You may be considering creating a video for your business or personal use, or perhaps you are currently in the editing phase and are wondering what to do for background music. The music will set the tone for the video so it’s really important. Is your tone upbeat, whimsical or serious? Music will help convey your message and will help the audience relate to your product, service or brand.
You spent considerable time with the concept of your new video and you shot a lot of footage. Before hitting the editing room, find a music track for your video that will really help it come alive.
TIP: Professional video editors like to have the music selection before editing begins. It’s easier to edit the video with the music you want than to edit it after you have selected the music.
Please don’t make the mistake many have made of choosing music you can’t legally use in your video. I know – YouTube is full of videos that use popular songs as background music. If that’s the route you choose, try contacting the songwriter to see if you can use their sound track or to see what licensing arrangements they have. It’s best to be safe and select a track of royalty free music for the video. It may cost a little money, but it will save potential future heartache and headaches.
There are many royalty free music websites. You can spend hours finding them and listening to songs. It’s a fun past time, but it can be overwhelming. My suggestion is to create a spreadsheet with links to your favorite sites, make notes on which ones you like and keep it handy. Involve your client when you can; it gets them involved in the fun side of video production.
Here are 16 of the best sites I have found that offer good quality, interesting and affordable choices.
Free with a catch or two
1. Royalty free kings – This site has a selection of songs you can download and use for free if you give them a shoutout on facebook, twitter, google + or linkedin. Pretty cool. They have a large selection of music for sale, too. Paid tracks range in price from 35.99 to 44.95 per song.
2. Music Revolution- has 40 songs you can use for free on their home page. The catch is they require you to give them a credit for the song in your production, “somewhere on your website.” That’s a pretty good deal. You could write a blog post about the experience of using the site, what kind of video you used it in, and give them a credit and get a blog post written at the same time. You can pay for single tracks, starting at 9.99. There’s fairly high quality stuff here. I like a song called Free Spirit. http://www.musicrevolution.com/free_production_music/
3. Soundcloud – This progressive site has a playlist of Creative Commons songs. Check the licensing agreement carefully. You are not allowed to resell the songs, but if you need a track for personal use you may find what you need here. https://soundcloud.com
4. AudioBlocks- This is one of my current favorites. For a flat fee, currently $99, you have unlimited access to the entire catalogue of songs and sound effects, which means you can download as many as you like. I have used ten to fifteen songs, so I have already gotten my money’s worth. It’s a sweet deal, and you can check it out at www.audioblocks.com.
5. Jewelbeat – Here’s a site that offers royalty free songs for a low price. They promote themselves as having .99 music but most songs are $2.99. They are not extremely high quality and there are a lot of songs that have been around for a while. However, the theme music is great. I found a good song for a video I produced for an Asian cuisine restaurant on Jewelbeat and the client was very happy with it. http://www.jewelbeat.com
6. Itunes – Enter ‘royalty free music’ in the itunes search field to find a ton of good stuff. Most songs are .99 and you can find deals on whole albums if you like a particular sound, genre or composer. There’s one album available that offers 100 songs for $7.99!
7. Audio Jungle– Audio Jungle has a huge catalog and songs are being uploaded every day.Many songs are $17 but they start at $5. You can sort by ratings to see which songs are most popular. http://audiojungle.net/
8. Wavtraks – http://www.wavtracks.com One of the videographers I work with has used this site for years, mostly for commercial projects. Most songs are $10. You have to listen to a lot of songs to find what you want but you may find what you are looking for here. You can buy their entire library for $299!
9. Pond 5 – Pond 5 has a huge selection of music. at http://www.pond5.com/ Sometimes they offer free downloads, tracks of the week type of promotions. Prices range from $20 to $45 or so. This site also sells video clips and stock photos.
10. Neosounds- This site is one of my favorites because it offers a unique feature. It allows you to create a playlist for yourself or a business you are working with and save songs to the playlist. You can send instructions for accessing the playlist to your client or whomever needs to be involved in the music choices. You must share your username and password with them so create one you don’t mind sharing. However, it gives the other person the ability to listen to the music you have selected for them on their own time. Clients love it! Most songs are $39.99 and they are high quality. Collections by one artist bring the price down per song. I have used several songs from this site and they are always client pleasers. https://www.neosounds.com/
11. Luckstock – Some royalty free music sites have music that has been available for long time and it tends to sound ‘dated.’ This site has a lot of music that seems to be more up to date. Songs cost $25 and up. The BPM (beats per minute) and length of song sliders allow you to narrow your choices. http://luckstock.com/
12. Shockwave Sound – Now I feel like I’m giving away secrets. This is my favorite site for medium-priced music. Many of the songs are composed by Bjorn Lynne of Lynne Publishing. He’s a prolific, highly talented composer and he makes his music available for a reasonable price. Songs are $39.95 and albums that contain several versions of each song are $99.95. I have used many of his songs and I can almost always find something clients like here. Mr. Lynne’s songs are also sold on neosounds but I prefer to buy his music from the site he runs. You can also email him if you have a question and he’s very responsive. http://www.shockwave-sound.com/
13. Friendly Music- In the most current category – this site is really cool. You can select a song by the color it evokes! The cost is $1.99 for personal use or $25 for business use. The songs are all new, fresh and promotable via social media. There are a lot of songs here that start out slow and build to a big sound towards the end. More songs for video should be written this way. You might find songs here that inspire videos instead of making the video first! Real rock songs by real bands for use in a video for $25? Deal! http://friendlymusic.com/
14. Premium Beat.com – Most songs here are $39.95. That’s not extremely expensive, but they don’t offer discounts for albums, multiple purchases or trials, so the cost adds up quickly if you purchase several songs here. That said, the quality is really great. You get what you pay for! I have used several songs for clients who have decent budgets for their productions. I wouldn’t send a client to a site with schlocky music. This is one of my favorite sites for great quality music. http://www.premiumbeat.com/
15. The Music Bed – If you are looking for Hollywood quality music, head to Music Bed. The cost starts at $199 for songs that are for big productions, TV shows, movies and more. https://www.themusicbed.com/
16. Smart Sound – at $49.95 per song, stinger or effect, this is another choice for clients who have a decent budget to include one or more sound tracks. http://www.smartsound.com/
New royalty free sites are cropping up all the time so I’ll try to come back to this list and update it occasionally. Have fun finding what works best for you and your clients.
Nancy Summers is a video producer and marketing expert in Tampa, Florida. Her company, Veranos Video and Marketing offers high-quality, low-hassle video production for websites, broadcast TV, communication, training, promotional and many other purposes. Marketing services include media buying, marketing campaign development and implementation. Contact her at email@example.com. Visit www.veranosresources.com for more information.