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Original composition vs. buying the license to a song for your corporate video

November 14, 2011

How important is the decision to use an original composition vs. buying the license to a song?

When a potential client gives me a call and we discuss what type of video would be best for their company, what music to use is not typically at the top of their list. There are several components that are of high importance for video (type of graphics, actors, location, etc), but music is key. Once we have picture lock in post-production and we add music…that’s when it all comes together for me. Music makes a huge influence on mood, and is tough to perfect. I like to do it towards the end after I have a solid idea of what the video’s message is.  The style and tone of the video help us decide if we should use and original composition or consider buying the license to a song.

We recently completed two videos for two very great companies. My Dominos Insurance (MDI) is a company based in Alabama that takes care of all insurance needs for Dominos franchise owners. National Premium is a global company that creates promotional products and is based in Wisconsin. With both companies, we traveled to their locations and finished all filming in less than two days. After discussing history & goals with both companies, we decided that a sort of docu-monial (documentary/testimonial) would be best for MDI and National Premium would benefit most from a company overview video consisting of heartfelt testimonials.

Once we flew to Alabama, and spent time with MDI’s owner Jason Upton, we realized how important his personalized customer service was (to their clients?). Jason has a big heart and his clients recognized that. Once we had picture lock, the editor was playing around with music to help us “understand the mood of the video” with songs similar to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s “Home” (great song by the way). The light banjo and whistles really sounded right. So we decided to ask a composer that we enjoy working with to come up with something that matched the heart of MDI; we wanted something that showed the Alabama routes but could still ring true for companies across the nation. The balance was tough, but the end product was golden. Check it out for yourself:



With National Premium we interviewed 3 employees, the President of the company, and an actual customer. We quickly realized that they too are built upon excellent customer service, where people are personally invested in their clients. I knew the video needed to both highlight this personal aspect yet still walk the path of a corporate video, where we showed the problem, solution, and desire to push forward. Because of the clear common thread throughout the video, I decided to peruse licensed music. There are a lot of great resources out there, but we decided to go with APM Music. We purchased the license to the perfect song…it encapsulated the tone of the video and it fit like a glove. Watch the video here:



Music must complement the narration of the video. It should show the viewer the beginning, middle, and call to action, without being too overt. Neither original composition nor buying the license to a song is better than the other. It is just all contingent on the video you are creating.

Do you have more questions about whether to go with original composition or buying the license to a song? Give us a call and we’d be happy to talk about which way is the best route for you.

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