The term stock music comes from the similarity with the stock photography industry. In the earlier days of photography, newspapers and magazines would hire a photographer to create custom images for their covers and stories. The shots that weren’t used, the outtakes or “seconds” as they were called, were shoved in a drawer somewhere. Pretty soon, the stock of photos became rather large and photographers started to look for other opportunities for the work that was already created. After a while stock photo companies began offering these images through printed catalogs sent to advertising agencies who would then give them to their creative teams to find existing images that could be licensed rather inexpensively and quickly for use in their advertisements.
Stock music is one of the names given to the licensing of pre-existing music. Production music or royalty free music or clip music are other terms. It started similar to the photo industry where jingle composers and composers for advertising would create musical backgrounds for the television ads. Usually many versions were created and only one made the cut. All the “outtakes” were then forgotten about and sitting dormant in a closet.
300 Monks started as the personal website of Andrew Ingkavet, the Head Monk, who then started licensing some of his outtakes to the advertising and web design community. Pretty soon, other composers and producers started asking to be included on the site. Today the site offers music from hundreds of composers from all over the world, yet handpicked and highly selective. There’s about a 1/100 ratio of composers selected from all the submissions received. This is what gives the 300 Monks stock music library a difference in quality.