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Top Trends Every Filmmaker Should Know Before Choosing Royalty Free Music

Filmmakers are artists, but if you plan on earning income from your craft, you also need to make videos that viewers will want to watch. Savvy filmmakers know that it is important to stay on top of growing social and cultural trends. The best filmmakers can find ways to tap into current sentiment and put their own spin on it to make something fresh and compelling. Before you start searching for royalty free music for your next project, take a moment to review the top creative trends in 2018.

The image and video website, Shutterstock, performed a deep analysis of all its user searches and created a robust report called “2018 Creative Trends.” This report details which search terms exploded in popularity in 2018, along with the types of images, videos, and music that fit those trends. Let’s take a look at the report’s conclusions to discover which trends and music accompaniment could be the key to your next viral video success.

Trend One – Fantasy



Sadly, 2018 was a year bereft of Game of Thrones, but that didn’t dampen enthusiasm for all things fantasy. Perhaps exhaustion from rancorous politics has led more people to seek escape in fantasy worlds, or maybe it’s just excitement over the recently announced Lord of the Rings television series.

Whatever the reason, Shutterstock found sharp increases in searches for many fantasy-related words, including a 297% increase in searches for “unicorn,” and a 145% increase for “mermaid.” The site also mentioned a rise of interest in epic orchestral music. This music genre is the perfect accompaniment to the start of a mystical journey, fierce battles against orc hordes, or a character’s first ride on the back of a dragon.

Music to Match the Trend: Epic Orchestral

Try This Sound: Victory, by Moments

Trend Two – New Minimalism



Even as the global economy booms, today’s millennial generation still carries the scars of reaching adulthood in one of the worst recessions in history. Perhaps that is why the minimalist movement continues to thrive. Minimalism has also worked its way into the art world, with visitors to Shutterstock searching for simplistic images that are bold and clean without unnecessary extras. According to the “2018 Creative Trends” report, searches for the term “continuous line” increased 432% and searches for “neon circle” climbed 387%.

What does this trend mean for music for filmmakers? Shutterstock suggests minimalist tracks “that feature continuous, loopable sounds.” If you plan on creating a minimalist video, search for music with limited instrumentation and simple chords.

Music to Match the Trend: Acoustic

Try This Sound: Reflected Time, by Alsever Lake

Trend 3 – Space



In keeping with the trend of seeking escape, many people are tilting their gazes up. The box office is filled with blockbuster science fiction movies, including new Star Wars films, remakes of Star Trek, and even superheroes in space – Guardians of the Galaxy. Science fiction is also wildly popular on the small screen, with shows like Stranger Things and West World capturing adoring fans and plenty of Emmys.

According to Shutterstock, searches for the term “solar” have increased 991% and searches for “astro” are up 671%. To complement this trend in visual searches, Shutterstock visitors are also seeking out synthwave sounds in droves, possibly compelled by the retro soundtracks of Stranger Things and Bladerunner 2049. Searches for that type of music have increased 494%.

Music to Match the Trend: Synthwave

Try This Sound: Interject, by Yung Koolade

Trend 4 – Natural Luxury



Perhaps derived from minimalist sentiments, the rising trend in natural luxury seeks beauty in simplicity. This trend appreciates natural materials, including marble (searches increased by 416%) and agate (searches increased 275%), which provide high value without showy or ostentatious veneers. Those who follow this trend are looking for top materials that connect them to the world.

The best royalty free music to complement this trend embraces nature and offers a clean, rich sound that isn’t over edited or highly synthesized.

Music to Match the Trend: Ambient

Try This Sound: Hollows, by The Seasons

Trend 5 – Punchy Pastels



Most trends are cyclical, and it looks like 2018 is the year for these bright, cheerful colors to re-emerge. Pastels are lighthearted and fun. They help us escape the drearier parts of life to explore the sweeter side of life. Shutterstock discovered that searches for “blue candy” rose 609%, along with searches for other rich pastel images.

