It’s common sense that good audio creates a better experience for listeners, but according to research by USC’s Norbert Schwarz, good audio actually makes the content more believable, and makes the speaker appear more credible and even more intelligent! Here’s a link to the article
Music for Marketing Videos
In recent years video has increasingly become one of the most influential marketing tools across multiple platforms. According to Forbes, in 2019, global Internet video traffic accounted for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic.
And one of the most powerful ways to create an emotional connection with your video audience is through the use of music.
Here are just some of the ways that music can contribute to your marketing video:
- To engage the audience and hold their attention
- To set the tone
- To help tell the story
- To add or intensify emotion
- To add excitement or energy
- To define topics/sections
- To create continuity
- To increase understanding
- To define the cultural or historical setting
- To support visuals and visual effects
- To help listeners identify with the subject
- To keep or redirect the audience’s attention
- To provide momentum
- To motivate
- To help “brand” a product or company
Music can be much more than audio wallpaper or a “background”. Carefully choosing and editing library music, or having custom music composed, can greatly improve the connection with the viewer and the overall effectiveness of the video.
Open Skies CD
“Open Skies” – A collection of positive acoustic compositions blending orchestral, pop and folk instrumentation.
This CD was so much fun to create in collaboration with accomplished guitarist and composer J Hayes for the Sonoton library . We recorded the rhythm tracks and some of the solo instruments at SmithLee Productions in St. Louis, then sent orchestral scores and DA-88 tapes (!) overseas for overdubs by the Budapest Orchestra.
The tapes included click tracks and a spoken measure count track to help keep the musicians together with the tracks in their recording sessions. We created the counting track using samples that Sonoton provided for our Emulator II, in which spoken counting was programmed on every chromatic note. So we would play a chromatic scale on the downbeat of each measure for each piece in order to record the spoken counting to it’s own track. HOWEVER – because the conductor was German and the orchestra was Hungarian, the numbers alternated German and Hungarian every other measure!
I will also never forget the phone call with Sonoton in which I was asked “How many string players would you like?”. Wow.
Customizing Library Music
“Scoring” with library music is the process of customizing it for the production. Some things to think about while “scoring” with library music include:
- Will the music be “wall to wall”, or some other format?
- When should the music change to a new piece?
- Should you start a piece at the beginning, or would another section work better?
- How do you want the sections of the music to correspond to the video, for example, does the piece “build” at the right place? Does it change and/or continue steadily to support the video content?
- Is there a recurring theme that reappears during the video?
- Would an underscore version be better if lead instruments are too distracting or interfering with the spoken voice?
- How will each piece in the video end – fade out or natural ending?
Beyond fitting the music into the timeline, the edits need to be musically believable and technically seamless.
In addition, there is the art of “sweetening”, which is adding musical instruments or effects to further customize the music. For a recent corporate video project, I selected and “scored” library music to the already assembled video and narration. I needed some short musical transitions for recurring graphic titles that the library music could not provide, so I created them with my virtual orchestra, while making sure they worked well with the adjacent library pieces. Also in this project, one of the library pieces suddenly thinned out during a part of the video when we did not want it to, so I added cellos to fill out the arrangement.
Sweetening is also often used to highlight graphics or other important occurrences in the visuals. The sounds used can be musical, sound effects, or somewhere in between, depending on the context. If the ending of a library piece is not large enough for the situation, it can be made fuller and bigger through sweetening. Sometimes sweetening is used to smooth an edit that otherwise would sound abrupt. Sweetening is a really useful tool that can be effective in a lot of situations.
Following are some example projects where I selected, scored, and sometimes also sweetened the library music.
Choosing Library Music
There are a myriad of online music libraries available, with instant access for auditioning and downloading music. Each has their own licensing and fee structure, which widely vary. It is important to do your due diligence in understanding what rights you have with the music you are licensing. That said, here are some of the more “artistic” considerations when choosing library music.
• The role(s) the music will play in supporting the story or message
• Audience demographics
• The musical style, instrumentation and tone that best supports your program
• How you want the music to effect the audience’s experience
• How the the pacing and fullness of the musical arrangements works with the visuals and/or spoken voice
Once you have narrowed down your choices, there are still other considerations: Is the piece long enough? If not, is it interesting enough to survive lengthening it by looping? What kind of changes happen throughout the piece? If there is a section that all of a sudden doesn’t seem to work, can you work around it? How does the piece start and end?
If you need assistance searching for, editing and/or licensing production music, feel free to contact me – I’d be happy to help!
New CD for Sonoton Music
My latest production music CD, “Positive Purpose”, was published by the Sonoton library, and released in America by Sonoton’s representative, Associated Production Music in September 2017.
My inspiration for this CD came from working as a library music consultant and editor, and the issues I run across when selecting and editing library music. One of my goals for this CD was to strike a balance between keeping the feel consistent throughout each piece (no strange middle sections that suddenly veer off in another direction), but also keeping the music interesting, progressing and not too repetitious. I was also mindful of making the main themes around 3 minutes long, as sometimes what seems to be the perfect library piece is disappointingly too short. There seems to be a never ending need for new positive, upbeat, “forward-looking” music for underscoring videos and commercials.
I am hoping producers will find “Positive Purpose” helpful and useful for their projects. If you would like to check it out, here is the link. Positive Purpose
Also, here is a link to an article about the CD. Times Article
Thanks for visiting!