Imagine watching an action adventure film with no soundtrack. Would that dramatic chase scene be as exciting? Probably not. Try watching your favorite scene from a movie on mute, and then replay it with the sound on like this trending Disney video from the movie, “Frozen.”  (

See what I mean? Music has a strong effect on the senses and can make or break your marketing plan. No one wants to watch a silent video. Scientists continue to research the effect music has on the brain, and findings indicate that there are even health benefits to listening to music.

Music matters. In fact, a year ago Apple Inc.’s iTunes reached over 25 billion songs sold.  iTunes users download over 21 million songs per day. That’s a lot of people choosing their own personal soundtracks for the day.  Music sets the mood. It’s up to you and your marketing team to figure out what mood you want to provoke with your message.

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” — Billy Joel

Be very careful as to what message you wish to convey and mindful of who your target audience is. If you are trying to sell a spa package at a luxurious getaway, a blaring heavy metal tune may not be a good choice. And, if you wish to attract teens to your biz, then you may want to avoid easy listening or nature sounds as your background music.

The tempo of the music also affects how long you’ll grab the viewer’s attention. The faster the music is, the longer the viewer stays in tune. Market research shows that shoppers will stay in a store longer while listening to faster tempos because they perceive that they have not spent very much time in the store. The longer they browse the racks, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

But, there are rules you have to follow for using music. Just because you purchased a song off iTunes does not mean you have the rights to use it. The minute an artist writes words and notes on a page or makes a recording, copyright laws instantly protect the work, even if the song is never registered. Music in the public domain, however, can be used for free and without permission because the copyright status of the work has expired. Another option to avoid breaking music copyright laws is to purchase music through a royalty-free music website.

The ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) website gives the following information about licensing:

Q: What Licenses Must I Get To Use A Song In My Film?

A: If you are using a prerecorded song or another prerecorded piece of music in your film, there are two rights you need to clear; that is to say, you need to get two different licenses to use the music.

Synchronization License: This is the right to synchronize a song or a piece of music with your visual image. It must be obtained from the copyright owner of the music, which is usually the publisher. You can find out who the publisher is by using ASCAP’s Clearance Express (ACE) at Songs that are not represented by ASCAP might be found at the National Music Publishers’ Association “Songfile” website ( You will be provided with a contact at the publisher’s Business Affairs or Licensing Department.

Master Use License: This is the right to reproduce a specific recording of a song in your film. You clear this right with the record label who owns the specific recording you would like to use; see the liner notes of the recording to find out which company this is. Alternatively, you can get contact information for record labels by calling ASCAP’s Film/TV Department. You will be provided with a contact at the record label’s Business Affairs Department

For details and fee information go to this ASCAP link

So, before you attach your favorite song to your presentation, decide what tone you want to set, and be sure to read the fine print. Do your research and you’ll be on your way to creating a memorable and effective marketing plan, and maybe even cause someone to tap their foot or whistle while they work.

Links to Royalty-Free Music