How to Make Your Own Music for Your Marketing Video - dummies

How to Make Your Own Music for Your Marketing Video

By Kevin Daum, Bettina Hein, Matt Scott, Andreas Goeldi

If you’re feeling creative and you want to make your own music for your marketing video, you have two key options: Use a music production software program that lets you build songs from existing clips, or record your own music from scratch.

How to reuse existing music in your marketing video

Music production software programs let you easily build songs from preexisting material.

If you’re looking for value, you can’t beat free: Apple’s GarageBand, which is preinstalled on all Apple computers, lets you easily drag and drop prerecorded music to create and customize songs from clips. These clips are usually loops, so you can have the music play as long as you want. To customize the songs, you add different instruments, one at a time.

For good but still inexpensive choices, consider these products (listed by price):

  • Mixcraft: Approximately $75; works on PCs and is similar to GarageBand in ease of use

  • Sonar X1 LE: Approximately $100; has more than 1GB of audio clips

  • Image Line FL Studio: Approximately $200; for more advanced users

  • Avid Pro Tools MP: Approximately $250; has 8GB of loops to drag and drop to quickly and easily create songs

How to record music from scratch for your marketing video

Recording your own music is definitely the most customized way to make your video shine musically. Don’t attempt it, however, if you aren’t musically inclined. You need to have enough time and the proper gear to make your video sound good.

If you’re using a song with lyrics, write the song along with the script so that the lyrics can reflect what’s happening on the screen. For an example, check out the Pixability Video Valentine holiday video. Bettina’s team worked with a local musician to create a custom song to match the script perfectly.

If you aren’t using lyrics, editing the video first and then writing and recording music is the preferable order of tasks because you then know how long the song must be and which parts of the song need emphasis to match the video.

To record from scratch, you need these items:

  • A relatively fast computer with substantial CPU power: If you’re recording with a microphone, the computer must run quietly.

  • Recording software to capture the song: You can use GarageBand, Logic, Pro Tools, Ableton, or another program. Using the cheaper (or “light”) versions of these programs usually suffices unless you’re recording a large number of tracks.

  • A USB or FireWire audio interface: The interface lets you connect electric instruments (a guitar, bass, and microphone, for example) to your computer. A quality audio interface costs around $150.

  • A microphone: The built-in microphone on your computer isn’t a good sound option, so invest in a quality external microphone. An excellent choice for voice recording is the Shure SM58; its models cost $75 or $100. Note that microphones used for voice recordings aren’t ideal for recording amplifiers.

  • Instruments: Depending on the genre you’re recording, you usually need at least a guitar and a bass. Drums are difficult to record, so use a software-based drum set. You can drag and drop clips to build the drum parts, or you can use a USB MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controller.