How Music and Sound Can Support Other Media

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If we were philosophers, we could say that music is the fundamental building block of cultural expression or a gateway to the soul. In more practical terms, however, we can all agree that the right music at the right time simply makes any experience better. Music is a constant across all cultures and over the years it has been incorporated into all kinds of media. Here are some of the most interesting uses we’ve found across the vast library of works out there today.

Interactive Media

Music used in interactive media generally falls into one of two categories. You get the incidental music meant to enhance the work from the background and then the big showpieces for major moments. For the former, online casino games are a great example of this. The goal of any slot game design is to push the play to the forefront, so the music you find inside games on any betting site has to be impactful enough to tune the feeling of the game, while not overwhelming the game mechanics happening at the front. It means it has to tread a fine line between elevator music and a catchy classic.

For the showpiece songs, these are meant to be the defining feature of a scene, a moment, or a series as a whole. These songs have a completely different purpose to background music, designed to be intentionally catchy and memorable, working with the scene alongside the action rather than sitting behind it. A sign of this kind of music is that it can often be released separately from the source material as either a digital album or, in rare cases, something retro like a vinyl print. Title songs from a series can often become successful and well-known even amongst those unaware of the source.

Movies and Films

If interactive media has its fair share of famous themes, it owes it all to the wide world of movies and films that came before it. With a history going back to the early days of the 20th century, when music formed the only part of the audio in the silent movie era, it’s an integral component of the industry. Directors and studios pay a lot of attention to the musical component of their work and aren’t afraid to bring in big-name artists.

The most famous case of this has to be the James Bond franchise, which has attracted more major musical talents over the years than virtually any other film brand. The range of massive acts goes from legends like Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey to more popular modern artists like Adele and Billie Eilish. Even Paul McCartney’s band Wings made a big impact on Live and Let Die. In many cases, however, the marketing element of this music is a far larger factor than the song itself, with the singer used directly in promotional materials and trailers.

Marketing Media

Continuing on from the marketing theme, there’s no denying that the use of music within marketing is nothing short of an art form. It combines that fine balance of attention that interactive media has, the big names and epicness that movies have, and also a laundry list of other critical features. Where other media can use music to enhance, marketing is one of the few places you will see the media woven around the songs themselves.

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Take one of the classic ads as an example, one of Apple’s early iPod commercials. It featured silhouetted people all dancing to Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet, a song which exploded in popularity as a result. In this case, the musical aspect of the product made the concept of basing the ad around a song a lot easier to work with. It’s clear that the designers started with the song rather than the other way around, timing all the choreography to the beat. Similar examples include Vodafone’s use of Bohemian Like You or Microsoft using Bowie’s Heroes, all for expert effect.

There’s almost no part of culture, art or any media that hasn’t been touched by music, and in every case, the influence can bolster and enhance the experience. No matter what circle you come from, watching out for the next great music integration can really be inspiring.

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