Why Marketers Need Stock Music (And Where to Find It)
Everyone knows video has taken center stage in digital marketing.
And as more marketers start producing videos, the question becomes less "How do we do this?" or more "How do we do this well enough to stand out?"
Making something memorable -- whether it's a video, a tagline, or a billboard -- is marketing's oldest and most critical mission.
So how do you make a memorable video? The camerawork, lightning, script, and acting are all important.
But there's one thing new video makers often overlook: the background music. And that's a shame, because music plays a significant role in how people react to any type of visual content.
In this article, I'll explain why quality music is so important for your videos and where you can find affordable stock music for your work.
Why Background Music Matters
Humans are musical creatures -- we've actually been making music for thousands upon thousands of years.
When we hear music specific parts of our brain react and our mood changes. This phenomenon is so strong we often use music to regulate our emotions. When you're feeling low, you put on something joyful. When you need to focus or relax, you put on something calming.
All around the world, this happens like clockwork.
Anyone who aspires to succeed with video marketing should take note. Music directs people how to feel, and it heightens our emotional reaction to media of all kinds.
The power of music is immediately apparent in ads that go straight for the heartstrings, like Budweiser's 2014 puppy commercial or Coca Cola's "Wonder of Us" spot.
But background music plays just as important a role in less dramatic marketing.
Slack's 2018 spot is almost completely devoid of dialogue. Instead, the video relies on sound effects and background music to drive the story forward.
Notice how calm the music is in the beginning. We find Geoff the lion in a moment of reflection. As soon as inspiration strikes, he messages the team. Then the music springs to life.
The tempo picks up, the song expands to include new instruments, and the audience understands innovation is underway.
The entire commercial hinges on this song, and yet the music itself isn't that spectacular. It's working in the background to create a mood that enriches the visuals.
Quality background music can be found in almost every successful marketing video -- not just big production ad spots.
Take Acorns's animated explainer video. These videos are a dime a dozen, but Acorns succeeds by scoring the animations with a track that builds as the explanation moves along.
Even though Acorns itself is a very interesting idea, this video isn't dynamic by nature. No explainer videos are. So the background music adds some energy to what would otherwise by a pretty dry piece of content.
Finally, let's look at a talking head video from Drift.
Like animated explainers, these videos are very en vogue on company YouTube channels.
The problem is, watching a person stand in front of a camera and talk to you is pretty awkward. It becomes even more awkward when they aren't trained actors.
Like in the previous scenarios, background music helps a lot. It papers over the uneasy pauses or not-quite-right inflections that happen when you shoot with actors who aren't seasoned veteran.
So whether you're filming a full-fledged commercial or simply producing some educational content, you're going to need stock music for your video strategy to excel.
How to Find Quality, Affordable Stock Music
Licensing music used to be unbelievably complicated.
To get permission to use one song, you had to negotiate with all of the right holders, which was typically a smorgasbord of label exces, songwriters, artists, and publishers.
Suffice it to say, the process is complicated and expensive.
That left marketers with little recourse.
You could've hired musicians to record original music, but that's still expensive -- and time consuming.
You could have scoured the internet for free music, but we all know those results are going to sound like bad remixes of Keyboard Cat.
Thankfully, a combination of entrepreneurial spirit and technology has made the entire endeavour much simpler.
These days, you can pick from a number of stock music providers. These companies have essentially transformed music licensing into Netflix.
All you need to do to access troves of royalty free music is sign up for a subscription and pay a monthly fee.
The songs are dubbed "royalty-free" because you don't have to pay fees to the rights holders every time your video racks up more views. Your membership fee takes care of that.
In most cases, you'll be able to license an unlimited number of quality songs from the audio library, and you'll retain permission to use those songs forever. (That's important to protect yourself from copyright infringement.)
So whether you're making a commercial, an explainer video, a podcast, or even a slideshow, you've never had more choice for quality stock music.
And that matters, because the better your music, the more powerful your message.