Music and sound are one of the most impactful elements of any video production. Just ask Martin Scorsese. His movies are full of ear candy, and the music plays its own role in the storytelling. You might not have a Scorsese budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your message across just as clearly as Joe Pesci with a baseball bat. With a little planning and thought about what you ultimately wish to accomplish with your video, you can utilize music to make a lasting impression and emotional connection. Capisce?

Questions to Ask Yourself IN THE PLANNING STAGES

• What is my music budget?

• How do I want my audience to feel when watching this video?

• How quickly do I need the music?

• Do I want custom music that I can use at other customer touchpoints like radio/tv ads or on-hold music to create a consistent brand sound?

• Do I want to determine what music is being used to represent my brand, or will I leave that decision to the video production company?

When doing a series of videos:

• Is the same music bed appropriate for all videos in the series?

• Would an audio logo be a better way to tie all of the videos together with sound?

Sources for Music

The most common ways to go about getting music for your video include licensing existing songs, production music libraries (also called stock music libraries), and custom music. For our purposes, we will focus on determining if production music or custom music will be a better fit for your project and goals.

There are a number of online stock music libraries that provide “royalty free” music at a reasonable price. Broadcast quality tracks can be found starting around $40 -$50 and go up from there. YouTube even has it’s own production music library to make music available to users at no cost.

There is an abundance of composers that also work with agencies and production companies to create custom music for projects. When working directly with the composer, you have input into the creation of your brand soundtrack, allowing you to ensure that the work is truly representative of your brand. Cost will vary based on the licensing terms you agree upon, but it is probably more reasonable than you think over the long term.

Should I Use Production or Custom Music for My Project?

There are valid arguments for both. Time frame and budget will often be the primary determining factors. When your decision is based on “fast and cheap”, production music is usually the best way to go. It’s available for immediate download and will often be less expensive for a one-off or short-term project.

Warning: Production music libraries are the musical equivalent of Pinterest wedding boards for a bride-to-be. They are a total time suck when you keep clicking to hear the next track. Don’t wait to “know it when you hear it.” Have key words and emotional descriptions of what you want in place before you start searching.

When your goal is to cultivate a brand experience and create a consistent brand sound, custom music is the way to go. Working directly with a composer gives you more input in determining your brand sound, and allows you to negotiate exclusivity for the music. Both of these are key when creating a branded audio experience. Would you share your visual logo with another company, or use one that looked like your competitor? Brand sound is another opportunity for differentiation.

Determining the need for alternate versions of the same music bed or audio logo for various campaigns is also beneficial in the planning stages. Ideally, the music will be simple enough to be played in a variety of genres for longevity.

The bottom line is that music and sound play a key role in telling your story. Regardless of the method you choose for obtaining the music used in your video, be always mindful of the story you want to tell. Use the power of music to engage your audience and create an emotional connection. Capisce?