Try to remember the last great video that you’ve watched. There are probably plenty of things that stood out for you.
Music plays quite a significant role in how well your video is going to be perceived by the public. It’s there to shape the tone and the message of the video overall.
It’s not such an obvious process trying to select the right music for your song, but let’s explore the ideas that can make it easier.
Where to Get Good Music
There are plenty of ways for you to get good music for your songs. Some more expensive than others of course.
You could get your music from the artists themselves (especially for mainstream songs), but that might take some time.
You need to get their approval and agree on a royalty payment. This option doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you’re a corporate going for a major advertising campaign.
The good news is like just like stock videos or stock images, there is royalty free music online covered under Creative Commons license.
There are also songs/music that have a minimal fee for you to pay in order to use. Starting from $10 or so, you can opt for monthly subscriptions to various sites. There are some great sites that you can use to access music that falls under the above criteria. Now, you have your list of songs, how do you choose the right one.
How to choose the perfect music/song for your video
There are some few considerations that you need to make when selecting music for your video. When sorting through your options. Ask yourself these questions to help guide you?
- What’s your video about?
You need to consider what the underlying message of your video is going to be before you pick a song.
Some of the few things that you should think about here are what type of video are you creating. What’s the main objective of the video? Are you looking to entertain or to inform?
“For an informational video might be served better by generic music (think Elevator music). This will allow the viewer not to get distracted by the message of the video.”
Some might even advice that you select the song before making the video. The rationale here is that it’ll be easier for you to adapt the video to the song rather than the other way round.
The music/song is what’s going to influence the emotion/message of the video, so why not pick that first. It’ll help with the creative flow/direction of the video.
- Who is your target audience?
Data is everywhere online. If you’re not using it, you’re losing out. You don’t need to be a data scientist to analyze data, it’s quite simplified for the everyday person.
The reason we say all this is because you need to know who your audience is and what their preferences are. For instance, on YouTube, if you have a channel with some views, you can go to the backend (your creator studio) to get a bit more detail on who your audience is.
“Your audience is important as they can shape the music genre you’ll use. An audience that errs more on the young side will have different tastes from an older audience say aged (30-50).”
Of course, you also need to consider the overall theme of the video in combination with your audience when selecting a song.
- What mood are you going for?
This goes back to the first point. When figuring out what your video is about, you need to consider what mood you’d like your audience to feel as they watch the video.
Do you want them to be happy, sad or to take action? Depending on the mood, you can select a song from a certain genre with a certain tempo.
Many great videos made you feel a certain way, as much as the actors played a role in that, the music played an even greater one. Each genre of music can help ignite a certain mood in your audience.
- How many tracks are enough?
Here we’re going to look at two distinct things at once. How many songs should be added to the video? And how much music should you listen to before settling on the perfect music?
Let’s start with the first one, sometimes a video might be long and one full-length song might not be enough to cover the entire video.
What do you do?
You could add another song or you could place the same song on loop. The decision will depend on the video itself.
“There is no rule of thumb that you have to use one song throughout the whole video. In fact, you might need to switch songs throughout the video may be due to transitions within the video or a change of tone/story in the video.”
Our advice would be for you to adjust the song/music to what works best. You could loop the song, add another song to overlay the first one, cut out a verse/chorus, the options are endless.
The bad news is that you can only get better at this via practice and examining what others in your field do. Over time, your results will improve.
A rule of thumb when selecting a song is don’t simply use it because it’s accessible. Getting the right music can take hours/days of trial and error.
One approach you could take is making a detailed playlist, then narrowing the songs down until you find the right match/fit.
- Tough Decisions; Instrumentals or Vocals?
As we said earlier, music can make or break your video. The decision on whether to use vocals or instrumentals can be a tough one.
“Each of these two can help elevate your video to another level. The right song behind a video could strike just the right emotions and mood to connect with your audience.”
The same can be said about instrumentals. The decision ultimately rests with you. The important thing is that you need to make sure the music doesn’t overpower the video. Take special note of this with videos that have a narrative or a voice-over. Getting the right balance here could be tough.
The volume of the background music shouldn’t be too low as it’ll catch your audience’s attention as they try to listen to it. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be too high as it takes away from the message of the video.
Also, take note of the elements within the music such as whistling and the sorts that can distract your audience. Remember, the best background music is one that you don’t even know it’s there. It assists the video without taking attention away from it.
Again, this takes practice as well and you’ll get better at it over time.
Selecting the right background music for your song takes time. Countless errors will be made, but eventually, you’ll find the right one (especially if you use our tips above).
One important tip we’ll give you is, don’t steal music! Always ask for the artists permission before using their music/songs. Your video (and all your hard work) could be jeopardized by this one mistake.
There is plenty of royalty free music out there. Take advantage of it.