Author Anthony Trower

At Level 77 Music, we have always believed that music is a powerful tool to help people emotionally connect on a level that cannot be replicated without it. Finding a way to leverage the perfect song to develop the right emotional response to a production piece is a critical skill. Whether we are working with a podcast, a YouTube video, a television show, or a feature-film, getting a track that prompts an emotional response is essential to telling the right story. Here are a few things to keep in mind when seeking out the right music:

The Power Of Sound

Songs are, by definition, expressions of emotional experience. Listeners often have visceral and primal responses to a track, and these can cover a wide range of the emotional spectrum. Whether it makes you laugh, cry, angry, or crazy, having a variety of musical sources available to accomplish this in your project is critical.

Music And Memory

Music is also powerfully tied to memory. The way that you feel the first time you hear a song often returns to you upon subsequent listening, which is why music from your childhood can bring swells of emotion when you least expect it. This response is almost exclusively based on the experience of the listener, rather than the content of the music. Happy songs can make you sob, sad songs may make you smile, and that paradox is largely dependent on the time and place of your initial experience with them.

As a content creator, knowing how to choose or create music that can place someone in a particular emotional headspace is a crucial aspect of telling your story in the most effective and compelling way possible.

How Level 77 Can Help

Our goal as a company is always to empower our end-users with the sonic tools they need to express their creativity as they choose. We make music that elicits an emotional response, and this is largely influenced by the type of content with which it is paired. You can find pieces in our catalog that work well in any creative context. Don’t know where to start? Reach out and let us help.

We are constantly producing new and cutting-edge tracks that can transform a listener’s experience. With our extensive and ever-growing libraries, you will always be able to find something new and interesting. Think about the mood you are trying to elicit in your current project, and let us help you take your audience there and beyond.

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Doug DeAngelis is a producer, engineer, composer, and music supervisor who entered the music industry as a teenager. Today, he is recognized today as a global thought leader for the music industry. His professional career began at 18, as a programmer and engineer on the groundbreaking Nine Inch Nails album, Pretty Hate Machine. Spawning thirty-one singles that reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Charts, his work with the trailblazers of dance music shaped the trajectory of EDM in America. He has also pioneered independent song production and placement in television and film; the industry practice now termed sync. In addition to writing over 3,000 pieces of music for television and film, Doug is the co-founder of leadership groups like A3E and BlackSleeve Media. His goal is to develop new technology capable of applying the monetization practices of the video game industry to the music industry. Doug was kind enough to sit down with Level 77 Music to discuss his vision for music, television, film, and business.

How did you get your start in music and specifically music supervising?

I began in music as a young kid who was fascinated with synthesizers and sound. I fell in love with the sound of the early 80s, and spent my teens in bands, before attending Berklee College of Music as a Music Synthesis major. My career began as an engineer/producer in Boston and New York City, where I was heavily immersed in electronic music, remixing, rock, and pop music. I had the great fortune of working on some amazing records with popular artists, and ultimately moved to Los Angeles to continue as a record producer.

When I moved to LA, there was a TV show called Next Big Star that was looking for a “music person”, and I was recommended to the Executive Producer. My role was to produce all of the music, and also act as the Music Supervisor for the production. It was the first of the performance/talent shows in America, before American Idol and the rest that would soon follow. I had never worked on a TV show, and this was trial by fire. But after choosing and producing hundreds of songs over the first season, TV became my home. I found a unique role in Hollywood as a person who could write, produce, and music supervise at the same time. I did that on dozens of shows throughout the next 15 years.

Did you have to have any formal training to become a music supervisor?

I think like most things in entertainment, the best formal training is getting on a job, and learning as quickly as possible from the people who are the best in the business. It normally happens that way whether you are becoming a director, or writer, or music supervisor. Humility, passion, and big ears are the most important thing in learning these crafts. I had the great fortune of learning about music clearance from Evan Greenspan at EMG. He is the OG of music clearance and still a major player in it today. He was my mentor from my first show, and we still work on shows together now.

What advice can you give musicians and composers when pitching their music?

