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How to Choose Music for Your Marketing Video

You may wonder why music is even necessary in a marketing video that isn’t destined to sell a pop singer’s latest album. Music determines a lot about the perception of your message because viewers make split-second, subconscious judgments about the content of your video depending on the type of music you choose.

In contrast to music videos, the music in your marketing video is meant to complement the message you’re trying to convey. Music isn't the focus of a video — it’s there simply to add color.

You must understand the difference between music you pay royalties to use and royalty-free music. Most of the music that you hear on the radio or buy online is copyrighted and can be used in videos only if you pay royalties to its record label — often an expensive strategy because you must pay for every use of a copyrighted music track.

Record labels sometimes even charge more, depending on how many views your video attracts. And, “borrowing” music and hoping that you won’t get caught is not an option. Your videos containing copyrighted music can be banned automatically from sites such as YouTube.

The easiest way to save time and expense is to use only royalty-free music tracks — they’re sold specifically for use in videos or presentations. After you pay a fixed price per song, you can usually use it however you want, as long as you stay within the boundaries specified by the publisher. For example, some royalty-free tracks may be available for use in online videos but not in TV commercials.

To choose music for your video, follow these steps:

  1. Determine which emotion you want to convey.

    For example, you may want viewers to feel happy, sad, or uplifted — or neutral.

  2. Watch a rough edit of your video several times.

    Or, if you’re still in the planning stage, simply review the video’s storyline in your mind. Do you need fast, aggressive cuts? Are your graphics clean and simple, or more elaborate and flowery? The music you choose must match the video’s storyline, aesthetic value, and editing style.

  3. Choose an appropriate genre.

    You may want to use a rock-and-roll track or a country track, for example, or perhaps electronic music more closely suits your style.

  4. Set the mood.

    The mood of the music you choose has to match the emotion you want to convey. To judge, determine how the music makes you feel when you listen to it. If it matches the emotion you chose in Step 1, you’re on the right track.

  5. Control the pace of the video by controlling its musical tempo.

    A song’s tempo refers to its speed or pace. The pace of the video also has to fit the emotion you’re trying to convey and the overall storyline. For example, should viewers be relaxed or breathless after watching your video? Choose a tempo between these two extremes that creates the impression you want.

  6. Search for a song.

    After you choose the genre, mood, and tempo of the music in your video, search for a song. (Or, if you’re truly talented, compose one yourself.) You’ll likely stick with royalty-free music.

  7. Drop in the music.

    After you finish creating the video, you can drop the music into your editing timeline and edit the piece to mirror the pacing of the footage.

Experiment with creating a music video that introduces your company or describes its products. A holiday-themed video often provides a good opportunity.

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