How To Choose Music For A Video

Posted by JasonNorth on November 19, 2012

Choosing music for a video can be a daunting task. We’ve all experienced the power of music to engender emotions. From happy to sad, fear and apprehension to joy, music has the power to magnify – or undermine – the intended emotional impact of a video.

There are a few key questions to keep in mind as you evaluate potential music for your video.

  • Who is your target audience? This first question may seem obvious, but it’s a crucial starting point. While music styles and trends change over time, an understanding of your audience should be your first consideration. Ask yourself who will be watching the video, and what kind of music they like. In other words, a commercial for AARP should probably not have a “Gangnam Style” music bed. A video promoting an energy drink will be better served by an urban, drum-heavy piece than an orchestral, classical-sounding music track. Pretty obvious, right? There are exceptions, of course, but the style of music should support and enhance the emotional feel of the video. The two should agree.
  • What is the pacing or tempo of the video? Do the cuts happen in quick succession, or is the video slower-paced, with each clip lasting several seconds? Once again, the two should be in agreement. A fast-paced video, where cuts happen frequently and quickly, feels better with a faster music bed, where the tempo and driving rhythm keeps pace with the edits. A more reflective, slower-paced video, meanwhile, is enhanced by slower, more flowing music, where the reduced tempo seems to support – rather than dictate – the timing of the video edits.
  • Where do I find my music? Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, the final step is finding it. There are a number of sources for royalty-free production music. A simple web search will turn up reasonably-priced sites such as and Many video-editing software packages, such as Apple’s Final Cut Studio, also come with libraries of production music.

I hope this gives you some ideas as you begin your quest for the perfect music to bring your video project to life.

How do you determine the type of music to use in videos, and where has it made a difference? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.