The number one piece of advice I teach all my students: if you have the perfect piece of music, then send it. If you don’t have the perfect piece of music, just say “I don’t have what you are looking for this time.” Musicians often make the mistake of sending ‘the closest thing’ they have in their catalog, or a bunch of songs they wrote, even though they aren’t exactly what the supervisor requested. Their thought is that the music supervisor will be impressed with the quality of the music, and remember to come back to them next time, or maybe the supervisor will love the music so much that they will change their mind and go with a different sound for the scene.

Unfortunately, the message it sends to the supervisor is the exact opposite. It actually implies that the musician either doesn’t understand music, or can’t hear the difference between what was requested and what they submitted, and ultimately it wastes the music supervisor’s time and takes them off of that supervisor’s trusted resource list. You will gain respect from that music supervisor if you don’t waste their time, and in turn they will remember to call you again next time.

Can you share any secrets on how you go about searching for the perfect song for a scene? How do you know when you’ve found it?

The perfect song for a scene elevates the emotion, and focuses the viewer on the dialogue, the story points, and the characters. The goal with music is not to draw the viewer’s attention to the music, but to make their emotional state heightened and make the scene more impactful. Songs and underscore do that in many different ways. Some are obvious, but in a more nuanced way, I try to create an emotional connection between the environment, people, or time period of the scene to the viewer’s real life experience.

Music is extremely powerful in shifting your mindset and making you connect in a personal way. If you can make the viewer relate their life experiences to the song, and have that song be the connective tissue to the characters, then the storyline becomes personal and highly emotional to the audience. I am also always looking to capture the feel of the cinematography, and editorial style of the picture, as well as guide the heart rate of the viewer. Do I want the viewer to feel relaxed? Do I want them to be caught off guard? Do I want their emotional state to be getting more intense gradually with the scene? Music can guide all of those things without being noticed.

How do you balance the need for custom music versus licensed cues when you are supervising a project?

It used to be purely a budgetary issue, but now most of the networks and major streaming outlets have blanket deals with the large libraries, so the expectation on a reality show, special, or docuseries is usually to stay within those catalogs for the show. If there is a music budget, it opens the door for custom music to be created, or published songs to be licensed for the special moments that call for lyrics or need a song for creative reasons.

Custom music is more critical when you need something to feel like popular music, but have a situation that requires some unique musical parameters. For instance, combining two genres of music for creative reasons, or needing specific tempo shifts that you wouldn’t find in a licensed song or library track. So for the most part, we are dividing the musical needs into groups based on the discussions that happen in the spotting session with the showrunner or director.

What advice do you have for someone who’s aspiring to become a music supervisor?

There are two sides to the job. Creatively, I would say that understanding filmmaking, and the specific needs of the characters are really critical. The dialogue tells the story, and the music needs to get under the surface, and emphasize the core reason the scene is happening. It also needs to solve any number of problems in the edit, like story point clarity, environment changes, time shifts, character relationships, etc. So, knowing a lot of music is great, but understanding the filmmaking process, and how to make the story and the characters come to life is the art of music supervision.

Administratively, the music supervisor plays a huge role as well. Organization and people skills are critical. You’ve got music that needs to be 100% clear for airing on TV, and a very short time to make it happen. Building great relationships with labels and publishers, time management, and back up plans are the essential survival tools!

Is there anything else you’d like to add for our readers?

If you want to learn more about the craft, please check out the blogs on my site, Soundtrack Production. There is some good info there, and I will be offering an online course again soon for people who are interested in a career in this field.

Thank you to Doug for sitting down with us. His innovative take on the interaction of music and visual media has transformed the television and film industries, and we cannot wait to see and hear his next projects!

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Music is the universal language. It’s a critical element in any multi-media endeavor that transcends borders and nationalities to create harmony, melody, and rhythm. As a producer, you want to be able to fully leverage the power of music to inspire and connect with people. However, to do that you need to understand the fundamentals of how music works, and how your potential audience perceives music. Just thinking about songs you like is not going to be enough to create viral content that draws views and impressions. There are themes working behind these songs that can be harnessed to extend the power of your project to new markets, and to individuals who originally may not have been interested in your content. So how can you pick the right songs to really help make your production a trending sensation?

Consider Your Audience

Genre targeting is a central element to the success of these music streamers. However, this powerful tool for harnessing music’s potential is not the exclusive domain of the big-name music platforms. You can also use genre targeting to pick the perfect track for your own project. However, to emulate the memorability and reliability of the major platforms you need to ask yourself a few key questions.

