One of the struggles of a business filmmaker is finding the best soundtrack for videos. When you're producing a business-focused video, you're likely dealing with a range of challenging factors that you wouldn't normally have to deal with in other creative projects. This includes short length, animation, complicated topics, or technical language.

We've got some good news: You can conquer these challenges through music. Yet, choosing the perfect music can be a daunting task. But don't worry, we have gathered answers to some of the big questions when it comes to matching music with video.

What is Music Licensing?

Regardless of the purpose of your video, you have to ensure that you have permission to use the music you incorporated in your film. This is what music licensing is.

There are different types of licenses for video use. For smaller-scale music, it is best to check out your selected music agency's online licensing platform. The price varies depending on the size of the music you intend to use. For content creators and filmmakers that are new to the business, whether it is for podcasts or small businesses, they are licenses that come at a lower price point.

As you begin to think about licensing music for your video, you may find that the licenses available online don't quite fit your needs. That's okay! Most music agencies also offer a "Custom License" option, which allows you to work with a member of their team to create a license that works for you. Pricing for this type of license can vary depending on what you intend to use the song for, but it's generally quoted on a project-by-project basis.

Custom License prices are based on the following factors:

  1. Client — Who is your client? How many people does their company employ?
  2. Content — What is the video all about? Is it a film, commercial..?
  3. Distribution — Where will this be seen/heard? Web, broadcast, film festival, podcast?
  4. Lifespan — How long will this be live?
How are the artists compensated?

When you license your music for a video, the money is split up among all the artists who contributed to the track.

This means that if you're licensing your work and you're not an artist on the track, you'll still get paid.

The percentage of each artist's compensation depends on how many people hear their contributions in the video—and it can be as little as $0.0014 per stream.

What do I need to do to license my preferred music?-h5

If you've decided to license your music for a video, you might be wondering how to go about it.

There are several ways you can go about licensing a song. If you pick a specific song in mind, you can go directly to the artist of that song. However, if the artist of that song is Bruno Mars (or whoever), it’s likely that you don’t have his phone number readily available. In cases like these, you will need to contact a music agency that offers clearance services to clear the song for you.

Basically, this means hiring an expert (usually in the form of a music supervisor) who can go through all the complicated procedures for you to achieve the song of your dreams. Yet, if you're working with a tight budget working with well-known artists can be pricey.

What can I do if I am still searching for the right song?

Music licensing agencies act as the middlemen between artists and anyone who wants to use their music for film, advertisements, broadcast, and beyond.

If you're still searching for the right song, there are a number of music agencies out there that offer a catalog full of options. You can start by reaching out to your favorite artists directly—they might be willing to let you use their music in exchange for some exposure or brand association.

The sheer number of catalogs available can be overwhelming and confusing. Luckily, if the company has an online ‘click licensing’ platform, they usually offer a category search feature that makes narrowing down your options a little easier.

How do I choose the right song from the list that I like?

Finding the right song doesn’t have to be rocket science. Here are some pro tips from Music Supervisors who have paired music to projects for brands like Adidas, Nike, and Patagonia.

“It’s all about the feeling. Think of the most obvious music that comes to mind and try to look for other ways of achieving that purpose.”

— Emilee Booher, Music Supervisor and Producer

“Before you think too hard, just start listening. Identify the emotion/mood you’re going for, and then start listening until you find some tracks, artists, and themes that make sense.”

— Katie Seaton, Music Supervision Coordinator

“Focus on the emotion or message you want your spot to convey, then pick a track that does that for you, instead of simply focusing on a track that you like.”

— Kat Olsen, Senior Music Supervisor, and Producer

One of the most important elements in your video is to pinpoint the emotions you want to convey. If you are able to do this then, you're on the right track.

What to do if I can't figure out the right song?

If you're looking for a song, but can't find what you need, you may want to consider licensing your own music. In addition to music licensing, some music agencies specialize in custom compositions and sound design.

If you decide to do an original score, music agencies will work with you to shape and alter the sounds of an existing song or craft an entirely new composition that perfectly pairs with your video.

It's worth noting that custom songs and compositions tend to be expensive. However, if a tailor-made song is a missing piece to making an outstanding video, then it will be worth it. If you opt for this, you need to discuss with your composers everything you wanted to add to your music.

Closing Thoughts

There are so many things that you'll need to consider when finding a perfect song for your project- choosing a music agency, identifying the emotions, deciding between an original or pre-existing song, and knowing what license you need.

Although, these parts of the process can be overwhelming at first. Understanding the licensing process more can make the journey less intimidating.

There's one key message to this article: Once you've found the right emotions, you can find your perfect song!

If you need further guidance, feel free to schedule a free call with our team to help you know best practices for music licensing.

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