This applies to pretty much any field. Let’s say you’re in a restaurant and the steak you’ve just had is
flawless, but the forks seemed kind of... underwashed. Or you were given a really helpful advice by a support service, but you’d had to go through a labyrinth of on-hold instructions before you reached the consultant. Or your hotel room was inexpensive, the view and the minibar were great, but you found someone’s (or something’s) hair under your pillow.
Sometimes, a seemingly negligible detail spoils the general impression, and it’s crucial to consider this
when you want your customer to return.
We’ve known filmmakers and game designers that concentrated on the essence of a product for many months, making changes and revising the design until two days before the release deadline, and then they suddenly recalled they’d need post-production things done, such as music and foley.
And those were done in a rush, and the guys still paid more attention to what they thought was the essence of their products. It’s no surprise that the feedback was overwhelmingly bad because of some cringing sounds that made the listeners’ ears bleed when played on a phone, and some egregious music transitions that distracted attention at quite important moments in the game.
Even elements that some consider minor deserve attention and effort, because any truly great product brings an experience that does not leave any negative aftertaste.
Music is not always the element that tells the story,
but it's always the one that enhances
It's the foundation the viewer's feelings
are built on.
We encourage you to think of post-production and the music used in your creative work as of integral
parts of it, which not only lead the audience along the way emotionally, but also help you ensure you are making the best impression possible.
So what are the common mistakes and risk factors in choosing a soundtrack?
1. The track is irrelevant.
Well, this one seems quite obvious. If you're making an explainer video, too "pushy" or relaxing tracks may not be the best choice. Or, if the tune is supposed to be a soundtrack for a game set in the Middle Ages, it'd better not be a disco track from the eighties. If the context of the elements of your work is not uniform, this conveys a dissonance into the viewer's head.
2. The track is too generic.
Many tunes on the market are similar to each other and it's hardly possible to remember them as individual pieces. However, the genre is recognizable two seconds after one starts playing - and if it's a common violin or piano arpeggio with some delayed guitar notes along it, a listener who can make a difference between two notes would not be too happy to hear that. They could say "the guys got no taste" or "making out they're a prosperous company, can't they afford a nice score?". By choosing generic music, you don't let your project stand out. However, it's best to first define the purpose such a track will serve for - a catchy tune might be a bit too distractive sometimes.
3. The track is inconsistent.
You can remember some symphonies whose parts are very different. The dynamic range is wide (some part are much louder than the others), the tempo changes three times and no part is repeated. Would such a track be good for e.g. a corporate video? No, unless the video content follows the music. If the dynamic pitch of your video doesn't change along the way, a changing pace would be egregious. However, don't confuse inconsistency and monotony - if you take a 20-second loop and make it repeat along a 7-minute video, that's a real bore.
4. The track has been used everywhere.
The temptation to download a track for free is strong. You'd only have to credit the composer, and you're all set. But the thing is, you're not alone. Such tracks have normally been used thousands of times, most probably in videos that are low-budget or shot on a phone, and their content doesn't necessarily correlate with the reputation you want your project to have. It would, however, be okay to use such for vine videos or anything alike.
5. The track is not copyright-cleared.
There's no worse thing than making a perfect video or a game and then having it blocked by YouTube or Google Play for copyright infringement. Not understanding the terms of a license (be it a free one with a credit required, a Creative Commons one or a specific agreement with a publisher) can lead to unpleasant consequences. And it gets even worse than that if you sell a creative work to your customer, and it's them who start having such issues - you can imagine the results. Always choose a library that offers clear and simple licensing and can handle a Content ID claim if you face one.
We encourage you to never make such mistakes and let music help your media projects prosper, instead of being an obstacle to success and a pain in a body part.
We will write more about what to avoid when choosing music, but the key thing you've got to remember - music is not always a secondary part of production, and, even when it is, it is either your friend or enemy.
Feb 24 2018
By Mickey Devall of Soundexter.com
Mickey is a composer, singer and voice actor. His clients are Visa, Coca Cola, Mastercard, Kaspersky Lab, Miscrosoft, Gazprom and KHL.
by Mickey Devall
MADE WHEN CHOOSING
Aftertaste. It’s felt equally well when it comes to the food insdustry or creative media works, and strictly prioritizing the elements of your production should not always be too radical.