Best Practices -

Using Music with Business Videos

Music: Soothes the savage breast. . .
and sells products and services!

So you’re making a video or having one made and someone said

“Do we need music?” And you said – “I dunno.”

 

Well, the answer is YES.

Music soothes the savage breast. Use the right music and it not only enhances the mood of your video, it will influence perception. You want viewers to see your business as sincere, honest, trustworthy, worry free. You can also set the mood more accurately depending on how you want your audience to feel: excited, calm, humorous, brave. Music helps you make that all-important emotional connection with your viewers.

 

RULE #1 is USE MUSIC

 

Here are a few more rules and tips. Sing out if you have any questions!

RULE #2         Pay for it. Music is a work of art. It’s intellectual property and protected under copyright laws in the United States, and usually other countries. The music’s owner – often its creator – has a right to be paid. It’s not true that you can grab your favorite Led Zeppelin track and give the band credit as it plays on your video. It’s also not true that you can use anyone’s music if you’re not planning to make money off it. In the case of a business video that’s pretty much never the case. The whole idea behind your video is to help you make money.

 

What you can do is get your music from a professional music service. Do an Internet search for “royalty free music” and lots of services will appear in your browser. Some are subscription services that provide complete libraries; others sell their music by the song. I specify “royalty free” meaning you won’t be paying royalties every so often to keep using the music. Buy the song once and use it as often as you like. Some services prohibit their royalty free libraries from being used on national ad campaigns without paying extra, but for most of us that’ s not a worry.

 

Be sure to work with trustworthy companies. That helps ensure your purchase is truly usable, without violating any copyright laws. Personally, I like Music Bakery for one-shot purchases. They have good music and a very easy to search website.

You can also have your video blocked from being seen if you use that Led Zeppelin track and put your video on YouTube. YouTube, ie., Google, the company that’s made billions putting everything on the Internet whether they own the copyright or not, has now become the self-appointed Internet Police of Intellectual Property with a notorious  habit of  blocking posts it deems questionable from a copyright standpoint.

 

You should be fine with purchased music from a solid source.

 

RULE #3 Pick The Right Stuff

 

Music tastes are highly subjective and so is selecting music Think how you want your video to make someone feel. Put yourself in that person’s shoes (or headphones.) How will the music make your intended audience feel?

 

I tell my clients on a regular basis "Your video isn’t really about you, its about your clients and prospects." You want to hit their hot buttons, not so much your own.

 

Much of the time the music will have the same impact on them that it has on you, but exercise caution. You want your video’s music to draw attention to your message, not distract from it. If you’re selling a peaceful, back-to-nature fly-fishing experience miles from civilization, don’t use a brass band playing a parade march.

 

Match the mood. Consider the music’s overall sound. Is it warm and inviting, or brassy and aggressive? Does it invoke a particular scene in your mind? A good composer and talented musicians can play music that makes you think of a rural countryside, a busy Manhattan intersection, Paris, an auto race, football game or a rodeo.

 

First impressions count with music. So pay close attention to how the music begins. That’s where it either sets the mood, or it doesn’t. Also listen to the ending. Personally, I don't like music that simply fades at the end. It should have a definite ending, which I use as punctuation at the end of a video. Right after the narrator’s last word, the final notes of the song. Viewers know it’s over.

 

Watch out for music tracks that make marked changes in pacing and volume. Unless your video is changing in the same way at those points, you’ll find it disruptive.

 

 

RULE #4 – DRESS REHEARSAL

 

Finally, have a dress rehearsal. You might not need to buy the music to try it. Many services offer lower quality demo or audition copies of their tracks that will give you an idea how they’ll work with your video.

 

Edit the music track into your video and watch / listen to how it all works together. If it’s not working together – pictures, music and narration like a cohesive team – something needs to change.  Changing the music can make a big difference.

Technical Notes – Download the complete song. Some services provide a variety of parts, such as loops for extending the length of the music. That’s fine, but make sure you download the full track to get the complete composition. If you’re downloading a demo, an MP3 file is fine. But if you’re purchasing, be sure to download a WAV or AIF audio file. They are of considerably higher quality than MP3s, and preferred for professional editing and results.

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