               Who is my target audience?

               What sort of music appeals to that demographic?

               How do I want them to feel?

By starting with these three questions you can begin to whittle down the options. If your content is directed towards baby boomers, you don’t want to include a lot of hip-hop or rap. Similarly, if you are targeting millennials, a classic rock track might be a poor fit. Common music genres include reggae, rhythm and blues, rock, hip-hop, classical, blues, jazz, and country. Once you have identified the broad genres of music that will appeal to your target demographic it is time to start thinking purposefully about the music.

What Role Will Music Play?

The music in a project can serve several different purposes. Perhaps it is background music meant to change perceptions about the content on the screen, or add energy and suspense to a moment. If the production is intended to educate the audience about a product or process, using a subtler track is appropriate. If it is a promotional or advertising video, you probably want more dramatic music. Knowing the general tone of the music, and the job that music will be doing will help you narrow down your search through a music library.

How Genre and Purpose Intersect

Now that you have identified your target demographic, decided on a style that appeals to that group, and settled on the general tone of the music in your content, it is time to start looking through music libraries. There are a lot of options out there. To simplify, consider the three major types of production music: pop music, production music, and royalty-free music.

Pop music is the music you hear on Spotify. It enjoys greater recognizability, but is also more expensive, and the timetable to get permission to use those tracks can be over a year. Royalty-free music is music which artists have made available at no cost, but the options are limited, and the best tracks may be used by several other competing products in your market. Production music is music that has been created to meet the needs of content creators, with an expedited timeline and at significantly lower cost than pop music.

If you are using royalty-free or production music, it may help to think about a pop song or style that would appeal to your demographic and serve the overall theme for your work. Production music libraries like Level 77 Music are vast, often with tens of thousands of tracks, so knowing how to narrow your search down quickly will help immensely. Sometimes these companies will have custom music arms. For example, Level 77 Music is known for making custom music pieces for companies looking to brand their company with a specific track that only they have access to. By knowing your audience’s needs and the emotion you’re wanting to evoke, the perfect track can help take your content to the next level! 

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Brian Michael Fuller is a well-established media composer for television and film with music features across a myriad of network and streaming channels. Fuller has had over 500 placements ranging from the BBC to the Super Bowl. He has worked on songs for the Emmy-winning show “Born This Way” and has recently produced music for Level 77. Fuller was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions about his craft, his method, and what it takes to be a leading music producer.

How did you get started as a composer?

Like most musicians, my parents bought me random musical instruments when I was a kid for Christmas. I specifically remember getting an old Sears drum kit called the “Golden Beat”. Somewhere in my attic I have a picture of me wearing some sweet late ‘70s clothes in front of that thing ready to rock! I also remember getting a super cheap Casio “sampling” keyboard and I remember figuring out the riff to Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life” and the theme song to Jeopardy. From that point on I knew I had been bit by the musical bug.

Before that, I used to sit in front of my mom and dad’s stereo record player, which was literally six-feet wide by four-feet tall with massive brown speakers and was basically a piece of furniture. It always smelled like Pledge because my mom was always dusting it. I would wear out 33’s and 45’s of Rick Springfield and many of my parents “Jamming to the Oldies” (a compilation album of 1950-60’s hits) holding a tennis racket and pretending that I was a guitar legend. I can still hear “Beep Beep” by the Playmates like it was yesterday. Fortunately, I do not have any pictures of those moments.

I’ve basically been a budding musician all my life. Fast forward many decades until 2015, when I made the conscious decision that I was going to be an actual TV music composer. Once I started to really narrow my focus and eliminate all the other distractions, that’s when I really started to officially become a “composer.” I believe that the mental shift and extreme discipline is crucial and necessary for a musician’s career.

How do you decide the feel of an album before you start?

“Feel” is a great word to use because sometimes as musicians we can get caught up in the technical aspects of what we create. It’s the most important aspect of music for television and sync licensing. This aspect is critical to helping tell the story. As composers, we have a very important role to play to make sure that we feel it’s elevated. Unfortunately, it took me a lot longer to begin to understand this concept. Fortunately, I have amazing non-musicians in my life, such as my wonderful wife, who always reminds me to focus on the feeling or the mood of a track and not simply the technical aspects of it. You never hear normal people say “I love John Williams’ movie scores, they’re so technically well executed.” That’s only what obsessed music nerds like me say.

