How to Ruin a Good Video: An Idiot’s Guide to Terrible Music for Nonprofits / Causes / CSR MarketingHarry McAlister April 5, 2018
Music for Nonprofits / Causes / CSR Marketing
Please don’t do this.
I’m guilty of it.
And I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
If you’re investing in video
Buy a stock jingle from an online music store.
‘’Music serves the function of making a product more memorable to viewers, as it is known to “linger in the listeners mind,” says David Huron.
It’s pretty safe to say he’s right.
You still remember the sound of those TV ads you grew up watching – right?
I’m willing to bet you know them perfectly.
Much in the same way that we all remember the voice of Janice from Friends.
And so do their associations.
The problem with stock music jingles
Stock jingles are created for the single purpose of being popular: the more people like it, the more money the artist makes.
This means the music is made to be as generic as possible, and if you use it in your video, congratulations: you have branded your organisation as equally generic.
In the very worst cases, the music will be consciously recognisable as having been used elsewhere, and you will (rightly) be laughed at.
Plus, it’s entirely avoidable, because:
- Many artists give their music away royalty-free
- If you go on ten different music forums and ask someone to help you create a custom music track, they will. The world has an abundance of highly proficient musicians willing to help nonprofits / CSR marketing!
So please don’t jam a pre-created track on top of a finished video. It’s a poor choice, and you could have done it better.
Now off to bed. And don’t let me find out that you’ve been using generic stock jingles.
Also – here’s some science:
THE SCIENCE OF MUSIC IN VIDEO
”80% of video adverts in the United States have music soundtracks. They cover a variety of musical styles, including adult contemporary (29.1%), classical (20.1%), easy listening (13.1 %), jazz (12.7 %), rap/dance (6.1%), fanfare/march (5.7%), atmospheric (5.7 %), and hard rock/ metal (5.7%). Music soundtracks for promotional videos are likely to be in major mode (72%), soft (62%), and have a moderate tempo (49%). Most had a distinct melody (52%), but only 10% used a jingle.”
According to David Huron, the music you use in your video:
‘’Need not necessarily manifest any special affinity with a particular product or service in order to play an effective and useful function.”
I.e. you don’t need to use Reggae music to sell Jerk Sauce. Instead the ‘’music acts as a bridge between the viewer and the video.’’
Linda Scott clarifies :
“Studies of advertising music share an underlying theory in which music is an effective background component that causes attachment to the product without the cognitive involvement of the viewer.”
Reading Between the lines: while people are concentrating on the content of the video, the music acts outside of their conscious awareness to influence their behaviour.
Perhaps this accounts for its popular perception as a form of brainwashing. Either way, the value of music in advertising is well established.
A 2015 study from Nielsen looked at more than 600 TV adverts (500 of which have music) and concluded that pop music is best if you want to elicit a strong emotional reaction. But some pop genres are better than others if you want your audience to retain as much information as possible.
The study also finds that memorable jingles ‘’help make the brand seem in touch,’’ but fail in generating empathy.
And: ‘’that generic background music helps improve information power.’’
Well – bugger.
It seems like Julianne Schiffer is advocating the use of generic stock jingles.
I’m not going to argue with her.
You can make your own mind up.
But if you do use a generic stock jingle, I WILL find you and I WILL troll you.
Also – here’s the complete list of Royalty-Free Music:
THE COMPLETE LIST OF ROYALTY-FREE MUSIC FOR NONPROFITS / CAUSES / CSR MARKETING
N.b. Before using any music ensure you’ve read the artist’s terms and conditions. If you’re unsure about copyright issues, make sure you know your Creative Commons Licenses.
CLASSIC MUSICAL JINGLES CASE STUDIES
Finally, if you want to spend a pleasant few minutes, here’s some classic advertising jingles done right:
What’s your experience? Have we missed something? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below:
- Linda Scott: “Understanding Jingles and Needledrop: A Rhetorical Approach to Music in Advertising
- Huron, David (1989). “Music in Advertising” (PDF). The Musical Quarterly 73)