Why Licensing Music Can Improve Your Project’s Appeal

 “The rug really tied the room together.”

Bob Dylan fades out and we hear The Dude talk about the importance of a stolen rug. It tied things together. The same could be said for the songs in The Big Lebowski. Any fan of the film knows how important those tracks are, featured even more prominently than the score. Like the rug in Lebowski’s living room, the right music can tie a film or video project together, making a grander sense out of separate elements.

Whether you’re creating an advertisement, a TV show, or web short, your video project benefits from the addition of smartly placed music to synchronize (“sync”) with the moving images. A properly selected song not only lends an air of professionalism to a video, but also makes your production more memorable. In extreme cases, a well-placed piece of music can even add emotional weight to a project that wouldn’t have hit as hard without it.

Music taps into memory.

And we don’t have to point to cult classics like The Big Lebowski. Think of a particularly impactful TV commercial or scene from a favorite childhood show. Chances are you remember the song playing as much as the images on the screen. That’s because – as humans have known for thousands of years (but have only recently began studying) – music is inextricably tied to our emotions and memories. Even a simple audio cue (think of the soft piano notes plunked during the heartfelt scenes in every ‘90s ABC sitcom) triggers a specific emotional response.

The right song doesn’t have to eat up your budget. 

Those shows you’re remembering were probably huge network projects with budgets in the millions. Even today, ads you see on Hulu, YouTube or cable TV (remember cable?) can have big budgets too. What if you’re an indie producer with a project budget in the thousands or even hundreds? How do you add emotional heft and memorability to your work without plummeting into the red or using music unlawfully? AudioMicro’s got you.

Don’t let sync clearance hassles slow down your production. 

The first concern when licensing music for placement is fully clearing the song you’re interested in. This may sound like common sense, but it’s good to get the fundamentals out of the way first. 

If a music supervisor wants to use a popular major label song in a TV show, they might have to wait for the label to talk to the publishers and for six different songwriters to talk to the label to talk to the publishers to talk to the… 

You get it. Acquiring sync permission can be an inefficient process. 

Since AudioMicro uses royalty-free music specifically created to be synced, nothing licensed through AudioMicro requires any further clearance. No tracking down every party involved in the recording and composition just to clear 30 seconds of sound. It’s a one-stop-shop for fully cleared music, so you can use it in your YouTube video without fear they’ll pull it for copyright reasons. The copyright is already secured!

Support other creators while avoiding years of complicated accounting.

Royalty free music isn’t just great for the user, but also the creator. Some people think that “royalty free” means “free from revenue for the artist.” Not so. But what actually is “royalty free”? It means you pay only once to clear a track, and once you’ve paid you can use it as much as you like in accordance with the uses of the standard license.

This doesn’t generate royalties on the back-end per use, but it does generate revenue upfront from the fee you pay to use the song. That fee then gets paid to the creator of the music after AudioMicro takes their cut, which is significantly lower than other licensing companies. You get to license a song for a reasonable price, and the artist makes more money. It’s creators and users supporting each other; a beautiful thing! AudioMicro also allows PRO-affiliated songwriters, which means you’re licensing music created by serious, professional songwriters and not hobbyists looking to get a few placements as a side gig.

Don’t settle for okay tracks. Find EXACTLY what you’re looking for. 

So which creators take part in this mutually beneficial endeavor? Hundreds! Peruse the genres in this catalog of royalty free music. Need some reggae for a chill travel commercial? How about some heavy gosh-dang metal for a fight scene? Or maybe you’re a social media fitness influencer and need some good workout jams. The extent of the catalog means you’re sure to find something that’ll set your project apart from the competition.


In the old days of music licensing, there were enough roadblocks in securing a song placement to discourage even the heartiest music supervisor. The Coen Brothers must’ve had their work cut out for them clearing all the songs in Lebowski.

Many of those hurdles are still there for big-budget projects licensing recordings and compositions that have upwards of 10 copyright owners, but AudioMicro helps you overcome obstacles by combining the entire music licensing process into one simple step.