I always try to make sure that I analyze the brief deeply before I write a single note. I try to make sure that I understand what the client is wanting. Is the music for a specific show that I can go watch to capture the vibe of how they’re used to doing things? If so, then I’ll research that. Before I start a writing session, I’ll write down a specific word and put it in plain sight. As I’m working on the track, I always see that word. Maybe that word is “tense”. From then on, I try to make sure that everything I add to that track feels that way. It helps me stay focused that way the track doesn’t go off the rails and change moods unintentionally.

What is your process like?

I’m a pretty obsessive-compulsive person so my process is pretty methodical and planned out. I try to leave room for creativity when I can, but for the most part, I love spreadsheets, deadlines and schedules. I know that goes against the romanticized views of how a traditional artist works but most of the people that I know that are successful in this business are extremely organized and professional.
From a practical perspective, I usually spend the first few hours of a project just curating sounds and building a template of unique soundscapes and instruments that I feel will accomplish the original vibe of the project. Often, I am working on batches of songs at a time, 5 or 10, so I rarely ever do a project that’s just one track unless I’m writing actual songs with a specific artist, which I seem to do a lot less of these days.

I always try to spend extra time at the frontend preparing the sound pallets and colors. It’s much like the process of scoring films. When you’re done, you want everything to gel and sound like it’s connected and part of the same story. Being really methodical and organized on the front end allows you to ensure that cohesiveness actually happens. Once I have my sound pallet is done, I just start creating with that one-word “feel” or “mood” in mind. I’ll start writing from that point and see how it evolves. I end up either extremely pleased, or extremely disappointed, see “Imposter Syndrome.” Some days you’re the hammer, some days you are the nail.

How do you choose your instruments?

I think it’s important as a composer to use the instruments that you’re really good at playing. For me, I’ve been playing guitar for over 30 years so it would be foolish to not try to include that instrument into what I’m doing. I also play bass and percussion so I like to make sure I’m always adding those instruments live to my recordings. With all of today’s computer technology, it’s super easy for composers to fall into the hole of just using everything in the box. There was an entire year or maybe two where I think I recorded like 40 songs and never used one live instrument. Looking back on my catalog, I believe that was a tremendous mistake. I could’ve added so much more emotion flavor and color by simply adding a few tracks with my fingers on real instruments.

I think a lot of people think that you have to be an amazing musician to record on an album or to record on a track, but that’s just simply not true. Most great songs on the radio are actually really simple musical parts. Unless you’re listening to jazz or progressive rock you don’t have to be a virtuoso to throw down a basic G, C,D, Em progression on an acoustic guitar. Having said that, I have found that my best instrument of all is my DAW. I currently use Logic Pro X and Digital Performer. If you get really good at editing, you can pretty much play any instrument you have. I actually played live clarinet on a few tracks I made earlier this year with a clarinet I bought on Amazon for $40. I literally watched a couple YouTube videos to figure out how to make a sound and then I sampled myself playing it. I thought I was gonna die because it was so hard to make a note but once I was done and did all the magic editing, it actually sounded really cool and added a lot of character to the recording.

Obviously, the genre you are working and is going to determine a lot when it comes to the actual instrument selection. If I am working on crime dramatic tension, I know that I am going to use a lot of sound design drones and strings. Probably not much harmonica or banjo in there! I may use my guitar for really ambient sound effects or string resonance. Playing traditional chords over that would sound really wonky and weird and would not accomplish the vibe of the track. Using our physical instruments, including your voice, in a creative way is very important. I just try to always ask myself, “I wonder if I could squeeze my guitar into the song somehow?” Then I try stuff until I come up with something that works.

That’s why workflow is so important. Everything in my studio is always hooked up and ready to go. I used to keep my guitars upstairs in my closet but because of that I never used them! Now they are all right in front of my face so it only takes me about 30 seconds to grab one, arm a track and get creative!

How long does it take you to create an album?

