How Do Filmmakers Traditionally Find Music Without a Site Like Soundstripe?
May 28, 2019
Whether you're a dedicated filmmaker or a videographer transitioning into filmmaking, one obstacle you're going to face is finding music suitable for your projects.
Navigating the world of music and music licensing can quickly turn into an overwhelming experience. Traditionally, filmmakers were tasked with having custom music composed for their films or had to deal directly with musicians to get permission and proper licensing.
Some still choose this route today, though it's safe to say that the majority of modern filmmakers have it easy since royalty free music sites are abundant.
Rather than focusing purely on how royalty free music sites benefit filmmakers, we're going to first kick it back to the days when royalty free music sites weren't so easily available.
You'll get some insight on how filmmakers traditionally found music for their film projects and how some of those options still apply today.
Finally, we'll sum it up with deciding when to go with custom soundtracks vs royalty free music sites as well as why Soundstripe is a secret weapon of successful filmmakers.
Why Music is Vital to Films of All Types
To really grasp why music and music licensing are so significant, it's important to understand why music is one of the most vital elements in a successful film.
We could easily dedicate an entire blog post to the power of music in film, but for now, we're going to give you a brief rundown of the main functions of music in film.
Some important ways music is utilized in film include:
● Creating atmosphere with a scene or moment
● Illustrating movement — whether human, animal, environmental
● Defining relationships or plots between characters
● Creating connection between different scenes
● Speeding or slowing down time within a scene
● Altering reality or creating unrealistic situations
There are many other ways music manipulates film, but these six examples are often quickly recognized by filmmakers and film lovers alike.
The right music and sound effects can entirely transform a film or video into something with emotion, depth, and intrigue.
The wrong music and sound effects (or overuse of either) have quite the opposite effect — turning what could be beautiful videography into something boring or difficult to watch.
Filmmakers that turn to royalty free music sites will have an easier time finding music that directly matches the desired outcome they have in mind. Traditionally, filmmakers had to first determine what emotions they wanted to convey, then get custom music made to match.
Even though custom composed music used to be one of he only options for filmmakers, many still consider it the way to go for high-end filmmaking.
Is Custom Composed Music Still the Epitome of Music for Films?
Acquiring custom composed music for your film is a very traditional route, but one that is neither easy nor (in many cases) affordable.
The process used to be that the filmmaker would need to brainstorm exactly what type of music was needed in their film and when. Or they'd delegate this task to a music supervisor.
Either way, some forethought and planning were necessary. Once a plan of attack was in place, the filmmaker would connect with a composer and begin the process of having custom music written and composed.
In today's world of filmmaking, new filmmakers looking to establish a relationship with a composer can start by connection with music organizations, such as ASCAP. You can even turn to Google and search for composers that specialize in the style or genre of music you're needing.
As far as affordability is concerned, custom composed music is likely to be the most expensive route you could possibly go. The more experienced a composer is, the more expensive their services will be.
You could get lucky by connecting with an up-and-coming composer that will work for a very low price, but keep in mind that this is really an exception rather than a rule. When music is custom-composed specifically for you and your film, licensing is rarely ever an issue.
However, if you're not in a place to afford custom composed music, then you'll need to have a basic understanding of music licensing and how to stay legal when acquiring music from other sources - including royalty free music sites.
What You Need to Know About Music Licensing for Films
Music licensing isn't exactly a fun topic. But anyone involved in filmmaking should understand the basics of music licensing — especially in regards to how it applies to films.
To put it most simply, any music you want to use in your film that isn't completely owned by you comes with some sort of license.
This license dictates under what circumstances you can use the music legally. Ignore the rules of the license and you could get yourself into some hot water. Perhaps a slap on the wrist with an email requiring you to takedown your film, or worse, a lawsuit.
Some common music use licenses include:
● Royalty Free: You can use this music in your film without concerns, so long as you purchase the individual use license for each track.
● Attribution Required: You can use this music in your film, but you must give credit to the musician.
● Non-Derivative Works: You can use this music in your film, but you must use it as is and it cannot be built upon for the purposes of your film.
● Non-Commercial Only: You can only use this music in your film if you film is not commercial.
Before we move on, let's clarify what "commercial" means. It's extremely important to know whether or not your film is considered commercial as it can mean the difference between legally and illegally using music.
If your film is for sale or requires someone to purchase something to view it, it's commercial. If the film promotes products or businesses, it's also considered commercial — even if it's free to view. Films with any type of advertising in them are also considered commercial.
With that out of the way, let's get back on track with the two final licenses that are special to filmmakers. These two licenses are Synchronization License and the Master Use License.
In order to use a pre-recorded piece of music in your film, you need to get clearance on both of these.
The Synchronization License gives filmmakers the right to combine a piece of music with an image/video. This license is given by the copyright owner/publisher of the music.
The Master Use License gives filmmakers the right to reproduce a song or piece of music in their film. This license is given by the record label. These additional licenses cost extra to acquire.
With all of that out of the way, you're probably starting to understand why royalty free music sites are a go-to music source for many filmmakers, especially hobbyists with modest budgets.
Soundstripe Makes Finding Music for Films Fun and Easy
When you want to know where to get royalty free music that's high-quality and suitable for filmmaking, without the worries of music licensing and legalities, Soundstripe is the way to go. Soundstripe's service is particularly ideal for filmmakers for two big reasons.
Firstly, Soundstripe's Music Library is not only huge but it also is broken down into a ton of different categories and playlists.
Remember how we talked about how important music is when it comes to defining emotion and depth in a film? Soundstripe makes it easy to find exactly what you're looking for by including search filters based on Mood, Genre, Pace, Duration, Artists, and more.
That means if you're shooting a very somber scene, you can hop onto the search engine and find music under the Somber tag.
Soundstripe also has pre-made playlists, including Staff Curated ones, to make finding the soundtrack for your movieeasier than ever. Some awesome examples of these playlists ideal for films include Epic Score, Atmospheric, and Epic Blockbuster.
Secondly, unlike other royalty free music sites, Soundstripe works on a subscription basis rather than a pay-per-download basis. Soundstripe Pricing Plans are extremely affordable — you could literally be paying as little as $11.25 a month for unlimited music downloads.
Yes, you read that right. Soundstripe lets you use as much of the music as you'd like. All you need to do is download a license for each track.
Filmmaking isn't exactly what most would consider an inexpensive pursuit. Even hobbyists who create short films for fun know how expensive equipment can be. With Soundstripe saving you so much money on music, it becomes clear why filmmakers love it.
When you're ready to get started, all you need to do is head on over to the Sign Up page, select a plan, enter some details, and start downloading tracks for your next film in minutes.