I try to be tactful and constructive in my appraisal of content marketing videos I see on YouTube, but there are times where I feel the need to be blunt. Yes, your music sucks. There, I said it. But it doesn’t have to suck. Here are some of the main reasons your video’s music sucks.
- There’s no need for it.As with anything you put out there, there has to be a need or a reason for it to exist. Many times, a music bed is really unnecessary, but novice video producers think they need to have one. Hey, all these other ones have it, right? Don’t be derivitive. If it doesn’t feel like it needs music, don’t add music. It’s that simple.
- It doesn’t suit the context of the video.Sometimes, the music just doesn’t make sense. This doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, your audience will know it. It’s very off-putting. Music, like any other element, has a purpose. Use it to enhance the scene by picking the right music to fit the tone of the piece. Don’t let your audience be distracted by a bad music choice.
- The music is just plain bad.Musical taste is subjective, but more often than not, music used in informational YouTube videos just plain sucks. Most of the time it’s a function of what’s available. You shouldn’t use commercial music in your video without license due to copyright restrictions, but the stuff that’s freely available in a pinch is free for a reason. Even some of the more affordable music libraries out there sound dated and stuffy. Your music doesn’t need to sound like elevator music. There are good, freely available music tracks out there. Search for Creative Commons licensed music, and if you’re using it for your business, make sure the CC license allows commercial use. Try sites like archive.org and freemusicarchive.org. I find much of my stuff there.
- The music is too loud!!!!If you’re using music in a part of your video that features narration or other elements you want the audience to hear, don’t pump the music! This is probably the biggest faux paus I see in novice video marketers’ edits that really destroys the impact of their message. It’s like someone trying to give you their phone number in a loud rock club. Your audience shouldn’t have to strain to hear what you’re saying. Watch your video several times before you upload it and make sure you can clearly understand what’s being said over the music. Learn how to control your music levels, and more importantly, how to dial down parts of the music selectively. Most people will just lower the overall track volume, but many music tracks will have periods of highs and lows they don’t account for. Software like Sony Vegas Movie Studio has “track envelopes” for audio levels that allow you to set music levels up and down over the course of the music track to compensate for these differences.
- Your music cuts off at the end.If your music track is longer than your video, sometimes it’s tempting to just clip off the end and call it a day. Many videos end and the music just cuts off abruptly. It’s a very awkward way to end something you’ve spent so much creative energy putting together. Gracefully fade down the music at the end of the video. It’s a little thing, but it’s the cherry on the top of a well-produced video production.