4 Tips to Help You Choose the Best Music for Your Video

March 26, 2018

Taking your video to the finish line involves a few key items but one of the most important is the soundtrack: your spoken word, ambient sound, effects, and music. We at Waves Media (one of the most fun video production companies in Boston!) have had good and bad experiences in choosing the most appropriate music for our videos. What should take your video to the next level can detract as well. Here are 4 things to keep in mind while choosing music for your videos.

1. Music should enhance, not dominate or take over

Having started in my craft within the wedding video industry, I became far too familiar with the ‘wedding music video’. Often (though not always!) there would be beautiful visuals with the latest top 40 song playing loudly over a canvas of somewhat typical wedding footage. But no story. The video editor often seemed more concerned with timing the clips to his music than to making anything unique to the story at hand.

And it’s not just in the wedding world this happens, far too often music just dominates our video stories. Yes, there is often good cause for this, as with music videos, but usually the approach should be one of letting the music enhance our story.

Some good questions you can ask about the songs you are shopping are:

  • Does the music ‘feel’ like the overall vibe of my story or subject matter?
  • Does it seem like it’s taking over or is it distracting?
  • Is it making it better?

2. Silence is golden: when to NOT use music

And here it is again: less is often more. There are times when music is appropriate but you need to know one of your most powerful tools is actually silence or a lack of music. Think of yourself like a soundtrack artist (for one thing it’s fun to pretend you are Hans Zimmer!) Are you giving your story pace and dynamics? A sense of flow. Does your story bend and lessen so it’s all the more powerful at it’s climax. So yeah, one of the best tips in using music is just that: often just don’t.

3. Does it build or not?

I love a good build in a song. And I put them in most of the music I write cause I love them so much. Well a video should usually have a build structure to it, at least to an extent. Most good video stories will have a clear opening, a clear ending, and an in between. Are you ‘riding’ each part of your video? A good place to start may be a standard curve of a big music opening, low or no music in the middle, and a climax of more music at the end. And remember this: you can get away with louder music and dynamics as you go on in your video (as opposed to the beginning) because your listener has been eased into it.

4. Where do I find the best music for my video?

The options have increased for sure! Which is the great news. What used to cost a fortune (I mean a fortune!) is now pretty affordable for most and you don’t need to steal music and break the law either. Here are a few good resources we have found with their pros and cons.

Song Freedom

Kind of middle of the road in price. But a decent selection. Site is a little slow on the search, but you can get some pretty high profile tracks from huge artists… if that’s what you’re looking for. Pretty good subscription plan too.

Art-list.io

The best subscription deal we’ve found for sure. $199/year and you get unlimited usage of their entire library for any usage at all. Yup. Really. Any usage. Pretty cool. Downside is that the library does seem to have it’s limits.

MusicBed.com

This one gets kind of pricy, but wow can you find some really nice music on here. Not cheesy for one bit either. Real music that you never heard of, but that fits so many styles.

Quite a few more….

There are actually quite a few others, ranging from almost free to Hollywood level production costs. So get out there and have some fun dreaming and FEELING (cause that’s what music is all about anyway!)