Music is very important when it comes to setting the tone of your video. It can evoke emotions to feel a particular scene, it can give you goosebumps, it can also disorient you from the scene. So, selecting the right song that expresses the theme of the scene is crucial when you’re making your video.

A hand on a wooden electric guitar.

Music has the power to evoke emotions.

Matti Haapoja is a director of Photography from Finland based out of Toronto, Canada. He is also the face of the self-titled youtube channel, formerly known as Travel Feels. In this video, he gives tips on how to choose the right music for your video.

There are a lot of music licensing sites around the internet, especially for youtube content namely, PremiumBeat, Artlist, EpidemicSound etc. Whichever platform you choose, here’s how you can select the best music –

1) Watch your footage

You have to go through your footage to get a good idea of what kind of shots are you gonna use and how you are gonna tell the story. Just put all the shots on a timeline and see them through to get the feel of the edit. Does it have a cold arctic feel or is it a warm summer day or are there people, are they happy? Sad? Etc.

2) Don’t go too Niche

Everyone has different music tastes, so do you. But when you’re making a video you have to create a balance between the kind of music you like and the kind other people will like. If you opt for very niche music, you’re limiting the size of your audience. But at the same time, you need to have your own individuality so that your video doesn’t feel generic.

3) Tempo and structure

If you want fast paced cutting, then you can’t use a slow song for that. Similarly, you need to make sure the structure of the song matches your edit. Some songs have a repetitive pattern, while others have highs and low points. Do those points meet similar high and low points of your video? We need to take all of this into consideration. Here is an example of a video we made, where we used to the structure of the song to bring out the character of the city of Mysore.

If you want more resources about editing, you should check out our post on Walter Murch’s 6 rules of editing.