Music and sound in television commercials, online videos, and in simple websites like Liss improve or increase brand consistency, engagement, memory, and differentiation. Music is a ‘trigger’ for different kinds of emotional activity in our brain. Because emotion plays an important role in communication and advertising, combining the right music to a brand can be very effective. How do you enrich video with music and sound?


A bit of history


As far back as prehistoric times, when someone found out that striking two stones together attracted the others’ attention, people learned to create sounds to empower emotions. Since then we have come a long way with a number of highlights in terms of sound, music, and image.


From the beginning of the film, inventors and producers tried to synchronize the moving image with sound, but it was not until the 1920s that a properly functioning system came on the market to achieve this. Until then, bands and musicians were often present at film screenings to accompany films musically. Sometimes live sound effects were also added. The dialogues and voice-overs were written on title cards that were shown below the film.


The first jingle was produced in the United States in 1923 by Sam Gale, commissioned by breakfast cereal brand Wheaties. A jingle is a short piece of music to promote the recognisability of a brand, radio program, radio station, or DJ. This turned out to be such a success that today we still hear a lot of these kinds of jingles and slogans on radio, television, and the internet.


On January 2, 1967, the first commercial break was broadcast on Dutch television. There was immediately a lot of use of voice-over, music, and sound effects, but it will take at least twenty years before high-quality music quality could be heard in these commercials.





Copyright is inextricably linked to the use of music. When an existing song is used in a television commercial or online video, the user has to pay money to the creator of the song. The copyright to a work ends seventy years after the maker’s death, counting from the first of January following the year in which the maker died. That explains why so much classical music is free of copyright. After all, it has been much longer than seventy years since Mozart and Bach died. This is also a reason for many video producers to use classical music in their productions.


Stock music



Stock music is music specially produced for use in audiovisual productions. The music itself has to be tailor-made with the image and is often not exclusive. Rates depend on the medium of use and the distribution area. Stock music was once inferior, but that era is now far behind us. There is a lot of good quality stock music available these days. The search engines on the larger stock websites have also been optimized in such a way that you can easily search for a number that matches your product or service.


Some websites also offer free music. This often comes under a Creative Commons license. With this license, the composer gives the user permission to use the music. However, there are often limitations to this and it is almost never possible to use this music for free in commercial production. Then you still have to pay for a license.