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How To Pick The Right Music For Your Video

Picking the right music for your video is an important step. Musical background can be a powerful element of your film and can often lift your marketing message and increase your video’s reach. You should consider several things when selecting music for your video—the tone of your content and your target audience. Budget is always a consideration as well. Maybe this is where you stretch your budget, have original music composed, or stay on track with free music. Here are our tips for picking the right music for your video.

How Do You Choose the Right Music?

To understand the importance of music in your video, think about some of the movies that have songs that have become part of our culture. The Bodyguard and The Titanic theme songs come to mind. They are part of the story and evoke great emotion long after the movie is over. That is the power of music. Research tells us that videos with music do much better than those without music. Your first job is to think about the role music will play. Will it help support your message as background music, or will it play a more prominent role?

  • Music can provide a lift to your video, add energy, or set a tone. In an advertisement or promo video, use dramatic music to evoke emotion and catch attention. In a demo video, be more subtle and use music to hold attention.
  • If your video is providing technical info or details, it is best to choose music without lyrics. On the other hand, if your message is broader or more general, the music can add emotions and connections to the audience. It can play a larger role, and the lyrics can add to that. Music has great power. Think about movies with music that has you scared even before the first frame. Background music can create an atmosphere or an emotional connection with the audience.
  • A key consideration is to be sure the music does not distract from the message of the video.  If you have voice narration, you would, of course, avoid lyrics. The music should have a steady pace without spikes in mood or sound level.
  • Different genres will evoke other emotions. Think of Diet Coke and its Hip Hop edgy tone, or Apple with a more cerebral electronic sound.

Popular Genres and Their Ideal Audience

Rock: A male audience in their thirties
Classic: An older audience
Electronic: A young audience
Soul or R&B: Great for a female audience in their forties
Jazz: An audience between the thirties and sixties
Pop: All types of audiences

Music intros and outros can be instrumental. They are a three to a five-second snippet of music that helps signal the video is starting or stopping. They can be successfully used if you are creating a series of videos. Ultimately, choosing the right music is an art.

Finally, always keep your target audience in mind. This will help you make the best selection for your video. a younger audience will skew to hip hop, while boomers will often respond to classic rock.

How Do You Find the Right Background Music?

When you are ready to look for music, where do you start? There are many sites you can choose from but be sure you understand how music rights work.

Google “royalty-free music” to start, and you’ll find many options.  Search by specific genre if you have settled on that. List your favorites, and then check the licensing carefully! Consider the time of the license. It may specify when it expires.

Some well-known sites for royalty-free music are:

  • Bedtracks
  • PremiumBeat
  • Artist
  • Audioblocks
  • Getty Images Music
  • YouTube Audio Library

Be patient and list to lots of tracks, and you are sure to find just the right music for your project. You can also search for public domain music such as classical music or music from the 19th century. Some sources for this are PD Info or IMSLP.

In the case that you’re looking for something that you can easily purchase and edit to a “feel” that works with your audience, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our music project, The Delorean. With hundreds of tracks to work with any mood, you won’t just be getting a track that “sort of” works for a project. Instead, we encourage users to change the track to their heart’s content. If that piques your interest, you can learn more here.

How Much Should You Budget?

There are options for every budget. If your budget is tight, check out music with a creative commons license, which means it’s free to use. But be sure you check out any limits or rules on its use.  If there is a little more in your budget, you can often pay between $10 and $100 for a royalty-free track from a music library. (More on that below) This will get you a better quality. And if your budget is more substantial, you can get custom music for $300- $1000. This is an excellent option if you want the music to be identified with your brand.

Can You Use Copywrited Music?

Most people who have created music want compensation for its use. You do NOT want to infringe on anyone’s copyright. So always double-check. If you see “royalty-free,” this can be confusing. It means that you can purchase the music once and then use it an unlimited number of times. These are the four types of licenses you’ll see:

  • Free: This is music in the public domain and can be completely free or free with attribution to the creator
  • Limited License: Royalty-free for non-commercial use like internal training but not for marketing
  • Paid License: Royalty-free with a one-time fee
  • Rights managed: You pay based on how often it is used and how many people hear it.

Pro Tips for Picking the Right Music for Your Video

  • Choosing the right music is an art, but here are some pro tips to help you find that perfect track for your video.
  • Master your message first. Be sure you have nailed down what your video is designed to do.
  • Determine what role music will play in your video. Again, avoid music that will distract from your message. Your audio must complement the video.
  • Be clear on the mood and tone you want to set. Should the style be happy, or more serious, ethereal, or tongue-in-cheek?
  • Pick a genre that will resonate with your audience and not be at odds with your message.
  • Pick a track that will align with your audience. Always consider your demographics.
  • Choose your music before you create your video!
  • Be sure you research and understand the rights and copyright of the track.

Aligning the Image with Your Music Choices

The audio must be perfectly aligned with the images on the screen. This takes practice and editing skills. Think about the way the music enters the video and comes out at the end. Your theme needs to add coherence to the video and not create discord or a disconnect. Start observing how others do this until you get a sense of it. Finding the perfect music to help tell your story and connect with your audience takes time and patience. The investment will be worth it! Music plays a much more significant role than you may realize, and it can bring your content to life and make a lasting connection with your audience. It will add to your brand and illustrate and lift your content. Use our tips if you want to try your hand. Or work with a full-service video agency like C&I Studios to find just the right track for your video project. They will help bring your story to life.

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