How To Pick The Right Background Music For Your Video

8 min read

How many times did Netflix’s ta-dum bring back gushing cheer of optimism to your weekend when you tune in?

Have you ever realized you are usually not as scared watching the trailer of ‘INSIDIOUS’ without the volume? 

This is a first-hand experience showing you that background score has a rather unique power in any visual medium. Perhaps videos may not be as exciting and inspiring without the drums and the orchestrated energy.

Background score can be used to create a convincing atmosphere or to tell a story and strike an emotional chord with the audience. 

Whether you’re a filmmaker or a video marketer, music is integral to help connect your viewers with the content. The synergy between music and your video is dynamic and it will make your audience glued to the screen in just seconds. 

Why the right background music? It elicits emotion 

To understand the role of music in your video, let’s recall the time of the silent movie era. It succeeded in telling exciting stories and evoked emotions such as enthusiasm, sadness, or excitement sans dialogues. How? Through music! 

Check out the video below to see how Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the 1937 movie “Way out west” tells a little story through the soundtrack “The teenage wedding.” 

Music has a crucial role in your emotions as per the statistics shown below. In this image, you can see that advertising videos with music perform better than those without it.

Source: nielsen.com

Learn to make videos that tell a story – click here

Types of background music

Selecting the right background music for your video can seem like a daunting task owing to the limitless options available. Therefore, you need to understand the various genres of music that best suits your needs. Cinematic

Are you stitching together a video that’s intense and gritty? Choose powerful music that makes your viewers grab the seat and doesn’t let go. When you start thinking of adjectives like big, sweeping, and grand, cinematic music is what you need. 

In this HP video titled ‘The Wolf’ one can’t deny the resounding impact, the background music has on the video – grand and powerful. 

Ambient 

When you don’t want the music to overpower your message, ambient music can strike the right chord as it’s soothing tone won’t distract your audience. 

In this video, Square, a credit card processing SaaS service, chose a simple-yet-stark ambient soundtrack to add a calm, non-intrusive feel to the video. 

Comedic 

Viewers LOVE funny videos. Who doesn’t? These are videos that get the most shares and likes and also live for years on social media. Behind every hilarious video is equally bubbly background music that instantly brings a smile to the viewer’s face. 

This video by Adobe marketing cloud depicts a real pain point through an engaging and funny script. The well-timed pauses in between the victory music grab’s attention and adds a humor element to the video. 

Acoustic

Viewers enjoy the warm tones of acoustic music due to its flexible genre, making it a perfect choice for a wide variety of videos. In acoustic music, you will hear the calming strum of the guitar and is ideal for inspirational videos. 

In this Salesforce video, the acoustic music portrays an expressive, soulful, empathetic feel to the video. 

Classical

Classical music creates a soothing and dramatic atmosphere in your videos. A powerful and uplifting orchestral piece is the perfect fit to fuel your audience with inspiration and passion for what your brand does. 

In this video by Salesforce, the background music sets them apart from the sea of fast-paced and saturated music choices brands usually go for and creates a stimulating experience that makes the audience sit up and take notice. 

What are the factors to consider when choosing music for corporate videos?

Before you select the music for your corporate videos, decide on the type of video you’re creating. It is necessary as there are four video content types businesses use.

Each of these has a set of guidelines when it comes to the accompanying soundtrack. The four types of video content are:

  • Explainer video or demo
  • Promo, advertisement, or announcement videos
  • Customer testimonial videos
  • Company culture videos

Explainer videos

Explainer videos are predominantly used by businesses to give viewers a complete overview of the company and its value proposition in a couple of short minutes.

While other types of video formats have room to experiment with grand soundtracks, explainer videos use subtle music to maintain attention.

Perfect soundtrack – If you want to drive home the point that your product is easy to use, opt for upbeat and spunky music like Zendesk. Dramatic, suspenseful music, on the other hand, can help viewers understand the seriousness of the problem your explainer video addresses. 

Pro-tip: When explaining over a soundtrack, use sidechain compression to automatically lower the background music by a few decibels when the narrator speaks to be audible to the viewers.

Learn how to make killer explainer videos here

Promotional video

An ideal promotional video engages the viewers on an emotional level. You often have less than a minute to grab their attention and associate a particular feeling with your brand. Unlike an explainer video, there is no time for a more in-depth approach. 

Perfect soundtrack – Like the iPhone 12 ad, use dramatic music such as a futuristic electronic soundtrack to underline the fact that the product is more sophisticated and advanced than the competitor. 

Customer testimonial video

Customer testimonials thrive on being genuine. Due to which if your viewers don’t feel like they can trust your content, they will walk away. Along with the content, music also has an essential role to play in establishing that feeling of trust. 

Perfect soundtrack – Overly dramatic music can distract your audience; opt for muted, down-to-earth, or a funky track, light soundtrack.

Company culture videos

Company culture videos need to be exciting and energetic to feel authentic to the viewers. These are videos that will ultimately sway the most talented candidates to choose to work with you.  

Perfect soundtrack – The ideal soundtrack to portray your company culture is music that shows optimism, enthusiasm, and excitement. Choose one that is upbeat with a funky vibe. 

How to choose the right background music?

Choosing the right music is easier said than done. It requires a lot of careful consideration and planning before you zero in on the right one. Here are some tips and tricks to help make the process easier. 

#1 Set the right mood

Many marketers often make the mistake of planning their video in detail but not thinking about the music until the time of editing.

So to save you a ton of time and confusion, have an idea for each scene and what background music might fit.

