How to choose the right music for your video
Updated Sep 15, 2021
We all know music plays a big role in any successful video, because you can make people feel a wide spectrum of emotions with the right song. In the same way, having the wrong music can easily ruin your video, so I want to give you the top 3 tips as a professional video editor for you to choose the perfect song for your next project.
1. Watch the footage first
My first tip for you is to make sure you watch all the raw footage before you even start searching for a song to go with it. When starting a new video, the first thing I always do is open all my raw footage in my video timeline, and watch it beginning to end silently without any music. I go through all the footage and take notes, and I identify the theme and mood of the video so I know what I want people to feel when watching that video. I also take notes of the parts of the video where I want the music to build up and be exciting, and the parts of the video where I want it to be a little bit more relaxed.
For example, if I have a nice and calm sunrise that happens in my video, just by watching the footage I know that I’m definitely not going to search for punk rock songs to use. In the same way, if my video is a motivational and exciting story or message, I’m probably not going to pair it with a song that is slow and relaxed. I then search and pick about 3 to 5 songs that I think fit the theme of my video and listen to each of them individually with the raw footage to see which one matches the best with the footage and the theme I want it to have. This helps me make sure the music for my videos is always on-theme with the content of the videos themselves!
2. Where to find good music for video
After you have watched the footage and picked the theme you want, it is time to search for a royalty-free song that you can use without copyright. I have a few different websites I use to find free music; I’ll include links to all of them for you. The first one is bensound.com. There are not many songs here but the quality is excellent, so definitely take a look and see if there’s anything that works for you. The second website is freemusicarchive.org. Free music archive is a huge library of songs with many different categories to choose from, so I use this when I have a video that might need a unique song. Another site is filmmusic.io. This has lots of songs that sound like film scores, and can be a great option if you want to add some dramatic flair to your videos. Overall, my favorite website is soundstripe.com. The website has plenty of high-quality music that you can use to make your videos really stand out from the crowd and get people coming back to your channel time and time again.
3. Watch the waveform
My second tip is to watch the sound waveform. You may be asking “what is a waveform?” Simply put, a waveform is how you can visualize a song. It looks like a wave, hence the name, and shows you the rise and fall of the intensity of the song. The waveform also shows how loud or soft a song is at any given point, so you can make sure that the quiet parts of the song line up with times you’ll be speaking during the video.
When I’m searching for songs, I always check to see what the waveform looks like. It’s easy to find a good song but if it has the same beat and intensity for the entire song, it can easily become a little repetitive for your viewers. I always watch the waveform to see if the song has built ups and different beats, so that when I’m editing, I can make the b-rolls more impactful, and better influence the way that my viewers feel when watching the video. By doing that you will ensure that you don’t have a repetitive song which will make your videos much more pleasant to watch.
Bonus tip: Search for songs by mood
And one last tip for you is to search for music based on the mood you want to convey. If you followed tip number one, you probably already know what mood you want to give to your video, so you can search for songs based on moods like fun, relaxing, or inspirational. Some of the sites I linked in tip number three have categories for different moods, to make it easy to choose a song that fits. A video can be quickly ruined by a song that doesn’t fit the mood of the footage, so make sure that the mood of the songs helps push the message you’re sending with your video. This will help you continue to inspire, inform and entertain your viewers through your content.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to create captivating and powerful videos with music that helps your viewers feel what you want them to feel. Remember that the most important thing is to keep creating quality videos and choosing music that matches the feel of the videos you create.