YouTube now outranks traditional television for children’s viewing, and there are thousands of kid-friendly channels on the platform. If you are serious about producing excellent content for kids on YouTube, background music plays a fundamental role. It will increase your production values, keep kids watching, and cover any editing gaps in your video. Background music for kids' video content might be the missing piece of the puzzle you need to make your video go from so-so to sensational.
You might be thinking, don’t I have enough to worry about when creating content? How important can the background music be, really? Think back to your own childhood for a second, and you’ll see just how influential background music can be. Bugs Bunny without the classical music and loony sound effects? No. Can you imagine Blue’s Clues without musical flourishes and larger-than-life sound effects? Of course not. Background music is essential to great kids’ content.
Children Relate to Music
While all humans respond to music, children are incredibly open to it. Anyone that has watched Sesame Street, seen a child memorize a Disney movie, or had a ditty from Schoolhouse Rock embedded in their brain for decades knows it’s true, and research supports it. There are so many benefits of music for kids (and adults), including:
- Memorization of facts
- Reduction of anxiety
- Improvement of mood and ability to focus
- Reduction of impulsive behavior
- Increase of language development
- Increase of attention span
Even if your YouTube content doesn’t involve using songs to teach kids facts, background music will enhance your videos.
Why Should Music Be Part of My Content?
There are many benefits to adding background music for kids’ YouTube content (or any content, really). Light music for kids pulls your video together while emphasizing the mood for the piece. Kids respond to upbeat, cheerful music, and the best background music keeps viewers interested and evokes emotion.
Setting the tone: what’s the aim of your content?
Background music is a powerful tool that goes almost unnoticed — unless it isn’t there. Think of watching a horror movie without dark, eerie music underneath or an action movie without a dramatic, soaring score to create energy and excitement.
You probably don’t want dark and eerie music for children's content, but using music to add an element of upbeat excitement or signal that the day is slowing down to a clear conclusion is a fantastic tool in any YouTube content geared to kids. Whether it’s lively, dramatic, or subtle, your choice of music enhances the viewing experience and brings your message to kids in a way they’ll love.
Kids have a short attention span
Children have never been considered very focused, but the constant availability of media has heightened the problem. Kids will click away the moment they view your content as dull. Your content needs to be top-quality to keep viewers coming back for more, and background music is one way to keep kids watching. Silly sound effects highlight jokes and antics, buoyant tunes make them want to move, and repeated tracks can signal beloved characters are about to appear. Use background music to enhance exciting content, and kids will clamor for more.
Music makes your content professional
There is much competition for YouTube views, and production value should never be underestimated, even for kids’ content. Music smooths transitions and avoids awkward silences that otherwise make your content look amateurish.
Remember, background music is just that: in the background. It enhances your video, making viewers engaged and less likely to click away. Mastering the art of background music levels up your content and makes your videos dynamic.
How to Choose Background Music for Kids’ Videos
Choosing background tracks for your video content comes down to many artistic choices, but there are a few key points to consider:
- The music should complement the video, not overshadow it
- Don’t use tracks with vocals where there is narration; stick with instrumentals
- Match the mood of the music to your content; remember, it's a tool to evoke emotions
- Be sure that your viewers can hear all dialogue over the background tracks — avoid sudden spikes of volume or pace changes that don’t fit.
Some background music for children's content should be repetitive because kids like routines. If you have the same theme in the background or dizzy sound effects when a particular character appears, that's good. You can keep the same energy throughout your video while using different music to keep the mood varied. At Stockmusic.net, we organize music in collections to make it easy to find the right tunes for your video.
Choosing the genre of music will come down to personal choices, but you should consider the tempo, which instruments are used, whether or not you want vocals, and the mood you want for particular sections in your content. You wouldn't want to use a loud, heavy beat if your video was supposed to be a soothing nighttime show before bedtime or use ukulele music if your characters were building a snowman. The background music should blend seamlessly with your content and smooth transitions but not overshadow it.
When to use lyrics
Music with lyrics can add dramatic flair and advance your story but should never overshadow your content. Lyrics can distract viewers from your message as well as from the audio track. Editing lyrics into narration is a daunting job and will make your video edits complicated, so we recommend limiting lyrics to parts of your content with no speaking track.
Fade songs for the best effect
While you might choose to align the beginning of your video with the beginning of your selected audio track, don't feel it's a must. Complementing the flow of the video is more important, so if the song starts softly and you're looking for an immediate bouncy tune, it's okay to skip to the part you want. Also, remember that background music should not cut off abruptly unless there's a reason for it. You might choose to play with the timing to end the video when the song ends or fade the music any time you need to.
