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The Art of Selecting Music For Your Production
The Art of Selecting Music For Your Production

By Michael Wynne
Content Creator & Life Enthusiast
@michaelwynnepro


By the time you finish reading this article there will have been over 300 hours of new content uploaded to Youtube alone. By the end of the day, over 5 billion videos will be watched on that same platform. In addition, over 100 million more hours of content will be watched on Facebook and fifty percent of all internet users today will look for videos to watch about a product they’re considering purchasing before visiting an online store.


Everyday, advertisers; production companies; and content creators; are striving to keep the pace creating online content with the common end goal of converting consumers into big fans using their unique brand of storytelling. For those of us who work in digital content, this means big opportunities for creation and revenue streams.


Today, advertisers have budgets for telling stories that are as large as the statistical numbers surrounding them. According to Forbes, in 2016, ad spending on digital advertising finally surpassed broadcasting with $72 billion being spent on content creation and delivery alone. In 2017, that number grew by over 23%.


Having started my career working in digital content in 2009, I was able to get my foot in the door working with newly established digital agencies creating original music, providing music supervision and post audio services. In those years, digital budgets paled in comparison to their bigger brother traditional broadcast. For each spot, there was typically just one producer and a small in-house team that executed the production from start to finish. Wearing multiple hats wasn’t a choice, it was a requirement.


A lot has changed and expanded in my world during the last nine years. Especially in the area of  music sync, licensing and acquisition. The first and most apparent change to me is how many new music providers are in the business and how crowded the marketplace has become. I’ve also seen licensing costs vary considerably and new experimental usage terms appear to become what I’ll call the wild west of intellectual property management and sync licensing.


If you’re like me and working as a professional in content creation, creating stories for big brands, trusting the lowest price music supplier from an unfamiliar source can be penny wise and pound foolish. After almost ten years of working in music sync, I’ve set quality standards in place that are a requirement for any music provider I choose to do business with. These business requirements are designed to protect myself; my clients; and enhance the integrity of the end product we’re creating.


Something I’ll share with you about music sync is that relationships are everything.There typically isn’t anyone I’ll do business with in that world who I haven’t already known for years. To establish this type of rapport is a simple and organic process that’s rooted in trust and loyalty. If I’m doing a search for something obscure like “Stars of the Lid”, I’ll often reach out directly. Having that relationship in place saves me tons of time & leg work and also gives me confidence that it’s coming from a reliable and trusted source.


Also be sure to properly secure the correct usage rights for your clients. The sync I specialize in is digital, so for that use I typically recommend to my clients that they secure rights in perpetuity for all online uses. By recommending this type of license you’re helping them cover their bases. Expect your video to do well and go more places than anticipated. The last thing you want to do is go back to your client, when that video is said and done months down the road, asking for additional money for uses that aren’t covered.


Last but not least, think quality first. I’m not just talking about the subjective type of quality that you already look for. Such as your client wanting something that sounds like there favorite band, for example, Mumford and Sons. You’ll want to make sure the track is available in at least 44.1k WAV format & not just MP3. Also see if the track has stems available and an instrumental version if there are vocals in the mix. Vocals can often compete with a voice over or even conflict with the on screen copy. Stems also allow you to change the balance of the music mix in post, or even mute some of the instruments you may want to drop out in a section to create special moments.


Best of luck to you in your quest to create new, compelling content and finding that perfect music track to go with it. Also, don’t forget to have fun during the process. Remember it’s just music after all!

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