sky on a summers day. And with titles to his songs like “Kicking back”, “Sea breeze” and “Happy lazy strumming” you get an idea of his style of music. From cooking videos to canoeing holiday videos to testimonial videos the folk acoustic  always fits perfectly into my videos.

I spoke to Joel about creating music for Pond5.

How did you find out about Pond5 and what got you into creating music for the website?

I honestly don’t remember how I came across Pond5, but it was likely just with a Google search. I had been posting on other marketplaces and from time to time would look around for new places to post. Sometime in the spring of 2010 I must have done one of these searches and just started uploading. It was great timing because Pond5 had just added audio to their repertoire and I was getting in relatively early.

Do you have any idea who uses your music and what is it being used for?

I know I’ve been bought by well-known entities like BP and Mercy Corps. Every once in a while a fellow author will let me know he or she heard one of my songs overseas. I have a friend at work who heard my song on TV in a NW Natural commercial and pointed it out to me. Funnily enough, I don’t own a TV so I don’t see a lot of commercials – otherwise I might have picked up on a few more. That aside, I think the majority of my purchases appear to be for smaller businesses, web casts, or even just personal videos.

Who or what inspires you to write music?

Well, to be strictly honest, these days it’s places like Pond5 or other marketplaces because it’s a steady revenue stream. Money is a pretty decent motivator. Or at least that’s what keeps me going into the studio on a frequent basis.

Once I’m in there I can be inspired by anything. I write non-stock tracks as well, and sometimes I’ll be in the middle of composing something for stock and then go off on a completely different tangent. I don’t generally compose outside of sitting down with an instrument, so ultimately it’s just getting to do that consistently will get me inspired to write.

Do you decide on the style before you start writing the song or do the songs come to you and then you name them after?

Nope! Hardly ever. My usual process is sitting down with a guitar and seeing what comes out. I go through entire months where I write introspective stuff. I know is not as marketable, but forcing a particular feeling is rarely effective for me. That said, I have a particular style (almost always folk/acoustic) that I stay within the bounds of most of the time. I think 99% of the time I name songs after they’re done – sometimes it’s the hardest part!

What do you like about creating stock music?

That I can do whatever kind of music I feel like in my own time without deadlines. This is key because I have a day job not related to music, a family, etc. and so scraping a few hours together for music can sometimes be a challenge. I don’t have time to hit the streets looking for freelance, and actually I kind of discourage freelance currently because I wouldn’t be able to easily commit to a deadline.

For now, stock fits my lifestyle and has been an excellent revenue stream, on par with having a second full time job.