Once you find the song you want to tie your project together, all the licensing is done at once. This is the 21st Century. Shouldn’t things be easier than they were before?


Greg Majewski has written about heavy tunes for Invisible Oranges, Metal Bandcamp and his own blog, Luminous Deluge. When not writing he can be found at the gym or scouring forums and blogs for obscure ‘90s death metal. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his fiancée and hundreds of plants.

Navigating the Landscape of Royalty Free Music

3 Tips To Make Your Life Easier

Any seasoned editor will tell you that finding music for a client is the bane of their existence.  They will also tell you it’s the most time spent with the least amount of pay off.  Hearing things like, “I don’t totally hate it,” or “well it’s not totally terrible” or my personal favorite, “love the cut, hate the music” regarding a cut you show a client that was supposed to be ‘final’ draft, will induce responses that are unbecoming of the totally ‘sane’ people we editors are.  I say ‘sane’ lightheartedly as we all know you have to be a little crazy to enjoy sitting in Premiere sifting through your client’s content, trying to piece together a puzzle that would make Walter Murch proud.  

Through years of experience, I’ve come up with three easy steps to steer you in the right direction for when you put on your newly delegated ‘producer’ hat and have to scrape the Internet for the perfect track or sound effects that will help you sell your edit.

#1: Know Your Client

This may not always be easy, especially with a new client, but knowing their taste in music is super helpful!  This goes far beyond that though and reaches deeper than knowing their genre of choice.  I don’t have to tell you that music and the psychology of sound are way deeper than the music itself.  Knowing things like the client’s age and upbringing, types of film they enjoy, and what their favorite color is, etc. will help you to determine their musical taste.  Now obviously you won’t always get a chance to do extensive research on your client, nor will you always get to hand them a questionnaire that will answer some of these things.  But as anyone who has read this far will know, nowadays we are more than likely the videographers shooting, as well as the editors, and we tend to wear multiple hats throughout production.  I often tell my clients that I’d like to be on set during the shoot days if I’m not the one shooting, just so I can better understand them and their vibe.  Simple things like letting them choose the music on set, or discussing favorite films, colors and clothing/fashion can all be super useful pieces of information that can be gleaned simply by you being there on set interacting with them.

#2: Know your Footage/Content

This one should be obvious as an editor, but I’d be lying to you if I told you every edit I do, I sift through all the footage and watch ALL of it.  We of course scrub through a majority of it, but in today’s fast-paced environment of Post production, where they wanted it yesterday, it’s hard to view it all.  There are a few key things to check for that can really help you understand the intention/direction of the edit and thus start you in the right direction for your music search.  

The first and obviously most telling thing, is frame rate.  I shoot and edit a variety of content from underwater, to fashion, to narrative, and one thing that’s always changing is the frame rate.  For the majority of my fashion clients, I shoot in slow motion for a couple of reasons, one to help smooth out less than ideal camera work when clients don’t want to pay for a Free Fly Systems movi pro gimbal and/or ready rig vest for stabilization, and two because life is just more sexy in slow motion. (If it wasn’t, the infamous Baywatch running scene wouldn’t have been a thing.)  Based off of that info alone, I know a slower song is in order to match the mood and vibe of the slow-motion footage.

Another key piece of information to look for in footage is color. How did the DP light the scene? Did he have a lot of color contrast? Is it heavily gelled, or are the color palettes neutral?  This is hard to assess if you’re looking at log or raw footage but hopefully your DP was nice to you and shot proxies with a look baked in so you can get a sense of what he was going for.  Better yet, maybe he was nice enough to give you the LUT he was using to monitor color on set.  By looking at the color, you can begin to get a feel for the mood of the piece, which again, gets you started in the right direction for your musical hunt.

#3: Know your Audience/Target Market

Now this one can be difficult because with the ‘budget squeezing’ we’ve been seeing in our industry, more and more clients are creating less content and pitching it to all the markets, hoping it will land with a few of them. But if the client has a target market in mind for the content, this can be extremely helpful.  For example, one of the brands I work for is a rental-based fashion brand.  Their customers can rent ‘looks’ for the month and can either return them or can purchase and keep their look permanently.  This knowledge helps me understand their target market a bit better and since it’s fashion client, I know the content is going to be seasonal and trend driven. 