It usually takes the exact amount of time between the project’s start until the day before the deadline. Just kidding! But seriously, Parkinson’s Law is the old adage that the work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. This can be really true in music because our art is never really done – it’s just “due”. There’s an amazing quote by Duke Ellington that goes: “I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline.”

As artists, the best thing we can have for our careers is an actual due date. Otherwise we will get lost in the never ending pursuit of perfection and creativity. In sync music, the goal is to provide usable content for the end-client, not to make masterpieces every day. Our music serves a very specific purpose and a big part of that purpose is to be on the right person’s hard drive on the day that they need it. I always try to make sure that the tracks I’m composing are creative, unique and usable. But the most important quality is that they are finished! Otherwise, I’m just a hobbyist.

What was your approach with True Crime for Level 77?

Since this was my first album with Level 77, I wanted to make sure that I delivered something that was on par with the expectations Level 77 had for it. Jason Rudd and I spent quite a bit of time on the phone getting to know each other and talking about the vision for the album. Jason was super helpful in giving me direction and setting the expectations for what the project needed to be.

The last couple years I’ve been doing a lot of crime music so I knew it was in my wheelhouse. I already had a lot of direction for what I thought would work for the genre, but every time you start a new album you have the fear of wondering if you’re going to be able to deliver. So when I started this particular project I made sure that I created some really cool fun sounds that I had never used before. I wanted to make sure that at the end of the project it was something we were proud of and was usable for the end user client. Jason and I discussed a lot of words like fear, mystery, unsolved, dark, unsettling, and rarely if ever discussed actual musical terms. That helped guide the process and I think we ended up with some really cool stuff.

It’s easy to forget just how many sub-genres there are. Some people may just call it “Crime Music” but in reality, for the composer, there are about 100 sub-genres of crime. Is it murder mystery, is it investigative, is it documentary style, is it cyber-crime, is it espionage? There are so many creative options. The moment a composer adds a pulsing analog synth, it starts to go in one certain direction. Having a sense of vision for each project is critical. Otherwise, the music can get too sparse and lose its impact.

What are some recent placements that you’re proud of?

Every single new placement is like Christmas morning! Now, I start to get disappointed if I get less than one to two new placements per week. I guess I have become spoiled. Like a kid who gets too many presents!

I’ve dreamed about having success as a composer so I will never forget my very first placement which was on a show called “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on E! in 2016. I got a phone call from my friend Joy Basu informing me of our first placement. It was a pretty exciting time and was a very affirming moment in my career. I was sitting in my living room with my wife and we were both pretty stoked. It solidified that maybe I was on the right track, but in reality, it was only the beginning of all the hard work that would follow. Ironically, I had never watched that show. But millions of other people have so it’s a really cool feeling. LOL.

After that, I just thought to myself, “OK I need to make about 1000 more of these!” And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. It really is a cool feeling every time you realize that your music is being broadcast to millions of people. You’re helping tell the story of some creative person and they’re using your music to do it. Here I am just a father-of-four in Chapel Hill, North Carolina pumping out music in my home studio that’s being aired all over the world. It’s very inspiring.

My favorite placement to date however, is my track that was used in Super Bowl 55. It was a rock track that I did with my friend and collaborator, Stevie Benz. Wow, that was a crazy moment especially because I am a huge NFL fan AND I was watching the game with my entire family. We all got to hear my track in real-time and my kids were so
excited!!! They were literally jumping up and down.

Over 96 Million People heard that track all at once! What a cool feeling. That track has since been used in countless NFL games including this past year’s AFC Championship game on CBS Sports where my beloved Cincinnati Bengals beat the Kansas City Chiefs to secure their spot in the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 years!!! That was like a dream come true. Too bad they ended up losing to the Rams by three points but there’s always next year!!! And with our newly upgraded offensive line, it may happen! But I digress.

What do you feel it takes to be a successful composer in the modern world of music?

I think the most important thing is to have a PLAN! It sounds uninspiring and non-musical and every artist and composer reading this is probably like, “Wow, what a lame answer.” But it is so true. Of course you need to have musical skill, but that is a craft you develop overtime. A goal without a plan is just a dream. If you really want your dreams to come true you have to put it into action.
If I could inspire anyone who is reading this that wants to be successful as a music composer, I would encourage you to read a few books about developing business strategies, managing budgets, and discovering your passions. There are thousands of ways to be successful in the music business. Most likely, each person needs to carve out what that specific thing is for them. It looks different for everyone. But there is room for us all!

