How to Always Find the Perfect Song?
Film school taught me how to capture my vision with near-perfect accuracy. What camera I need for the perfect quality. What lens I need for the perfect imagery. How I can grade for perfect coloring. Even how to calculate a perfect budget. Thousands of dollars and 4 years later, one thing that they did not prepare for was how unbelievably hard it is to find the right song that can really capture the emotion in my films.
There’s a world of options out there – Dozens of licensing sites and thousands of composers have popped up with the growing demand for great music.
With so many choices, it can easily take me hours to find a song that fits what I’m looking for – then I’m literally stopped in my tracks because the price is way beyond my budget. So, the search begins again from scratch and I’m stuck picking a stocky song because I’m red-eyed and the sun’s about to come up. Again.
All any of us really want is for the music to sound like it put in as much effort as we have!
On one hand, those long hours taught me a lot about patience. (And the fact that barely have any to speak of). On another, I finally found a versatile solution that really works for me and hope that you find it just as useful.
My solution is Artlist.io:
This might be the first time you’ve heard of them or the thousandth. (Their marketing team definitely know how to scope out filmmakers in need of a score, because I came across Artlist in a YouTube ad).
Regardless, here’s a little bit about why it’s the best investment I’ve made in a long time in my profession:
Simple Search Filters
The first time I came to their site, one of the first things I noticed was that the music isn’t hidden behind “Sign up” links or having to route to another page to browse the catalog. You can literally press play and check out the tracks without having to sign up for a subscription first, which right off the bat speaks volumes about the company.
There are easy, straight-forward filter options on the left side of the page. Mood, Video Theme, Genre and Instrument. You can use as many of these filters as necessary to find the right song.
I find the ‘Video Theme’ filter to be their biggest asset because it has always helped me find the right feel for my projects. Call me a SciFi nerd, but Mood: Scary & Dark + Video Theme: Science is my favorite late-night playlist.
Click on a song title, and you’re brought to a page with the lyrics, details and even a similar song listing. I’m a really visual person, so the user-friendly layout and album photos help me out big time.
These tools have been a huge time-saver and let me focus on my filmmaking again. Their catalog has about 8,000 songs now and their team told me that for 2019 they’re adding new music every day. From what I see, there are hundreds of songs in each category and it’s all top-quality, so I know I won’t run out of options.
One Universal License
Another huge factor is what the license actually covers for your films. With Artlist, I know that what I download can be used anywhere and there is no expiration on my license. If I’m working on a commercial, I don’t have to go to a different licensing site to get my music because that’s covered here too.
Not sure how they do it, but it’s really awesome that I don’t have to consider how many people are working for my client or where they want to share the video. Boom, just download the license on the site and they’re set under my license.
This is always one of the hardest things to talk about without sounding like a salesperson, but for the number of headaches I didn’t have, it’s so worth it! When you sign up for the license, it’s $199 at the beginning of the subscription and it lasts the whole year. At first, I thought it would be easier to just pay monthly, but not having to worry about so many payments and only having one invoice to write off really saved me in the long run.
Well, their solution just makes the previously-painful process of having the perfect background music for videos easy and cheap. But the best thing will be not taking my word for granted and just try it: you can test it out with a free trial.
You just have to skip the payment page when it appears. Check it out here:
Heads up: When you sign up, you’ll be automatically added to their newsletter to receive updates on new artists and albums that are added.
Here you have a site tour of their platform: