You’ve spent all that time dumping the footage, selecting the best shots on your timeline and creating the flow of your video – but what ties it together and gives it that final atmosphere?
The music, an oft-ignored aspect of video editing, making podcasts or even ads for radio lends it context, tone and reference to your messaging. While it’s often used as a filler in many cases, it can also be utilized to heighten silent moments and help emphasize certain points in your message.
One of the first things to do is decide whether your video needs a hero track or supporting track.
In an explainer video with loads of voice-over for example, you’d probably need a themed background track that accentuates the mood the voice is trying to convey. If your project involves a lot of visuals and text and wants to evoke more emotion than messaging, then it’s probably best to go with music in the foreground.
Your target audience
Figure out who you’re aiming the content at and what platforms it will be showcased on. If you plan to create a corporate documentary that will be played at a conference meeting – probably don’t go with new age hip-hop unless the content explicitly exhibits those aspects.
Similarly, classic orchestral will probably bore the life out of a TV advertisement for 20-somethings looking to buy a deodorant or some cool sneakers. Genres that usually appeal to this segment are ambient, house and electronic upbeat tunes.
Adapt to the song
It can help to pick the song first and match the rise and fall of the beats to emotional climaxes and lulls in the message. This mostly applies to music that is not used in an understated manner or as filler but can control the flow of the production by itself.
It’s an effective practice to ensure proper pacing pacing of your content and give your audience a chance to take in information while simultaneously entertaining them with the emotional variants in the messaging.
Free and royalty-free music
Utilizing music available on YouTube, Vimeo and other social media platforms is protected by the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and you must always ensure that you have purchased all licenses to use any music or have created the track yourself.
The first kind of free music is music that is in the public domain – either under Creative Commons, which is music produced by artists for free use by the public or music that is over 100 years old from the date it has been created.
While paid music exists under royalty free licenses these are usually available for a yearly subscription. There does come a time when you would probably have to turn to free music for your project. You could be creating a video for a non-profit organization with little to no budget or you probably won’t be creating a composition of your own for a podcast because you’re hamstrung for time. Follow these quick rules of thumb for any musical project and you should sail through quite easily with no fear of a lackluster production or having to worry about a YouTube copyright strike.