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Hype music is designed to trigger a physical response from listeners.
When we hear hype music, we act on impulse — matching our movements to the beat. It’s impossible to sit still, so we nod our heads and shift our shoulders back and forth with the rhythm.
Hype music isn’t defined by any one genre. It can fall into the categories of hip hop, R&B, pop, rock, or another upbeat genre. This type of music elicits natural and powerful responses, which is why filmmakers use it in action and dramatic sequences.
As a creator, it’s important to pair your shot and stock footage with the right music. Doing so will strengthen the emotional impact of your video or film project and keep viewers invested in the story.
Hype music holds your audience’s attention, excites them, and boosts their adrenaline levels — especially when the stakes are high.
Let’s explore why hype music is so impactful by examining how other creators use this type of music in film. And if you’re looking for the best royalty free hype music for your next project, we’ll let you know how you find some that fits your budget.
Hype music for film and video serves the same purpose as walk up music in sports. It immediately sets the tone and empowers both the player and the audience.
In film, hype music signals a turning point. When a character is physically and emotionally worn down, hype music enters into the score, and the character perseveres to overcome their limitations.
The music can turn emotional lows into emotional highs on-screen — and this excites and reinvigorates the audience.
Most often, hype music is used to elevate underdog characters who have something to prove. The audience roots for the underdog’s successes and becomes emotionally invested in the character arc.
While there are endless examples of hype music in film, we’re breaking down three films that use hype music to intensify training montages, walk ups, and main performances in films.
Creed 2 is the second installment to a spinoff series of the classic Rocky films. Both series are renowned for their training montages and soundtracks. Because let's be honest, have you ever seen a good montage (or even had a great workout yourself) that didn't have some awesome workout music behind it?
In this clip, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) begins training for his final boxing match with the son of the boxer who killed his father. The film’s music score is composed expertly — intensifying in moments of strength and lessening in moments of vulnerability and weakness.
At the start of this montage, the audience watches Adonis and his competitor training for the main event. There is a contrast between the two as the scene progresses — the competitor becomes stronger while Adonis becomes weaker.
Adonis’ will begins to waiver as his strength regresses until the moment comes when he collapses on the asphalt. The tone of the music completely shifts, and the montage transitions to show Adonis talking with his fiancee and child.
This is a pivotal moment in the training sequence because the memory revives Adonis’ strength and leads him to act.
As Adonis stands from the asphalt, the score from Rocky enters into the scene and blends with the hype music from the film’s soundtrack. Adonis’ resilience is evident as he runs in front of, rather than behind, his mentor and overcomes the challenges that had nearly overtaken him.
This training montage exemplifies the way hype music builds in intensity as the underdog or weakened character becomes stronger through perseverance. By the end of the training sequence, the audience feels just as victorious and resilient as the character.
The 2011 film Real Steel achieves a similar effect with hype music as Creed 2.
To provide some context, the film follows a father (Hugh Jackman) and son (Dakota Goyo) who train the robot Atom for boxing tournaments. Atom mirrors their movements both in and out of the boxing ring, and this is seen at the start of the clip when Atom dances along with Max.
This particular clip combines two scenes from the film. Though the first scene doesn’t immediately lead into the next, both are connected by the hype music.
The clip begins with comic relief as Max realizes that Atom is mirroring him and begins to dance to the music. This scene sets up the next one in the clip — Atom’s walk up before the boxing match.
Walk up sequences are always accompanied with hype music, and this second scene is a great example of that. The music is successful in eliciting an exuberant response from the crowd and building the excitement for Max and Atom as they make their way to the ring.
While the previous two clips show training and walk up sequences in films, this scene from Step Up (2006) is an example of how hype music enhances the main performance as well.
When the scene starts, the energy of the music is already high. The dancers take stage in a performance that blends ballet with hip hop dancing. As the two main dancers take center stage, the music slows significantly — gradually picking up again until the two disband and the dance changes.
At this same moment, several other changes occur. The red and blue lighting on stage shifts dramatically to be more natural and dimly lit. Before leading into another hip hop dance sequence, the male main character changes his outfit and takes the stage with the other male dancers.
As the dance nears the end, the focus is once again on the two main characters.
Throughout the performance, the characters in the audience respond to the hype music in the same way that viewers of the film do — nodding along to the beat.
Without hype music, the scenes from these three films would fall flat and lose their impact. The music changes the entire dynamic and directly influences the audience’s physical and emotional responses.
Hype music is in high demand, so it’s important that you have access to the best quality music available. A stock music library gives you the variety you need to take your project to the next level.
With a Soundstripe membership, you can filter through playlists like Hip Hop Picks, Retro Pop, and Club Beats. Or you can curate your search based on characteristics and genres such as dancey, upbeat, hip hop, R&B, and rock.
The licensing process is blissfully simple, so you can spend less time getting permission to use a song and more time creating a powerful video or film.