To do this, brainstorm about the type of mood you want to create in your video. They can range from:

  • Mysterious
  • Funny
  • Entertaining
  • Dramatic
  • Playful
  • Edgy

Also, watch the edited video several times and experiment with the genre of music. It is the only way to judge if the music fits the content.  

# 2 Customize music for the audience

We know you have a playlist of all your favorite music; everyone does! But adding them into your videos is a big no-no.

Conduct a target group analysis to find out your audience’s age, affiliations, and preferences based on music. If you want to stay safe, always opt for corporate tones, classic rock, and ambient music.

But if you are targeting a younger audience, indie rock, electronic music, and hip hop might be appropriate.

Check these statistics from Audio mentor U.S. on the audience’s age and the music genre they listen to, so you get an idea of your target audience.

#3 Set your budget

There are background music options for every budget. Have a look:

  • Small – If you are on a tight budget, look for music that falls under the public domain or is under a creative commons license.
  • Medium – Search for a royalty-free soundtrack. Often higher quality than the creative commons license, you will have plenty of sources online where you can access a wide selection of tracks. 
  • Large – If you have a big budget, you can get custom music made for a cost of somewhere between $300 – $1,000. The advantage? It will be solely yours and you can reuse it for commercial purposes.

Now that we’ve seen how to choose the right background music, let’s introduce you to a range of sources where you’ll find quality music for all your video content needs.

Ten best sources for your background music

Before we give you a list of sources for your background music, it is essential to understand how music rights and usage works to help you avoid copyright violations. So here’s a breakdown on the different types of licensing:

  • Creative commons – When using music that falls under the creative commons license, you are obliged to provide attribution when you repurpose their creation. Read the related clause carefully as artists typically specify how they want to be attributed.
  • Public domain – Music that is not copyright protected falls under the public domain. You can use it for free, without permission or any attribution to the artist.
  • Royalty-free – Contrary to the name, royalty-free does not mean ‘free’. What it means is music that is covered under this type of license does not require the user to pay royalties each time a single track is used. You only have to pay once. 

Further to this, check out the top 5 websites for royalty-free background music and top 5 websites for free background music. 

Royalty-free background music

  1. Epidemic sound 

Epidemic sound houses over 30,000+ tracks and they range from hip hop, acoustic, pop, electronica, and much more. The search feature makes it easy to browse music that suits your needs. 

  1. Audio Jungle

Owned by Envato, Audio Jungle has an impressive selection of nearly 100,000 tracks from various genres.

  1. Jamendo 
background music for video

Jamendo has a massive collection of music that allows you to cherry-pick music based on where you want to use the video – on Youtube, Facebook, etc. 

  1. Bensound
background music for video

The brainchild of Benjamin Tissot, a musician, and composer based in France, offers an array of music you can choose from. It is a great place to select background music for your explainer and demo videos. 

  1. YouTube Audio Library
background music for video

YouTube has a massive audio library that offers royalty-free music. You can sort by genre, duration, instrument, popularity, mood, and attribution. 

List of free background music 

  1. SoundCloud
background music for video

Artists from all over the world upload their music on SoundCloud. When you find the right background music, make sure you carefully read through the artist’s guidelines under the creative commons license. 

  1. CcMixter
background music for video

A community-based website, thousands of artists contribute to this site. The music is licensed under creative commons, therefore attribution is mandatory both for commercial and noncommercial use. 

  1. Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive allows downloading of free music. You can search by genre, artist, filmmaker, and more. 

  1. Free Sound
background music for video

Free sound has a good collection of sound effects and noises that are a great addition to explainer, demo, and animated videos. 

  1. Pixabay
free background music for video

Pixabay is a haven for free musical tracks and users have the liberty to filter songs by categories such as genre, mood, and movement. 

How to ace your background music selection?

Lastly, we’ll leave you with a few pro-tips so you can ace your video every single time. 

  1. Add music intros and outros to your video – Music intro and outro is a three-five second snippet of music added to long format videos to indicate that the video is starting or stopping. If you’re creating a video series or a podcast, this is a beneficial tip.
background music for video

  1. Choose music that has a steady pace – Pick music that has a steady pace and avoid ones that have a sudden peak in instrumentation. 
  1. Keep your background music in the background – When there is a narration in your video, avoid background music with a vocal track – it can draw attention away from your content. 
  2. Understand the types of sound to include – There are two kinds of sounds in every film. It is called diegetic and non-diegetic sound.  Diegetic sounds are sounds that include the voices of the character(s) or sounds of objects from within the film. They are the same sounds the characters in the video can hear.  On the other hand, any sound that does not originate from inside the film is non-diegetic. This might include effects added during post-production. In simple terms, if the character is not able to hear it – it is a non-diegetic sound, e.g. film narration. 

Conclusion

In a saturated environment, your videos need to do much more than solely inform your audience. To create an engrossing and stimulating experience for your audience, music plays a key role.

Take advantage of the right soundtrack to send across the desired message to your audience, play on their emotions, and make your brand unforgettable.

Also, make sure you stick to licensing policies to avoid copyright issues. And most importantly: think about your target group while choosing your background music. 

Do you have a winning formula while choosing a background music for your video? We’d love to hear. Tell us in the comments! 

A content writer by choice, Indhu is fascinated by the world of sales and loves to jot down secrets to what makes an awesome sales person. A lover of sunshine and soulful music, you can find her crawled up having a good read while sipping on a warm cup of coffee
Indu Abraham

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