Recognizability is a double-edged sword
Certainly there is a comfort in pop music. The instant recognition of a track can provide familiarity for both yourself and your audience. However, those pop tracks are ubiquitous, and using the same song as other, competing franchises to your project can ultimately be detrimental. For example, if both your podcast and your biggest rival are using the same songs it can be hard for your audience to differentiate between your products. The unique qualities of your content require similarly unique music. In similar fashion, the same familiarity which the music provides can be a distraction from your work. Suddenly the listener is reveling in the glory days when that pop song was on the radio instead of listening to the content that you toiled to perfect and make relevant. You want your background music to amplify your message, not replace it.
Using pop music can be prohibitively expensive
That song you hear on the radio has the benefit of being instantly recognized by millions of people, and that recognition comes at a high premium. The process for acquiting pop music for a project can be arduous, but the cost is typically even greater than the expense. Using a top-40 pop hit can cost over 100 times as much as using a production music piece with the same energy and style. Paying significantly more money for a product that will run in the background of your own content will quickly make your own production costs skyrocket. The affordability of production music makes it an attractive alternative to the exorbitant costs of pop.
Aligning with a specific pop artist can have unintended messaging
In the modern day and age of “cancel culture” pop music artists frequently share their opinions about politics and global economics. While they are certainly entitled to their opinions, those opinions begin to be associated with their music. If your audience does not have the same opinions, then that pop song, with all its familiarity, may start to become a point of distraction and dissonance from your own message. Time and time again we have seen pop stars put out messages specifically requesting their music not be used by specific political or corporate entities. That sort of political activity is typically detrimental to your bottom line. Production music is created by music professionals specifically to be used for your project, and won’t have the same potential political backlash as popular music can have.
Getting licensing rights to pop music can be painful
You know the perfect pop music song for your project, so you contact the company which pressed and released their albums about using the track in your own work. Then the headaches begin. While the record company generally controls the rights and licensing form the music which they published, the individual artist (or artists) often still have first right of refusal. If tere are several artists credited as the creators of the piece, each one has the opportunity to refuse, for a variety of reasons. Most pop musicians are ery protective of their product, and frequently refuse the license if a potential project does not align with their own ethos. Additionally, the more steps involved in getting licensing rights means that the timetable to acquisition gets similarly extended. Getting permission for pop music can often take over a year. Because production music is designed specifically for purchase and use, those obstacles simply do not exist. Choose the track from a company like Level77’s massive music library, and the process of getting full licensure is almost instantaneous. The artists who have created the music in a production music library did so specifically for it to be used in movie trailer production music, sports production music, or other media.
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding between using pop music or production music in your project. The timetable for licensing, the cost to access the music, and the effect the music will have on your final product are all important points to ponder. You may not have initially considered using a company like Level77 to fulfill your music production needs. The musicians at Level77 have used their considerable skill to create memorable music that can help bring your project to life without some of the problems which can plague pop music.