“Music is the universal language of mankind,” said once a poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and we can’t help but agree.

There are emotions deep inside us that only good music can reach and surface. If you want to make people laugh, build up excitement, or anticipation, you need music to round up the story. That’s why picking just the right music for your video project is such an important step.

When the filming ends and editing starts, the question of music comes into the spotlight. If you have any experience in the video industry you know that picking music isn’t an easy task. Music plays a huge role in your video and a wrong choice can lessen the overall feel and quality of the project.
The adventure known as choosing music should be approached strategically. Don’t get intimidated by seemingly endless choices. When you know what to do and where to start, the music you need will come to you.

Are you ready to take the road that will lead you to the perfect music for your video?
If there is a certain yes on your side of the screen, resort to the following tips in your music-picking journey.

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Start Creating With Music Early On

Unless your editing process has already come to an end, consider picking the music before you finalize the edit.

You will have less trouble with adapting the video to the right music than finding music that perfectly aligns with the final version of the video.

Make the cuts where the music allows it. Music can be an inspiration. The video material you have at your disposal can be seen from a different perspective when you find the right melody.

If you incorporate picking music in an early post-production process you can save yourself a lot of hassle. Get your music approved before the editing starts to avoid its repetition. In case the client isn’t satisfied with your choice, you’ll only need to find new music, not change the whole video.

Simply put, taking the music endeavor early on can make the production process much easier.

music for video editors

Set Your Media Budget

The budget has a big say in what kind of music you can use. You may want to use Ed Sheeran’s song, but if your budget says no, you need to move on.
Depending on your budget you can browse through a royalty-free music library, or get a composer to make you a custom song.

There are many royalty-free libraries with a plethora of choices that can satisfy any music need you may have. So, if your budget isn’t great, don’t worry. You can find great tracks without making big damage to your wallet.

Getting a composer to create original music is a good option if you plan to reuse the tune. Brands that want to use original music for their branding can make a great investment if they hire a composer.

Be clear about your budget before you even begin the search. You don’t want to arrange meetings with composers without the budget that can support that collaboration. There are many job listings sites to start your search for your favorite artist, like Upwork, Jooble, etc.

Select a Suitable Music License For Your Project

If you immediately rule out the composer, you should know what options you get to work with. The songs online can have different types of song licenses. Here is what you can encounter:

  • Free License – Refers to music with creative commons license. Most free music in the public domain does demand that you attribute the author or website, free music license is a tricky one and in most cases, you should avoid it for commercial use. You can learn more on Royalty Free Music Licensing here – What is Royalty Free Music.
  • Limited License – Refers to royalty-free music that can be used for internal purposes for free and for commercial purposes by paying a one-time fee amount.
  • Paid License – Refers to royalty-free music that you purchase for a set price and you can use for commercial purposes and for unlimited times.
  • Rights Managed – Refers to music that you pay according to the number of listeners and how much you use it.

Here at Foximusic, we offer a one-time-fee licenses that allows you to use the music in unlimited projects for a lifetime use worldwide, check out our pricing plans for more info.

No matter what kind of licensing you end up choosing, always respect the agreement. If you get the license for a certain period, set a reminder that will notify you when you need to take it down. You don’t want to get into messy legal situations because of music.

Be Specific on Your Intention

What do you want to achieve with this video? Do you want to explain? Inspire? Excite? Your intention should direct your music search.

The perfect music supports your intention. It brings your message to life and helps viewers feel the emotion that the content wants to evoke.

For example, an action-packed video needs energized music to draw the viewers in. The video content shows the story but the music needs to bring it to life. Without a specific intention, you won’t be able to move your search in the right direction.

You should also think about the purpose of different video clips. Some inserts need to keep the users’ attention while others may be intended for relaxation. Music needs to support different intentions that are intertwined in the video.

