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Why That Royalty Free Music Library Won't Cut It For Your Brand (5 Reasons)

Topics: Royalty Free Music, Music Library, Music Tracks for Advertising, Podcast Music, Music for YouTube Videos, Jingles for Ads, Commercial Music and Sound Design, Stock Music

By Max DeVincenzo, CEO & Founder Fox Tracks Music


There’s a reason it’s called 'canned' music in the music industry. That pre-made stock music you find in a library is simply that - 'canned'. It's low quality, cheap, generic, and wasn't made to match your brand or sync up with your video. Sure, sometimes you can find a piece of music that's close, but for those of us who take pride in our brand, 'close' isn't good enough. Trying to find a piece of stock music that fits your brand is like trying to find a pre-painted portrait that looks like you!

"Trying to find a piece of stock music that fits your brand is like trying to find a pre-painted portrait that looks like you!"

On the other hand, when a piece of music is actually composed for an ad or video and fits the mood perfectly, the consumer finds themselves completely immersed in the story and engaged. By working with a producer who takes the time to understand who your company is, you’ll be rewarded with music that fits your brand, because it IS your brand. We call this sonic branding in the music industry and it's how companies take pride in their brand and cut through the noise.

Without further ado, here's 5 reasons why you should leave the canned music on the shelf...

#1 Music is the quickest way to the heart (and the wallet!)

Music is the quickest way to the heart. This is why some of the most iconic films and ads are accompanied by timeless and memorable music that makes us cry, excites us, or leaves us with a sense of nostalgia. Since purchase decisions are completely emotional, it's also the most obvious benefit of having original music made for your brand.

Maybe you want your brand to feel ‘warm’ ‘authentic’ ‘powerful’ and ‘masculine’. Can't you just imagine what that should sound like? Maybe you want a piece of music that fits your boutique bakery and you want it to feel 'comforting’ ‘sweet’ and ‘happy’ but not syrupy or fake (you would never put fake sweetener in your cupcakes!). The question is this: How do you want your brand to feel to your audience? What kind of emotional response do you want your customers to have? Music and sound serve to make the point you’re trying to make and tell the story, so make sure to get music that does its job.

#2 Good Sonic Branding is literally unforgettable

"What would you dooOOoo for a Klondike bar?"

"Like a good neighbor, StateFarm is there!"

"Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that that KIT KAT BAR!"

Companies figured out years ago that they can use a piece of music that gets stuck in your head (AKA an 'earworm') to create iconic and memorable ads. Here's a little bit about how that works: "An event, an emotion and a song get bound together in a part of the brain called the medial pre-frontal cortex (...) When someone hears that music later on, it's like the tip-of-the-tongue effect. The memory is there; the sound helps bring it front of mind.”

We all know the feeling of hearing a familiar song and being instantly transported back to driving your convertible down the coast of highway 1. Or hearing that one Tom Petty song that instantly brings you back to a specific memory. Modern brands also use this effect to their advantage. Just take a listen to the sounds of Snapple (the cap!), Skype, Apple, Coke, Volkswagen (the Jetta doors!), and United Airlines. The most timeless ads are the ones we can sing from memory, and the strongest brands are the ones who pay attention to their sound.

#3 A good sound is a good association

You know this already: any time a potential customer ‘touches’ or interacts with your brand, they are developing an association. Do you want your customer to hear something original and unique to your brand, or hear something for the 27th time that reminds them of kindergarten music class? If the ad is great, but the music is conflicting, it’s going to give the viewer a sense of inconsistency which will reflect poorly on your brand. These kinds of associations are entirely unconscious, but can be lethal. Don’t be lazy when it comes to the final step of advertising - the audio is the most memorable, most emotional, and the most important connection you have to your audience. Don’t forget to define your brand by its sound. What do you want your audience’s experience to be as they view your product?

"Do you want your customer to hear something original that describes your brand, or hear something for the 27th time that reminds them of kindergarten music class?"

#4 Your ad shouldn't sound like a bunch of noise

A 'mix' is the balance of all the different audio elements in a piece of music . A good mix sounds full, bigger than life, and pops out of the speakers. A bad mix sounds incoherent and like a big pile of sound mush. You probably have a voice-over actor reciting your copy, plus sound effects, ambience, and music all happening at the same time. It takes a skilled composer and a solid mix to create music that fits within the sonic range of a produced film or ad without conflicting. If there’s a female voice-over talent for example, the music should be lower in pitch and be in a key that compliments but doesn’t distract from their voice. This is why the film mixers get the big bucks and why Hollywood doesn’t mess around with canned music. If you have conflicting elements in your ad it can create a sense of confusion in the listener and words may be misunderstood.

#5 Stock music is made from bad ingredients

One thing stock music always misses the mark on is the sound quality. The reason stock music is cheaper than custom produced underscore is because it's made with loops, software instruments, samples, and MIDI Instruments. This is why a lot of the music you hear in libraries sounds flat or cheesy. Nowadays a stock music composer can hop on their computer and make something in Garageband with the loops and instruments included in the program. The composition might be okay, but at the end of the day there aren't any live instruments recorded on the track so the whole things sounds robotic.

This is why we use our team of professional studio musicians to record their parts - the organic feel and musicality of a real instrumentalist will always shine through in a piece of music. It's something stock music will never be able to replicate and we love supporting working musicians.

Take pride in your brand what it sounds like

The best radio commercials all feature completely original music that pull you in, and TV/Movie themes are what excites us time and time again and well-written podcast themes create deep associations with listeners. Brands who take pride in their image and customer associations all pay attention to what they sound like.

Questions? Give us a shout!



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