How to Find & Choose Good Music for Video (5 Pro Tips)
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How to Find & Choose Good Music for Video (5 Pro Tips)

28.02.2019

You already know that you need good music for your video. You’re here to learn how to find the right track. So let’s cut to the chase.

Here are 5 frequently asked questions about finding and choosing music for video, answered by our pros at Verstiuk Production:

1. Where should I start searching for music?

Start with purpose. Ask yourself again, why are you making this video?

Let’s assume that you are promoting your business. Is your video called to drive social traffic to your website, or promote your brand during an off-line event? Be as specific as possible.

Depending on your video’s strategy you can already tell if your message should be entertaining, informative, or both. It will also help you understand what role the music should play.

For example, an epic underscore with vocals won’t fit a narration-driven informative video. In this case, you’ll need some kind of an “elevator tune”, background music that doesn’t distract from the main message.

2. Where to find the best background music for video?

Bad news – finding the perfect music for your video is a myth. It can only be created from scratch or edited to become perfect for your particular video project.

The good news is that a music track you choose can be tweaked to fit your video, so it doesn’t have to be perfect from the first to the last note. You can mix and match parts of the same or different tracks, stitch them together, and then process to perfection.

There are three ways to get music for your marketing video:

Some online libraries provide music absolutely for free even for commercial use. Are those tracks any good? Well, the quality may be OK, but you can be sure that the same music is already in use all across the web in dozens, if not thousands, of other videos.

In case you are looking for something culturally recognizable, but don’t have a huge budget to license Lord of the Rings score, consider searching across the public domain music libraries.

Tracks in the public domain are completely free for any type of use. Musopen is one of the best sources for public domain music, where you can both find and download tracks.

Another popular option is buying a license for an individual track. Good video background music with a limited license (no broadcasting or large-scale advertising rights) can cost from $10 and upward.

Some popular royalty-free music marketplaces:

If you plan on producing videos often, your best choice is a subscription-based music library like Epidemic Sound or Artlist.io. Prices start from $15 a month.

There is also a hybrid-model platform called Baby You Can Write My Track, where you can buy the music you like (with any type of licensing), order a completely custom track, or start a contest to find your dream soundtrack.

Freelance pricing for high-quality original music starts from around $300 for a short video.

3. How to choose the right music genre for my video?

Sing to your audience. Okay, maybe you’ll have to use instrumental music instead of vocals, but it has to touch the soul strings of your audience. Consider who exactly you want to target and choose music accordingly.

If your video is meant to sell more toys – it would make sense to pick a playful, light acoustic music. Video that promotes extreme sports gear, on the other hand, could use an aggressive style of music (metal, for example).

Also, keep in mind that cultural background often transcends basic demographics like age, sex, and location. Does your audience have a specific shared musical taste (e.g. Country music, EDM, or Hiphop)?

4. How to use royalty-free music libraries?

Regardless of the music library you choose, be extremely cautious with licensing. Music licenses vary a lot, so it can be challenging to find the right option for your needs without proper research.

To avoid future legal problems, we recommend finding a qualified consultant (if you are creating video on your own), or hiring an experienced video production company. At Verstiuk Production, for example, we check all of the sourced music beforehand, so our clients don’t have to deal with this issue.

That said, searching for music in itself is fairly simple. Online music libraries usually use keywords to understand search preferences.

Beyond genre, search by a mood is one of the most common options. Here is how mood-based music search looks like in Artlist.io:

To reach a comical effect, search for music that has a mood directly opposite to your video footage (e.g. epic score vs a mundane scene, scary music vs an uplifting scene).

When your video has two or more different characters, try searching for a track that reflects the mood of the character towards whom you want to direct the attention.

5. When should I hire a composer?

As we have already mentioned, original music production is not cheap. However, sometimes it’s necessary, and it’s not only when you can’t find the right track in the music libraries.

If your video has multiple mood transitions, visual styles, or simply many different scenes, you might need to hire a composer. It may even end up being a more cost-efficient option (rather than searching for and licensing individual tracks).

We also recommend hiring a professional composer for video series. An original soundtrack can make a huge contribution to your branding. Plus, having a single composer for various videos will help you achieve maximum cohesion across the series.

Bonus tip: Try tracks before purchase

There is a quick way to check if a music track fits your video – just play them together. Use a split screen mode to make comparing even easier.

At Verstiuk Production, we create animatics (demo videos) as soon as the illustrations and the voiceover are ready, and test music before designing animation. This enables us to better align visual and audio elements, and save time on fixing synchronization later on.

More on the art of musical composition

Speaking of the legendary Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I think it would be appropriate to close this article with the secrets behind its hauntingly beautiful soundtrack.

This video will be especially useful for those who are into technical details of composing music. Or want to get an idea of how a fantastic video score sounds like.

If nothing else, the score composed by Howard Shore is an excellent example of how to marry music with the story and make it unforgettable.

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