Colors often evoke emotions that can be recreated through music. The pastel version of music would be something fun and carefree; music that can be played on the highway with the roof rolled down on a beautiful day. This type of music carries hope and playfulness and encourages the listener to dance like no-one is watching.  

Music to Match the Trend: Trip Hop

Try This Sound: Alder, by Isaac Joel

Trend 6 – A Global March



Not everything in 2018 was a pastel romp. The past few years have, for many people, been an awakening to major social issues and concerns. Artists tend to be at the forefront of change and the expression of big ideas, so it’s no surprise that Shutterstock discovered a rising trend in words and phrases related to social change, including a 660% increase in the term “International Women’s Day” and a rise of 540% for the word “activism.”

Music has always played an important role in change movements, and this year is no different. For filmmakers who want to get the word out on a social ill or to build a grassroots movement, think big sounds and powerful beats. Find music that can keep the flames of passion and hope burning strong.

Music to Match the Trend: Rock

Try This Sound: Unstoppable, by Thorr

Trend 7 – Cactus



Okay, we aren’t really sure where this trend came from, but we’ll go with it. A cactus is a powerful piece of symbolism. It can represent survival in harsh environments or a tough outer flesh, complete with prickly thorns. It may also represent a renewed interest in the stark beauty of the desert or even in popular desert getaways throughout the United States.

Whatever the reason, Shutterstock discovered that popularity of the term “cactus” rose 261% in 2018 and coincided with a growing interest in desert culture. If you want to use cacti in your next film, consider south western themed music or sounds that evoke the balance of beauty and danger that the desert represents.

Music to Match the Trend: Southern Rock

Try This Sound: Dusty Bottoms, by Hill

Trend 8 – Digital Crafts



Many people fear that technology will lead to the loss of traditional craftsmanship, but in fact, it can breathe new life into old art forms and help people express ancient arts in new ways. This can be done by connecting craftspeople through forums or even starting your own YouTube channel to teach others to make historical armor, carve furniture, or make beautiful cranes from colorful paper.

Shutterstock found that its users were hungry for images depicting or expressing traditional crafts. Searches for the term “embroidery” shot up by 432%, and searches for “paper art” rose 130%. If you plan on taking advantage of this trend by showcasing your craftsmanship through video, consider choosing upbeat, simple music that won’t overpower the visuals you are creating. The video should focus on your work, not on the music!

Music to Match the Trend: Corporate Music

Try This Sound: Bright Future, by Be Still the Earth

Trend 9 – Ancient Geometrics



There’s something undeniably fascinating about geometric shapes. Some people find spiritual meaning in shapes. Others appreciate the merger of mathematical design with the beauty of art and expression. In 2018, many people were drawn to the clean precision of geometric patterns. Shutterstock reports that the largest increase in searches for a word belonged to “arabesque,” which enjoyed an astronomical rise of 8,536%. Other geometric terms, like “guilloche” and “mandalas” both rose by over 600%.

Consider how you can use geometric designs in your next film to fascinate and engage your viewers. If you need some great accompanying music, look for sounds that are precise and clean.

Music to Match the Trend: Electronic

Try This Sound: Touch the Sky, by Matt Wigton

How to Find Royalty Free Music to Match Today’s Hottest Trends

Trends come and go, which means a smart filmmaker needs to always be willing to try something new and to follow their viewers to new topics and interests. It means you also need to keep the topics and the music in your videos fresh and relevant.




At Soundstripe, we offer an ever-growing library of new music for filmmakers. Our music comes in many different genres and flavors, which you can easily sort and sample. Search by genre, by feeling, or by instrumentation to get the perfect sound for your next video. Best of all, our members can use, change, and re-use all of our music royalty free. We handle all the copyright issues so that you can focus on your art instead of the details.

Be a trendsetter and let our royalty free music help you enlighten and inspire all of your viewers!

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