Music is one of the most important steps in video creation; however, it is often pushed aside to the end with no thought into it whatsoever. Video production companies blindly reach into their huge music library, close their eyes and randomly choose. Big mistake.  And if you don’t see the importance of music, ever watch a move trailer on silent? I bet you don't have the same reaction as you would when the audio is turned on. Music is so powerful. Music gets under our skin. Music gives us feelings that talking simply cannot. 

Adding music to your video may sound like a daunting task, but we want to make the process easy for you by sharing some of our best tips and resources.

1. MATCH THE MOOD

The number one question we ask our clients when we create a video is “What emotion do you want your video to evoke?” While that viewer is watching and after they’re done, how do you want them to feel?

Is it a happy, go-lucky video? Think environmentally green or motivation videos. You’ll want something upbeat and chirpy, usually in a higher register. Or, is it something innovative? You’ll want powerful music with a great beat. Wanting to create something inspirational? You’ll definitely want music that starts off subtle and has great build-up. What about a video for awareness? Think ASPCA videos, yeah, no one really wants to watch those. And that music...so sad! Try watching that on silent. Yes, it’s still sad and awful, but perhaps you won’t be gushing with tears at the end. 

Check out the ads below and listen to the music. Do they match the mood?

Innovation. This commercial changed the game for me. Try muting your computer first before watching, and then watch with sound. Game changer!

 

One of my favorites, watch as the music transitions from hustle to heart. Try not to tear up.

 

2. USE FADES

Fading music in and out is very important in order to not get that abrupt start or finish. It allows you to also blend or bookend music successfully.  If you're adding voiceover to your video, you'll want to fade out the music before the voiceover starts, allowing the voice to stand out and the music to fade into the background.

RESOURCE ALERT:

Audacity is an audio editing software that is totally FREE and awesome! Does it get any better than that? Download it here, and you too can be fading music in and out like a pro!

3. MUSIC IS NOT USUALLY FREE, SO CHOOSE WISELY

This is important to understand, and if you don’t, there may be some lawsuits in your future. Royalty free music simply means that you only need to purchase the music license once, and then you get to use it as much, and as long, as you like. No royalty fees. Many people get lost in the “free music” advertisements; however, 90% of the time you need to attribute the composer and website. This is called a Creative Commons License. However, using attributions within video can sometimes look awkward if you’re using it for commercial use.  We usually recommend to pay for music, but when budgets don’t allow, get creative with some of the free stuff out there. Below are some great resources, paid and free, to get you started in the right direction. 

RESOURCE ALERT:

  • Are you a film student, non-profit or an indie film maker? If so, mobygratis.com has amazing music for you to use at no cost. 
     
  • freesoundtrackmusic.com offers free music (that needs to be attributed) along with very affordable music tracks. Some as low as $3.50 each! 
     
  • If you create a high volume of videos, partnersinrhyme.com may be a great resource for you. You’re able to purchase full soundtracks, plus, they’re categorized by moods such as uplifting and inspiring and cinematic action. You may get a bit of sticker shock, as some albums are in the hundreds, but they also have free music options as well as free sound effects available for download.
     
  • Okay, are you ready for the supreme music resource? YouTube has an extensive (and I mean YUGE) library of royalty free music and sound effects…no attribution required on most (check the “attribution not required” option). And what’s really cool, you can sort by mood, genre or instrument. 

    (Note, you need to be logged in to access the YouTube library.)

 

  • bensound.com is a website filled with an awesome mix of music! Everything from house to corporate and folk. There are Common Creative options with attribution available (free), plus music for purchase. What I love most about this website is that all the information is very clear. You know exactly what you’re getting, what you need to attribute or don’t, and what your license is actually for (i.e. YouTube vs cinema vs radio). This is one of the better music websites out there, but of course, you get what you pay for. It’s not the cheapest. I recommend using paid music for videos that will generate revenue. Think marketing videos or event registration videos.  
     
  • Our hands down favorite site for music is premiumbeat.com. Such an extensive library, plus something none of the sites above have, a blog that teaches you some really cool stuff about video and music. Create an account to track your favorites and make playlists.

4. THINK ABOUT MIXING MUSIC

Consider using intro music and outro music that differ from each other. This is a powerful tool to use when your video is on the long side. When change occurs in a video, it acts like a little wake-up nudge to the viewer.  

Changes in music also allows the viewer to see a difference in thought or idea.  

Check out the Taco Bell commercial below and notice how each “bigger than” reference comes with different music set just for that idea.

Hope you enjoyed these quick tips and resources. Music can truly up your video game if you take these steps into consideration.

If you have more tips or resources to add, please do so in the comments! And let us know how you're incorporating music into your videos either for work or for fun.

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