This blog article links to three play lists containing the type of production music I see used most often in TV commercials and video presentations. By “type” I don’t necessarily mean specific music sub-genres (punk rock, progressive trance, etc.) but rather moods or energy levels most often required by a video editor trying to tell a story. This will hopefully help media producers conduct better music searches and also help musicians understand what makes a royalty-free music track successful.
Certainly, the musical vocabulary in which these emotional messages are communicated has changed and evolved over the years. But the three core aesthetics, which are a) “This is cool. Pay attention.” b) “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.” and c) “We’re doing good things.” – has remained the same.
MusicRevolution.com uses “Music Bins” which are similar to play lists in iTunes. The music bin URLs included in this blog will open the MusicRevolution homepage with that bin pre-loaded in the lower left side of the page. All music in the bins is available for commercial licensing.
Music that says: “This is cool. Pay attention.”
This UPS commercial features a type of music I’ll call “Information Underscore”:
The soundtrack contains lots of motion, but not much melody or drums. When I compose music like this, I like to imagine what a full band would play in a concert right after the singer says, “Break it down!” and starts to initiate some kind of audience chant: You’d hear some busy rhythmic comping from guitars and keys, but very little from the back up singers or drummer. The idea is too let things breathe.
Click here to see a bin containing five “Information Underscore” tracks by Simon Wolfe, Shockwave-Sound and Scewby Mundo (look to the lower left).
Music that says: “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
This Cartoon Network bumper for Adult Swim features a “Quirky Fun” kind of vibe which is frequently needed for videos:
Tracks like this are often busy but simple. In my own writing, I often used retro elements like lo-fi horn samples and surf guitars to make it goofier.
Click here to see a bin containing five “Quirky Fun” tracks by Skip Peck, Dmitry Lifshitz, RAD Music and Shockwave-Sound (look to the lower left).
Music that says “We’re doing good things.”
The soundtrack in this Visa commercial is an example of what I would call “Feel good rock”:
The guitars are big, but not overly distorted. It’s in a major key. The mix is full. And the music composition is based more on a single catchy rhythm part rather than a screaming guitar solo or vocal melody. It’s like an intro to a great alt rock song from the 90′s but vocals haven’t started yet.
Click here to see a bin containing four “Feel Good Rock” tracks by Frenetic Sound, Jeremy Luzier, Dmitry Lifshitz and Shockwave-Sound (look to the lower left).
Writing stock music in one or more of these musical veins can be tricky for a musician that has never actually scored to picture. A creative workaround, however would be to use a “dummy” video or “dummy” VO which you can play along with your track to see if your track is close to the mark.
In a future blog I will post links to tools like that. Stay tuned.
Mike Bielenberg is a professional musician and co-founder of http://www.musicrevolution.com, a production music marketplace where media producers and business owners can license high-quality, affordable music from a online community of musicians.