The Pros and Cons for Background Music for Presentations at Work

Emotion and Thought

While we often think of emotion and thought as separate, the truth is that they are both thoroughly intertwined. Emotion often precedes thought. Think about when you first meet someone. You tend to come up with a snap impression of whether you like them or not, which feeds how closely you pay attention to what they have to say.

Similarly, you may have felt swept away in the emotion of a movie whose moral, in hindsight, struck you as questionable. We feel things first. If you've had a powerful idea or hunch, it probably began as a strong feeling that something was right, which you were then able to test and expand through diligent effort and testing.

Emotion also plays a particularly strong role in attention, how we selectively apply it, and how deeply. It is a critical factor in how we think, what we think, and how long we spend thinking about it — and there are very few conduits to emotion as powerful as music.

Music and Emotion

In his book, "This Is Your Brain On Music," musician turned scientist Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D. discusses the many cognitive benefits of music, including reduced anxiety and boosted immunity.

According to Harvard Medical School, music essentially lights our brains up. It can have a profound impact on the brain's very structure. Most of us go to concerts or put on a favorite song to feel some emotional grandeur, improve our mood, and make us happier. It's hard to imagine almost any intensely emotional experience without music.

Music, Emotion, and your Presentation

Music is the language of emotion. It says what cannot be said with words. If you work on a major presentation and want it to make a real impact on your audience, think of it as an emotional narrative. You want to stir the feelings of your audience as much as you want to impress facts on them. These two goals are closely related. The question to ask is, what do you want your audience to feel?

Isolate the emotions you want your audience to experience, and work from there. If you sell a security product, do you want your audience to feel a little bit anxious or edgy? If you want to sell your audience on the need to think differently, should you put them in a dreamy mood? Do you want to make them feel nostalgic, cozy, warm? Upbeat? Excited?

Carefully chosen music allows you to target the elements in your presentation that are most important. It also lets you color the emotional response of your viewers. This ability to highlight and enhance is the superpower offered by musical background edited into your video and PowerPoint presentations.

Convey Emotion with Music

Once you've worked out the dominant emotions of your presentation, Stock Music has an array of presentation background music for download that matches multitudes of precise moods and feelings. Whether your presentation background music uses video or Powerpoint, you can search through hundreds of tracks according to the criteria most relevant to you, including:

  • Moods like "dreamy," "confident," "reflective," "relaxed", "edgy," and "hopeful";
  • Genres like rock, pop, and R&B;
  • Instrumentation like the electric guitar, piano, strings, and drums;

If you prefer to try different musical ideas when you choose background music for your PowerPoint presentation, it's worth your time to browse the selections. You'll enjoy listening and also find the right one that complements your presentation in tone and feel.

Studies show the big emotions behind music are universally recognized. If you find a certain piece of music sparking particular emotions in you, you can feel quite certain your audience will pick up on the same emotions.

Musical Variation

Once you've determined your dominant musical style, consider how you might vary it. A good presentation, like a good story, takes its audience on a journey. Good storytelling relies on a palette of emotion. Consider alternating musical styles to give your audience a multifaceted experience.

If you want to puncture a very serious presentation with (appropriate) humor, consider how background music for your presentation could be used to support that. Similarly, an inspirational track or a hypnotic, dreamy one can add extra weight or texture to a potentially dry or information-filled presentation.

Cinematic music can add emotional heft or intensity to your ideas. has licensed music to companies like Fox, Time Warner, New Line, HBO, and more, so you know that its selection has been vetted at the highest levels.'s musical selections have also given a sense of grandeur to NASA productions. It's the best place to find music for a PowerPoint or other presentation.

Psychology Today reports that "randomness of song choices increases dopamine." If you want to boost the mood of your presentation, shuffle different tracks to find ways in which they are complementary. This can be a great way to excite your audience.

The yardstick you use to judge music is whether your selection underlines or works against the ideas and feeling you want to convey. You can choose a surprising choice or a straightforward one. It can take trial and error to find the perfect selections for your presentation. Stock Music has music that represents every possible genre, mood, feeling, and culture.

Using Music Effectively

Music can be overused in our society. Once associated with special occasions, music is inescapable even at the mall and in coffee shops. Consequently, it can be too easy to tune out. Be careful how you apply music — and what kind you use. A quiet and reflective moment might be effective after you have unveiled the climax or the big point of your presentation, to let the audience contemplate your ideas.

Repeating tracks can be an effective way to underline motifs or themes in your presentation. Find a short, punchy track and use it periodically, either looping it or pausing it for a while and then bringing it back later. This can be a powerful way of reminding your audience of important ideas.

Broadening Your Presentation's Scope

Music is a universal language, but it can also be used as background to broaden or specify the cultural scope of your presentation. Certain instrumentation, rhythm, and time signatures can suggest different cultures and periods. Regional music can evoke the Middle East, South America, and Europe. This is a great asset to reach audiences and give your presentation greater relevance.

Enhancing Your Footage

Think about your favorite movie and how your memories interweave with the score. Ennio Morricone, the great film composer, spoke of how film music is "mysterious... because of its bond with images and because of its way of bonding with the audience."

Music can underline the power of your video footage. It can also compensate for footage that didn't quite go to plan or drive home an emotion that might not be visible in the moment. Editing in a punchy, cool way, using a rhythmic track, could provide tempo and excitement you need your audience to feel for your presentation to be a success.

Music and Memory

Music and memory are closely associated. According to Robert Snyder, chair of the sound program at the Art Institute of Chicago, "a large part of memory takes place in the unconscious mind." Many of our musical memories are stored in our implicit memory. You can make use of this if you choose to play on those associations. Music that evokes a feeling of nostalgia and happiness can trigger your audience to remember simpler times and make them receptive to your message.

Music and Motivation

Athletes and performers know how powerful music can be to help boost motivation. Epic-feeling music can motivate your audience — to act, to change their minds on a topic, or to buy your product. Psychology Today reports that music can motivate us in subtler ways. One study indicated when a store played French music, customers bought French wines; when they played German music, German wines outsold French ones.

Music and Time Perception

If your presentation is necessarily long, music can make it feel shorter, according to Psychology Today. This is more the case with "calm music with a slow tempo," surprisingly. The right calm musical selection could make your presentation feel breezier and whip by faster.

Licensing, Free of Headaches

All the tracks on Stock Music have been thoroughly cleared for monetization and are 100% royalty-free.  You can download their background music for your presentation and distribute the finished work worldwide in perpetuity, without limitation on ad spend, budget, or audience. You can also transfer their license to clients or whoever owns or uses the final production. That means that the legalities and all are taken care of, so you can focus on your creative choices.

Is Music Right for Your Presentation?

If you want background music to add emotional texture, pace, depth, and layers of association to your presentation, consider adding music. Stock Music has music from all kinds of cultures, genres, and musical styles, with a world of instrumentation — all to enhance your ideas with a range of emotional textures and tones and make your presentation a memorable and winning one.

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