Aug 14, 2020
*Updated May 2022
Background music has really blossomed in the past few years. It started out as basically a sort of less-boring Muzak or elevator music. Now we’ve got ambient music, chillstep, lo-fi…
If you’ve ever looked up relaxing background music for studying, writing, or just to set a laid back mood around the house, you’re already a chill background music fan.
Is this my favorite music genre? Yeah, probably. But if you’re a filmmaker, content creator, or video marketer, then it should be a go-to pick as background music for your YouTube videos and other projects too.
The truth is that chill music is a helpful tool for any visual storyteller because it helps people process and retain information. This type of background music gives you a way to control the mood, and it's that perfect mix of “laid back” and “interesting” to keep your audience’s attention.
So let’s take a look at why chill royalty free music is something you can’t afford to sleep on.
Studies have shown that music can trigger the cerebellum, a part of the brain that impacts motor functions like memory and attention. In fact, music can produce the same effect as exercise, drugs, and even sex.
As a filmmaker or content creator, this type of unconscious response to background music can be the difference between a mediocre video and a life-changing one. And if you use music correctly, you can craft your videos in a way that will hold viewers’ attention from start to finish.
Scientists have seen connections between music and the brain for a long time. The human brain loves music, and relaxing genres can actually help us focus and process information, whether that’s for studying or writing or working.
Part of that ties into our cultural history, and the fact that music has always been part of how we communicate with each other. But another part of that is how different sections of our brain process music compared to spoken words.
According to research published by Psychology Today, we can change our “mood, mindset, or perception on demand” simply by the type of music we choose. And slower music with simple, repetitive tones (you know, like chill background music) can actually slow down our thinking, which reduces distraction and helps us focus.
My guess is you want your YouTube videos and creative projects to become immersive experiences for viewers. Whether you make travel videos, explainer videos, or DIY videos, every content creator wants an audience to kind of get lost in what’s on screen.
As we covered in the previous section, music does some wild stuff to our brains. And when you layer the right music track behind the visual elements of your YouTube videos, you can guide the “user experience” of your videos almost they are customized to each person who watches them.
Sound worth looking into? It should, because that kind of power is every YouTuber's and filmmaker’s dream. Creating video is an artform, and you can use background music to push your art to the next level.
A good music track with a positive, upbeat feel can raise someone’s spirits; in the same way it affects people, it can also change the mood of a moody video and make it hopeful. Here’s an example:
Of course, you probably aren’t working on something on the scale of a major Hollywood production. But this video gives you an idea of just how important music genres are when it comes to setting the tone of a video.
Music is in the background, which means it’s subtle — a song can ebb and flow throughout a video, almost like it’s holding the viewer’s hand and leading them to different emotional beats in a story.
Obviously there is a whole lot of science that explores how humans interact with music. That means you can explore how to use different genres and see how it changes your YouTube videos, controlling the mood and making sure every piece of the project helps you achieve your vision.
Now you know how valuable background music can be, which is great. The less-great news is that you can’t just go out and find any lo-fi, chillstep, or relaxing music track on YouTube and drop the audio into your project timeline.
In order to protect your videos — and your reputation as a filmmaker — you’ll have to license each song. Platforms like YouTube have become pretty aggressive about copyright claims, and the last thing you need is to have your hard work taken down (or monetized by someone else) because you used a music track illegally.
Each song will have at least one copyright holder (and potentially up to a dozen of them). That means that in order to license a music track, you’ll need to get permission from every single person with a claim to the song. And once you work out a price, that will be your licensing agreement.
But maybe you don’t have the resources or time for that. Maybe contacting a dozen people (which could take months) or paying for a license (which could cost thousands of dollars) just doesn’t make sense for where you are in your filmmaking or content creation journey.
Royalty free music is a popular alternative. It’s an industry of music that was tailor-made for content creators, and that means it is cheaper, easier, and more convenient for you.
Even better, you can get all of that without having to 1) settle for low-quality music or 2) rely on a platform like Creative Commons.
If that sounds too good to be true, here are a few playlists with chill royalty free music from our music library:
Chill background music doesn’t have to be soothing and gentle — it could be chill rock with jazz guitar, or an ambient track with some nature sounds. This playlist is a perfect example of that. These songs have enough of a beat to keep you interested without getting in the way of whatever visuals they play behind.
Here are the three most popular tracks to chill out to:
This chill out music playlist brings a smooth blend of hip hop beats and laid back tunes. It’s the kind of royalty free music you can’t help but nod your head to.
Here are the three most popular tracks to chill out to:
Here are the three most popular tracks to chill out to (even in the bathtub):
At Soundstripe, our music team releases new songs every week that are safe to use in YouTube videos and other projects. To help you stay up-to-date with the newest chill music in our catalog, we’ve put together this roundup of six of the most recent releases (as of 2022):
While we'll go into how to find the right royalty free music selections below, the real question for many content creators out there is how to find the right chill lo fi beat, or gentle piano, or deep bass synth tracks for your YouTube video.
And trust us, great background music can actually be found when looking at royalty free music websites full of music sound effects and other stock options for corporate videos.
The real question for many content creators is whether or not you want to try to chase after free music for your promo videos or whatnot, or if you want more detailed information about where your tracks are coming from and how they're being legally licensed and sourced.
If you’re curious about how royalty free music works, here’s an example.
Let’s say you’re looking for some background music for your next travel vlog update. Instead of paying $400 for a song license from a big record label, you check out a company like Soundstripe, where you can license a single music track for under $40.
Or maybe you sign up for one of our subscription plans, which gives you unlimited access to our entire library. Either way, you can get radio-quality background music for a fraction of the cost and still create the kind of videos you love to make.
It’s a win-win situation, really. You’ll get the songs you want for a price you can afford, and you can rest easy knowing that you’ll never have to worry about copyright claims on YouTube videos and projects again.
Soundstripe’s library features music that spans many different genres, moods, and styles. Whether you’re looking for a specific type of music track or not, there’s something for everyone in the catalog.
If you're also on the lookout for chill sound effects, we've got you covered. You can use the search tool in our SFX catalog to find any sound or jump straight to one of our sound effects playlists (i.e., like the Peaceful playlist or Sounds Of Spring playlist).
From the music to the sound effects, every sound in your project shapes the viewing experience. To give you a better idea of your background music options, check out these articles from the Soundstripe blog: