If you are going to make a commercial, whether, for television, radio, or the Internet, you must be clear about the following: you cannot do without music.
The commercials that have had a good musical background are the most successful ones during the last decades.
Do you know why?
Because marketing specialists are clear about two important aspects:
- The ultimate goal of an ad is to sell a product or service.
- To increase sales it is necessary to appeal to customers’ emotions.
Now, there are many ways to stimulate the emotional aspect of people, but there is none more effective than music.
In fact, this statement has a scientific basis behind it.
There are dozens of studies that demonstrate the relationship between music, emotions, and memory.
Knowing this, the formula for success is clear: use music that achieves connecting your ad with the positive emotions of your potential customer.
But where can you find the best music for your ads?
Here we show you the best Internet platforms with the music your ads need.
|EPIDEMIC SOUND||Subscription||From $15,00 / month|
|ENVATO ELEMENTS||Subscription||From $15,00 / month|
|ARTLIST||Subscription||$199 / year|
|AUDIIO||Subscription||$299 / lifetime|
We will give you more details about each of them later on.
Now, however, the most important thing is that you have total clearness about everything related to music for commercials.
And therefore, we will give answers to the questions you are probably asking yourself right now, starting with one of the most common ones:
Can I use famous songs in my ads?
The easy answer to this question is yes.
However, there are certain details you should be aware of before choosing this option.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you cannot use famous music in an advertisement without first having acquired the license to use it.
If you do so, you will be risking your ad being blocked from any social platform such as YouTube or Facebook.
But the worst consequence is that you can be fined for copyright infringement.
To avoid this, you will have to get the corresponding licenses for the song you want to use in your ad.
However, another problem arises here.
There are many artists and record labels that refuse to allow the licensing of their songs for advertising use.
The most common reason is that they do not want to associate the name of any brand or product with their song, as this could have a negative impact on their reputation.
However, there are also many artists and record labels that will release the rights to their songs for commercials.
How to obtain the copyright of a song?
There are two ways to buy the music rights of a song:
- By contacting directly the artist or the record label that has been in charge of recording the music track.
- By contacting the performance rights organizations (also known as PROs).
It is easiest to opt for the second option since these societies are the ones in charge of issuing licenses for commercial songs.
Depending on the country you are in, you will have to contact one of these organizations or another.
For example, in the case of the United States, you will have to contact organizations such as BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC. But if you are in the United Kingdom, the organizations you should reach are PRS or PPL.
To find out which PRO you should contact depending on the country where you live, you can check the following list.
Another thing to keep in mind and be prepared for is that acquiring these types of music licenses for commercials and advertising is often very expensive.
In our article about how to license famous songs
, we told you more about the types of licenses you need to acquire to use well-known music legally and what is the process to do it.
However, if you are concerned about the economic factor, you are probably asking yourself the following question:
How much does it cost to use well-known music for commercials?
Depending on the nature of the advertisement, the cost of the music can vary considerably.
There are several reasons for this: the scope of the ad, the media in which it will be promoted, the number of licenses needed, the importance of the song, etc.
For example, if you want to use a song in a TV commercial, you need at least 2 licenses: the master license and the sync license.
But if you want to use music for a radio commercial, you will also need a special transcription license from the publisher.
You can learn more about licensing in our guide about the types of music licenses
To give you a reference of how much famous music for advertising costs, we will take a look at Donald Passman’s book, All you need to know about the music business, which says the following:
“A song can cost anywhere from $25,000 to more than $500,000 a year. The typical range for a well-known song is $75,000 to $200,000 for a year of national use in the United States, on television and radio.”
As you can see, these are astronomical amounts that are not within the reach of any agency, nor of any independent entrepreneur.
That is why it does not represent a viable option for the vast majority of people.
And at this point another question arises:
Is there free music for commercial use in advertisements?
Yes, there are two types of free music licenses for advertising:
- Music under public domain.
- Creative Commons licenses.
However, there are some drawbacks to using music from these categories in your ads.
Regarding public domain music, most of it is usually classical music and songs more than 70 years old. This type of music is not very appealing and its use in advertising can have an undesirable impact.
As for music under Creative Commons licenses, you should know that, despite being for free, it is mandatory to mention the author of the song you use in your ad, something that can compromise the reputation of the brand.
In addition, the vast majority of Creative Commons songs cannot be used in commercial projects, something that is totally incompatible with the aims of advertising.
And having clarified the above, you may be wondering:
What is the best option to add music to my ads?
You may feel out of options after knowing the disadvantages of free music and the high cost of famous music.
However, there is an alternative which, in fact, is cheaper than famous music and does not have the downsides of free music.
That is royalty-free music.
Where to find royalty-free music for commercials?
Royalty-free music, also called copyright-free music, can be found mainly on dedicated platforms.
On the Internet you can find many of them, however, comparing which one is the best for your particular case will consume a lot of your time.
At LegisMusic we know what we are talking about because we have tested the vast majority of platforms on the market.
So, to make it easier for you and to save you time, below we will share with you what we consider the 4 best platforms with royalty-free music for your commercials.
Epidemic Sound has a constantly growing music library that exceeds 90,000 sound effects and 35,000 audio tracks, all of them of the highest quality and ready for advertising.
Through its ‘Commercial’ plan, you will be able to make unlimited music downloads and use them in unlimited ads, whether on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media.
The cost of this subscription is $299 /year (approximately €25 per month), or $49 /month if you prefer to pay monthly.
In any case, you can try all the advantages of Epidemic Sound completely free for 30 days by clicking on the button below.
Envato Elements is a creative marketplace where you can find everything from video templates or 3D graphics to stock images or videos, not to mention music.
All available digital assets total more than 56 million, and in terms of music and sound effects, there are more than 650,000.