I used to call myself a songwriter until one day I woke up and realized I wasn’t really writing songs. I just liked the idea of being a songwriter more than the idea of delivery pizzas and managing restaurants. In my early days of living in Nashville, I met many people who were professional songwriters. I realized that these people literally wrote 2 to 3 songs a day no matter what. It’s not what they called themselves, it was actually who they were and what they were doing. They were songwriters. Calling yourself something and being something are two different things.

In 2015, when I decided that I was going to actually legitimately pursue being a professional composer for TV and Film, I made the conscious decision that I was going to compose music every week, if not every day, from that point on. That’s when everything started to shift for me. If you want to do this for a living, you must consider yourself a business, not a musician. In order for a business to be successful, it needs a budget, a plan, a vision and a mission statement as well as solid boundaries for what you will do and what you will not do. If you don’t have each of those things figured out for your life, written down, start today.

Most importantly, make sure that all of your plans and your goals are measurable. So many artists are banking their career on things that they can’t control. That is not a formula for success. No one is going to hand you something for free and very rarely are you just simply going to be discovered for your awesomeness. You need to carve out a path for yourself and you need to make goals that are achievable, realistic, measurable and within your control. The biggest competition is going to be yourself. That’s what I’m learning every day.

Thank you so much to Fuller for being willing to give us his time and talents. We cannot wait to hear his newest compositions and experience his latest placements! If you want to get in touch with Brian Michael Fuller, please visit his composer website:


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Imagine that you’ve spent countless hours recording and editing the perfect video for YouTube. After a few finishing touches you post the video and wait for it to go viral! But when you check on your video the next day, you see that it has been taken down by YouTube. Why, you ask! YouTube’s copyright policy. It was removed because you did not have licensing privileges for the background music. What’s worse is that YouTube has now tagged your account, and any further violations could jeopardize your entire video library. So what is copyrighted music, and how can you avoid having your video removed?

What is a music copyright?

When a musician writes and records a song, it becomes their property, and they have protections from the law to make sure someone does not use that intellectual property to make money without the permission of the artist. These protections are known as copyrights. Copyright law can be pretty complicated, but the short version is that you cannot use copyright materials without paying for them. On YouTube, you do not necessarily have to credit the music artists you use in your content, but you have to make sure that they receive the appropriate funds for use of their property. YouTube has two systems which work together to ensure that intellectual property (IP) is protected and remunerated on their platform. The first is a place where content creators (musicians, video artists, etc.) can submit claims for anything that violates their rights, and the second is the video upload protocols, which police for copyright infringement.

What is YouTube’s policy on copyright violation?

So what happens if a video violates YouTube’s copyright policing protocol, or if an artist makes a claim of copyright infringement? YouTube has a variety of policies in place to protect copyrighted materials, particularly music, which is one of the most frequent content area violations. YouTube can simply mute the entire video making it so that all audio content is no longer accessible. The other way is for YouTube to monetize the video by running ads against it, then using that money to reimburse the music artist, while running viewership statistics and potentially providing a method for the musician to provide a music license at a high premium. Ultimately, if a video on YouTube violates music copyright protocols, then the person making the money has  the music licensing rights, even if the rest of the content does not belong to them.

How can you avoid a copyright claim?

There are three ways to avoid a copyright claim.

The first is to forfeit any and all monies produced by the video to the music artist. If you have no claim to monetize a video and make arrangements for the artist to claim all the money, then YouTube will generally let you use the artist’s content.

The second is to contact the artist or their music publishing company to get permissive use if you want to monetize your video. However, this is a time-consuming and expensive method which can take years to accomplish and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. That’s why we recommend using the third and easiest way.

You can use production music. Production music is pre-recorded music created specifically to be used in projects like advertising and YouTube videos. Production music companies have vast libraries of songs to choose from, and have a streamlined, affordable process to acquire those songs.

Where can you acquire production music?

