Is Stock Music Blurring Your Brand?


By Christina Spoljaric Konig

What is stock music? You’ve probably heard the term or you may have seen it referred to as “licensed music.” Stock music is already existing music that can be tapped by customers for advertising and entertainment purposes in media like television, videos or radio. 

Stock music is frequently used because it’s easy to edit and typically inexpensive. On the other hand, the same music may turn up in another brand’s communications. We’ve seen instances of the same track being used by direct competitors, especially light classical pieces typical of financial services, pharmaceutical advertising and social posts.

As with stock images, brands can certainly use stock music in tactical ways now and then, but that’s only safe within the context of a strong branded sonic identity. So, why is stock music failing so many brands? It’s failing the brands that allow it to become their brand music.

Stock music can be great for a creative film to evoke a certain emotion in a specific moment, but brands should not rely on it as a branding vehicle, because once your sonic identity is confused with stock music, it loses its originality and focus.

Because stock music is versatile, listeners can get confused about what product or occasion they associate the music with. One person could hear certain stock music and think of a particular company or memory, while for another, an entirely different association may come to mind. 

Ultimately, stock music doesn’t harness the power of a thoughtfully branded audio identity that captures the imagination of consumers. Instead, it’s in danger of falling somewhere in the “oh, that melody again” category.

Photo by Sidney Pearce on Unsplash