Some royalty-free music platforms are designed to assist you with finding music that suits your attention. Foximusic, for example, has music collections that are created based on the users’ goals. You can filter your search for uplifting music, relaxation, energetic, and so on.

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Define the Music’s Role in the Video

Assigning a role to the music is pivotal for making the right pick. Once you define the music’s role you will clear up the path to the track you desire.

The role of music in a video can be:

  • Main role
  • Supporting role
  • Driving the message
  • Creating effects

The music can take the main role when there is no (or little) dialogue in the video. In this case, you can use music with vocals as there is no overlapping with the narrative.
Explainer videos, educational videos, or videos that share information are usually accompanied by music as a supporting role.

The music should create an atmosphere without taking the viewers’ attention from the content. For music to drive the message it needs to keep up with the pace of the video. You should look for music that can evoke emotion without being too aggressive. The music can switch between the main and supporting role, depending on how strong the messaging is in different clips.

Lastly, music can also be used to create an effect. For example, a tune with raindrops can make a nostalgic or gloomy effect on the viewers.
Keep in mind that no matter what role the music embodies, it should never overshadow the video content.

Choose a Suitable Music Genre

The nature of your video is what can help you determine the genre. There is also the question of the target audience, but we’ll discuss this in more detail later.
One of the key factors that influence your genre choice is the type of video you are creating. Electronic music or rap will hardly be suitable for an advertisement for children’s books.

Unless you are going for an alternative mix such as combining classical music with slow-motion clips of a ranging party, you should stick to the typical genre-video type relationship.

Here are some usual pairs when it comes to the emotion you want to create and the music that accompanies it:

  • Epic, victory – cinematic music
  • Empathy, confidence, success – motivational, corporate music
  • Stylish & Trendy – Indie-pop, hip hop music
  • Action, Extreme – rock, electro, future bass music
  • Groovy, Upbeat – EDM, funky music

These are just a few examples to give you a sense of how pairing goes.
But let’s clear this out some more with an example. Let’s say that you want to tell a story. You want viewers to experience how you are gradually getting to the goal, to that final message that explains it all.

Watch our “Tell Your Story” video series to get inspired on picking the right music for your production:

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Have Your Audience in Mind

As in every project created to win someone over, you have to account for your target audience. You are picking this music for them. They are the ones with whom the music needs to resonate.

Since you’ve probably already done some audience research, get back to that data. Who are your target viewers? What are their demographics? What is their interest? Everything from their age to where they live determines their music preference.

Don’t forget about the audience’s educational and professional status. Gen Z fashion influencers and Baby Boomers with corporate titles don’t have the same music taste. An inspirational video for younger generations can feature electronic or hip-hop music while older generations can find such videos more appealing if they have classic or cinematic music in the background.

If you need some direction in terms of generation-music genre connection, check out Statista’s report on favorite music genres among consumers in the United States. The report can shed a light on what music genre is favored among which age group.

Reflect the Energy With The Right Music Vibe

Visual content carries a certain energy. Make sure that your music matches that energy.
Country music can hardly depict the excitement of a motorcycle rider doing stunts. An energetic mismatch can create an imbalance in the video.

The perfect example of a company that makes amazing music choices for its videos is GoPro. Their captivating shots are even more impactful because of the energetic music that accompanies them. Look at their “Year in Review” video to see what we are talking about. The moment you put the sound on mute, the energy of the video stops being that strong:

Music can do more than just keep up with the video’s energy. It can help you increase the energy up or slow it down. The music can even help you make some energy corrections in the video.

Let’s say that the video features travel clips. Initially, the energy of those clips is relaxing and simple. If you want to add some excitement to the clips, you can go for upbeat music that can lift the spirits. Use music to adjust the energy of video clips to the level you want.

Use Familiar Songs as Reference

Do you have a certain song stuck in your mind that would be perfect for your video? Or have you seen a video that has just the music you need for this project? Don’t despair if find yourself in this situation.

