Making ad music that stands out from the crowd

With music and post production studios being armed with massive DAW’s hsving virtually limitless track counts, your soundtrack can end up sounding just as good as the next guy...BIG, dense, and of course, LOUD! But to make your ad music stand out from the crowd, is the larger-than-life sound really the way to go? Read the tips and tricks below for adding extra “character” to your production’s soundtrack to gain a competitive edge.

As a music producer and composer, I regularly have audio sessions exceed 100 tracks to accommodate the layers upon layers of augmentation it takes to achieve that BIGGER than life sound. And certainly, if that’s what you’re after, it’s the way to do it. But if everyone is shooting for the “my track is bigger and louder sounding than your track” vibe, then that becomes the norm. And then how do you make your media production stand out from the rest? The answer is by adding unexpected “character.”

To produce music with unique character, try some of these tips:

  1. Set self-imposed limits. How many instruments do we REALLY need to convey the right emotion? In the case of the Natria spot, just a singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar worked perfectly.
  2. Try lo-fi on purpose. There’s something classically timeless and nostalgic about the tone a 4-track tape machine brings to an audio production. Check out how the music on this Discover Boating ad feels.
  3. Record in a room.  Make your recordings organic by using real instruments and real players in a real room. On this LG spot, all the instruments were performed live and recorded in a medium-sized room.
  4. Get good local talent. Choose a unique vocalist or VO artist.  Find one that perhaps has an accent, a lisp or a raspy voice. Or perhaps have your VO or voice talent deliver their lines in a unique way, perhaps at a soft volume, even whispering like this Target ad.

The name of the game is to stand out from the rest. So challenge yourself to think differently and approach your productions with “character” and even limitations. Otherwise, you might find yourself banging your head on the desk of your limitless computer.