How to Choose the Perfect Soundtrack for Your Film

Choosing the perfect soundtrack for your film can be a daunting task. Learn how to pick the perfect song with professional tips from Epidemic Sound.


Soundtracks make stories come alive. They are how you craft the tone of a scene, shape the mood of your film and create something that resonates with your audience long after they've finished watching.

So, when choosing the perfect one for your film or content, where do you begin?

When selecting your soundtrack, ask yourself what emotion you want to provoke in your audience and how music enables you to achieve it. Or, as Hans Zimmer put it: "A great soundtrack is all about communicating with the audience, but we all try to bring something extra to the movie that is not entirely evident on screen."

While those words of wisdom are a great guiding principle — you're still left with the challenge of narrowing a single track when there are infinite choices.

Here we'll show you some easy ways to start whittling down your options, so you can select soundtracks that elevate your film.

Identify the mood of your scene.

Knowing precisely what atmosphere you want to create in the scene is crucial to your soundtrack search. Once you've done that, you can start identifying the music characteristics you can use to create that mood.

Rhythm, tempo, pitch, timbre, and melody (to name a few) will all impact your audience's emotions and are vital in creating atmosphere. If you want to leave your audience on the edge of their seat during a fast-paced chase scene, then high-tempo soundtracks and upping the BPM will have the desired effect.

Want to slow your story down a little and linger over a poignant moment, then choosing a particular melody could reduce your audience to tears. Epidemic Sound's diverse music catalog makes creating the right atmosphere for your scene simple, with soundtracks searchable by hundreds of moods like sentimental, euphoric, epic, and relaxing.

Tell Your Story

In addition to setting the pace of a particular scene, soundtracks can help build the story as a whole. Cleverly used soundtracks tell the audience something that's not visible on screen, such as the passing of time or a change in a character's mood. These can be obvious or subtle; it all depends on what suits your story and how it enables your plot to unfold.

Never doubt the power of music to propel your narrative forward, as well as other elements of sound design, such as sound effects. An expansive catalog of soundtracks and sound effects that's easy to navigate is critical to creating professional sound. Epidemic Sound's music catalog provides over 35,000 tracks and 90,000 sound effects with advanced search and discovery tools to make your sound design process as efficient as possible.

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Don't be too predictable.

You've mastered the basics of storytelling through music, so what's next? Adding a unique flair to your soundtrack is a great way to take your movie to the next level.

Soundtrack dissonance is an attention-grabbing technique guaranteed to keep your audience hooked — the art of utilizing music in surprising ways that jar and contrast what your audience may expect to hear with a specific scene.

For example, horror and thrillers use this technique to intensify feelings of insanity in their characters further. Think of Malcolm McDowell singing Gene Kelly's "Singing in the Rain" in A Clockwork Orange or Mr. Blonde dancing to "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealer's Wheel during a torture scene in Reservoir Dogs.

Use a high-quality soundtrack provider.

Every filmmaker strives to create a film that genuinely fulfills one's artistic vision. Low-quality soundtracks and sound effects shouldn't let it down. Always use a premium soundtrack provider to ensure your movie's soundtrack is standard.

Epidemic Sound's music catalog provides over 35,000 high-quality tracks and 90,000 sound effects with hundreds of genres, moods, and themes to help you tell your stories. With state-of-the-art search features like EAR (Epidemic Audio Reference), which enables you to find more music using music you love and personal recommendations, you can soundtrack your stories effortlessly.

Remember that when choosing the fitting soundtrack for your film, you should bear these points in mind, but don't ignore your instincts.

You are the conductor, the storyteller, and the creator of the world that will better draw in your audience, so always stay true to your vision.

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"A great soundtrack is all about communicating with the audience, but we all try to bring something extra to the movie that is not entirely evident on screen." - Hans Zimmer