That’s an example for one type of client and content creation, while another example is my underwater shooting.  This tends to be slow motion and depending on where I’m diving, determines the water color, either green or blue, which addresses step one and two, but leaves it open ended on step three the ‘target audience’.  For most of my underwater personal work (i.e. not for TV or commercials) I have a theme of conservation, therefore I can better determine my target audience.  With conservation you want to reach a broad audience. You want the older generations to see and hear your message but really, I think it’s more important for the younger generations to see and hear the message.  They are the future, will be coming into voting power, and will be the ones most affected by climate change.  Therefore, my target audience, although broad, will lean towards a younger market.

These tips are the first three areas I consider before I begin my music search, and honestly, it helps me cut my time in half.  An added benefit is it also allows me to find songs for later projects as I’m browsing for the current project, since I’ve come to learn my repeat client’s aesthetics, style, and target audience.  I’ll have days where I’m browsing through AudioMicro.com and I’ll hear a song that may not be right for my fashion client, but would be perfect for that sustainable fish sourcing project I’m working on, so I’ll download it and save it for later.

Hopefully, these tips help you navigate your way through the bumpy seas of finding royalty free music for your client video projects.  Thanks for reading.

______________________________________________________________________________

Ryan Waller is a true nomadic soul, at heart. Finding his grounding in the world of film and motion production, Ryan has been working passionately as a colorist and editor in Los Angeles, California. Ryan’s first love though is and always has been the sea. When he isn’t working on land as a filmmaker and artist, Ryan is leading expeditions on the water teaching people the values of sustainable fishing and proper ecological practices. His merging of art and water has helped him become one of the predominant water based motion picture artists in Los Angeles.

5 Simple Tips for Editing Music in Your Videos

Create Mood and Impact in Your Video Projects

Adding music to your video projects gives them a huge boost of energy and helps you create the right feeling. Music also helps the viewer better understand the meaning of your video and guides them on how to react.

As viewers, we instantly react emotionally as music changes within a film even if what we are seeing lacks significant action. When information is being presented, music creates an enjoyable experience for the viewer and makes it easier for them to keep watching until the end.

However, adding a track to your video and simply letting it play isn’t always enough. There are simple ways you can get the most out of your music with a few editing techniques that provide big impacts.

1. Choose a Track with Musical Variety

Using different sections of one song helps you create the mood of your video project and maintain a flow of sound. By choosing a music track with variation, you can leverage different sections of the track to create the feeling that something new is happening when a track moves from mellow to dramatic, for example.

Look for tracks with faster and slower sections, tracks that add or subtract the amount of instruments during different sections, and tracks with sections that include vocals or change the vocals.

2. Match Movements to the Beat

Make sure what you are visually presenting is consistent with what your viewer is hearing by making your cuts on the beat of the music. You can avoid being predictable by cutting on different types of beats such as beats made by different instruments.

However, synching the visual and auditory experience of your video isn’t just about cuts. Listen for moments in the track when you can line up visual action with the beat of the music. You can even adjust the speed of your video slower or faster to synch better with the music moment and surprise the viewer.

3. Visualize Unique Moments in the Music

Listen for unique moments in your music track where something a little extra or different happens. It may only be a second or two, or it could be an entire 30 seconds, but either way you have to work with.

Match the unique musical moment with a unique visual. It could be captured with a change in expression, change in perspective or change in environment. If you have a longer unique musical moment, it’s a great opportunity for you to include visual footage that otherwise appears out of place.

4. Use J and L Cut Transitions

You can better connect different sections of your video project by using music to overlap your transitions and prepare your viewer for what’s coming next . This is perfect if you are cutting back and forth between quieter sections of someone talking and sections of visual action where you are using music.

Slowly introducing music before you cut to the video section where it will be used is called a J cut. Letting the music continue and fade out and down after you have cut to the next scene is called an L cut. Inside your video editing software, like Premier Pro, you’ll notice these cuts make the shape of a J or L respectively and that’s where they earn their names.

