Music can really make or break a video. Yet, it’s all too often an afterthought in marketing videos. With the right selection, however, music can add to the video in a way little else can. In this article, we cover how to choose the right music for your videos, as well as how to avoid some common pitfalls.
There are four key aspects to consider when choosing music and editing it to fit your video. If you’re making several videos, try not to use the same tracks in each one. Not only will it seem repetitive, but it may actually detract from the unique message you’re trying to convey in each.
The mood or energy of a song will set the tone of your video. It comes from a number of things, including the tempo (speed), genre, instrumentation, sound density, and lyrics, but most importantly it’s how it feels. Generally speaking, upbeat music works best for business videos; everything from professional services to coffee shops and mom-and-pop stores work with cheery music.
Don’t choose music with a dark or moody energy level, unless you’re absolutely confident that your audience will relate to your song choice. And avoid music with overly prominent features that distract from your message, for example a fast, heavy beat or jarring instrument solo.
Picking an appropriate musical genre for your video is more about avoiding bad choices than anything else. Consider your target audience, as well as the nature of your business. For example, reggae would be ideal for a Jamaican rum company, or perhaps for a Caribbean resort, but probably wouldn’t work well for an accounting firm.
Don’t choose a genre that’s too distinctive unless the mood and feeling that it evokes is an ideal fit for your brand. The key here is that you don’t want the music to be what the viewer remembers most about your video.
Lyrics have the potential to add a dramatic element to the storytelling aspect of your video. If you want to use a song with lyrics, consider one that has universally appealing lyrics — something that’s not so specific that it takes away from your message.
Don’t use music with lyrics if you’re using a voice-over or on-camera narration, as it can detract from the message and overpower the audio of your video. Besides, mixing lyrics with audible speaking is a very complex video editing task that’s best left to professionals.
Whatever song you choose, you’ll want to ensure that it complements the flow of your video, fading in and out at the right times. It often works to align the start of your video with the start of your song, but that’s not always the case.
Don’t feel the need to start your song at its beginning. If it starts with an out- of-place feature (speaking before music, or a slow buildup) don’t feel bad about skipping to the best part of the song for your purposes. Also, avoid ending the music abruptly unless it’s the effect you’re going for. The most ideal scenario is to time your video to end at a natural part of the song, but you can usually fade the music out at any point.
One important reminder: you’ll want to steer clear of copyrighted music; make sure to only use music you have the rights to use. The good news is that you can access a selection of licensed music via YouTube or Vimeo. There are other services where you can purchase from a wide selection of licensed music — Triple Scoop Music is one such example. To make it even easier for you, some DIY video creation tools – like Animoto – have commercially licensed music included in their product, for the easiest integration of music with your video.
Music is personal, but choosing the right song for your business video can either strengthen your message or distract from it. And now that we’ve covered all the basic elements of making a great video in our how-to series, we’ll finish off with tips on packaging your video in our next post.