Lights, camera, action! Sure, it’s a very familiar Hollywood movie-making cliché, but what if we were to take this catchphrase, and put it in a voice over industry context? Certainly, there’s no fancy lighting or camera required. No – it’d be more like: roll picture, cue music and voice over! Make no mistake, music often plays a mission-critical role in maximizing the impact of a video. It sets the mood, the pacing, and fills in the contextual spaces in a listener’s mind. Choosing the right soundtrack can make the difference between an ad to ignore, and a viral marketing masterpiece.Now, unless you’re a gifted composer yourself, you can’t actually produce the music, and hiring Hans Zimmer to do so may be a wee bit beyond your budget. So how d’you find awesome music for your voice over project?
Royalty-free music for voice overs
A common misconception is that royalty-free means free music. While it would be great if all music could be free, we wouldn’t have any music if nobody was paying the artists.
Free music comes with a Creative Commons license, meaning anyone can use the content as they like, as long as they follow certain guidelines. Royalty-free music on the other hand, is music you have to pay for once. After that, you can use it however much you want.
While it sounds good on paper, royalty-free doesn’t always have to be the way to go. Single-use music can be surprisingly affordable. Plus, you’re not necessarily going to be using the same soundtrack for every project, or more than once.
We’ve already covered how to find the best royalty-free music for your project; be sure to check it out. But because there are so many options out there, we thought we’d revisit this topic and look at some of the other options.
Epidemic Sound was founded in 2009, so you’ll have to pardon the name befitting the times.
Epidemic Sound offers a fuss-free solution for your music needs. All of the 35,000+ soundtracks and 90,000+ sound effects are royalty-free, so need to worry about licensing after you purchase a subscription.
However, each subscription comes with a different level of clearance. A personal subscription, at $12 USD/month affords use for one channel per social platform (YouTube, Instagram, etc.). A commercial subscription at $25 USD/month affords simple clearance for client use, unlimited use in digital ads, and coverage for social platforms. Lastly, an enterprise subscription clears you for TV and streaming use. You can request a quote for an enterprise account.
We’re fans of the generous 1-month free trial.
It doesn’t hurt to try it and see!
Audio Network is an example of single-use music that’s affordable. Single-use music for personal content starts at $9.99 USD, but it’s $29.99 USD if you intend to use it for monetized purposes. They also offer subscriptions, which require a quoted price.
Each of the licenses come with certain restrictions and limitations. You’ll want to take a close look at what you’re buying, and if it serves your needs before purchasing. For example, buying a single-use track for advertising purposes requires a quoted price, instead of $29.99 for non-commercial uses with a Creator+ license.
Depending on your needs, Audio Network might be a simple solution. It boasts an impressive 175,000+ original tracks, and you can start with 10 trial tracks.
Artlist, in terms of licensing, might be the simplest of options. Their license allows you to use the music for everything, including: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, commercials, broadcasts, websites and weddings.
However, Artlist’s royalty-free music is meant to be paired with video only. That means it isn’t suitable for projects that are audio-only, like audiobooks.
You can get music and SFX for $25 USD/month, or $16.60 USD/month if you want just the music. The library consists of 12,000+ tracks, which doesn’t hold up to Audio Network and Epidemic Sound, but with the price point and nice user interface, it’s still valuable. Plus, it’s convenient to know your music is covered by their all-in-one licensing.
Unfortunately, the trial account is more of a browsing account. The trial songs are watermarked.
Similar to Artlist, Audiio offers a very flexible music license. The only things that aren’t covered are broadcast TV, OTT and major theatrical releases. But if you want, you could upgrade your subscription to cover those.
A Lifetime Music membership (pay once, unlimited access) costs $299 USD, while the Lifetime SFX equivalent costs $199 USD. The new Audiio Pro subscription gives you access to both music and SFX catalogs and the universal license at $16.60 USD/month. There’s also a sale right now for this subscription, 50% off your first year with the code PRO50.
While the music library isn’t large, standing at 5,000+ tracks, the lifetime membership can be attractive.
The online scene for background music and sound effects is quite saturated. It can be hard to know which service is best for you, but at least the good news is that there are options. And they can be affordable! In short: How to find awesome music for your voice over project isn’t that hard!
No matter where you get your music, you must make sure it’s high quality, and matches your voice over project. Music does so much when paired with a voice over, whether it’s making it seem more cinematic, energizing, thought-provoking or friendly.
And of course, you’ll want to make sure your voice over is top quality too. We’ve got that part covered, too!