close menu

9 Hacks and Tricks to Add Music to Video

9 Hacks and Tricks to Add Music to Video

We, humans, absorb data from the outside world and process it using 5 sensory channels – hearing, vision, smell, touch, and taste. Based on this, psychologists have defined 3 learning stylesThe VAK modelOne of the most used classifications of the learning styles proposed by Fleming and Mills in 1992. that indicate the individual’s preferred means of learning new things. 

  • 65% of the population are visual learners, and they comprehend the world by seeing it; 
  • Around 30% of people are auditory learners, so they better pick up new information and ideas through listening; 
  • The other 5% are kinesthetic learners – they need to touch, smell, or taste an object to get familiar with it. 

Infographics: the three main learning styles

These stats make it clear why video is such a powerful tool to get to the minds of people: it appeals to 2 main channels of perception – vision and audition – at once.

With the mix of moving image and audio, it is even possible to evoke other sensors and make people experience the full range of emotions. That’s why ASMR videosASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response)is a relaxing, often sedative sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down the body. Also known as “brain massage,” it’s triggered by placid sights and sounds such as whispers, accents, and crackles. are so popular these days. 

Thus, to create a video that would touch the hearts and stir the minds, you need to harmonically mix the two media.

In this article, we’d like to share 9 tips on how to choose and add background music to the video and make them work together perfectly.  

Olsen twins_high five

Before you start

1. Respect the copyright 

Let’s start with some regulations, and then we promise to get to more creative and inspiring stuff. 

Benedict Cumberbatch: I Promise

You probably know that almost everything on the web – including music – is copyrighted and requires a sort of permission to be used. We advise not to neglect this fact and be compliant with the regulations.

Platforms are quite strict about the use of copyrighted music in videos and it’s not a good idea to try cheating them. Algorithms are smart, and they will detect copyright infringement. 

YouTube video is blocked on copyright grounds

Blocking the video from watching is probably the best thing to happen in this case. The worst scenario comprises a lawsuit and penalties.  

It is very disappointing to spend time on the video creation only to discover you are not able to share it with the world because of the copyright issues. 

But don’t get discouraged just yet! To avoid unwanted situations, you only need to figure out some subtleties of music licensing and follow the recommendations below. 

Copyright: how to check permissions and restrictions

There are 6 different types of licensing that protect the intellectual property for music creatives. They vary depending on the use case, which is quite complicated.

But there is a quick and easy way to check if you can legally use a particular song the way you want to. This trick is applicable in case you want to add some well-known music to your video.

For instance, you are confident that the original version of I Believe I Can Fly is the only possible match for your skydiving video-classes. Nice choice!

Now go to the Youtube Music Policies section, type in the name of the song in the search field and see the summary. 

YouTube Music Policies_I believe I can fly

Well, two things to consider:

  1. If your target audience lives in any of the 17 listed countries, they won’t be able to see your videos.
  2. It is highly probable that your video will be monetized by the owner and ads will appear.

Anyways, keep in mind that the copyright owner has an exclusive right to change the policies anytime, what will inevitably affect your creative.

Also, YouTube’s directory doesn’t have information on each and every song. If you can’t find it there, you have to continue the research.

If you still can’t forget the idea of using your favorite song, here is a hack that requires some research and luck.

There are a lot of bands that do lovely cover versions of popular songs and happily share their music for free.

YouTube, however, has an opinion on that, too, so make sure to investigate the limitations.

Public domain, royalty-free music and creative commons

To avoid any risks and be sure that you use the music fairly, consider accompanying your videos with tunes that belong to one of these categories.

  • Public domain

This notion refers to the music and lyrics that are free from any copyright protection. This might happen either because the rights have expired or been forfeited.

For example, all music created in 1922 and earlier falls into the public domain in the USA. So feel free to use Jingle Bells (1857) for your Christmas commercials.

  • Royalty-free music

Two things to know about royalty-free assets:

  1. Royalty-freecopyright-free. These assets are still a form of intellectual property, and the owner retains the copyright.
  2. Royalty-free ≠ cost-free. Some audio tracks are free indeed, some require a payment. The thing is, you pay a fee once, get access to the tune and can use it however you like without a need to pay royalties to the owner.

On the web, there are a lot of resources offering millions of the royalty-free soundtracks. No doubt, you can find the best matching background music to add to your video clip. 

  • Creative Commons

The idea of Creative Commons licenses is to distribute creative works on the web and let people use these assets with no charge, but with certain conditions fulfilled. Usually, it is a simple request to attribute the original author when you use an asset in your own work. You can learn more about CC-licensed music for videos.

How to choose music for the video

2. Add music of the right spirit 

Music is known to be the best mean to evoke emotions and set a particular mood. Use it in a way that helps to convey your message and doesn’t distract the viewer from what’s happening on the screen. 

For example, a promo video about a yoga practice needs some peaceful and calm music, unlike the one you would use for an invitation to a boxing class.

3. Properly select the genre

When creating any of your content, think of your target audience first. This lies at the heart of marketing: whatever you do in your business, do it all for those people. 

Same goes for music. Make sure that your audience will love the music you choose for them, or they are likely to switch off.

Let’s say you are running a flower shop in the vicinity of a music academy. Your most frequent customers are young musicians aged from 18 to 25 found of playing the piano or violin. So it’s probably a bad idea to put heavy metal on top of your promo video. Even if you’re a huge fan of AC/DC yourself, for them it might be … surprising. 

Let’s see the difference: 

4. Choose a melody that fits the pace

It is also important to think of the tempo when you look for the right music to add to the video. 

Music should help the viewers to follow the action on the screen and guide them from one scene to another. 

Thus, if your video is about some fast-moving objects and the frames are changing swiftly, merge it with an up-tempo melody that would intensify the overall excitement. 

Conversely, slow videos with smooth transitions need some low-speed music of the measured pace. 

Here is an example of how the tempo changes the overall impression.

5. Be careful with lyrics

If you are creating an explainer video with captions, or you have a voice-over, don’t use songs with words. Lyrics are also a sort of a text, and the brain can’t process everything at once. Thus, your content becomes overloaded and difficult to consume, and the viewer might just stop watching your video altogether.

It’s a good idea to add music with words to your video in the following cases:

  1. The video is a slideshow with no extra text.
  2. The video serves the aesthetic purpose more than it does the informative one. In other words, if it’s just some beautiful scenery.

The rules mentioned above are effective here as well – the mood of the song and its contents should not contradict with the visual part.

Here is an example of how the same song can sound awkward or harmoniously in different contexts. 

Music: Miles Away & AXYS – 18 (ft. RYYZN)

How to merge video and music

6. How to add an audio file to the video

The moment you find the perfect soundtrack to add to your video, you need to get two files integrated. 

So, how to add music to a video for free?

Adding music to the video is not a complicated task, but needs some practice. There are a number of tools offering this feature, and the process is quite similar across various editors. 

Let’s take editor as an example:

Now when you have the files pulled together, just some final touches left to make the synergy more accurate.

7. Adjust the volume

To create the best possible experience for your audience, it’s essential to set the level of the sound correctly. Music shouldn’t dominate over the visual part, and vice versa.

Decide what component plays the leading role. In general, there are 2 cases: 

  1. Your clip is purely visual. When you don’t need to convey any extra contents rather than some impressive footage – turn it up and play at full!
  2. Your video comprises a verbal part. Either you do a talking-head video, apply a voice-over, or add captions, turn the music down so that it doesn’t interrupt the speaker or disturb the reader. Use neutral music and play it at about 10%.

Also, you can use the volume settings for storytelling purposes. By varying the level of the sound highlight certain parts of the video or logically segment the narrative into chapters.

8. Trim the tune to get its best part

Every melody has its ups and downs, bridges and choruses – some parts that are more energetic, more lovable than others. Some of the tunes have a very slow beginning but can surprise you with energetic beats after 15 seconds. 

If you are creating a very short video (an Instagram story, for instance), you don’t have time to wait untill the song gets to its best. Trim the tune, same as you crop the unneeded parts of the image. 


9. Make your viewers unmute the video

Now, when the perfect soundtrack has been found and accurately applied, you definitely want people to hear it. But the thing is, a lot of people watch social videos on mute. 

Let the viewers know that your video is much better with the sound on. Give people a sign to make them untangle the headphones. 

If you publish videos on YouTube or Facebook, include a call for turning the sound on and use emojis in the title or description. For example:

  • 🎵Sound on 🎵 Feel the beauty of the moment! 
  • 🔊You would regret watching it on mute! 🔊
  • [Use headphones 🎧]

Instagram and Facebook stories require a different approach as they don’t have any accompanying text. In this case, use stickers and GIFs for this purpose. Just pick up one and put it on to show that you’ve added awesome music to your video

On a high note

Adding music to video can cardinally change the viewers’ experience. Although it’s quite obvious that video needs some sound, there are small nuances to keep in mind when you choose a soundtrack for your clip and mount them together.

  • First, remember about the legal side: from the very beginning, make sure that you have the rights to use a certain asset.
  • Select the right music for your video. Define the overall purpose, type, and mood of your video. After that, choose music that correlates with the visual part.
  • Fine-tune the settings to improve the integration of the two media.
  • Finally, share your video and encourage people to listen to it, not just watch.

Happy film-making and enjoy the sound!

9 Hacks and Tricks to Add Music to Video

We’ll keep you in the loop!

Join 5,000 marketers who read our articles first