Any producer of visual content, from social media posts, to feature films, will tell you the importance of finding and using the right music for your project. Pairing the right soundtrack and score to your visuals is perhaps one of the most critical steps in your production process, and it’s not something you can complete without a great deal of thought and planning.
Finding the right music for your film and video projects is one thing and then factoring in the cost is another. Clearly, if money is no object, the process is made more accessible, but most of us have to work within budgets that complicate the matter somewhat.
There are several options to consider when it comes to seeking out the right music for your projects. These range from free music for videos to copyright-protected options and royalty-free music, and we will discuss these in detail.
When it comes to a film’s musical score, there are a number of types and styles of output that you will come across.
These include background music, which can sometimes be termed as the score, to the soundtrack, which is usually made up of a combination of individual songs that may already exist or be written specifically for your production. Finally, there’s the SFX (sound effects) that also play a key role, either to add an additional layer of realism or to ramp up the tension or suspense.
You can look to find or pay for a composer to produce the score for your project and then pay for the right to use mainstream music to act as its soundtrack. However, these options are usually only relevant for large production companies and therefore may not be relevant for you.
Do not be tempted into using copyright-protected material without the relevant permission or license. This could prove fatal for your social media accounts, which will more than likely be deleted, and if used on a feature or commercial project you could be hit with a massive financial penalty and even, in some cases, jail time.
The technology to locate the illegal use of copyrighted material is very advanced and it’s highly likely your transgressions will alert the relevant authorities in super-quick time.
The associated costs of clearing just a single track can really hit your overall budget, and as such, you may want to consider other options. You may have heard of the possibility of using copyright-free material, but in reality, this is something of a fabrication.
There is very little music without copyright, and this is usually only the case when a piece of music has seen its copyright expire, and that means the music will be upwards of 75 years old and therefore unlikely to be fit for purpose.,
There is an alternative option that will be kinder to your bank balance. This comes in the form of royalty-free music, which has become a hugely popular market in recent years.
Royalty-free music is music offered on a subscription basis for an inexpensive sum and gives you access to thousands of tracks, samples, and SFX files. The music is usually available for whatever use you need it, without the need for additional licenses or permissions.
The quality, and scope, of the options that royalty-free music offers filmmakers is beyond compare. It’s particularly useful for those who may only need a low-level amount of coverage.
For example, if you are a social media influencer and you are just looking for a catchy intro for your podcast or video, then signing up with a royalty-free music provider will give you a massive array of options at a low cost.
For those who make longer form visual content, the benefits of royalty-free music are even more pronounced. Effectively they’d be able to use a royalty-free music provider as a one-stop-shop for all their musical needs.
That runs from needing a score for the entire project down to the individual SFX needs that will come into play, either to correct sound issues that occurred on a shoot or to make the overall production a little bit more professional.
If you work full-on in the film industry, then signing up with a royalty-free provider offers a nearly limitless resource. Most companies in this space regularly update their musical output, meaning that there is always new material to try out and consider for use in your productions.
Having a vast array of options in all these fields makes it easier to locate the precise piece of music for the specific scene or project you need it for. The best in the business offer great intuitive interfaces that further simplify the process and are a joy for producers, directors, and editors to use.
This is mainly because the royalty-free music industry is very much a purpose-built one, and it’s getting better every day, chiefly due to the rapidly increasing customer base.