THE ROLE OF YOUR MUSIC
First you need to decide what role the music is going to play in your project. To do this you need to ask yourself a few questions. The answers will dictate what type of music you are going to use.
Is the music going to support or drive the content, are you looking to convey a broad message or impart highly technical information?
If you’re looking to convey highly detailed technical information, then you should choose an underscore that is supportive and doesn’t grab the attention of the viewer. If you’re trying to convey broad concepts, then choose foreground music that evokes the emotions you want to associate yourself with.
INTRO & OUTRO MUSIC
You can give music and sound design a featured role in the opening and closing sections of your project to bookend the piece. This will help set the tone, hold your message together and leaves your audience with a feeling of completion. You can pair music and images for a few seconds, use specific music or even just turn up the volume to achieve this. Bookends can also be used to split up your project into chapters or sections.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET
Music budget can vary massively depending on whether you want to hire a composer to create an original score or you want to use tracks from a music library. You can pay as little £10-£100 for the licence to library music for small businesses and personal use or you could spend anywhere from £300-£10,000 for a composer to create an original score for a short video. Knowing how much you can spend will give you a clear idea of which one is right for you.
Be aware that music licensing is based on where and how that music is used and can vary hugely between sources. Whether you are using library or bespoke composed music, be sure you know the cost of licensing this piece and for what purpose and on what platforms.
EXPLORE A MUSIC LIBRARY
These days, many small and larger scale media producers choose to use a music library with detailed search functions to find music for their videos. Well-developed search functions allow you to filter your searches based on sonic density/sparseness, different genres, instrumentation, organic versus electronic score, and many other useful criteria. Music for a video with wall-to-wall voiceover where the mood is fairly consistent, can easily come from a library because the music will play a less featured role. If you need more featured music, this is accessible via some online music licensing libraries. Libraries have different licensing agreements and price points available, depending on what the music is being used for.
Here is a list of some good libraries to consider:
CHOOSE MUSIC THAT WILL SPEAK TO YOUR AUDIENCE
Consider demographics when choosing music for your video. Is your target market people that listen to music based on a cultural tribe they’re a part of (hiphop, indie rock, or electronic dance music, for example)? Will the choice of a certain genre speak straight to the heart of the viewer you are trying to reach? If you’re trying to reach a broad market, or many age ranges, look for music that is broadly appealing; you don’t want to alienate your audience with anything too genre-specific.
Choosing a track with consistent rhythm will allow you to work with stops and starts to highlight important points. Sometimes a great way to accent an image or a message is to actually pull out the music for that moment and then re-introduce the music right after. Be careful not to overuse this technique though, as it will lose its efficacy.
PUBLIC DOMAIN MUSIC
Are you looking for a track that is culturally recognisable, but you don’t have the budget to license the Star Wars theme? Consider the host of recognisable compositions that fall into the public domain. Public domain compositions are created by a composer who has been deceased long enough that the intellectual property becomes public domain. Using this public domain music does not require an expensive license fee or royalty. In most countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention (an international agreement governing copyright of literary and artistic works), copyright term is based on the life of the author, and extends to 50 or 70 years beyond their death. After this period, the work enters the public domain.
This can vary, so check the rules and regulations in your country.
Creative commons is a licensing scheme that allows you to use music in certain circumstances without paying a license fee. This will sometimes require attribution to the author or some other official crediting which is dependent on Creative Commons license version of the particular track or score.. For more info see https://creativecommons.org/
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