Music in Marketing [For Marketers, Musicians and Video Editors]

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The best quote about music that we have heard goes something like this:

“Without music, life would be a mistake”- Friedrich Nietzsche

Although the quote might sound dark (Nietzsche was an existentialist after all), I find that to be very true because let’s face it, do you know anyone that has never heard of music? Why is it so powerful, and why it has this uncanny ability to move us? Well, what I think is happening when we are listening to music is that we are experiencing something transcendental at the comfort of our chairs. Music is the epitome of extracting order from chaos as each instrument alone is in a state of chaos and with the aid of the composer, has brought into order to be something magnificent. Isn’t that life itself? Everything came into this chaotic existence and as time progresses, everything comes into order.

Do you know that music is more than an auditory phenomenon, rather a universal one? If you were to take the orbits of the planets and compare them to the fundamentals of frequency arrangement in music, they share a lot of similarities. The concept is known as Musica Universalis which also known as the harmony of spheres.

Having said that, there is no denying that music is a powerful force. It can evoke emotions without a seconds notice and it has this magic ability to transport you back into time. Hence, it can be a powerful tool to be included in your marketing toolbox. How can we use music in marketing?

Have you ever heard of the modes of persuasion? They are a collection of ethical strategies that you implement to persuade someone into doing something that you want. I one way or another, they are often used in digital marketing to help capture the audience and directing them into taking the actions that they need t required to take. According to that concept, there are 4 major elements that we need to hit spot on if we want to make sure that what we have in hand is able to persuade someone.

The Modes of Persuasion Are:

Ethos: Your authority, credibility and brand identity in a specific field
Logos: The logical argument that you place forward
Pathos: The emotional charge an argument has
Kairos: The time and place for an argument

Out of all the elements, what do you think is the most powerful one? The most powerful one is the Pathos, our emotions. Why is this the case is because emotions are governed by the part of the brain that is deeper rooted than our logical brain. Fortunately, music has this precise ability to evoke emotional reactions from people. It also helps in the formation of your ethos(your branding) too. Hence, let’s take a deep dive into how you can use music in marketing in a way that it is most beneficial for your business.

Key Takeaways

Music can be a great tool that we can use in conjunction with the standard set of digital marketing arsenal that we can use to up our marketing game. Let's take some of the ways we can implement music in the context of marketing.

#1 : Use music to give your business a unique signature
Factors that make a jingle sound great
Factor #1: Length
Factor #2: Music Tone
Factor #3: Scales

#2 : Use music to trigger nostalgia
Step by step guide to use nostalgic music in video Ads
Step #1: Identify your target audience
Step #2: Identify influential songs during their peak influence period
Step #3: Find similar songs or replicate the song to be used in your video ad

#3 :Tell stories with music along with video content
How to make music and video gell well for a story
Factor #1: Music Arrangement
Factor #2: Sound Effects
Factor #3: Dialogue placement in your mix


Take a look at the image down below:
Music Jingle
Credit: Digi Telecommunications
Well if you are from Malaysia, there is a big chance that you can hear that image. The distinct melody of the “I will follow you” song is so associated with Digi so strongly. How did Digi accomplish this? First, the tune that you want to impose on a brand needs to be catchy and unique. Another thing is that the melody is so simple, that when a listener listens to it, they can easily remember it back. Hence it is easier for them to form associations with it. Corporations have been using this strategy for so long that it is an industry norm for big players to have a form of an audio signature, a jingle.

So how as a business, you can apply this in your own branding? Well, there are a few key points that you need to hit home so that the jingle you use for your business is catchy and unique so when you do go and get a jingle done for yourself, you do know what to expect and what to request for.

Factors that make a jingle sound great

Factor #1: Length

For Branding Purposes (not more than 3 seconds): The reason why it can’t be more than 3 seconds long is that the purpose of your jingle is to be memorable. If it is too long, people will have a hard time remembering it.

Factor #2: music tone

If you want your jingle to latch onto your customers and make them associate it with you in a positive manner, you need to make sure that the instruments and sounds used in the jingle reflect your brand. What do I mean by this? Timbre in music means the distinct quality of a musical sound or music that is imparted by the sound’s source. If your brand is to emit a happy, relaxed type of vibe, let’s say family-friendly product as shampoos and dishwashers, your timbre has to be smooth. For example, if you want to capture that vibe, go with a set of acoustic instruments. If your brand leans more towards aggression and excitement, such as an energy drink or power tools, use harsher and more harmonically rich timbre, such as an electric guitar set with a lot of distortion.

Factor #3: scales

In western music, a scale is constructed by picking note intervals within an octave. Musical scales determine the mood of your arrangement. There are a countless number of musical scales out there and it can get hard if you were to choose which scale suits that best for your jingle. Now, exactly like how emotions can be contrasted from negative to positive, scales can be too. You can rate scales based on how consonant they are and how dissonant they are. The more consonant the scale is, the happier and brighter it sounds and the more dissonant the scale is, the more melancholic and darker it sounds. Another thing you need to keep in mind when you apply music. When using melodies from a scale, make sure that they are not complex and keep them simple to promote audience retention.


