Not only is production music and background music for film and television often incredibly expensive, but the time required to shop around to the multitude of music providers or composers is also extensive. And since musical originality is often a concern, typically producers with limited budgets that can’t afford to pay a composer to create a score of music specifically for their film, television show or video project, but can buy popular music or previously used film scores run the risk of hearing the very same production music and background music they paid so dearly for in another film weeks or months later.

The following are four important elements to look for when shopping for the right production music and background music for your film, television or video project:

1. Excellent sound quality. This may seem like an obvious element because it is often the most immediately noticeable when listening to good music, but many don’t think about sound quality unless it is very bad. If you are a producer or director, you probably have an understanding of sound quality in film or television, but may be less certain of your ability to gauge it in production music and background music. If you don’t have the benefit of having a musical expert on staff, you can certainly gauge the quality of the music yourself by thinking about a few important aspects.

2. Vivid, true instrumentation. Some production music that claims to be “affordable” sounds more like bad elevator music or music that has been recorded in a dark room by someone’s younger brother using a cheap synthesizer from the 1980’s. Even if the music is synthesized (and as a professional with a limited budget, you should understand that sometimes it has to be in order to keep costs down), it does not have to sound fake and hollow.

3. Originality. This one seems like something obvious to look for in great production music but is actually much more complicated than at first thought. If you can’t afford popular music or don’t want to risk hearing the music you’ve selected in other films or television programs that have nothing to do with your unique project, you want to find background music that is exciting and innovative, but also makes some musical sense and has continuity, and most importantly, fits the overall feeling of your production. First-rate production music will have technical accuracy and stylistic importance but will be special and able to stand alone as a piece of good music.

Film and television professionals should be prepared to ask specific questions of these providers if this history is not readily available because sometimes a very new production music provider will have talented musicians involved, but not necessarily yet have the resume to prove it. If the provider’s music has been used in other films and projects, you should ask for a list and make sure the projects are similar or at least remotely relevant in style and quality to your production.

Everyone has had the experience of buying popular music, even at cheaper prices, only to hear it in every film that comes out in the same year. Many producers and directors are thinking about alleviating the struggle of searching for production music by turning to providers of royalty free music and royalty free production music to fulfill their complex needs. Royalty free music and buyout music offers an excellent alternative to the hassle of searching for the right production music that fits a tight budget. Clients of royalty-free production music companies pay a one-time, low fee and gain unlimited use of the pieces of music.