Sound effects add to the fun
Kids love sound effects. They're a great way to add whimsy and make your viewers laugh. A character performing magic might have a drumroll, cheering accompanying the trick, or a classic ta-da! A bunny hopping down a path is much cuter with a bouncy sound to accompany him. A fish swimming should have bubbles burbling from his mouth, and the bad guy might be booed every time he makes an appearance. Then there are everyday effects used in your stories, such as a phone ringing, crickets chirping at night, or a whistling tea kettle to consider. There is no limit to how many sound effects kids' content might use, so start brainstorming ways to augment your story with sound.
How Music Makes Your Video Project Shine
If you start looking at content geared towards kids on YouTube, you can instantly see how background music makes any video more engaging. YouTube has content from creators of every skill level, as there are hundreds of thousands of children's videos to choose from. Kids can watch episodes of television series, such as Peppa Pig or Teletubbies. Other channels, like Blippi, began as amateur projects but got popular and have hundreds of thousands of subscribers. One thing all of these have in common is using kids background music and sound effects to great effect.
Ryan's World is an amateur channel that went viral. It has over 30 million subscribers, yet the background music doesn't quite fit. Music that is a bit more upbeat and engaging, such as the children's collection from Stockmusic.com, would elevate the content and make it flow smoothly. A popular art-themed channel, Art For Kids Hub, offers how-to videos that show kids (and adults) that anyone can be an artist. The videos are easy to follow and professionally filmed, and the drawings are inviting for even a reluctant artist. Yet, they chose not to use background music. The effect is that even a 5-minute art lesson can seem like it's dragging on forever. Imagine selecting tracks from the cartoon collection behind this art tutorial. It would make the experience of learning to draw a cartoonish candy bar captivating instead of tedious.
Masha and the Bear is another popular YouTube channel for kids' content. Background music is present throughout the entire episode, using instrumental tracks during dialogue and songs with lyrics for montages. The Christmas Originals collection could be used in this episode for cheerful holiday vibes.
Kids Cooking With Zoe, a channel featuring easy recipes hosted by 11-year-old Zoe, appeals to kids because they can watch a peer making delicious food and know they can do it, too. Although background music is used, this video shows how you need to adjust the volume of your music tracks to avoid overwhelming the narration. It can be tough to hear what she's saying at times, which could cause viewers to lose interest. Tracks from the Ukulele Beach collection would work perfectly as upbeat background music in these videos.
Smart Girls With Amy Poehler is popular with tweens and teens, encouraging girls to believe in themselves and how to live with kindness and empathy. Her videos feature female professionals of all sorts sharing great information, but incredibly, it does not use background music. Tracks from the Motivation Collection would go a long way towards inspiring girls and keeping the videos moving along.
A Guide to Using Legal Background Music
You're totally convinced that your kids' video for YouTube needs background music, but knowing about music licensing is another story. Unless it's in the public domain, music is protected by copyright law, which can get complicated. The simplest way to think of copyright law in the United States is that songs only go into the public domain 50-75 years after the composer's death. Even that isn't so easy, though. Many compositions in the public domain (think classical music or jazz standards) are still protected because of the artists that recorded them. You might be able to use an independent artist's music in exchange for the exposure, but it takes plenty of legwork to work that out.
Rather than trying to navigate all of the copyright laws, pay royalties, or risk legal worries or copyright strikes on your channel, the simplest way to go is to use royalty-free licensing. At Stockmusic.net, we offer a subscription service that gives you a lifetime license for music and sound effects that you can use in all your projects. When you use copyrighted music, you pay royalties; a fee each time you use the track. Additionally, copyrighted music is often restricted to non-commercial use, whereas anyone from professional videographers to amateurs can use royalty-free music for any project.
Is copyright-free the same as royalty-free?
People tend to use the terms royalty-free and copyright-free music the same way, but they are not interchangeable. When you purchase royalty-free music, you have a license to use it as many times as you wish. It's a one-time purchase to use in all sorts of projects, although it usually does not cover a public performance license. On the other hand, copyright-free music is music in the public domain, but as already discussed, there are facets to music in the public domain that can be tricky. Royalty-free music is a low-cost solution where all bases are covered.
Stockmusic.net Covers All Your Needs
With a massive catalog of royalty-free music across all genres and over 70,000 sound effects, Stockmusic.net can help you sync your project to music without any legal worries. Whether you're a professional videographer, a creative agency, or a hobbyist, our subscription plan will work for you. You can sub-license music to your clients and monetize your content anywhere, with no limits related to your budgets or audience size. Our music is easy to browse by genre, instrumentation, holiday, occasion, or theme, and your subscription covers an unlimited number of projects. Check us out, and get your music today!