I interrupt the regularly scheduled trip reports to bring you this very special introduction and review of one of the most useful video production tools that I am using at the moment. I realize that a vast majority of my regular readers don’t have any interest at all in a full review of Epidemic Sound, but that’s OK. This post is aimed squarely at my fellow AvGeeks who are in need of high-quality music for their own Youtube videos.
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What is Epidemic Sound?
Back when I first started creating videos in 2015, I quickly realized that the most frustrating part of the process was finding the right music. In the beginning, it would usually take me three hours to edit my footage, and then another three to find just the right soundtrack for it. And being that I wasn’t making any money from that content, it was a very firm and rigid requirement that whatever I found had to be free. Very very free.
The words “free” and “good” don’t always jive together – especially when it comes to video soundtracks. I did stumble upon a few good sources in the beginning, which later turned bad on me when the authors of that music changed their licensing model and declared that the music wasn’t free anymore. That meant any video that I had already uploaded to YouTube featuring those tracks received a copyright violation and I had to demonetize (or even worse, funnel 100% of my earnings went to them which wasn’t fair at all).
About a year ago I decided it was time to step up my audio game and I discovered a company out of the Netherlands called Epidemic Sound. It’s a subscription-based music service built specifically for YouTubers, and well, it’s glorious. Epidemic Sound has one of the largest audio libraries anywhere on the Internet (33,000 tracks at the time of this writing) and for one small monthly fee ($15), individual YouTube creators like me have access to all of it. Unlimited access.
The pros and cons of being an Epidemic Sound subscriber
I’ve been using this service for exactly 13 months now (my YouTube channel can be found here) and I’ve got quite a bit to say about the experience of being a subscriber. Let’s just jump in with a brutally honest “pros and cons” list highlighting everything you’d want to know to help you determine if Epidemic Sound is a right fit for you.
Pro: The eclectic library
As I just mentioned, their library of quality music is one of the best and most extensive on the Internet. Best of all, it covers nearly any genre you can think of. From classical to trap to Muzak, It’s not difficult to find just the right piece to accentuate all of your amazing travel footage.
The eclectic library of Epidemic Sound music has even broadened my horizons a little bit – which says a lot considering how stubborn I can be sometimes. When I first started making videos, the only thing that felt right to me was to play high-energy dance music over top of everything. Like a total newb, I was oblivious to how annoying that was. Did you know that most of the music for SANspotter videos these days is classified as 2010‘s pop and folk?
Pro: The extensive search tools
Let’s say you’re putting together the most incredible United Airlines CRJ-200 review ever, and you need to start it with angry high-energy metal as a way to amplify your anger for having to take such a poopy flight. But as the video draws to a close, you need to bring things down a bit and end it on a weepy and sad vibe that’ll have your viewers crying along with you for having had to endure yet another UA CRJ-200.
With the search functionality built into the Epidemic Sound website, you can search not only for things like “angry” and “sad”, but you can also attach that search to specific genres of music – and various tempos as well. It’s really powerful stuff.
As you can imagine, it never takes long to find just the right piece of music for your emotional trip report videos.
Pro: The library is growing daily with high quality music
An active and growing music library is a really good thing if you’re cranking out a lot of videos and you want to keep your content fresh and unique from upload to upload.
I normally produce one SANspotter video every week, and each one contains 3 to 4 different tracks. Lately I’ve been having pretty good luck finding all the music I need from with in the “Latest Tracks” section. That’s an incredible timesaver for me, because I don’t have to go rummaging through the entire website trying to find something that I haven’t heard before.
Pro: The ability to download only the portions of each track that you need
This is a biggie, especially for anal-retentive people like me who don’t want to use vocal tracks in their videos.
Epidemic Sound gives subscribers the ability to pick apart every track available, and to strip it down to extract only the portions (stems) they need. And because I don’t want to use vocal tracks in my videos, it’s easy for me to strip that portion out of any song that I find.
Pro: The niche-related curated albums are a huge timesaver
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been a big fan of anything “curated” because more often than not I find computer software algorithms to be clumsy and…well…kind of dumb. The good news is that the curated albums on Epidemic Sound are put together by humans who actually understand what kind of music is good for each type of use.
Need some happy music for your upbeat daily vlog? Or how about sad violin music for a very depressing United CRJ-200 trip report? Epidemic Sound has got you covered, and I’ve found these albums to be extremely useful when in a time crunch and I don’t have time to sit and search for music. You’ll be happy to know that there are a lot of really good curated albums for travel videos as well, which are (for the most part) spot-on in terms of mood and energy level fit for exploration and adventure.
Con: Signs of growing pains
After spending just a few hours poking around Epidemic Sound for the first time, it was clear to me that their quality standards were much lower in years past. This means that you’re going to have to wade through some cheap-sounding “midi” music in your regular searches. You know – the kind that you created yourself as a child when Mom and Dad bought you that cheap keyboard way back in 1987.
Con: Overlapping categories
Every now and then I get the feeling that there are too many “mood” categories, which results in some overlap in my searches. I would expect to see different results when clicking on “hopefull” than I would when choosing “happy”, but a lot of times it’s just the same music being shown to me over and over. I definitely think it would be worth them spending some time cleaning that up.
If you’re a YouTuber in search of quality music that is going to help you reach the big time, look no further than Epidemic Sound. This is a company that has been around for years, and they are passionate about what they do and the service they provide. I’ve found support to be top notch, and every question I’ve ever had via email or Twitter has been answered within 12 hours.
You should also feel comfortable knowing that you will not receive copyright strikes from YouTube if you use Epidemic Sound for a while and then decide not to continue with the service. As long as you’re a subscriber when you post the video, you’ll have rights to that music forever – whether or not you continue as an Epidemic Sound subscriber or not.
As I said, I’ve been an Epidemic Sound user for just over a year now and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about the service. Just let me know!
And now, back to the regularly scheduled trip reports…