Getting great microphone audio during the wedding ceremony and reception is just your first step to a finished audio soundtrack. You also need some appropriate background music to set the mood for your wedding video. We've identified ten companies that offer a wide variety of background music that can make your wedding video literally sing. Paying for such background music can be either by license (pay for each time a song is used), or "royalty-free" (pay once). One site even offers completely free music.
1. Killer Tracks
Since 1989, Killer Tracks has been offering an enormous library of background production music for the Film and TV industry. Its high quality background music requires a license fee each time you use it, approximately $200. There is no charge for just listening to determine what you want. Finding a particular music clip is made easier by using their online Advanced Search tool. Selecting Moods/Type/Uplifting and the search engine will deliver a more defined list of mood music that might meet your needs.
2. Big Score Music
BigScoreMusic is a licensed fee site with many musical genres. Before the digital era, there was an archaic term called "needle drop" which referred to a fee that was paid each time the turntable needle hit the vinyl record groove and a musical selection was transferred for use in your production. Now, in the digital era BigScoreMusic has created the term "digi-drop" to encompass the modern digital equivalent of the needle drop, and the internet now offers instant digital downloads. The "Romantic" and "Adult Romantic" categories work well for wedding videos.
3. 2B Royalty Free
2B Royalty Free – like their name says, this British company's music is royalty-free, which means you can use any song as many times as you wish after you pay for the first use. Royalty-free music should be more appealing to a wedding videographer who has a limited budget, but more importantly who needs access to legal music for their projects- not ripped from audio CDs, which is illegal. The variety of music available is huge, and you can narrow down what type of music you are looking for by selecting style, instrument, mood (like romantic), length of track, and tempo (slow to fast). The music can be obtained by either downloading it instantly from the internet, by purchasing a complete audio CD, or by purchasing a compiled CD of selected tracks from their online catalog.
4. Narrator Tracks
Since 1989, Narrator Tracks has been offering royalty-free music libraries. Narrator Tracks music is specifically designed to work with narration – to compliment and not interfere with it. Musical selections are available in a variety of lengths to cover many different video lengths. Over 60 CDs and over 650 tracks are available representing many styles and genres. Of all the companies listed, it's the only one that has a specific Wedding Music style you can search for – 72 different tracks are listed under this style alone, many of them in a classical motif. Typical prices for single tracks are about $20.
SmartSound offers a unique 3-step process for creating your own customized royalty-free music. First you select the length of the piece, then you customize it by variation and mood, and finally you listen to it, confirming you want to buy it or not. Or you can do a general search like "Wedding" and let the program automatically find you various wedding music elements. For example, the famous Wedding March by Meldelssohn is available in a variety of types- orchestral, strings, organ, etc.
6. Twisted Media Inc.
Twisted Tracks not only offers royalty-free music appropriate for some weddings, but also a full variety of sound effects (such as wedding bells, etc). You can search their music from eight categories (Ambient to World). Individual Romantic music clips can be found under Soundtrack/Romantic. Prices here range from about $40 for a complete set of timed pieces under a common theme, to about $10 for a single clip. Complete libraries of music can also be purchased. SoundTracks Vol 1 contains the complete Romance set, including many others ($200). The SoundTracks library can be purchased as a CD with uncompressed 48K AIF, 44.1 WAV, or as MP3.
7. Partners in Rhyme
Partners in Rhyme is a royalty-free music site, offering many musical styles: Among them the "Romantic Underscore" volume contains 24 tracks of romantic music for weddings. It's available on DVD or as an immediate download (about $120).
Videoblocks offers much more than just royaly-free background music, but also video stock footage, motion backgrounds, and sound effects. It's subscription based, and through the month of September 2012, they are offering unlimited downloads for an entire year- only $99- a 90% reduction in their normal annual subscription! Videoblocks clips have been used by prestigious companies including ABC network, NBC, Travel Channel, etc.
9. Freeplay Music
Freeplay offers a unique combination of truly free downloadable music as well as licensed music. With the licensed variety an amateur blanket fee (up to five songs) is $500, or with a production blanket fees it costs $700 for up to five songs. Music can be chosen from over 7000 tracks, by selecting Style and Feel. In the free song listings, there are five categories, including Master Classics which has a massive catalog of music from popular classical composers.
The Jamendo PRO royalty-free catalog is available for downloading for an appropriately high professional fee- about $700 per song. Music is available in 18 genres, and typing in "Wedding" in the search window finds 37 tracks which can be individually listened to or purchased.
Watch: Post-production for Wedding Videos
Play it Safe
In today's age of lawsuits, it really isn't worth the risk to rip audio from a commercial released CD for your wedding video. You could easily be penalized for using such music illegally. These ten licensed or royalty-free sites listed above have thousands of relatively affordable music tracks that are instantly available for your wedding video projects. Using such compelling and appropriate music, your wedding video will now be perfect, and your clients will love the DVD all the more. Shall we say future referrals?
To find out more, the Videomaker Forums offer dynamic online discussions where wedding videographers can upload their current projects for critique or to have questions answered. Here are a few examples:
Songs For Your Wedding Videos
Best Music for Wedding Videos
Those Who Do Weddings
Tony Gomez is a veteran producer, editor, videographer, digital photographer, and reviewer of consumer and professional digital imaging and video products, with over 30 years experience.
(Image courtesy of Bigstock).