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Choosing copyright-free music for corporate videos

music downloadsMusic can play an important background role in a video – it can grab a viewer’s attention, lead them to make an emotional connection and create a positive brand identity.

A high-quality music track can also give your work a sophisticated, high quality feel.

But before you plan on using a bit of Queen, Beyonce or anyone else’s music in your video you will need to seek their permission. Without this, you would be infringing on their copyright ownership.

Any video we produce at Pixelwave Creative that features music will be using tracks that are either licenced or copyright clear.

To use recorded copyright-protected music in corporate videos, it generally entails buying a licence – even if we only use a small amount. And, of course, productions on a smaller budget may not have the money to pay for the right to use commercial music, so options will be limited.

We find that the most cost-effective, legal way for sharing content that features music on a website or on social media channels is to plump for royalty free music.

What is royalty free music?

Royalty free refers to the right to use copyright material without the need to pay royalties (payments that go to recording artists, songwriters, composers, publishers, and other copyright holders for the right to use their property) or licence fees for each use.

Royalty free music will be cleared for use on YouTube, Vimeo and social networks — even if you’re going to be monetising your content

Where do we get our music from?

There are some great online resources for finding the perfect music for your project. We use the following royalty free music providers:

Premium Beat copyright music

PremiumBeat – a curated library of royalty free music – is our first choice for music. It has a great user interface with powerful search filters, a wide choice of styles/genres and high-quality music composition and production.

There is a selection of track lengths – 15 / 30 / 60 seconds – and a package of loops that can be quickly used to build a more bespoke composition.

It includes stems – separate instrumental tracks for building a more bespoke composition and music can be used on multiple projects without additional licenses.

Pond5 and AudioJungle – both these music libraries have a great choice of music with high production, although you don’t have the added benefits or multiple use of the addition of loops and stems.

A quick web search will provide a host of other royalty free music providers. We always recommend checking out the licence agreement, while some of this music is free to use on personal projects, such as video blogs or a montage of your holiday photos, the licence may not cover business use.

How do we choose the right music?

It’s important to think about your target audience and the type of message you’re wanting to convey when choosing music for your marketing video.

Narrative driven videos containing spoken word require music to underscore the dialogue and not obscure or distract from the dialogue. Awards videos, however, need music that is upbeat and positive.

We always make sure our clients are happy with the music we recommend. We can provide a playlist featuring a selection of music we think would best fit a video and identity.

The majority of royalty free music libraries will provide a preview track so we can provide our clients with an edit to the music before purchasing the track (a preview track will contain an audio watermark to identify ownership).

Watch our MIBBA Judges Meet and Greet highlights video – a great example of an underscore that supports the narrative but also builds throughout the edit to create more energy & emotion.

Watch our Busy Bins mockumentary style video – a follow up to its feature on ITV’s Give It A Year.  Music chosen to evoke that dramatic documentary style show.

What happens if you share content featuring copyrighted music?

If you don’t own it, don’t use it without permission. If you’re unsure about the licensing then reach out for clarification.

On YouTube, you may receive a copyright strike and your video will be taken down if a copyright owner notifies the video website that you don’t have their permission to post their content.

Bear in mind that copyright strikes may affect your ability to monetise, your account and any channels can be shut down and all videos uploaded to your account will be removed.

When uploading a video to Vimeo, it will use a system called Copyright Match to look for music and clips that may have already been copyrighted. If the system deems your video to have copyrighted material, it will also be removed.

Worst case scenario is you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands.

In the US, exercise equipment company Peloton is being sued for copyright infringement. Music publishers have filed the $150 million copyright lawsuit, alleging Peloton has infringed more than 1,000 songs in its exercise videos set to music.

Watch our Running Wild Parties promotional video – featuring lively fun music to perfectly reflect the fun and exciting nature of the children’s party venue.

If you don’t own it, don’t use it without permission. If you’re unsure about the licensing we can help clarify your options.

Get in touch to discuss your upcoming projects and how we can help bring them to life.