Is the Cost of Original Music Worth Its Price Tag?

Filmmakers and video producers are faced with many tough choices when it comes to balancing the quality of their production with it’s overall cost.  The music to be used is always at the center of this struggle with directors facing the prospects of using either an original score or opting for stock library tracks.

While there are many usable library tracks out there, and in certain instances it can actually make sense to use them, you should carefully decide whether or not your production will really benefit from stock music.  I’ve already written one piece on the benefits of hiring a composer (even if you do plan to use some library tracks), but the following illustrates some of the benefits of using an original score.

If you think that an original composer is out of your price range, you might need to just find the right one.  Many have their own back catalogues of music that can be quickly repurposed through the use of edits, like adding/subtracting instruments, to fit it to your video like a glove…typically in a price range that is competitive with most quality library rates.  It never hurts to consult with a composer and find out.

Here are just a few reasons to consider ditching library tracks:

1.  Add Uniqueness That People Will Remember – A distinctive melody coupled with a personalized set of musical instruments creates a custom musical ID that will help viewers remember your message and help retain it through repeated listenings. Whether that be through multiple commercial spots or variations on a theme throughout, a strong association will be made to your production.  PNC Bank has a excellent musical motif that helps identify it’s brand and The Social Network’s score is exceptionally memorable.

2.  It Won’t Be On the Market 24/7 On High Volume Websites – Licensing music from well known music libraries comes the with assumption that the tracks you use will be made available for thousands of others in search of bargain music.  What’s worse than hearing the track that you just edited into your picture being used in a commercial for deodorant.

3.  Personalize Every Aspect  – Why limit yourself to accepting pre-canned tracks when you can have a direct influence on the final product, which in turn gives your product 100% personalization.  You worked too hard crafting the perfect story and visual framing to slap a track that sorta fits.

4.  Add Continuity and Ties Everything Together – Using music recorded by different people, in different studios, in possibly different decades, can make your film feel choppy and throw off the pacing.  Custom scores add the the cohesiveness of the production not only through similar sonic qualities, but through reoccurring musical motifs and themes.

5.  Precisely Match On Screen Action and Visual Imagery – This last one is a no brainer, but could be the most important.  The impact of the production will be maximized because of the exact fit of all the musical elements and sound combined.

Have a tight budget?  A composer might not always be out of reach.  Contact me with the specifics of yours and let’s see if we can avoid the backing tracks, info [at] anthonyweis.com.

Here’s a demo of my work in a montage format:

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