Use the existing music as inspiration and reference to what you are looking for. Pay attention to the speed, rhythm, progression, key, or instrumentation of the music you like. Then, turn to royalty-free music sites and look for a match.

You can go through some videos you admire to get an idea of what type of music works best for your type of video. When you are idea-free, this kind of research can help you find your direction.

There is also a neat copyright loophole that you might not know about. In some countries, the copyrights expire after around 60 years of the author’s death. Therefore, if you want to use Bach’s original music in your videos, you might. This applies to countries that signed the Berne Convention international agreement.

Consider the Sound Frequency and Tone

Account for the video content and existing sounds when picking your music. You want to choose tunes whose tone and frequency complement the original sound.
In case your video includes a lengthy narrative, you want to use tones that compliment the human voice. Avoid the sounds of cello, violin, viola, and other instruments that produce the same notes that the human voice has.

A lengthy narrative can be well supported with ambient music or bass, as their tones complement the human voice.
For evoking emotions you want repetitive chord progressions and non-complex melodies.

Be mindful of tone and frequency in the music you pick. You don’t want the uncomplimentary sounds to deteriorate the viewers’ focus.

Don’t Sacrifice the Video Due to Music Duration

Adjusting the music duration to video duration can lead you into duration traps. A big mistake you can make is to add unnecessary clips that ruin the video’s flow for the sake of the song.

When you need to cut the music, pay attention that the video climax matches the song’s climax. You want to tailor the music to your video. Many easy-to-use editing apps let you cut the music and make arrangements that you want in no time.

A useful trick you can use to create effective music cuts is to make a pause. A pause can serve as a drum roll that introduces a big revelation. When the music stops in an instant, the viewers’ attention is nailed to the screen.

The pause effect can contribute to the video’s feel and also help you adjust the song to the length of the video. Bear in mind that pauses are most suitable for music that has a consistent rhythm. That kind of pattern allows a break without awkwardly interrupting the track.

If you absolutely must use the whole song, consider shooting new shots rather than using bland leftovers from the first shooting. You can always source fresh content ideas from the web. Go and try this website with free essay samples if you need some content inspiration for any kind of topic.

Use Bookends as Intro and Outro Sound Cues

Few-second snippets of a tune often combined with text or animation are known as bookends. They can act as the perfect indication of the beginning and the end of the video.
When you have a lengthy video on your hands, the bookends can be a great choice for intro and outro. They set the tone for the beginning of the video and provide some sort of a conclusion for the end.

Brands can especially benefit from adding bookends. You can use a short music clip paired with the brand logo and finalize the video with a similar short tune.
The power of bookends is that they prepare the viewers for what’s to come.

The bookends can even make the introduction without any text or animation. The sound itself can take on the role of the video host that welcomes the viewers and sees them off.

Be Playful and Mix It Up

If you’ve got the impression that you can only use one song for the whole video, let’s clarify this. There are no limitations on the number of songs you can use in one video. This is completely up to your creativity and vision.

Different music within the same video is typically used when you have different energies and moods in the video. For example, a story of a family can consist of joyous moments, exciting moments, and challenging times. Using the same music during such a video can be more of a challenge than combining a few tunes.

Remember that music needs to follow the video’s energy. If the energy fluctuates, the music can do the same.

Final Thoughts

The music-picking process can make you experience mixed emotions. There’s the thrill, the frustration, the excitement, the disappointment – all kinds of emotions can surface during this adventure.

However, the moment you find the perfect music you’ll know that it was worth it. The right music will tie your idea together and turns your vision. Hopefully, the above-mentioned tips will provide you with some guidance and make the road to the perfect tune less bumpy.


This track is watermarked by Foximusic and should only be used for testing and previewing purposes. Using this in projects is not allowed.


Free Lincense with Attribution

You can use this music for free in your online videos (Youtube, Facebook, Instagram)

You just have to give attribution link as follows:
Music by: https://www.foximusic.com