Production music can be purchased from a production music company. Companies like Level 77 Music host massive libraries with thousands of tracks designed specifically to be used in YouTube videos like yours. The songs cover every imaginable genre and style of music, each with an expedited acquisition plan and various affordable price points. Exploring the libraries of a company like Level 77 Music may even give you ideas for songs and styles which might not have originally appealed to you. Best of all, the songs all come with full copyright permissions and licenses, so there are no complications from YouTube’s copyright protocols.

You’ve worked too hard on your content to have it shut down and muted by YouTube for copyright infringement. Take control of your music choices by leveraging the affordability and flexibility of a music production company to fulfill all your music needs.





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You like podcasts? So do we! They inform and entertain, and since it’s an audio-only medium, they can go with you anywhere. One of the first things you hear in most podcasts is an opening theme song. How do you select music, and where is music frequently used in podcasts? Read on for more!

Podcasts generally use music in three different ways. The first is at the beginning or the end of the show. Next, you’ll occasionally hear background music at various times and places. Finally, stingers to separate segments in longer podcasts. Developing unique tracks that capture the energy and feel of your show is critical to help create a brand identity that your audience can quickly recognize.

Intro/Outro Music

There are a lot of schools of thought on how to select the best music to use as an opening, but they all agree that the track must be memorable and convey the tone of your show quickly and impactfully. The best way to approach this process is to ask broad questions about the personality and flavor of your podcast. Does it deal with serious topics? Is it lighthearted? Who is your target audience? What sort of music would appeal to a potential listener? Being able to zero in on your target market is the first step to choosing music wisely.

Background Music

Often, the background music in a podcast is meant to add another sonic layer to the production. Think subtle! You do not want a background track to distract from an interview. Instrumental tracks are ideal, since there are no vocals to compete with the dialog in your podcast.


Stingers, or section separators, on the other hand, are frequently shortened versions of the introductory track. Having a unified voice for all the music in your podcast will help create a sense of cohesion and make your entire production feel more professional. Many successful podcasts have instrumental and abbreviated variations of their title music throughout the recording.

Final Considerations

To reiterate, the song must be memorable! It is crucially important that you trust your intuition in conceptualizing your music. You have a vision of what your creation should be, and you have hopefully learned something about your potential podcast audience. Taking that knowledge and applying it critically to the music selection process will help you create a quality product with consistent sound and messaging. Don’t know where to start? Reach out to us about choosing original music from our large production library, or having our pros create a custom track for you!

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Sourcing Music Ethically Brings Integrity to Your Brand

Integrity, morality, and ethics can be difficult to define whether you are an individual or a company. People know when something goes against their personal idea of what is right and wrong, but being able to categorically define it can be quite challenging. And it doesn’t just apply to big business anymore. It’s particularly relevant in the music industry, namely where sourcing music is concerned.

How Music is Used in Advertising and Brand Integration

Advertising uses music as a powerful force to help guide the emotional response of the consumer to a product. A radio music bed or a powerful stinger can help cement an ad in a potential customer’s mind. However, the music used in an advertisement is often one of the last considerations in promotional development. As a result, decisions about background music are frequently done without much thought, and often on an abbreviated timetable. Thus, decision makers do not always take the time to make ethical considerations about music sourcing.
Every piece of music in every ad, song, radio bed, or movie soundtrack was composed and recorded by musicians. They put a lot of time and effort into their craft. However, because of the expedited timelines for advertising music and a lack of proper budgeting, many new companies are cutting corners with their music. The lack of consideration toward the artists responsible for a track is an unethical practice.

What Sources for Music are Available

Taking the time to consider the music that will accompany your brand is the first step towards ethical music sourcing. Consider whether you want to use something popular, something classical, or something custom-built by a professional production music company. Pop music can be expensive and frequently takes more time to acquire the rights of use. Classical music can be recognizable and tends to have a very specific demographic and use. Production music is a faster, less expensive option which offers more choices, but will not have the same recognition.
If you model your advertising around a specific popular music track, there are still ways to ethically source your music without the added expenses and time needed to acquire music licensing from a major music corporation. Consider using that pop music song as a reference track, then using the catalogues from a production music provider like us to find a song that matches the theme, tone, and energy of the song. Using our production music, we can sidestep a lot of the hassles and legal issues associated with using other sources.

