Music, when it comes to voiceovers, is like sauce – don’t overdo it.

When you have a solid voice recording, adding the right background music lets you set the emotional tone and keeps the audience more engaged, helps relay the message, and even makes the entire production more memorable (we all have the ad jingles we sing along to).

Because of their potency, voice over music can overpower and detract from the actual vocal delivery in a recording. When you aren’t careful about the voice over music you select, then you run the risk of ruining the recording entirely.

Whether you’re sizing up for a marketing ad, an explainer video, or a training material, there are a few voice over music best practices that you should keep in mind.

May the Force Be with You

Emotion is power, and because music is inherently emotional, music is powerful. Instead of appealing to our rationale or logic, like so many other art forms, music elicits a knee-jerk response from the bottom of our heart. This is why even if your head’s saying no, or don’t care, you end up humming along to catchy tunes.

Depending on the type of music you pair with your voiceover or video, you can alter the entire mood of a scene, or evoke a strong emotional attachment that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible were it not for the music. Imagine watching LOTR or Harry Potter without the music in the background – I wouldn’t be able to get past the first 30 minutes.

4 Tips for Choosing Voice Over Music:

1. KISS – Keep it Simple & Subtle

Remember that the voiceover is the most important audio in your content, regardless of whether the final production is audio-only or video-with-audio. The music shouldn’t overshadow the voice but rather complement and support the messaging, not to carry out the main acting.

2. Set the right mood

This may seem like a no-brainer but too many times have we seen content where the tune is out of, well, “tune”. No matter how fantastic the music may be, when it’s out of sync with the flow and not setting the right mood for the delivery of the vocal message, that piece should not be in the play. Music’s job is everything from building suspense and foreshadowing a climax to welling-up a heart-wrenching emotions.

3. Use silence to your advantage

Just as silence in a script can be portentous, a sudden disappearance of background music can lend significant weight to the voice recording when used appropriately. Don’t think you need to fill the entire length of your content with sound. Having no sound can add suspense and keep the audience on their toes.

4. Use Royalty-Free Music

Once you’ve decided that your recording will benefit from the inclusion of music, then it’s time to start searching for just the right track to enhance your piece. At this point in the process, it’s important that you make sure to use only music that you have the rights to.

There are a number of online resources where you can find royalty-free music. Some stock music libraries offer free downloads, and others require you to purchase the rights to use the music in your recordings. Some of the best online music libraries for you to check out include Epidemic Sound and Bensound, and there are plenty of others out there depending on what you’re looking for. Advanced Text-to-Speech (TTS) tools like Genny also provide a library-full of royalty-free music that you can incorporate into your marketing, training, or e-learning content free of charge.

Don’t Overdo It

When strategically and professionally executed, the right backing music can increase audience engagement, accentuate the messaging, and enhance the overall content. The role of music – or any extra sound in the video – isn’t to compete with the vocal performance but to subtly improve it by drawing out the emotion in the copy, and add to the overall presentation in a relevant and pleasing manner.

Remember that the voice is the main ingredient, the main dish – music is the garnish and the sauce.

Make sure to check these posts out as well:
Finding the Right Voice for Your Content
7 Essential Qualities of a Good Text to Speech Platform