Do’s and don’ts of using stock music

Adding music to your video projects and podcasts is a must. Be sure to do it right.


Are you ready to take your content to the next level? Let’s face it, finding the right music can be a real headache. It’s time-consuming, frustrating, and can lead to legal problems if you’re not careful. From mismatched melodies to copyright conundrums, there are common pitfalls that content creators often stumble upon when using stock music. But no worries, we’re here to help you hit all the right notes and avoid those missteps.

When using stock music, make thoughtful choices that align with the mood and tone of your content. Pay attention to licensing terms and restrictions, customize the length and arrangement of the music, and use it as a subtle background element. Avoid using music that detracts from your message and explore all your creative options. With the following dos and don’ts in mind, well-chosen stock music can definitely have a positive impact on your content.

The Dos of Using Stock Music

Using stock music effectively requires a little bit of know-how. Let’s explore how to use stock music for your content the right way, so you can create listening or viewing experience for your audience that’s engaging and glues all your content together.

1. Do Consider the Mood and Tone of Your Content

When selecting stock music, it’s important to align the music with the desired mood and tone of your content. Do you want your content to be uplifting and inspiring, or somber and introspective? Do you want to create a sense of excitement or calm? Once you have the idea you want to convey, then you need to be sure that the music matches that.

For example, if you’re creating a video about a relaxing day at the beach, you wouldn’t want to use heavy metal music. Instead, you might opt for something light and breezy, like a ukulele tune.

The progression, major/minor key, tempo and rhythm all contribute to the mood that the piece creates. Fast-paced, upbeat music, like Breakbeat, Funk, or Drum n bass, create a sense of excitement and urgency, while slow, mellow music, like Lounge Jazz or Ambient, can create a more relaxed and introspective mood.

Smartsound Cloud makes this easy to use in our search features. Just browse through our moods or type one in the search!

2. Do Pay Attention to Licensing and Usage Rights

It’s crucial to understand the licensing terms and restrictions of any stock music you use. Make sure you have the proper license for your specific needs, whether that’s a single-use license or a perpetual license. Don’t risk getting hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit because you didn’t read the fine print.

We’ve got a much more extensive blog on this here. Be familiar with the topic or you can end up getting demonetized or worse.

3. Do Customize the Length and Arrangement

Stock music isn’t one-size-fits-all. Take advantage of editing tools or platforms to modify the length and arrangement of the music to fit your content’s duration and structure. This can help make your content feel more cohesive and polished.

Most editing platforms offer a few different lengths for their tracks. Make sure you choose the right length before you purchase. With Smartsound Cloud though, it’s easy to adjust this. In our app, just pull the track object to the exact length you want and export it. You can either stream your content in the app to match it, or check it in your video editor of choice and then export it again.

change length of stock music

Simply drag to change the length of the track

4. Do Use Stock Music as a Background Element

Background music can help set the mood and tone of your content, create a sense of continuity, and enhance the overall listening or viewing experience for your audience. If you insert it in right, you can enhance your content without overpowering it. Use it as a subtle background element to add some depth and emotion to your videos or podcasts.

The trick here is keep the background music low enough to not be distracting, and to make sure the dialogue is always front and center. There are a few easy tricks you can do to achieve this. One you can use EQ and make sure the midranges are turned down so that your dialogue stands out. The other thing you can do is within the Smartsound app itself. You can click on the Modulation button and adjust the volume of the music where you need.

Adjusting the volume

Adjusting the volume within a track

The Don’ts of Using Stock Music

Now it’s time to explore what not to do when using stock music for your content. Avoid these common mistakes to create an engaging and cohesive listening or viewing experience for your audience. By learning what not to do, you can ensure that your use of stock music enhances your message and doesn’t detract from it.

1. Don’t Use Stock Music That Overpowers Your Content

While stock music can enhance your content, it should never detract from your message. Avoid using music that distracts or overpowers your content. For example, if you’re creating a tutorial video, you wouldn’t want the music to be so loud that viewers can’t hear your instructions.

It’s easy to get excited when you’re choosing music for your content, but sometimes the most exciting and catchy music you can find isn’t always the best. Especially when you’re using it for background music. If it detracts from what’s going on in your content, then it just isn’t the right pick. Either find a new track, or turn down the more distracting elements – which can be done easily in the Smartsound Cloud app, just use the mixer, as instructed here.

2. Don’t Ignore Copyright and Royalty-Free Guidelines

Respect copyright laws and usage guidelines when using stock music. Don’t assume that just because it’s labeled “royalty-free” that you can use it however you want. Make sure you have the proper license and permission before incorporating any music into your content.

When people don’t read the fine print, they often get their content taken down. One common reason is for using content licensed to Facebook or Twitter or TikTok, and not realizing that content is NOT licensed for other platforms. Various platforms often push this strategy so that you keep your content safe on what platform. But there is a way to break out.

The simple answer is to not go with the pop music available on the social media apps themselves, especially if you’re trying to expand your cross-platform reach. Use a stock music service to ensure that you’re content is always legal and will never be taken down.

3. Don’t Rely Solely on Stock Music

While stock music can be a great resource, don’t rely solely on it. There are a lot of other sonic elements that need attention in a YouTube video or podcast. That’s why Smartsound Cloud also includes an expansive sound effects collection, which is available at the flick of a button. You can add in the sound effects on the same project as you have music, so that you have as much sound editing power for your video project or podcast as you can ask for.

Smartsound Cloud

At Smartsound Cloud, we know that music can make or break your content. That’s why our service offers a wide selection of customizable stock music that can take your videos or podcasts from bland to grand. We understand the importance of finding the right music that fits your content and sets the right mood, while avoiding those all-too-common mistakes. So, whether you’re a YouTuber, podcaster, or content creator of any kind, let us help you rock out with confidence and steer clear of the pitfalls of stock music!

Happy creating!

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