Organic vs. Canned: A Musical Odyssey

  in Uncategorized - June 14, 2016


I opened the door to my hotel room, laid my bags down, and turned on the tv to catch some of the game before I had to head off to the first of many conference sessions. As I was unpacking my suitcase, a repeating video played on the TV showcasing the gigantic resort’s many amenities. As the video played … something seemed eerily familiar.

Dramatic music blared from the TV’s tinny speakers as the screen showed smiling people enjoying the hotel’s facilities …

The exact music that I had just picked as the theme music for a non-profit organization’s corporate video—showcasing the great work they were doing around the world. Hours spent sorting through stock music archives to find the perfect song were reduced to a background track for a hotel highlight reel.

There is nothing worse than having portions of your creative work shared with someone else’s creative work—but that is one of the risks you take when you use stock music.

I took a quick poll around the Change Media office to get thoughts on why custom, original music is better than stock music. Here is what they had to say:

  •  – “Because of control. Because of fidelity to a vision. Because why would you ever stoop to a piece of music that could even have multiple uses… if the music is not as unique as the work it’s married too, you shouldn’t be surprised when it ends in divorce.”
  •  – “Because it sucks finding canned music and can cost more in time than it does to just get someone to score it. That is if Jordan is around. (Jordan Lehning is a highly talented composer who has worked with us on several projects.)”
  • – “Nobody wants to find that perfect song for your project after hours of looking, only to find the same song on a crappy, low budget, local commercial on TV later that night.”
  •  – “I think one of the top reasons for is that canned music is available to anybody who pays for it.  So, you have no control over other clients using it.  So, for instance, it is possible that a piece you have purchased for a Christian organization could also be used in an ad for the lottery or a liquor company.  And, in the case of a film, it would diminish the content if the music selection you made winds up in all kinds of other media genres.”

So there you have it, custom music adds so much more to your video than does generic stock music—and it can save you the experience of listening to your music selection play on a hotel highlight reel. While it can cost a little more money, it’s up to you to decide whether it is worth it to have something truly unique.