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Checking Your Toolbox

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Music and Sound

It's been said that good audio makes your video look better. It's true. One easy way to create a certain mood for your video is to add some music. The bad news is that none of the great music in your CD collection can be used in your videos. All the songs and music contained on those CDs are copyrighted and can't be used unless you obtain a license that allows you to distribute a particular song on the Internet as part of your videoblog. A license can cost thousands of dollars. That's the bad news. The good news is that there are plenty of snappy tunes available for you to use free of charge. In this section we'll look at where to find free music for your vlog, two applications that help you create your own music, and a few professional options for sound fanatics.

Creative Commons Music

As we mentioned in Chapter 2, Creative Commons is helpful to vloggers because it provides flexible copyright licenses for creative works. Many musicians have copyrighted their work under these licenses as well and will let you use their music for free, as long as you use it for nonprofit purposes and follow any other terms of the license ( Figure 3.8 ).


Figure 3.8 is one of several great directories of free music and audio samples available for you to use thanks to generous creators and Creative Commons.

Some musicians use licenses that basically let you use an entire song, as long as you give them credit. Others say you may help yourself to a sample, but only a sample, of a musical work. Terms vary so check them carefully before you actually add any Creative Commons-licensed music to your vlog.


If you want to add a single voice or music track to your videos, iMovie and Movie Maker can handle the job. But if you'd like to create new music using samples or you'd like to remove hiss or hum that's present in the audio in your videos, you'll need something else. The favorite free tool for this is Audacity, a great audio editor that works on both PCs and Macs ( Figure 3.9 ).


Figure 3.9 Audacity makes it easy to edit audio on both PCs and Macs. Best of all, this program is free!

GarageBand (Mac only)

If you have a Mac with iLife, you also have a great program to create royalty-free music for your videoblogs. GarageBand comes with 1GB of audio loops and additional sound loops can be purchased from Apple ( Figure 3.10 ). One of GarageBand's nice features is that it keeps all of the loops in time with each other. That means you can create interesting music even if you don't have much of an ear for the finer points of composition. If you are a musician—heck, even if you're not—you can hook GarageBand up to a USB keyboard (which runs under $100 for a cheap version), compose your own melody, and add lots of great tracks to it.


Figure 3.10 GarageBand comes with hundreds of prerecorded audio loops that make music creation super fun and easy.

Other Sound Options

You may already know that there's a host of advanced software designed for sound professionals. These include Apple's Soundtrack Pro, Logic Express, and Logic as well as Avid's ProTools. You can find out more at and, respectively.

Expensive sound and editing programs may be fun but they're not necessary to have in your toolbox. We've said it before and we'll say it again: You don't need sophisticated tools for successful vlogging.

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