Whether you are celebrating a victory, recognizing excellence in an industry, or simply thanking the staff for services rendered, award ceremonies are a brilliant way to bring everyone together for a fun night out. And that would not be possible without selecting the perfect music for the gala.
Music helps to fill that void of sound, and it does so in a masterful way, accompanying each moment of the gala with an emotional factor.
In addition, each song and sound effect has its role, which it serves:
Surprise the audience
Recognize the actions of the evening
Create a festive and cheerful atmosphere
Keeping the public engaged and participatory during the ceremony
Increase tension and nerves before the winner is known
However, music does not only serve to make the gala enjoyable and attendees pack with the event. The songs also serve to fulfill another function: memory.
It has been scientifically proven that music helps a lot when it comes to increasing the probability of remembering. Therefore, if we want spectators to remember the awards gala as one of the best, you will need the right music.
MUSIC FOR AWARD CEREMONIES: WHICH STYLE WORKS BEST?
The genre of music that we use in an awards ceremony will vary depending on elements such as the theme or the audience.
In the case of the theme, we must differentiate whether they are musical, corporate or sports awards, among many others. It is not the same to put music to galas such as The Oscars, The Goya or the MTV Music Awards as to put a soundtrack to the Ballon d’Or gala, the Prince of Asturias Prize or the Nobel Prize.
For example, Vangelis’ inspiring song ‘Chariots of Fire’ is a perfect song for sports award ceremonies that have already been used in events such as the Olympic Games.
However, this musical theme might not fit in the same way with Grammy awards or the Laureus gala.
Therefore, it is advisable to use these musical genres in the different prize galas:
Film, radio and television awards: classic, pop
Sports prizes: hymns, electronics, pop, folk
Scientific awards: classical, pop
Music awards: pop, rock, electronica, hip hop, Latin
Artistic prizes: classical, pop
Video game awards: electronic, pop
With respect to the audience that is going to attend the ceremony, we must also keep in mind their possible musical likes, because a song will not have the same effect in a more serious and formal audience than in a younger and more carefree collective.
It’s hard to please everyone with music. However, there are songs and musical genres more socially accepted as pop or folk music. In fact, most prize galas play songs that are repeated celebration after celebration because of the feeling they convey to their audience.
A clear example of this is the song ‘We Are the Champions‘ by the British legend group Queen.
This song usually plays every time a football team wins the Champions League. In fact, it is already being used on almost every occasion when an athlete or team celebrate a title.
If you think about it, there are songs that, because of the emotional factor they arouse in people, could work just as well in all galas.
But before that you must know something important:
If you use copyrighted music during an awards ceremony, the PROs will probably do a thorough inspection and you will end up paying a good fine.
What are the PROs and how they influence the awards ceremonies?
PRO is the acronym of ‘Performance Rights Organization’ and are in charge of controlling that the individuals and businesses use any kind of music content in a legal way. In each country, they have their own PRO. For example:
In the United States are BMI (Broadcast Music Inc), ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers)
In Canada is SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada)
In the United Kingdom are PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) and PRS (Performing Right Society)
In Spain is SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores’; in English ‘General Society of Authors and Publishers’)
On many occasions, PRO licenses can be ridiculously expensive for someone who wants to prepare an award ceremony. So probably you are thinking…
What happens if I use music without paying a PRO license?
If you are asking yourself this question, I invite you, for your own good, to get it out of your head as soon as possible.
As I mentioned earlier, the PROs usually make regular inspections in search of those people who have decided not to pay the fee. It is possible that, if you do, you will be lucky and not ‘caught’.
But if you want to use music for an event as big as an awards event, believe me, you have all the ballots to ‘win the prize’ of being fined, which is not cheap at all. In this case, you will also need to pay the licenses for the music you have used.
So, after clarifying this, f you need to choose between paying the PRO licenses or not pay them, I recommend you to pay them. But, fortunately, there are other platforms to which you can go to avoid having to pay the exaggerated amounts claimed by the PROs.
Where can I get the right music for my awards gala?
That the famous songs are protected by copyright is a fact. Therefore, you will not be able to use them at the awards ceremony unless you:
Have the authorization of the original author or the record company that owns the content.
Pay the PROs license
The first option seems rather complicated since it would be necessary to talk to dozens of artists and record companies and pay a real fortune.
The second option is more feasible although, as you have seen, it is not a very economical option either. Luckily, there are much cheaper and more accessible alternatives, such as Soundtrack Your Band, Epidemic Sound or Audiojungle.
Epidemic Sound es is a company dedicated to the sale of music tracks since its creation in 2009. Among its library, there is a collection that exceeds 30,000 songs and 60,000 sound effects, which is updated and increased every week.
Its musical content is classified in a very specific and simple way, so you will have no problem finding the perfect music for the awards gala. You will be able to search by musical genre, as well as by instrument and mood, among other filters.
It also has the ‘Stems’ option, which allows you to choose a theme and modify it as you like. This feature allows you to design the audio track as you want, editing any sound elements such as, for example, eliminating vowels or leaving guitars alone.
