The Edit

HOW TO FIND THE BEST MUSIC FOR B2B CONTENT

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Choosing the right soundtrack can make – or break – your B2B marketing video campaign.

When it comes to crafting successful B2B video content, music plays a bigger role than most content creators realize.

Choosing the right music helps to establish a mood that reinforces the value of the message your video content conveys. Choosing the wrong music can undermine that message.

But music is a complex phenomenon. It’s not always possible to spell out exactly what makes a particular piece of music “good” or “bad”. Making that judgement call requires a great degree of sensitivity.

Savvy marketers know where to look for their musical cues for B2B video content: Hollywood.

The film industry has set the aesthetic tone video viewers, of all kinds will come to expect.  

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Assume a cinematic mindset when creating B2B video content  

Until recently, B2B video production was something of a luxury, and most B2B videos lacked the polish of a professionally produced feature film. The equipment, talent, and content was simply out of reach.

This was the period of time when flat voice acting, uninspired animation, and cringe-worthy elevator music combined to make even global enterprises look like amateurs.

Today, even small-time marketers with modest resources have access to tools and technology capable of creating extraordinarily compelling content. The barrier to entry for creating video content with Hollywood-like production quality is lower than ever, and your audience’s expectations have adjusted to accommodate that fact.

The need for a distinctive, one-of-a-kind audio soundtrack for your B2B video content comes hand-in-hand with your audience’s production quality expectations. Treating your video content like a piece of cinema is key to maximizing the impact of your messaging.

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Focus on royalty-free music that fits your tone and message

Treating your B2B video content like a Hollywood blockbuster is key. And, with the wide availability of cinema-quality royalty-free music, you’ll be able to give your video a unique soundtrack without breaking the bank.

Identifying the tone and message of your content is key to making the right musical choices with B2B content. A friendly, accessible marketing company will want to use bright, lighthearted musical cues to establish its identity with content viewers from the very first second they push the play button.

A serious cybersecurity firm showcasing its latest technology, on the other hand, may have better results with an edgy, futuristic soundtrack. Your audience’s point of reference for this kind of content is going to be made of sci-fi action-thrillers like the Matrix and Blade Runner 2049.

Content with a dramatic flair might do well paired with moody, electronic-inspired alternative rock in the vein of Radiohead, a band that has long earned its place as the go-to group for these kinds of atmospheric soundtracks. Lighter, more upbeat content can draw from the endless well of creativity that pop-rock has to offer.

All of these options are available in royalty-free format. There is no need to license an actual Radiohead song – there are hundreds of alternatives created by up-and-coming composers who are happy to let you use their work for a fraction of the cost.

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Use your soundtrack to augment your brand strengths

Your B2B video’s soundtrack will be most effective when it is playing to the strengths of the product or service you are highlighting with your video. Music makes implicit, emotional statements about the media it accompanies. Choosing the right music often comes down to identifying the things you wish to emphasize about the product or service your video focuses on:

Questions to ask yourself about product-centric videos:

  • Is your product faster, easier to use, and less complicated than its competitors? Perhaps the music you choose should reflect that. A groovy, upbeat tune communicates that your product is accessible and easy to enjoy. The simpler the music is, the simpler viewers will perceive your product to be.
  • Is your product more powerful and fully-featured than others in its space? If you want to attract the interest of power-users, you will need music that inspires confidence and authority. This can be anything from a suspenseful classical piece to a hard-hitting rock song, and anything in between.

  • Does your product solve a problem in an innovative way? There are many ways to express the idea of innovation musically. Downtempo electronica is often the go-to choice here, but you can generate similar effects with many different genres, from eclectic jazz to new-age folk.

  • Are your product’s end-users part of a demographic or cultural community? Both Kawasaki and Harley Davidson make motorcycles, but the cultural gap between the two brands is enormous. A B2B video in the motorcycle industry will need to identify its intended end-user from the very start, using musical cues and imagery to paint a clear picture of what kind of consumers its product ultimately addresses.

  • How do your customers feel before they use your product? After? By the time people get around to using your product, are they already frustrated by the problem they are trying to solve? Or are they just looking for ways to increase profits, efficiency, or some other aspect of their daily routine? Understanding the customer’s frame of mind is key to choosing a musical score that will reinforce your core value statement.

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How (and when) to test royalty-free tracks the easy way

One of the most common mistakes video marketers make is leaving music out of the picture until the very last minute. The problem with this approach is that there is no way to guarantee you will find an appropriate musical track that fits your video at its final stage of post-production.

Hollywood film producers have the luxury of being able to tell their highly-paid composers to simply whip up a new audio track every time they make substantial edits. Your royalty-free track, on the other hand, will either work great, or not work at all.

Instead of waiting, consider choosing your musical track from a well-stocked library of royalty-free music before you even start shooting. This will give you the ability to make cinematographic choices – camera angles, lighting, and set changes – that reflect the overall mood you are going for.

Finding that mood is easy to do with nothing more than a script. All you have to do is pick out a diverse selection of royalty-free tracks in multiple genres and read your script aloud over the music. Pay attention to how the words and music influence one another. You will quickly get a feeling for the type of approach that generates the best results.

When testing tracks this way, simply describing the images that viewers are going to see on-screen will help you home in on the best-fitting background music for your B2B video. When the time comes to replace those descriptions with edited images, most of the difficult creative work will already be done.

You may be surprised to find that an unexpected musical choice actually provides a sense of depth that you did not see coming at first. Experimenting at the script stage can make it much easier to fill out the rest of the blanks in the production process.

Alternatively, use a reference track

Another successful tactic is simply choosing a particular song that you already know and crafting your entire aesthetic around that. If you already have a song in mind, you may already be creating video content that speaks to the atmosphere of that particular genre.

This approach can claim one of the greatest films of all time as its pedigree. Stanley Kubrick originally intended the classical music score for 2001: A Space Odyssey to be a placeholder. The director hired a composer to replace the score with original, soundalike music, before deciding that the original pieces were too perfect – so he licensed them directly.

Today’s B2B marketers have ample access to music inspired by nearly every musical group and genre imaginable, including historical and traditional music. If you want to get the impact of a particular song in your video without having to license it directly from the creator, you are virtually guaranteed to find a royalty-free composer with the talent and inspiration you’re looking for.

A quick word on copyright expiration and public domain music

The story of Stanley Kubrick carries an important lesson to B2B video marketers. Centuries-old music like Bach, Beethoven, or Strauss is in the public domain – you can use it for any purpose whatsoever and pay no royalties. The same applies (with some notable exceptions) to any creative work more than 95 years old, or whose creator has been dead for more than 70 years.

Most of the music Kubrick used in his film was in the public domain, with one important exception. That exception – Gyorgi Ligetti – was actually present at the film’s Vienna premiere, and was shocked to see his work pirated by a world-famous director. Naturally, Ligetti sued the film’s producers, and won.

The lesson should be clear: if you’re absolutely set on using an existing song for your track, make sure you do your homework beforehand.

About the author

Austin Mitchell is a content creator for Cincopa. A powerful video hosting solution, Cincopa empowers users to untap their videos’ true business potential.

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