Choosing the right background music is an important step in making a successful marketing video, here are some tips to help you make the right choice
In this post I won’t be convincing you to start using background music in your videos, I assume you already know how it can help (if not, here’s another post on that very subject). Here, I’ll give you some tips as to what to consider when searching for the right background soundtrack for your marketing videos.
Music does matter – choose wisely!
Background music affects how people perceive your video. It may help to carry your marketing message to your audience or it can be a distraction. When chosen poorly, it may make your marketing video (and subsequently your business) look unprofessional and not trustworthy.
You may already have an idea what kind of background music you’d like to use. However, choosing the right track for your video may be harder than it sounds. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Tip 1: Start by understanding what exactly you want to say with the video
We make marketing videos for a purpose, presumably a business purpose to help your business succeed. Start your music search by understanding what kind of video you are creating. Do you want it to be entertaining or informative? Are you advertising a specific product or (subtly) promoting your brand?
Knowing your video goal will help you to understand how the music can support your marketing message.
Take a look at these three very different videos below with very different soundtracks. One is promoting a service, one is a seasonal greeting, and one is promoting a charity event.
Tip 2: Define the mood
Music can help you to set the mood of the video very early on. Do you want the video to be perceived as positive, aggressive, or though-provoking? Do you want your viewers to feel happy, relaxed, pumped, uplifting, or sad? Pick the music with appropriate mood. Fortunately, many music libraries allow you to search their collections using emotion based meta-tags.
Tip 3: Define the pace
Think if you want the video to progress at a steady pace or shift gears along the way. Pick the music that matches the pace of the video.
Tip 4: Define the role of the soundtrack, foreground vs background
Take a look at these two videos below. Note how the music plays a completely different role in each video. While it drives the visuals in the first video, it merely provides a pleasant background ambiance in the second.
Tips for choosing background music
- Make sure the music does not draw attention away from the video.
- If your video has narration, be mindful about the vocals and music instruments (lead guitars, violins, horns) that may conflict with the voiceover.
- Pick music with steady pace and no sudden changes in mood or instrumentation.
- Don’t use music with traditional pop song structure (verse – chorus – bridge), as it may drive attention away from the video. Choose music with steady arrangement that does not change or builds slightly throughout the track.
Background music examples
Tip 5: Use music that appeals to your target audience
If you’re making a video for a narrow audience, try creating and extra impact by choosing the music that traditionally applies to that audience. That is, if you’re making toys, you may want to use children-suitable music in your marketing videos.
If you’re trying to reach a broad market choose the music that is neutral and broadly appealing.
Tip 6: Use contemporary sounding music
Unless there is a good creative reason (like you’re making a 60s styled commercial), use modern sounding music. I’m not suggesting using cutting-edge electronica for all your corporate videos but rather staying away from any music that sounds dated.
Tip 7: Don’t use your favorite popular song as a corporate video soundtrack
Don’t use your favorite song as a soundtrack for the corporate video just because you happen to like it and that you have an mp3 handy. Aside from exposing your business to a possible copyright liability, you should not allow your personal music taste dictate what’s best for the video.
Tip 8: Try various tracks before committing to a particular soundtrack
You may start by building a playlist of possible choices and narrow it down throughout the production process. If you can download the previews, do that and sync it with the video to try out few alternatives.
All my music available for licensing at MikS Music come with free previews that you can download and safely try in your video before purchasing the license.
Tip 9: Use loops when available
Given a choice get music that comes with loops. By combining individual loops you will be able to construct a customized soundtrack of specific length with desired instrumentation.
Note that many tracks available for licensing in my music store come with complimentary loops. Furthermore, custom loops can be created on request for any track available in the store.
Tip 10: Don’t steal music
As a rule of thumb, you need to obtain permission or license to use any copyrighted material, including music. Failing to do so may result in a range of consequences varying from your video taken offline by the video host (like Vimeo or YouTube) to legal action from the copyright owner.
Make sure you license the music from a reputable music provider, ideally from a music library or a producer that specializes in background music for marketing videos.
If you plan on uploading your marketing video to YouTube, make sure the license explicitly covers commercial YouTube use.
More on music licensing:
Trending royalty free music for marketing videos
Have a music licensing question?
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