5. Drop Out and In to Music to Create Punctuation

A great way to emphasize something in your video is to abruptly cut the music, feature a scene of interest, and then start the music again. This allows you to create a strong statement, highlight a unique visual moment, or even break for a little humor.

Make your cut on the beat of the music and, if possible, at the end of a musical section. Restart the music on a strong beat and begin a new musical section. This way you will be instantly pulling your viewer back into the action of your video.

Hopefully these quick tips will help you create some emphasis and mood in your next video project. AudioMicro is a great place to find everything you need to make your projects a success, whether it be Royalty-Free Music, or premium Sound Effects.

Let us know what other tips you think would be helpful to editing video projects, in the comments below!


The Sounds Of Horror

T H E   S O U N D S   O F   H O R R O R –
The History of Horror Sounds & Techniques in Film.

Whether it be creaking floor boards in a dark deserted hallway, the ominous sounds of unsettling whispers, or the aggressive revving of an old rusty chainsaw; some sounds are synonymous with horror. It is this genre that utilizes sound design the most, and relies so heavily on what the audience hears – or in some circumstances, doesn’t hear. Understanding what types of sounds and in what combination can most effectively unsettle and sink deep into your audience’s psyche will help any creator develop a more memorable horror film, television show, or web series.

‘THE LEWTON BUS’

In fact, the notable horror cliche of the “quiet… quiet… BANG!” method is derived from the technique known as the ‘Lewton Bus.’ Producer Val Lewton famously developed the technique back in 1942’s Cat People, of lulling the audience into a false sense of security as the scared protagonist proceeds in silence for a moment of time only to be jolted by the sounds of something rather innocent.

Even though aspects of this technique have evolved with time, you can see the ‘Lewton Bus’ method now used in nearly every horror film to date and is a valuable tool for any creator to utilize in their own horror masterpieces.

THE WATERPHONE

Also known as the ‘ocean harp,” is an odd looking percussive instrument that creates all those eerie and ethereal sounds used in countless horror films including Poltergeist, Aliens, Let the Right One In, and even non horror films alike. The sounds itself is tough to describe so give it a listen and you will instantly recognize it’s spine tingling qualities.

THE CHAINSAW

Unless you’re a lumberjack, for most of us the guttural revving of a chainsaw invokes thoughts of dread and dismemberment. This in part started back in 1974 with the Texas Chainsaw massacre and has been since remade, mimicked, and turned into several homages. The chainsaw sound is just so loud and violent that it cannot help but invoke a sense of chaos and confusion as the deafening sound itself grabs the viewers complete attention, puts them on edge, and does not let go.

METAL SCRAPING

Whether it be Freddy Krueger’s claws opening, Jason’s machete scraping against the wall as he meanders towards his victim, or Sweeney Todd sharpening his straight razors before he begins a shave to close for comfort. The sound of metal scraping inherently flags as a warning sign to the audience. You may not even see the object itself but hearing the sound tells you something bad is going to happen. We commonly identify metal scraping as a knife, blade, or weapon of some sort and hearing the sound triggers something basic in us screaming DANGER!

A SCORE THAT WILL DRIVE YOU MAD

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! Jack’s slow descent into madness throughout 1980s The Shining has a intensely unsettling musical score to match. Letting the music indicate the tone and mood of your piece is paramount and is just as an important character as even your protagonist that needs to have its own arch and development. Using The Shining as our example Jack at the start of the film is an aspiring writer who took an off season caretaker job with his family; The music meanders along at a lulling pace. By the end of the film he’s chasing his own kid through a hedge maze with an axe and the music is just pure chaos!

What do you think?
We’ve only begun to scratch the surface on all the horror sounds that make your skin crawl.  Let us know your favorite and most iconic horror sounds in the comments below!  And if you are looking to spice up your horror piece with some memorable sounds – whether it be eerie atmospheres, screams, shocks, creaking, cracking, breaking, or just good old fashioned gore – then be sure to check out AudioMicro.com for all your horror sound needs!

We’re always here to support you in your creative endeavors!