Nostalgia Is a Powerful Emotional Trigger
Our brains are professionals at forming associations. Have you ever had the experience of going about your normal day and a song that you frequently listened to during your teenage years comes on the radio/stream and for a brief moment or two, and you are magically transported back 5 or 10 years back? Well once you hear that piece of music, the specific neuron that carries the unique details about that music is triggered and that will cause a chain reaction that floods your consciousness with all the memories associated with it. Well, as marketers, you can use this as a great tool to emotionally prime your audience so that they will resonate well with your marketing strategy, especially if you have videos in your marketing arsenal. Speaking about marketing, Facebook can be a great platform where you can implement this with a video ad. Have you ever wondered what makes a great Facebook Ad? Read our article on how to improve your Facebook Ads here!

step by step guide to use nostalgic music in video Ads

STEP #1: Identify your target audience

Seeing this is the first step in any marketing endeavour, you can’t be expected to skip this step regardless. But in this case, we do it for a specific reason. The first thing that you need to identify is their age range. For example, let’s say you have a skincare product that you want to market to an audience with an age range of 18 to 24 year-olds. Then you need to figure out when they were in their teenage years, from about when they were 13 to 16 years old. Why 13 to 16 you might ask? Well according to Spotify, our peak influence period for music is from 13 to 16, and the music we hear during that time will influence us the most, hence carrying more emotional charge.

STEP#2: Identify influential songs during their peak influence period

For our next step, we need to identify the most popular, chart-topping songs that were playing during their peak influence period. For our 8 to 24 year-old audience set, the period might be songs from early 2010 to late 2013. A quick Google search will tell you what songs were most popularly listened to during that time and for our audience, the most popular song during their period was a song called Oblivian by Grimes. You can scout their Youtube Video to get a closer look into their demographics and what they say about the song too If you see the word nostalgia or any other synonyms of it in the comment section, then it’s a massive green light to proceed to our next step.

STEP#3: Find similar songs or replicate the song to be used in your video ad

Since popular songs are made by big studios, if you use their songs in your videos, you are going to get flagged for copyright infringement. However, you can replicate the song because you can’t copyright melodies and sounds. Just head over to Fiverr, find a musician or a producer that can successfully recreate the piece with necessary changes that is necessary. You might question it is an ethical practice or not, but rest assured, it is ethical as long as none of the original audio was used in your version. Another thing that you can do is to look for a similar song that has the same characters of the song stated above. How do we do this is by identifying the song’s Beats Per Minute(BPM) and Key. You can do this using Tunebat’s Analyzer and then look for some royalty-free music based on their Key and BPM.


Stories can evoke emotions effectively. Use music to enhance them
Like what we first mentioned at the top, music can be a great tool to evoke emotions. Have you ever watched those Thailand Insurance Advertisements? Apart from their content, what makes them emotionally charged are the soundtracks they used for the videos. See, music has this special ability to trigger specific emotions and no one really knows exactly why. Although, here are theoretical approaches on how to make a piece of music that goes well with your video content. Let’s take a look at them below:

How to make music and video gell well for a story

Factor #1: Music Arrangement

Musical arrangement plays a vital role to determine where the song is headed. Same goes to videos too. As a marketer and a musician, it pays off well when you marry them together. So how do we do that? A story follows a pre-determined chronology. After the video is done by yourself or a third party, identify parts which have buildup, breakdown, climax and etc. Then, you can use tools in your producer arsenal such music theory, sound placement and other forms of articulations to embody tension and release in parts that are necessary. Once both the video and music follow the same arrangement chronology, your content will be more emotionally charged.

Factor #2: Sound Effects

Since it is a part of sound itself, sound effects can be a great tool that will allow you to tell a great story. Add sound effects at the right time so that it gives an auditory spotlight to the scene. There are tons of free websites that you can browse through to get the right sound effects for your tracks. Just like any other skill, you need time to develop this and the best way to do it is to watch as much content as you can and actively analysing them to see sound placements.

Factor #3: Dialogue Placement in your Mix

Besides music and sound effects, dialogues are another auditory phenomenon that occurs in a story video. As musicians, we want our mix to be clear and loud as possible but as we pile on all the auditory elements together, dialogues tend to get lost in the mix. There are two ways that we can solve this. One, we can stop playing music when dialogue comes on. Although effective, it removes an extra dimension of expression as there is no music to set the tone for the environment. The other, more recommended strategy is to mix down the music and sound effects, and then equalize them so that they don’t sound muddy. The easiest way to do is to EQ down the frequencies from 500Hz-1000Hz (human vocal range) with an EQ peak so when played back, the frequencies don’t clash.


Music is a powerful tool that we can include in our marketing toolbox that can act as a great add on to our existing marketing strategies. As marketers, musicians and video editors, knowing to utilise them effectively can give that slight edge that will put you miles away from your competitors content. By knowing these 3 strategies and how to implement them effectively, you can be sure to produce marketing content that resonates well with your audience and helps you to garner the expected reaction from your target audience.

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Jin Chi

Jin Chi

The founder of Catalyst Digital. Born in year 1995, a huge fan of blue ocean strategy as well as lean startup. You can contact him by email at [email protected]


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