Few things convey emotion more effectively than music. When trying to evoke an emotion or feeling in your social media videos, using the right music is absolutely essential, so your music choices should never be taken lightly. Fortunately, you have many online resources at your disposal when it comes to using royalty-free music. Here are some tips to start you down the right path to a successful video project.
Understanding Royalty-Free Music
When music is classified as “royalty-free,” what this means is that the creators of the music have given the proper permission for their work to be used under specific terms and conditions. This can be an excellent option for social media videos because it means that you won’t have to worry about any legal issues surrounding the use of copyrighted material.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using royalty-free music for videos, however. First, it’s essential to make sure that you read the terms and conditions of use carefully. Some royalty-free music may only be used for personal, non-commercial purposes, while others may have more lenient rules. It’s always best to use caution and get permission from the copyright holder before using any music in your videos.
When you pay a one-time or monthly fee to a royalty-free music site, that fee is used to license the music. Once you have permission to use the music, the music sites essentially pay the royalties on your behalf. Fortunately, once you have downloaded a music track, you can usually still retain the license even if your subscription ends, depending on which service you use.
Stock music sites like Epidemic Sound and Soundstripe have vast music and sound effects libraries at your disposal. They have curated playlists based on genre, mood, and duration to get you started, and some sites like Soundstripe even have tens of thousands of professional-quality stock video clips that you can use in your next YouTube or Instagram video.
Dos and Don’ts of Using Music in Your Video Projects
Now that you know a little more about how to find and use the best royalty-free music, let’s go over some fundamental dos and don’ts to make sure you’re using it correctly.
Choose Music That Fits the Mood and Tone of Your Video
When choosing music for your social media videos, it’s crucial to pick a song that fits the overall mood and tone of the video. If you’re trying to convey a sense of fun and excitement, for example, choose an upbeat song with a positive message. Or, if you want to evoke more sentimental emotions, a slower, softer song might be a better choice.
Choose Music That is Too on-the-Nose
While it can be tempting to choose a song with lyrics that perfectly match the visuals in your video, this can often result in your video feeling cheesy, trite, or overdone. Instead, try to find a song with a similar overall vibe or message, even if the lyrics don’t perfectly align.
Make the Music Support Your Message Without Drawing Attention to Itself
Your goal should be to choose music that enhances your video without drawing too much attention to the music itself. The most obvious way to do this is to make sure the volume of the music is lower than the volume of the video. This will ensure that viewers are still able to hear and understand any dialogue or narration without being distracted by the music. Also, make sure your choices for royalty-free music aren’t too distracting in tone.
Use Copyrighted Material Without Permission
This should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: never use copyrighted material in your videos without getting explicit permission from the copyright holder. This includes popular songs, as well as any other type of copyrighted content such as TV show clips, movie clips, video game footage, etc. Luckily, you’re in the clear when using reputable and legitimate royalty-free music sites. These sites ensure that the music or sound effects offered are adequately licensed for commercial use.
Know Your Audience
As with any other element of your content creation or social media strategy, it’s important to consider your audience when selecting music for your videos. After all, different types of music will appeal to different types of people. Consider the age, location, and interests of your target audience when making your selection. For example, if you’re targeting millennials, you might want to choose songs with a more modern sound. If you’re targeting baby boomers, on the other hand, you might want to choose something with a classic feel. There are tens of thousands of high-quality free stock music to fit any project you’re working on.
For example, if you have a YouTube channel that reviews horror films, you might choose music tracks that are dark, suspenseful, or thrilling. Or, as a fun, ironic twist, try music tracks that evoke the opposite tone, showing a little sense of humor. This really all depends on the subject matter of your video projects as well as your target audience.
Lastly, it’s never a bad idea to get feedback from your viewers. Ask them what type of music they would like to hear in your videos, or even let them help choose the songs themselves. After all, they’re the ones who will be watching and listening, so it’s important to make sure they’re happy with the final product. Of course, this method is more tailored to projects that discuss music as its core subject. Most background music is just that: in the background!
Keep a Stock Music Library
If you produce a lot of video content, it can be helpful to keep a library of stock music on hand. That way, when you’re feeling uninspired or in a time crunch, you have a go-to selection of songs to choose from. As you build up your library, be sure to keep an eye out for music tracks that fit a specific mood or tone. That way, when you’re working on a project, you can easily find the perfect track to match your vision.
Fortunately, the best royalty-free music sites typically allow you to save downloaded pieces of music in a convenient spot for future use. Some sites even offer organizational tools to help you keep track of your growing library so that you never have to spend too much time looking for the right track. When you organize your songs by genre, it makes choosing music a simple task setting the right vibe and tone for your videos.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right piece of background music for your video is an important task that can often be overlooked. However, with a little forethought and consideration, it’s easy to find the perfect track to set the tone for your project. Just remember to keep your audience in mind, as well as the overall mood and message of your video. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro at finding the best royalty-free music for all your future video projects.