It was the Greek philosopher Plato who said: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Music is all around us and it has the unique power to change our mood, excite our senses, deepen our engagement, and inspire our imagination. That’s why choosing the perfect music track for your corporate marketing video is such a critical decision. This post will offer some creative tips for selecting the right track.
Choosing the right track: What is the Purpose of the Music?
Not just any type of music is suitable for a video on your new software solution or one about company privacy regulations. If the video is technical, for example, then music that doesn’t distract the viewer is best. If it’s a story you’re telling, then you might want something more emotional.
You might be able to adapt a featured track for use, using only the background instrumentals, but the best background tracks as discussed here are subtle and unobtrusive. The best music for background tracks doesn’t have too many musical shifts, keeps the same pace and volume throughout and has a steady beat so you can cut right through it.
Red Bull sponsors Julien Dupont, the world-renowned cyclist, and it wanted to create a memorable video that combined spectacular imagery with a moving, exciting soundtrack. Using the moon-like landscape of the Isle of Milos, Greece as stage, Dupont rides his bike over the crags and craters while a classical background track brings your senses to the max. It is a wonderful example of how the ideal background track can create the perfect experience. You can hear and see it here.
Here are three more examples of corporate videos, each with a different background track.
Every video that has a unique objective needs its own soundtrack. The right track is the one that speaks to your audience. Consider demographics when choosing music for your video.
In some cases, the best use of a track is not throughout the video but rather to work it in at the beginning and fade out at the end. This can be done with music and images paired together for a few seconds or by adjusting the volume. For corporate videos which typically use voiceovers, incorporating intros and outros are important for setting the tone of the video.
It is important that the voiceover does not fight with the background music. When you consider that you are now able to create digitally produced, personalized voiceovers in videos with scripts that change for each recipient using localized language and even accents, the last thing you want is to drown out these engaging personalized messages (learn more about the amazing text-to-speech capability for personalized videos in this post).
It is also important to consider the target audience. What is the average age of the recipient? If it is directed to seniors, you might want to grab their attention with a rhythm and beat that they would be familiar with. If it is a young audience, then today’s pop style might be the best choice. In some cases, your audience could cross multiple segments, with viewers of all ages. In that case, choose a genre with wide appeal.
In some cases, it makes sense to change the music at certain points within the video. For example, a corporate video will likely contain many different segments. The first one might explain the company mission. The next segment could include a moving soundtrack as you see the facility or learn more about the company. You may also include some interviews with management and close with a call to action. For this type of video, the right track is the one that changes according to the different sections. You may use the same music at the beginning and the end, which will serve as “bumpers.” The point is, the music must fit what you are depicting in the video and how you are presenting that content.
This Envato post presents some more ideas. “An adventure vlog, for example, will need a track that sounds great on its own to play over top of a montage, while a makeup tutorial will need something that sounds unobtrusive in the background of a voiceover…You may really like that dubstep beat with a great chorus, but will it really be the best thing to play in the background while you are trying to teach someone how to use a piece of software?”
In this video, the effect that music can have on the viewer is demonstrated by changing the soundtrack for the exact same imagery. As you listen to the tracks, your mood changes and your perception about the action does too. It is a powerful demonstration of the importance of the music setting the tone for the video and for creating expectations in the mind of the viewer.
Where do I find the right track with reasonable fees?
There are many options to obtain music that can be used without fees. But as explained here there are two types of “free music” categories:
- Music already in the public domain. These are compositions and recordings with expired copyrights. Keep in mind that copyright laws differ across the globe and so does their expiration limits. Furthermore, even if the composition itself is in the public domain, the recording may be copyrighted.
- Music available under Creative Commons license. That’s when authors share their music for free. However, there are different kinds of creative commons licenses. You may be required to give credit, restricted from using the music in commercial projects, or obligated to share your work under the same terms.
Where most people falter is in interpreting what “royalty-free” music is. This term can be very misleading. According to Wikipedia, it is the “right to use copyrighted material (i.e. music) without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or certain time period of use or sales.”
For a summary of this distinction, check out this post, which explains the term this way: “Royalty-free merely refers to the right to use copyrighted music without the need to pay performance royalties. In fact, in most cases, you do need to pay a certain amount of money to obtain that right (to purchase the royalty-free license). Likewise, free music may or may not be royalty-free. Many composers offer their music for free for personal listening or are willing to waive the initial sync fees, yet expect royalties if their music gets used in a film or advertisement. In short, “purchasing royalty-free music” refers strictly to purchasing a license to use the music under the conditions specified in the license terms.
So where do you go for royalty-free music for your video? Lots of places. Here is a partial list of some of the music libraries where you can locate and purchase royalty-free music:
Many of these library sites offer some unique capabilities. For example, bedtracks.com allows you to submit your project details and provides a playlist that may be suitable. There are literally hundreds of places to get the ideal music for your next project. Just Google “royalty-free music,” read the terms, and you are almost ready to go. Almost.
The last question you need to answer is: How do I edit the track?
In most cases, the track you purchase will not fit your project perfectly. You may need to cut it, fade it in, fade it out, and mix it in several different ways. The good news is, if you are using one of the video development software packages, you can work directly with the audio as needed. Once you have it edited, it is easy to sync the track with your video content.
This PC Mag site provides a comprehensive review of some of the best audio editing tools. A reminder: For a marketing video, where you are creating something short and impactful, a simple editing tool is all that is required. Don’t blow your budget on something meant for professional audio recording editing (by the time you figure out how to use it, you will miss your deadline).
It’s that simple to find and edit the ideal audio track for your next corporate/marketing video project. Plato wasn’t exaggerating when he said that music brings life to everything. And now that corporate videos of all types are now very much a part of our lives (especially our mobile lives), be sure to get on the right track in your next one.
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