Background music often gets a bad reputation. It can be referred to as “elevator music” or not given much thought when it comes to productions, because there is more focus on the dialogue in a scene. While dialogue and storyline are vital to a strong film production, this type of music can be just as important to a project’s success. Remember that much of the mood and meaning developed in a scene can be aided or even created by positive choices in background music.
When choosing background music, you’ll need to be sure what the purpose of it is. The choice you make is likely very heavily influenced by the type of production you are creating. Think of choices for background music for television vesus background music for sports radio. Just the simple choice of what music to use for video versus radio is difficult enough. Add a particular category into the mix and you really need to narrow down your choices.
Finding a trustworthy music licensing company is the first step in finding the right background music for your production. So, let’s delve into some important facets of reviewing, choosing and implementing the right background music for various types of film, television and other media projects and why these processes are so important.
The Art of Background Music in Advertising
As previously mentioned, background music can be vital to how a media production is perceived. One quite artful way in which this type of music can be utilized is within advertising. The way a commercial or radio jingle is understood and reacted to has a lot to do with the background music believe it or not.
Take the research found in “Effects of tempo and familiarity of background music on message processing in TV advertising: A resource-matching perspective” by Minhi Hahn and Insuk Hwang for example. Much of this work theorizes that the way a commercial or advertisement is perceived and how well that product or service is sold has a lot to do with the tempo and familiarity of the music in the background. It is thought that a person’s previous association to a particular piece of music can heavily influence whether or not they will be interested in buying whatever the commercial attached to it is selling.
Taking this a step further brings the tempo of the background music into play. Certain tempos within various songs are actually thought to create a stronger possibility of message recall. Now if that doesn’t encourage you to be more thoughtful with your background music choices, we are not sure what will!
Background Music Types
There are many different types of background music. Mostly these categories relate to which kind of media project you plan to use them with. It’s important that you take great care when choosing your background soundtrack, and that you keep the type of project in mind.
Here are some common types of background music:
Background Music for Film
Background music for film must be very carefully chosen. These pieces of music will show a strong correlation between whatever the genre, theme or goal of the film is, and the emotions that it is trying to evoke.
Take for example, a big blockbuster drama film. Using song choices meant for a clown carnival act will greatly take away from the emotion that the filmmaker wants the audience to feel. Being careless with background music is a slap in the face to the entire production… crew, actors and everyone else involved is included. This type of faux pas can also affect future film reviews, not just for the production you make the mistake in, but for productions you are a part of in the future. No one wants to be associated with this type of rookie mistake.
In addition, when choosing background music for film, it is equally important to choose music that you are actually allowed to use. Free background music for videos is all over the Internet, but using this type of music can be incredibly detrimental to film production as it is likely used in many other videos and you have no control over what type of scene it is attached to. In addition, you may end up having issues with distribution in the future if you use free background music.
Background Music for Television
Background music for television is often used over and over again in various episodes of the same show. The audience tends to gain comfort from the background music that plays during similar types of scenes. Take the songs used in popular current television series, like The Goldbergs or Stranger Things. These shows have utilized a lot of different story lines, and have incorporated a very trusty and well-utilized library of background music to evoke certain emotions in particular scenes. Stranger Things even won an Emmy in 2017 for their theme music, so it’s clear how powerful the soundtrack attached to a television show can be.
When a character in one of these shows is sad, certain music plays. When they made a mistake, there is familiar music playing as well. Hearing this music over and over again causes the audience to already know what is likely going to happen. This is a very powerful aspect of background music for television.
Background Music for Radio
Background music for radio comes in various forms. Of course, since radio is based entirely on what you hear and not what you see, music and sound effects of all kinds are incredibly important.
When exploring background music for radio, you have to think about its use in different areas of a particular radio program. Take your favorite radio show in the morning -- maybe the nationally syndicated Elivis Duran & the Morning Show possibly?
This show has a particular set of sound effects, and regular top hits that are played throughout their 4-hour morning program. However, there are also particular background songs that are played when the Topic Train segment airs, or the Phone Tap. In addition, there is particular background music associated with their news reports and trending topics.
So, one interesting facet of background music for radio is that you can pop on the radio in the middle of a segment, and even though you cannot see what is going on, if a particular background song is playing, you’ll immediately know what they are generally talking about. This is because you can associate that particular music with a beloved radio segment. This shows how truly paramount background music can be, even on the radio.
Background Music for Sports Video
When it comes to sports-related videos, it’s important that the right atmosphere surrounds any production that is created. Every athletic program is represented by a certain type of music. It’s important that the background music is completely in-line with the message that is being put across the finish line.
Just take a moment to step back from whatever production project you are currently working on, and think about very specific situations in sports. Consider a moment in time in which an individual is catching their first pass on the football field, the crowd is going wild, everyone is on their feet… and the professional in the sound booth accidentally hits the wrong button, causing a very inappropriate piece of music to play in the background. -- The next day, the headlines are going viral -- “Massive Faux Pas at Dodgers Stadium, Crazy Music Choice by the Production Staff.” Instead of the headline being about the amazing play on the field, everyone is laughing about the music choice.
Regardless of how important you may personally feel these choices are, clearly when it comes to background music, the little things matter.
Background Music for Video Games
Background music for video games absolutely must be licensed. To make a profit off a video game that you’ve created, you’ll need to show potential distributors a lot of paperwork to get past this stage. To see economic success in the long run, you’ll want to invest in properly licensed background music for video games at the beginning of your journey.
In addition, much like the way it enhances the story line in other types of media productions, background music for video games is key to conveying the proper emotions within the game’s story. Although there are many different types of video games and some storylines are much more intense than others, every game does have a backstory and it’s best told against a carefully crafted soundtrack.
Background Music for Workout Videos
Do you have a favorite exercise video that gets you going? Maybe it’s the instructor, or the type of exercise being done -- perhaps you’re a Zumba buff? Whatever it is that helps get you moving, could you imagine it without the specific soundtrack that was chosen? Probably not.
When it comes to exercise, dance, or basically any type of movement-based enjoyment, music plays a key role. Many people that like to run outdoors or go to the gym to do cardio workouts rely on their digital music players to get them through. The rhythm of their exercise soundtrack is a key player in helping them get fit. This type of music in a workout video can easily be categorized as background music.
This is an excellent example of a time that you do not want to use free background music for videos. The last thing you want to do is spend your production budget creating a top-notch workout video only to get stopped at the distribution stage because you’re utilizing an unlicensed track.
Free Background Music for Video
Now that you know more about some of the main types of mediums in which background music is a necessity, it is very clear that free background music for video is not worth using.
Simply typing this term in a Google search will give you more options than you could ever imagine, but if you carefully examine all of these options, you’ll find most companies offering free background music for video are offering the same common tracks. You never know if the background music you choose for your sports video is also being used in a car commercial or a sitcom.
Overall, it’s most beneficial to invest in a music licensing contract with a trusted company. Reach out to TunEdge to find out more about getting this process started.