All of them can be filtered by genre, mood, instrument, tempo, duration, or type (instrumental or vocal).
Although you can take a look at everything for free, you will be able to download all the music you want and use it in your advertising videos for a small fee of 14,50€ / month.
Access the platform by clicking the button below.
Artlist is one of the most talked-about platforms among audiovisual content creators and advertisers.
Not only for the quality of its songs or its intuitive menus but also for its innovative Universal License.
Whether you purchase its music plan ($199 per year), the sound effects plan ($149 per year), or its all-inclusive hybrid plan ($299 per year), you will be able to use all its music in all your ads, whatever the platform or media you use.
We strongly recommend you to browse the web, and if you think this is the tool you need, you can benefit from 2 additional months completely free by clicking on the button below.
Audiio is, of these four platforms with royalty-free music, the youngest of them all – it was founded in 2017. But don’t get tricked by that.
Despite its youth, it has managed to carve out a priority niche in the industry. In fact, brands of the magnitude of Nike, Adidas, Netflix, or Toyota, among others, have chosen Audiio music for their ads.
And it is not strange, because they have an absolutely revolutionary music license: the so-called Lifetime Music Membership with which, for a single payment of $299 you will have access to their growing music library for life.
If you would like to have a unique musical proposal like Audiio’s, you can now get up to a 10% discount by subscribing through the following button.
Vocal or instrumental: which type of music is more suitable for commercials?
At this point, you have already answered many of the questions you had about music for commercials.
You even now know the best platforms to get it.
However, we still haven’t solved the riddle about the best type of ad music.
There are many people who wonder what kind of music ads use. And the truth is that the answer is very variable.
According to a study conducted by the marketing agency Main Street Host, which analyzed the 50 most viewed commercials on YouTube, the following conclusions were drawn:
- 62.8% used instrumental music.
- 37.2% used vocal or lyrical music.
Now, what are the reasons for using these types of music in advertisements?
In relation to instrumental music, it is usually used in most cases as background music, especially in advertisements with spoken words or voice-overs.
As for vocal music, it is often used in commercials for two reasons:
- Establish a more concrete association between music and visual elements.
- Create a popular reference that gets instant recognition from viewers.
In any case, you will have to take into account the type of ad you want to create and then find the type of music that best accompanies your message.
What is the music genre that works best in advertising?
We have just talked about types of music referring to vocal or instrumental, but we have not yet talked about the best music genres for commercials.
And this has a simple explanation: there is no musical genre that is better than another.
It all depends on what you want to convey with your ad.
In order for you to understand it better, we will show you below two different ads with different music genres.
The first one is the famous Nike ad from 1998 featuring the Brazilian national soccer team in an airport while playing with the ball to pass the boredom.
If we analyze the background music used in this ad, it is a well-known Brazilian song whose musical genre is the most famous and representative of the country: the samba.
This song, and specifically this musical genre, perfectly conveys the message of the ad: the Brazilian team plays soccer with the same beauty and joy as they dance the samba.
Now let’s look at another ad, this time the Coca-Cola ad from 2006 called “Happiness Factory”.
The music used in this ad is music that truly conveys joy, happiness, and even a magical point, exactly what the ad wants to convey, both with its visual content and its title.
Now, imagine for a moment changing the background music between the two ads.
That is, use the upbeat acoustic music in the Nike ad with the Brazilian national team and the samba song in the Coca-Cola ad.
Would they still be the perfect background music for each ad?
They would be creating contradictory messages between the visual and the sound. The user would feel a great dissonance between what they see and what they listen to, causing a negative impact on their perception of the brand.
So, which musical genre works better: samba or acoustic pop music?
The truth is that both genres work well, as well as many other musical genres.
The importance of music in advertising lies in the coherence.
To achieve the best results in your ads, the music must be aligned with your advertising message, your product or service, and your brand.
When it comes to creating an advertisement, whether for TV, Radio, or Internet, there is one element that you cannot avoid: music.
As you saw at the beginning of the article, scientific studies show how music is crucial to stimulate emotions and associate them with a certain brand or product.
Music is one of the most effective resources when it comes to selling.
However, it is just as important to use background music in an ad as it is to choose the right one for that specific ad.
You have already seen with two clear but well-differentiated examples how any musical genre will be ideal as long as it is aligned with the message of your ad, regardless of whether it is famous music or not.
If you use famous music, the only benefit is that people will know the song. But in exchange, you will have to go through a lot of paperwork and spend a lot of money which, in most cases, does not pay off.
Just as it doesn’t pay to use free music. The main reasons are:
- It will be old music, more than 70 years old, which will create dissonance with the message of your ad (public domain music).
- You will have to mention the author of the work in your ad, something that will challenge the reputation of your brand (music under Creative Commons licenses).
Fortunately, you now know of an intermediate musical solution: royalty-free music.
This type of music will meet your highest musical expectations, complementing the message of your advertisement in a coherent and professional way.
All this while avoiding copyright issues and the high costs associated with well-known music.
To start enjoying this type of music in your commercials you must find first the online platforms where it is available, but at this point, you already know the best ones: Epidemic Sound, Envato Elements, Artlist, and Audiio.
All of them provide you with huge catalogs with music of the highest quality that will give your ad the background sound it needs.
At the same time, they also have differential features and properties that will make them stand out from their competitors.
Now it is up to you to decide which of them will be your musical ally.
Choose the one that best meets your professional expectations and get the music that will turn your ad into a memorable ad.
FAQ. Frequently Asked Questions about Music for Commercials and Advertisements
We’ve answered the most common questions about music for commercials, but you may still have a few unanswered questions.
Below we have compiled some of the questions asked by our readers.