How to Choose the Best Music for Video

Stock Music (sometimes called Stock Audio) is as prevalent in the modern world as the top 40 charts from the latest artists. Used in everything from advertising to mainstream movies, stock music is both a great time saver and a great money saver too. Working similarly to the stock photography and stock video footage markets, artists create music and then add them to stock music libraries, which then sell on a license to you. Making it the perfect solution to get music for video.

Here on FootageSecrets, we are going to explore How to Choose the Right Music for Your Videos, read on for the best sources, and some hints and tips on keeping yourself safe whilst buying Stock Music for your Video needs!

How to Choose the Best Music for Video 1

Already have an idea on the right music for your videos? Check out Shutterstock Music for some great tracks for your production works!

You can also learn more about Shutterstock (and their awesome stock footage offer that now includes Enhanced Video licensing) on our dedicated Shutterstock review! pricing Why Do I Need Music In My Videos?

As a video producer you're asking a pretty valid question, why would you need to use music in your videos? This question will always come down to what it is that you are creating, but in the majority of cases, music can only add value to those already awesome videos that you pour your soul into, so why leave out what can be considered one of the basic elements of what makes a good video? flex subscription

The movie Jaws is a great example, would that movie be the same without its fantastic musical score? Movies and videos are essentially audiovisual experiences, and therefore audio is a big part of any production. It's the perfect combination of footage and sound that makes for an exceptional video. When it comes to visuals, you can shoot your own video, or use the great resource of stock footage to get complimentary shots. Learn how to edit a video like a pro right here!

As for audio, you can record your native sound yourself, but music is a key element to really lift your content and give it a deeper meaning. There are great examples of how music can complement your video, and there are also moments when it could be considered mandatory to use good music. Here are some examples:

To complete the meaning of a scenario – For example, during a dancing scene, the viewer must also be able to hear the music in order to understand the choreography that they are watching. The Swan Lake Ballet just wouldn't be the same in silence.


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Or to add something to it – Can you imagine Rocky Balboa's training in Rocky III without Survivors' “Eye of the Tiger' playing?


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So different, right? In the same way, a different background song would change the feeling in this classic scene as well. Keep reading to find great stock music alternatives for Rocky's training footage!

Music also has the power to define the tone – Take something like a war scene and add some fast-paced music, and you have a quick, urgent feeling adding to the tense dramatic scene playing out, however, take the same scene and add some somber piano music, and you are instantly transferred to another world.
In short, music can take literally any video and change its entire message.

Awesome music will certainly do a lot for your video, but it needs to be masterly edited as well. A great track that is poorly used is a waste and can actually hurt your production in terms of viewer experience. How to make sure you're doing it right? Start by checking out our Best Tips for Audio Editing!

Stock Music: Music Tracks Ready to Download and Use

Now, unless you're a musician as well as a videographer or filmmaker, you will need to source your music elsewhere. Of course, you can hire a musician or band to create custom pieces for you. But that will cost you money. And will take some time.

Is there any other option then? Certainly. And a great one at that. Stock music, music tracks that are already composed and available for license and use in your video projects.

Using stock music you can get good background music for videos, to complement your footage within seconds and without spending much. Just like you can search, download and use stock footage to add value to your production, you can also get great music pieces for a fully sensorial viewer experience.

Where Can I Find Stock Music?

There are quite a few sites on the web offering Stock Music, one of our favorites is Shutterstock Music, well known for its amazing Stock Photography and Video Footage, Shutterstock recently opened up its Stock Music Library ready for the community to use for all of their Stock Music needs.

Shutterstock Homepage 1

So why Shutterstock Music? There are many reasons we would recommend Shutterstock Music, here's a quick list of some of the pro's:

  • Created in 2014 by Shutterstock, one of the Stock industries the biggest players
  • With a library consisting of tens of thousands of tracks for music and SFX, you're never stuck on a choice regardless of what you're looking for
  • Unlimited downloads subscriptions start at just $16.60 per month
  • Premium Unlimited plan includes a selection of PremiumBeat tracks (exclusive and high-end stock music)
  • Suitable for commercial uses such as adverts and so much more
  • Licenses available for much bigger projects such as global release movies
  • Great user interface with the simple yet powerful search feature

Having a royalty-free music library at your reach is a valuable resource, because the royalty-free license solves all the legal aspects of using someone else's music in your work, and save you from copyright infringement and other possible risks that you incur when using other types of non-licensed music, for a very affordable price.

See some of their great tracks in action accompanying their also superb stock footage in this clip!


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You can also check out our Best 5 Audio Resources article for more great stock audio resources.

Quick note: If you're are after editorial-use content, check out Shutterstock Editorial, it now has subscription plans available!

How to Choose the Right Music for your Video flex subscription

Choosing the right music will always come down to personal choice and what you want your video to relay to its viewers, however, there are some simple guidelines that you can follow to keep yourself on track:

  • The mood of your music should match the mood of your video, pick the appropriate style and genre – Sorry but drum and bass is not ideal for a slow love scene!
  • With or Without Vocals? – Vocals can play an important part in any production, ensuring that they fit the track and can be edited easily to work them into the rises and falls is a must!
  • The Beginning and End – Where should your music begin and end? Ultimately this is your choice as producer, however, making sure that it flows with the video well is definitely basic!

Remember how odd Rocky's scene looks without music? Well, we tried Shutterstock Music's search feature to find a great track to go with that scene. How? Very easily. We searched for a “sports” theme, and filtered the results by tempo, choosing “Fast 140 to 160 bpm”. Here are our results for a motivating training scene track! Our favorite was We're Gonna Make it track by Lee Miller.

How to Choose the Best Music for Video 2

So those are the basic rules to follow when picking music for video production and remember, regardless of whether you are using commissioned music or stock tracks, make sure your license allows for commercial use and editing rights!

So What Can I Do With My New Stock Music?

The most common license that comes with Stock Music via Shutterstock and the majority of other Stock Music sites is the Royalty-Free License and this allows for global unlimited use for single projects, meaning that you could download a track and cut it up for use as an intro to your YouTube channel, and you would only have to pay the one-time fee of $49 for the license to use the track.

Extended licenses are available if you are planning on releasing a big-budget movie globally in theaters, and more licensing information can be found for Shutterstock Music on their licensing page here. Always remember to check out the license page of any site you choose to download from to make sure you are covered for your uses! flex subscription

What About Formats? Can I Use What I'm Given?

Shutterstock Music provides all of its tracks in 16bit WAV files in either 44.1khz or 44khz, depending on the track itself and how the artist has exported it. So you will have absolutely no problems with compatibility, as the majority of video editing software and digital audio workstations work perfectly with WAV files. Don't miss our quick guide with tips on How to Edit Audio for Video!

The library that Shutterstock Music offers is huge ensuring that you will find whatever it is that you need for your current project and with all the music sorted into genres and tagged relevantly, searching through it is as easy as typing in a few keywords and hitting enter, you can also stream and download watermarked samples of the tracks to test out prior to purchase making for an extremely simple yet very friendly way to download Stock Tracks.

Use Stock Music and Take your Production to the Next Level

So as you can see, actually obtaining awesome tracks for your video production is a simple and pain-free process that can not only boost your video's popularity, but also its worth. You might be wondering what to do with your newly downloaded stock music, why not check out our How To Edit Audio For Video article for a complete walkthrough of how to prepare your audio.

So, ready to get going? Check out Shutterstock Music for some great tracks to get you started!

Amos Struck
Amos Struck

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus in providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography, like the PixelRockstar WordPress Plugin. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

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