It’s World Music Day. That means we’re all being encouraged to play music outside, anywhere we like. As if we needed permission to do that anyway, right?
For the occasion, our Artlist Original label released a mash-up song made up of 24 exclusive Artlist songs from different genres and styles. Check it out here.
But in this post, we’ll look at the trends in music for video in 2021, perhaps as a source of inspiration for your future content creations.
Here we go.
Music in ads
Whether you’re looking for music for a big television, YouTube or social media ad, or even a business owner crafting sounds for DIY product videos, finding the right music is vital. With royalty-free music, which is free of commercial licensing fees, you really free yourself up to focus on the visuals and audio.
For ads, you really want to be current and follow contemporary trends in music. That means turning to music that occupies considerable space in the popular imagination, like Hip Hop (particularly trap), Pop, and various types of Electronic music.
Italian Pasta brand Barilla took it to another level with their own Spotify timer playlists, full of anything from alternative Hip Hop and trap to Pop and Folk.
Some examples of ads featuring Hip Hop are Apple’s Jump commercial for AirPods Pro, featuring Fallin’ Apart by Young Franco featuring Denzel Curry & Pell, FIFATV’s “what if” video featuring Sam Newton’s exclusive Artlist song Take the Shot and Mr. Peanut’s Father’s Day spot featuring Anthony Anderson Singing Shake it Like Dad.
United Airlines also came out with an ad featuring an Artlist exclusive song, WEARETHEGOOD’s Electronic banger, Boom.
Epic Cinematic music was also pretty ubiquitous in 2021’s ads, with an increase in socially conscious campaigns, like Dove’s Reverse Selfie campaign, or COVID related commercials and Toyota’s Super Bowl commercial about disabled swimmer Jessica Long’s inspiring story. Hyundai also came out an ad featuring Epic Cinematic music, featuring Still Life by ANBR.
When you want to evoke a sense of nostalgia, you can use Retro sounds, like 1970s funk, oldies or 1980s Synthwave. Heineken started their nostalgia-themed ads last year with Ode to Close, featuring Yehezkel Raz’s beautiful Piano piece Ballerina, and continued their COVID-related ads this year, promising We’ll Meet Again and helping promote social responsibility at Home Gatherings.
At Artlist, you can find a curated Best for Commercial collections. Which includes tunes that will help blow up your brand. These sounds range from Hip Hop and Pop to Funk and Rock and many other current trends in music.
Music in vlogs
Selecting the right tunes for vlogs is quite a bit different than music for commercials. Typically, vlog songs function as background music, particularly on YouTube but also on social media like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. The tunes are there to supplement the vlogger’s commentary to viewers, dialogue, text, and other media.
One way of thinking about background is finding subtle ambient sounds and chill beats. This will allow a vlogger to talk over the music without battling low, mid and high frequencies that could make it hard to hear or understand them. If you’re looking for these sounds, look for royalty-free Hip Hop and Electronic tracks.
Alternatively, if the vlog is heavy on visuals and text with little to no speaking or dialogue, then you can get away with the bigger, more dynamic sounds of modern Pop, Electronic and other genres. Many other tracks occupy the middle ground, where they are dynamic but still minimalistic enough to leave space for the vlogger’s talking, like the stripped versions of Jane & The Boy’s Electric, Family Kush’s Dancing in the Tub.
If you want to explore some ideal tunes for vlog music, check out our curated collections, Perfect for YouTube and Music to Talk Over. We also recommend you check out our article How to Find the Best Royalty-Free Beats for Your Videos.
Music in TikTok
Just as with music for vlogs, TikTok tunes really occupy their own space in the background and soundtrack music space. With TikTok, in particular, content is heavily driven by music trends.
Many TikTok users simply respond to trending songs and accompanying dances or memes. But if you’re a dancer or some other content creator looking to launch a TikTok channel, ultimately you’re going to want your own tunes, and this might mean looking outside of TikTok’s Sounds Library, which is driven by an algorithm and constantly changing. This way you can potentially create your own dance and music trends.
If you’re creating TikTok videos and you need tunes, then royalty-free music is going to be your friend. Hip Hop performs extremely well on TikTok, so definitely check out royalty-free hip hop tracks as well as this curated collection of royalty-free trap beats or Perfect for TikTok music.
Music in video games
Yet another niche is music for gaming, which has 2 distinct sub-categories: songs for streaming and gaming and then music for game developers. You can read more about these 2 worlds in our post How to Choose the Right Songs for Games.
Music for game streamers cuts across various genres and sounds and is typically used to help gamers focus or to share their favorite songs with viewers/fans. This is the background music usually heard on Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming.
For streamers, we’ve put together a collection called Gaming. We’ve got thousands upon thousands of other songs, so if you’re a gamer who hasn’t found what you’re looking for in that curated playlist, do a deep dive into our music catalog. You’re sure to find something you dig!
Finding music for game development is an entirely different journey. Game developers have specific visions for the sounds in the startup menu, each scene or environment, and of course, a concept for the overall tone of the game’s musical world. For this reason, established developers tend to hire music composers, and many large game studios license music just like movie studios and commercial productions.
Not all game developers have such large budgets. So, a great option is to turn to royalty-free tunes to look for trends in music typically heard in the gaming world.
If you’re developing a game and you’re a big fan of Mortal Kombat soundtracks, for instance, listen to a collection of royalty-free retro music we put together called Inspired By: Mortal Kombat. Or, if you’re a fan of cyberpunk video game soundtracks, explore royalty-free retro music in the electronic, ambient, and industrial genres.
Music in podcasts
The world of podcasts is yet another niche for background music. Podcasts have theme music, typically in the intro and outro sections, but also tunes for ad spot transitions and themes for the beginning, middle and end sections.
We recently went into great detail on choosing the right music for your podcast, so if you’re curious about podcasting music, be sure to check that out. There you will get a sense of the music trends typically heard in podcasts, including Indie Rock, moody Electronica, and even Jazz. You can find royalty-free Hip Hop, royalty-free trap beats and royalty-free Jazz on Artlist, depending on what flavors of sounds you’re looking for.
To help you with your podcast music search, we created a curated collection of tunes that could fit your series. Titled Podcast, it features a range of genres and sounds, including Latin, Hip Hop, Rock, Ambient and many others.
The world of podcast sound doesn’t begin and end with voices and music. Great podcasts also often have great sound effects (SFX). If you’re thinking about exploring this world, be sure you understand why sound effects are essential for podcasts.
The trends in music for video vary according to the type of video they accompany, but they also follow global music trends, which makes trap, Pop and Retro Synthwave good choices if you want your video not only to look but also sound up-to-date. Check out curated collections of royalty-free music for any type of video on Artlist and give your video that edge it needs to attract your audience.
DJ Pangburn is a New York-based journalist, videographer, and fiction writer, with bylines at Vice, Fast Company, Dazed and Confused, and other publications. DJ records ambient techno and IDM under the name Holoscene.