So you’ve emerged from that dark, all-absorbing rabbit hole of editing and your project ships in two days. Or one day. Or a few hours. But...you haven’t thought about music yet. What do you do?
We talked with our creative teams to come up with three simple tips to help in those moments when you need to find music but you’re running out of ti-
1) If you don’t know what you want, know what you don’t want
Do you want a song that has banjo in it? Does your video need a little metal music in the background? No? Believe it or not, this is a good place to start. Make a list of what the music shouldn’t sound like, and go from there. You’ll be surprised how much it can narrow down.
“Knowing what you don’t want is helpful because you can avoid falling in love with a song that is almost perfect," says Music Supervisor, David Katz. "This is important to avoid when you’re on a tight timeline. Normally if it’s a song we have stems for, we can customize it, but we require a minimum of 72 hours to turn around a first pass. So knowing what elements you don’t want will increase the potential to get a song licensed on a tight timeline."
2) Identify what you want the mood or tone of the project to be
Most music licensing websites will allow you to filter a search for songs by things like mood or emotion. When approaching the process, ask yourself the following questions, according to Producer, Katy Davidson:
Who’s the target audience?
What is the film supposed to feel like?
How are you supposed to feel at the end?
What’s the main takeaway of the project?
These are things that can help you identify the emotional tone of the project.
Or, you can view it even more simply: “Usually, you can think of it kind of black and white, like either you want a project to be optimistic, or maybe you want it to be a downer and more serious,” says David. “Or maybe you want it to start as being a downer and then open up to like an optimistic ending. Knowing those types of things helps.”
3) Be as specific as possible when you reach out about a song.
You’ve decided to reach out to a team of experts to help — first of all, it’s good you reached out! They’ll hustle so you don’t have to. Second of all, all of the details that you have and can give — we’re talking your timeline, your budget, your terms (i.e. web only for one year) will get things rolling faster by saving back and forth emails that suck up your already limited time.
“Sometimes it helps if they just come right out with the budget so we can get that negotiation rolling while we search,” says Katy. “It would be good for them to come prepared with some kind of creative brief, even if it’s just some kind of YouTube reference of a song, so that we can move quickly on finding music for them.”
David Katz seconded the importance of a reference song. “Usually, if you know what you want, like if you know you really want a Chet Faker-sounding song, then send us a ref to that,” he says. “That’s usually the best way to get quick results from us.”
4) Drink some water
Okay, our creatives didn’t mention this. But have you had a drink of water post rabbit hole times? You’re welcome.