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How to use music in television ads for branding

Music for TV ads

Music plays a vital role in how your television advert is perceived. And if used cleverly, it can become an integrated part of your brand identity as a whole.
But.. how do you find the right music? Well, there are essentially three ways to go about it:
1. Use royalty-free or stock music
Royalty-free music is a great – and very cheap – way of getting music for your television advert project. There are thousands of tracks to browse from, and you only pay a one-time fee for a given track. It’s brilliant for projects where you’re not looking for a unique sound that you’ll be using consistently.
When it comes to using it as your brand sound, there are some drawbacks, however:
a) You’re often licensing a royalty-free track for use in a single project (be sure to check the licensing terms). This means that you have to re-license it if you want to use it again in a different context. However, since the fees are so low, this is rarely an issue, unless you want to use it in a lot of places.
b) You’re not unique: Anyone can license royalty-free music (your competitors, for example), so using royalty-free music is not the best way to stand out.
It can, however, be a quick and easy solution for a specific project – just don’t think of it as a way of finding your unique brand sound.
So to sum up: Use it where it fits, but don’t push it too hard as your brand sound.
On top of this page, I’ve put together some hand-picked collections of royalty-free tracks that work really well with advertising. Be sure to check them out if you’re looking for great-sounding royalty-free music for ads.
2. License music from an existing/upcoming artist that appeals to your taget audience
Licensing tracks from upcoming artists is an often-used approach, offering benefits to both your brand and to the artists.
If done successfully, you can effectively make the track synonymous with your brand – and for the upcoming artist, the exposure could offer the big break they’ve been looking for.
But in my opinion, it’s an approach you’ll want to use with great care from a sound branding perspective, for several reasons. Firstly, licensing the track can be costly. Secondly, and this is an important point:
You want to OWN your brand sound.
If you don’t own it, you’re putting limits as to where and how you can use your brand sound.
Say you work with an upcoming artist or act, and, down the line, they become highly successful – what if they are no longer be interested in being associated with your brand? And where does it leave all the hard work you put into making their sound YOUR brand sound?
Of course, when you enter into an agreement with the artist, you’ll want to make sure they can’t suddenly revoke your right to use their sound with your brand. But the more usage rights you want, the higher the cost.
So in short, it’s great for single campaigns where you want to demonstrate that you’re in sync with your target audience – and preferably even ahead of the curve. Just don’t rely on licensed music for your sound brand building in general.
3. Get original music done for your brand
Whenever your deadline and budget allows it, I always recommend that you get custom work done for your advertising project – and that you negotiate a full buyout with your chosen composer.
This gives you music
a) that is custom-created to your particular purpose
b) that you can define how should sound
c) that you can tweak and adjust later on to fit whatever context you want to use it in
d) which you can get remade and remixed – and even bring in new composers for a fresh take
c) with a brand sound that is unique to you
Getting custom music is definitely pricier and more time-consuming than just picking a royalty-free track off the shelf.
Compared to licensing a track from an existing artist, it’s not as clear-cut. Licensing can take time, and, depending on who you’re dealing with, may suddenly make custom music attractive, cost-wise.
But the one main advantage is that you get to own the sound, giving you a lot of freedom and flexibility – both during the creation phase and in how you can use the music in the future.
If you’re looking for original sound for your branding campaigns, contact me here.

Posted by Asbjoern on April 26, 2013 - Contact

Category Music For Ads,Sound branding Tags , , , ,
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