Finding and integrating music is an exciting part of the video editing process.

The right music can do wonders for a video:

  • Make it feel more polished and professional
  • Help capture and hold your audience’s attention
  • Accentuate a moment, or transition to a new idea
  • Complement and enhance your story (or your personality!)
  • Establish an emotional connection—making it more memorable
  • Add suspense, tension, wonder, curiosity, energy, humor, joy and more

It’s when your story finds its soul.

Glowing music note with audio spectrum visualization on dark background, symbolizing how to find the right music track for your video.

In this post, we’re talking about how to find the right music for your video.

We’ll start by breaking down the elements of what makes great music, and how these same elements can be applied when searching for music.

You’ll also learn why many video creators take the wrong approach when it comes to finding music, as well as a simple, but effective technique to force you to listen the right way.

Finally, I share some of my go-to music resources for video creators.

Let’s get into it!

Like Video Editing, Music Is…

We’ll start with the essentials.

What are the components of a great piece of music?

  • Dynamics
  • Tone/Feeling
  • Form and Structure
  • Layering and Texturing
  • Pacing, Timing, and Rhythm
  • Tension, Build-ups, and Crescendos
  • Resolution

Step back, and you’ll see that these are also the ingredients of great storytelling.

Fantasy illustration of an open book with music notes and whimsical elements symbolizing how great music is storytelling.
Music—like video editing—is storytelling.

As video creators, it’s our job to apply these elements in our videos.

Although it takes much practice, trial, and error… with experience, you’ll gain a better understanding of each and learn how to master them.

My Journey with Music: Building Storytelling Foundations

Music has always been a big part of my life.

At a young age, I had a “good ear.”

I remember hearing a specific song at school… then going home to our piano and figuring out the main melody from memory.

While others my age were listening to what was popular at the time, I became obsessed with movie scores—exploring the worlds of John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, James Horner, and more.

Composing and producing music eventually became an everyday hobby of mine—something I did on weekends and weeknights… working around my “day-job” as a video editor.

As a result, I’ve written and produced hundreds of songs over the years.

Side note: It’s amazing what happens when you work at something consistently over time.

Ultimately, this musical experimentation made me a more effective video editor. It gave me a better foundation and understanding of the elements of storytelling.

Now, drawing from these experiences, let me share how to find the perfect music to enhance your video projects.

How to Find the Right Music for Your Video

Video editing is a creative decision making process—and finding the best background music for your edit is one of those decisions.

In the end, it’s a subjective exercise.

No choice is inherently right or wrong, because many different songs could work…

But remember:

It’s not about choosing the song you like the most, it’s about choosing the RIGHT song for the moment.

Every music track you use should underscore, complement, or elevate the story and narrative of your video.

So, how can you achieve that?

Here are 3 simple techniques to help you find the right music for your video.

1. Use the Elements of Storytelling

In editing, think of yourself as the director and composer of your video.

You are the guide taking the audience through the story.

Analyze your video’s narrative using the storytelling ingredients we discussed above, and ask yourself:

  • What’s the tone or mood I want to create here? Somber? Uplifting? Quirky?
  • What’s the pacing of this section? Fast-paced? Slow and contemplative?
  • Are there moments of building tension that need a crescendo?
  • Where does the story resolve and release that tension?

To answer these questions properly, you should already have your video’s story in a good place.

This leads nicely into tip #2…

2. Edit First, Music Second

Don’t search for music too early in the process.

Many editors start looking for tracks before they’ve even built their timeline.

I totally get it—finding music for our video is fun…

But hold off! This is the wrong approach.

Music should complement your story, not the other way around.

  • Construct your video’s story first.
  • Get the narrative flowing the way you like.
  • Then start your music search.

Let the narrative lead.

Then, use tip #3 to help keep you on track.

3. Play Your Video Timeline While Searching for Music

Open your editing program, and play your video’s timeline back while you search for music.

Listening to potential songs against your actual edit will ensure you choose music that fits the pacing and feel of each scene.

You’ll instantly hear if a track complements or fights against your footage.

Pro-tip:

Some video editing programs have an option where you can loop your timeline’s playback.

Get even more precise by setting in and out points around a specific section of your video and having playback loop between them… this can be incredibly useful when looking for background music.

Music Resources for Video Creators

Ok, we’ve explored different techniques for how to find the right music for your video, but now I’m sure you’re asking…

Where do I find quality, affordable music options?

The good news: There are plenty of stock music resources available to video creators.

Here are 2 services that I personally use and recommend:

Envato Elements

Envato Elements is an all-in-one creative subscription service—offering unlimited downloads from their catalog of stock music, footage, graphics, images, templates, and more.

Want to see exactly how I use it?

Watch my walkthrough of Envato Elements that shows how to search and filter the site to find the right music, video template, and more for your project! 👇

Artlist.io

Artlist.io is a slightly higher-end subscription service with stock music, footage, sound effects, and more!

The Artlist library isn’t as large as Envato Elements—but the overall quality is better, and the music feels more authentic.

Screenshot of Artlist music library interface with various tracks listed
Explore diverse music options on Artlist.io for your next video project.

To be clear—both of these services offer way more than just music… they are all-in-one creative resource subscriptions that can be incredibly useful for video creators.

If you’re looking for a background-music only service… Many YouTubers use EpidemicSound. I’m sure it’s a good library, but I can’t personally vouch for it since I haven’t used it. And there are plenty more where that came from…

Your Turn

It’s time to take these ideas and put them into practice.

  • Use the elements of storytelling to determine the style of music for a particular moment.
  • Don’t look for music too early in the video editing process—build your story first.
  • Playback your video’s edit while you search for music to ensure a good fit.
  • Every piece of music should complement your story, not the other way around.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to finding music for your videos.

You’re bound to love how a certain music track accentuates something in your video, and somebody else will think it’s the wrong choice… that’s ok—that’s life.

Experiment with different music choices and styles and take note of how they impact your video.

But most importantly… let your story be your guide.

More to Explore…

My goal is to help you become a more efficient and effective video creator.

Here are a few more in-depth articles you may have missed:

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