The art of choosing video background music

By Mitch Rice

Background music may seem like a small part of a video, but the advantages it provides are significant. If you want to achieve the best possible engagement with your viewers, add music to your videos.

But how do you choose the right background music?

With so many styles and genres of music out there, from music websites and online video editors, it can be quite challenging to pick the right one. So before you dive in and pick a track, know first what it is you are looking for.

Identify your target audience

When creating a video, you choose the style and format that would fit your audience, right? The same goes for music. You have to align the background music with your target viewer’s age. Sometimes you might need to get more specific, choosing music for a specific gender group, industry, occupation, culture, and even location.

Here are some examples of music genres that may work for specific audience types:

Children to teen

  • Ambient
  • Drum and bass
  • Electronic
  • Funk
  • Rock
  • Hip-hop
  • Pop

Age 20 to 40

  • New Wave
  • House
  • Jazz
  • Rock

Age 40 and up

  • Classical
  • Folk

Remember, these are just suggestions. You may need to test them out or seek professional advice.

Be true to the mood and purpose of your video

What’s your video for? If you aim to inform or educate, you need to have your viewer’s attention on the visuals, narration, or text. So choose background music that doesn’t have elements that could distract the viewer. A song without lyrics will work well for this type of video.

If you aim to excite or thrill your audience, your background music will need to have variations and some drum play here and there. To find the right one, listen to some music clips to find which one gives you the mood you want your audience to experience. Try playing it with your video and see if they jive and give the effect you are looking for.

Where to get great music

You can just pick one from your MP3 collection and add it to your video, right? Not quite, especially if it’s in a corporate video. If your video is going to be played or posted in public or for professional use, you’ll need high-quality (and legal) music.

To avoid copyright claims, you may want to get legit music from royalty-free music providers. You’ll need to subscribe for a minimal monthly fee to download as much music as you need.

If you don’t want anything complicated, you can use a video editor that also offers stock music. Although you need to pay for most music files, basic video editing will be free.

If you want original music, you might want to hire a composer. This may cost a lot more money and require more production time, but it can help build a strong musical brand for you or your company.

Unleash the power of music

The background music you choose for your video will make or break its effectiveness. You have to make sure that it blends well with your video, not be a separate element from it. Don’t just listen to small clips and skip to the next. Listen to the whole song to find drum beats, changes in tone, and dramatic effects that may work with certain sections of your video.

Music plays an important role in a video. But you just can’t throw in any kind of song just because you like it. It has to be suitable for your project. If you choose the right background music, not only will it engage your audience better but it’ll also make your video unforgettable.