To all this, Epidemic Sound adds the following advantages:
Weekly music library update
All audio tracks are copyright-free.
A large number and variety of songs and audio effects
You won’t have to worry about royalties or royalties anymore.
Possibility of immediate cancellation
What is its price?
Epidemic Sound has a monthly subscription called ‘Personal Plan’ through which, for an amount of $15/month, you will have access to all its advantages.
However, they currently have a free 30-day trial service. Without a doubt, it is something that will help you get in touch with the platform and find out if it is the best service for your prize giving or not.
Soundtrack Your Brand is a Swedish startup that, since its creation in 2013, has been dedicated to providing all kinds of legal background music to its clients in exchange for a monthly payment.
Its founders are Ola Sars and Andreas Liffgarden, former Spotify employees. In fact, at the beginning of this project, they hired several Spotify employees with the aim of growing this new company in the same way. In addition, they have a financing agreement signed with them through which they receive money to keep their growth.
That’s why Soundtrack Your Brand has been known as ‘Spotify for Business’, although legally and officially they have no relationship with them except because they are investors in this platform.
As far as music for awards is concerned, this platform is positioned as an equally efficient alternative to PROs licenses, but at a much lower economic cost.
To give you an idea, for a sum of $34,99 per month, you can have more than 300 soundtracks with thousands of songs and updated daily with 10,000 new songs to use in your gala awards in a legal way.
It should be said that this price is only for Spain and other European countries like Germany, France or Italy. However, depending on the country where the event will take place, it is possible that it will have a different price.
For example, in the United Kingdom this service will cost £26.99 per month, and in the case of North America – the United States and Canada – it will be US$26.99.
Apart from the price, what differentiates Soundtrack Your Brand from SGAE licenses and other streaming music services is that it offers facilities such as
Automatic update of playlists and songs
Programming of the music for the different parts of the event
Can be used remotely via smartphone, tablet or computer
Available for operating systems such as iOS, Android and Windows
Import playlists and songs from Spotify
Hundreds of world-famous songs
Total and absolute control of the sound background
In addition, Soundtrack is currently offering a free 30-day trial period. This way, you will be able to test the platform without any commitment before the awards ceremony and see if it really fits your needs.
IMPORTANT. If you are interested in this platform, you should know that, although Soundtrack Your Brand usually offers all the necessary rights on the music tracks, in some countries such as Australia, United Kingdom and Spain, it is necessary to acquire a public communication license through the record labels, music publishers, and/or local collection societies in order to use Soundtrack Your Brand legally.
Audiojungleis a company dedicated to the sale of songs with their respective copyright licenses. This will completely eliminate your concerns regarding PROs’ inspections and possible fines for copyright infringement.
This marketplace has more than 700,000 audio tracks in WAV and MP3 formats, including both songs and sound effects, offering an unbeatable variety in comparison with other similar services. The vast majority of the tracks are characterized by having no lyrics, so they will be ideal for use as a background sound during the gala.
The way to navigate your portal is tremendously intuitive, with a search engine that goes to the point, finding genres like pop, rock or classic, among others. It also offers the possibility of listening to small pieces of the song so that you know quickly if the style you are looking for or not.
In addition, once you find a song that might fit the award ceremony, you may also like more songs from the same author. Just click on their name and all their available works will appear, saving you a lot of time in the search.
What are their prices?
Audiojungle licenses start at $15. However, the final price will vary depending on the artist, the musical quality of the song, or whether it is a song or sound effect:
The advantage of this type of license is that, once you have bought a song or effect, you can use them as many times as you want, no matter what else.
In addition, it is possible to download the entire song for free with a watermark. This way, although you will not be able to use it at your awards gala, you will be able to see what it looks like and decide whether or not to acquire the license.
Without a doubt, Audiojungle is a platform worth taking a look at.
An awards ceremony is a way of paying tribute to those people who have shown great commitment to an organization or have achieved great things. It is, without a doubt, a unique scenario in which total harmony between the public and the winners is sought.
To achieve this, everything must be perfect: the decoration, the planning, and of course, the music.
Music is the perfect element to make emotions flow and empathize with the gala audience.
However, there is one thing you must be clear about: if you are going to use famous music at the gala, it is essential to respect copyright. If you don’t do that, you risk being investigated and fined by PRO entities.
Luckily, platforms dedicated to offering legal music over the Internet are becoming more and more popular. These companies serve as real alternatives, of quality and with greater facilities than those provided by the very expensive licenses of the PROs.
However, they all have one thing in common: they will be able to provide the quality music you need to turn your awards gala into a memorable event for everyone.
Now it is up to you to decide which of them best suits your needs:
Pablo Olóndriz – Legis Music Founder-
Pablo Olóndriz founded Legis Music in 2016 and, since then, has been working non-stop on the online Royalty-Free industry, managing to build a great source of information for people who need amazing background music for their projects and videos.
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