Written by Marjorie Dawson

Do You Add Music To Your Videos?

Do You Add Music To Your Videos?

You may have read the much-quoted statement that most people listen to videos with no sound. Why should you take time to showcase your work with a soundtrack that might cost money? [Revised 2022]

Wait a minute before you go off and make silent videos! People are listening with the sound on. Think of those short appealing movies from sites like The Dodo with the happy endings about abandoned kittens. These videos engage viewers on a higher emotional level and make a big impact because of their sweet and positive music.

All of the Dash Kitten smartphone movies have soundtracks because I believe music matters. I list my own music preferences in the resources at the bottom of this post but welcome any suggestions you have too. Dash Kitten also uses Amazon Affiliate links.

Do I hear Music A cat Listens

Do You Add Music To Your Videos? You Should!

Here’s how music makes a big difference

  • The right sounds track engages your viewer and listener’s emotions.
  • Music can add pace and excitement
  • Good music can enhance a mood
  • The right music can move seamlessly into the foreground when you are not speaking so there are no awkward silences to fill.
  • It can replace of text if you don’t want to present your message in spoken form.
  • Any music can make your movie better
  • Sponsored blog posts showcasing a product or cute adoption videos for a rescue can all be enhanced with a background soundtrack.

Choosing Music for Your Video

Don’t spend so much time on choosing the right song …. that you forget about what really matters. Your video is made to share information… Uscreen

The Uscreen quote puts music in perspective. The soundtrack is one part of your creation. Much as you will love auditioning music to find the perfect tune don’t let it take over the journey. I recommend adding music after you have edited your movie into a rough draft of the final film. When you have a clear idea of the timing and the style you know the kind of music that will work.

Set The Mood with Music

Woman editing on her ipad w
Tip: Mac editing software works in iPads too

When you play the movie think about how the music will enhance the impact or emotion of the story. Is it a low-key dramatic ‘corporate style’ presentation? A fresh and light cat product promotion? Or is it something lightweight to share with your Facebook friends?

Middle-Earth Spring

This is a short cat movie with one of my favourite tracks ‘Happy Ukelele and Whistle’ by Udo Jean. The music is in the foreground because there is no speech, and the feeling is happy and light. I admit that the short video is not straight out of Hollywood but I had to seize the moment and, like many of you, work with what I had. I think it captures a happy Spring moment of cat life.

Let me show you an example that demonstrate how music supports drama in movies and creates atmosphere. Music adds impact to every video whether it is a small fun Reel on Instagram or a major epic like Dune.

Dune

Hans Zimmer crates an alien soundscape for a world we can hardly imagine. He uses specialise singers and intrusments as well as synthesised sound to envelp the plant, and us, in something totally new.

Foreground or Background Music?

Your music can either be in the foreground (you hear it clearly) of your movie, where it can play a bigger role, or the background (as a support to the story).

If you are unsure about your voice or lack the confidence to do a voiceover, you can use a music soundtrack and add text that will tell your story. In this case, the music is in the foreground and plays a strong part in telling the story. Add music that has structure not a simple beat which people might tire of. Look for something the length of your video not something that will repeat and repeat and…….

Sometimes you need to speak on your video. Now, before you run and hide, this is not as terrible as you think. I hate my voice but other people don’t so step up, rehearse your spiel and take time to record it properly. Your music will then be in the background playing a less prominent role. Add background music to your video if your video has sections where you don’t speak. It adds colour and stops your video sounding unfinished.

woman auditioning music on her computer
Auditioning your music with company can be fun

Video Voiceover & Audio Tips

When you speak you will need to fade or ‘duck’ the music in your soundtrack so it plays quietly in the background. How you do this is slightly different in every program.

The good news is that major programs like iMovie, Screenflow and FilmoraGo have tutorials online that guide you through the process of ducking your soundtrack. YouTube is a great place to start looking. Ducking means fading the music into the background temporarily.

If you need to speak your audio needs to be crystal clear. People don’t wait around if the audio is poor. You might want to use a Lavalier lapel microphone. or a Snowball.

Add Music With Your Video Editor

The music track is added to the timeline in your video making software. Layouts may look different but there is usually a line of video clips and you drag or paste your audio clip to that. Each software is slightly different so check the software workbook, or youtube videos to see where you need to be. A bit of research makes a difference to your confidence.

This image shows where the Screenflow sound, marked ‘soundtrack’ will be. The video is a separate track and it is here you adjust your audio track.

Sound in Screenflow image
Screenflow video editor showing sound placement

If you have a video editor then you should have the ability to add music to your video. This applies to all computrer and many smartphone video editing programs. There are several major editing suites for your computer. These are some of the most established, and many have a ‘try before you buy’ option.

  • iMovie – total Apple product integration; audio and social platform integration. Now with a green screen option.
  • Screenflow – Perfect for professional voiceovers, loved by online teachers, and with great presentation effects.
  • FilamoraGo – Free basic software that becomes even more effective when you buy after trying it out.
  • Cyberlink Power Director – easy to use, sophisticated and a massive amount of functionality

How to add music to a video on your iPhone or Android

Every app or software listed above will allow you to add a soundtrack. The exact procedure depends on your software of choice. Check for how-to posts online or tutorial videos.

Adding Music to Video Later

If you have created a video and not added a soundtrack there are several options online. One that comes up regularly in my online music searches is Animoto. This a paid app is a popular tool for video content creation.

The video I created for the Neko-Ngeru Cat Cafe has music by SerginXS. I contacted him through his page at AudioJungle to show let him know how the music was used. He commented that it was great to see his composition in use, it inspired him to keep working.

YouTube has a range of royalty-free tracks for those on a strict budget. It is a stress free way to ensure you don’t break copyright laws.


Music Video Resources

EpidemicSound.com is not a site I have used but their individual monthly subscription starting at $15 gives you access to over 30,000 tracks with regular updates. They are based in Stockholm with offices worldwide and have a wide range of contributors.

AudioJungle.net is a paid site that is part of the large Envato.com who host professional creatives creating graphics, photos, video clips and audio. Each piece of music you buy is officially licensed so you buy the licence you need and are safe to use your track anywhere.

MobyGratis.com was created to brilliant oddball musician and creative musician Moby specifically for independent filmmakers providing ‘free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short’. The musician gains nothing from the site himself and all profits go to animal charities.

Once you have found the right piece just click the download icon and fill in a simple application telling us a bit about yourself and the way you are using the music. You will receive a high quality AIFF download via email instantly to use in your edit, along with a copy of the mobygratis Non Commercial Licence Agreement.

MOBYGratis Cataogue

Kevin MacLeod is a composer whose work I use here at Dash Kitten. He recently moved to a new site that is easier to navigate and is packed with quality work across a huge range. For about $22US you gain access to the entire library forever and it is worth every cent.

Marjorie Dawson

Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.

She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.

18 thoughts on “Do You Add Music To Your Videos?”

  1. Thanks for sharing this helpful post. As a newbie trying to create content on YouTube I find the royalty-free selections limited. This is a very helpful resource for finding alternative options for background music. Thanks so much. Pinning this post so I can refer back to it later.

    Reply
    • If you have a vision of what you want to say, finding the right music safely, can be a challenge but it can be done!

      Reply
  2. I watch videos without sound pretty often, I didn’t realize that that was common! But when I’m making my own videos, I always add music. It’s fun trying to find the ‘perfect’ music to fit the type of video I’m trying to create. I honestly just use the YouTube audio library to find music. I like that I don’t have to worry about getting a copyright strike, and they have a lot of music (and frequently add more!) to choose from.

    Reply
    • I agree about the YouTube library. You are spoiled for choice and as you say no copyright frustrations.

      Reply
  3. I admit I’m one of those that doesn’t usually listen to sound for videos, especially on my phone. However, I love music background with movies at the theater. I’ve experimented a little with music behind some of my videos and hope to do more.

    Reply
  4. I think music definitely helps a video feel finished. I don’t necessarily think IG stories or TikTok type videos do, but a long form video needs music.

    Reply
  5. Sometimes music can be good or bad for a video. If it fits the video just right and it needed something to make the video standout, then yes is our answer. Thanks for sharing your great tips. Have a wonderful upcoming weekend.

    Reply
  6. All great reasons to include music in videos! I confess that I watch most videos without sound. However, I do include music on my review videos — but not my quickly posted ones for IG stories or a quick share on my blog. But definitely for the more polished videos, I include music. And thank you for listing those sites! I’m always looking for new places to find music. As always, very informative!

    Reply
  7. I usually watch videos without the sound. One exception is Simon’s Cat. For the longest time, I did the same thing with their videos – and then I watched one with sound on The Boy’s phone. There’s not actual talking – but the sounds made it so much funnier!

    Reply
  8. My human used to work in post production in movies, and she loved working with the music editors! So if she is doing a formal video (properly edited, at least some sort of vague storyline, etc.) she always adds a soundtrack. Not so much just clips of me doing stuff.

    Reply
  9. I hear such nice music on Youtube videos and I wish I could add them to mine. Maybe one day I’ll be advanced enough to have great photos AND video!

    Reply
  10. Awesome post. Just shows that these things are not as hard as we think and very effective, too!
    Purrs
    ERin

    Reply

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