The Pitfalls of Non-Ethically Sourced Music

Time constraints and the expense of production music means that it is easy to cut corners and simply use a song from a royalty-free music site, or include a pop music song without proper licensing. In the short-term, these solutions might seem reasonable. But there are serious ethical and legal issues with improperly sourced tracks.
Creative commons and royalty-free services are quick and inexpensive ways to get music. However, that music comes with some serious caveats. The production quality is often poor, the libraries are sparse, and the best music from the libraries is often overplayed. The lack of cost for the tracks reflects the lack of reimbursement for the artists who created the songs as well. Because of the thin margins on stock music, any independent musician involved in the creation of the music is often poorly remunerated.

Ethically Sourced Production Music

Production music companies like us are committed to fair remuneration of music artists for their work. As a result, the music quality is higher, the production values are better, and there is a greater variety of genres and styles represented in their libraries. We are committed to supporting young artists and creatives, giving them an opportunity to earn income for their compositions while they work to perfect their craft and become established artists on their own. Using Level 77 Music for your brand promotion comes with the knowledge that you have selected music with integrity, and that you are supporting musicians and composers.

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You hear the familiar score in the background of your favorite television news program every night. Just a few seconds long, it is instantly identifiable. Hearing that music sets the tone and establishes a theme for the rest of the program. Variations on that theme are used as transitions between segments, before and after commercials, and as the coda (ending) of the show. Music is a central part of a news media company’s identity. The process of composing, securing, and paying for that music is more complicated than you might imagine. Let’s dive into the world of TV news music!

The history of the news media and music

Music in the context of television news is a relatively new phenomenon. In the 1940’s through the 60’s most television shows were introduced by the sound of a typewriter, with no music whatsoever. That changed in the 1970’s when NBC used a long symphonic piece to introduce its nightly news program. The popularity of music in an introduction grew quickly, but the songs became much shorter. Now most news programs have an introductory piece of music that is just a few seconds long, a far cry from the longer musical pieces which were popular through the 1980’s. In the last few decades, news themes have changed a lot. First and foremost, they are now significantly shorter. Long opens and closes are a thing of the past. Viewers are now hearing more and more bits of sound throughout a broadcast. These sounds are called music cues.

News music’s complicated terminology

Broadcast media, whether television, radio, or social media, have a very specific jargon that can be difficult for an outsider to understand. Terms like “stinger,” “bumper,” and “bed” are not immediately obvious unless you have been in the world of music production. Understanding the different varieties of music can help you understand the many ways in which musicians and sound editors use it. Two of the more obvious terms are “opens” and “closes.” These are the cuts of music used to introduce or end a new broadcast, and their length varies based on the type of news broadcast. General news has shorter opens and closes, while individual news shows (like Barbara Walters Presents) typically have longer ones. General news tries to get into the stories more quickly, while talent-driven broadcasts tend to take more time. “Bumpers” and “stingers” are abbreviated forms of the main opening/closing theme designed to introduce summaries of upcoming segments (for bumpers) or to introduce the new segments themselves (stingers). “Beds” on the other hand are variations on a program’s main theme used to promote upcoming newscasts.

News music branding and development

Music has been called the “silent player” of television broadcast news, creating a unifying element for the viewer and even helping them understand the newscast better. News music themes can alert the audience, letting them know that a broadcast has begun. News programs have a team of sound editors and musicians who help compose and mix the audio in a newscast. These artists are constantly balancing the music with the content to focus on the emotion and action of a story, and to maintain a dynamic product. Sound effects, music beds, stingers, and bumpers are all part of the non-dialogue sections of a newscast which help to make it a coherent whole and keep the audience informed and entertained. As a result, there is a lot of money to be made in the news music industry. The composers of the music on the show are paid royalties each time their content is used. Every time you hear the CBS Evening News theme, someone is receiving a royalty check.


There is a lot of crossover in the news music industry, with stations competing against one another to have the best quality music and the most dynamic content. This competition drives up the cost of using music in the news, as well as steadily increasing the caliber of music. News music composers continue to develop and introduce new genres of music to the broadcasts as each network attempts to make itself stand out from its competitors. The call for quality production music from established music companies like Level 77 can help meet the rising demand for new and different music in television broadcast news.


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