loader image

How is Music Used in Advertising?

In this article, you will learn about the use of music in advertising, who uses and creates it, and how. And also where to get advertising music.

How is Music Used in Advertising?

Functions of music in advertising


In advertising, “music can serve the overall promotional goals in one or more of several capacities.” David Huron proposes six primary categories, which include: entertainment, structure and continuity, memorability, lyrical language, targeting, and authority establishment. Also, music in advertising can be used to appeal to a person’s emotions and senses. The targeting of one’s emotions is done so that the audience is swayed toward what is being advertised. Using music to influence a person’s emotional state is effective, since “music has a significant influence on the consumer’s emotional state and mood, which is an important concept in the establishment of attitudes since mood states seem to bias judgments and opinions in the same direction as the mood state”. Being able to use music in advertising has made advertisements more enticing and attention-getting for the audience. Fifteen seconds is currently the standard duration of a television commercial so advertisers need to be able to successfully grab their audience’s attention, which music does.

Read more about the categories offered by David Huron here.

Audio branding: what it is and how it works


Audio branding is the creation of musical works designed to evoke associations with a particular brand in listeners. This is a fairly broad concept, which includes both the music played in commercials and, for example, the jingles of several notes that you can hear at train stations and in the subway.

When a brand is looking for music in their video, they usually turn to a music agency, label, or creative agency. If a customer turns to a creative agency, they often turn to the label or other experts themselves, and sometimes they choose the music themselves. Where to get the music, the agency decides together with the client or with a musical subcontractor – for example, one of the companies mentioned above.

Music for a brand can be written from scratch or licensed from artists – as it is or with modifications and additions. It can also be taken from libraries and stocks (about them – below), it all depends on the specific advertising campaign.

Where does advertising music come from?


Music agencies use production libraries, they all work the same way. This is a musical fund, written on the basis of some stereotyped situations, typical scenes from films. Music from libraries is somewhat similar to each other. Therefore, the tags and descriptions of the “library” indicate compositions, styles, genres, moods, tempos – attributes by which scouts from film and advertising companies can search for this music. Music usually ends up in production libraries after manual moderation.

Production libraries usually exist in every major record company. For example – Warner Chappell, Universal Production Music. Other notable companies from this industry are Megatrax, Extreme Music.

You need to read about each of these resources separately, study their instructions, understand in detail the contracts and legal forms of interaction.

Who and how orders music for advertising


Much has changed in the history of advertising and background music, both in the ways of interaction between the customer and the performer, and in the music itself, but some basic things have remained the same.

The main idea of ​​advertising music is to be in trend, that is, the sounding music should be associated with something already stereotyped and well-known. 25 years ago it was fashionable to remake pop hits or songs from movies, today each product category has its own trendy sound. There are not many such categories – maybe a couple dozen. There is, say, a corporate sound that is associated with business, offices, promotion of services; cinematic sound associated with something global, such as sports, cars, movie trailers.

Today only big brands usually have big advertising budgets that imply writing exclusive music. Small companies prefer to buy ready-made music in non-exclusive. They have a goal to do “for inexpensive” almost the same as the largest companies because much of what is already on the advertising market is very similar to each other.

What is a ‘reference track’ and how sound engineers work with it


A reference track is a music track that often represents the mood, style, set of instruments, and character of the composition, which the music creator aligns with his work to satisfy the client’s request. This is a fulcrum, not something to be copied and plagiarized.
You can create a similar but not identical sound design, change tempo, rhythm, shuffle, swing, key, instrumental composition, change vocals from female to male or vice versa, and much more. For example, you can ‘edit’ the genre.
Sometimes three or four reference tracks are taken and the new track turns out to be their twin. Then such music can be placed next to the reference, listened to in the context of similar compositions, and it will not fall out of this playlist.

To find out how to choose the most suitable mood and style for your project, advertising, business, read this article.

What an advertising composer should know and be able to do


First of all – to be able to work on the reference track. You need to understand that the customer has in his head a certain already known melody, or at least an image, a sound. The closer the composer comes to him, the faster the result will be achieved.

You also need to be able to work with a wide variety of musical styles. An ordinary composer, as a rule, writes in his own genre, delves into details, brings the work to perfection – and this is very correct. But the specificity of the advertising market is that it needs to be done exactly as the customer requires, and often in a short time, therefore, an advertising composer is such an omnivorous music producer who knows many genres and knows how to work quickly in them.

Working with a reference track is a broad question; here you can write a small book, too many nuances. Pay attention, first of all, to the mood and harmony of the music: they should be as simple, organic, transparent-understandable, recognizable, on the verge of plagiarism, but not overstep it. The second important aspect is the choice of sounds, mixing. It is recommended to listen carefully to the reference track, copy the characteristics in parts, and mix the music with the same volume and effects.

Stock music. What is it?


Stock music is sold on special sites (stocks) and is used for scoring films, YouTube videos, sites, audiobooks, and more. Collaborating with these services is another way to purchase ad music.
The largest stock site for many years has been Audiojungle, a division of Envato Corporation that also sells videos, website templates, graphics, that is, almost everything related to content production.

There are other stocks (Jamendo, Premium Beat, Pond5), but so far they are far from the stability, quality, and scale of Audiojungle.

The advantage of stocks is a fairly wide selection of music. However, such music is rather formulaic, and if you need more non-standard music, you will have to order it individually. You need to understand the essence of the compositions that are sold on audio stocks: this as background music, which is often added to the voice of the announcer, thematic video, or audio series.

There are also more and less popular composers in this market. The prices for licenses are different, and it is worth noting that the types of music licenses themselves also differ from each other.

There are quite a lot of Royal Free Music on social media networks and on YoTube. A very important nuance today is the presence of a Content ID on YouTube. Many resources offer to issue a Content ID through them for a certain percentage or, on the contrary, put forward the presence of a Content ID as a prerequisite for cooperation. This suggests that the market for YouTube monetization and social networks for artists and their music is growing. This prevents theft and illegal use of music. To understand licenses and where to get copyright-free music read this article.

Don’t forget that the SoundAudio site provides a library of background music to download and use. You can always find the right music for your project.

Have a good mood!


Music for Content Creators

How Music Affects You Emotionally?

How Music Affects You Emotionally? We all perceive one music differently, and we perceive another the same. Our emotions, associations, and mood are to blame. Let's see how music affects our...

read more

What Does Music do to the Brain?

What Does Music do to the Brain? To the question "What is the role of music in human life?" there are many answers. Today we invite you to familiarize yourself with a number of new scientific...

read more

How to Choose Music for Business?

How to Choose Music for Business? It is enough to hear the music to understand which brand is in front of us. How to choose background music for your business and your brand? What kind of music to...

read more

How to Make My Own Background Music?

How to Make My Own Background Music?   So you've decided it's time to record some background music, but you don't know where to start or what you need to do. First of all, it should be noted...

read more