Ten Song Genres Every Video Editor Should Have in Their Music Library

Apr 24, 2018

A collection of musical instruments, including an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, saxophone, and violin.

Music is a key factor in creating an emotional connection with your audience, pacing your video, and keeping your viewers interested. With so much on the line, how can you pick the perfect notes for your next video? This question plagues many video editors, but the best editors rely on a well-curated music library.

They have a passion for music, a curiosity for different genres, and an appetite for taking risks with new sounds. It all begins with exploring different genres of music. If you’re a new video creator or just want to polish your skills, start by building your comfort with some of the most popular song genres and then expand from there. In this article, we’ll explore ten song genres every video editor worth their salt should keep handy in their music library.

Come explore some new sounds with us. Keep your mind and your ears open, and you might find a beautiful, unique melody that is just perfect for your next video project.

1. Acoustic Music for Your Music Library

Man in hat carrying acoustic guitar in a field

Many of us think “acoustic music” and immediately envision a guy strumming an acoustic guitar in a coffee shop (possibly wearing a weathered fedora). In reality, acoustic is any music compilation that doesn’t include electric or synthesized instruments. Acoustic music can include piano, drums, and even brass and woodwind instruments.

Acoustic music is often soothing and inviting, and can also be cheerful. It works really well as a background music for videos, because it won’t overwhelm a viewer by distracting from a speaker or the action of a scene. Furthermore, the cheery nature of acoustic music can add a touch of charm to what the speaker is saying to support the mood of the video.  

Perfect For: Tutorial, webinar, product review, interview, vlog, testimonial, whiteboard, and brand/introduction videos

Acoustic Song We Love: A Thousand Years by Chimes

2. Ambient Music

Some music-heads stick their nose up at ambient music, calling it “sonic wallpaper,” but this feature is what makes ambient music one of the most beloved music genres for video producers. Ambient music is designed to be enjoyed passively by audience. It makes for excellent study music and is a great option for video editors who want to include music in their video without distracting from the video’s topic.

Ambient music includes a variety of sub-genres and is great at setting an evocative mood without being intrusive. This is an especially useful song genre for any marketing or corporate video editor to know well.

Perfect For: Brand/introduction, product showcase, nonprofit, PSAs, dramatic/artistic, and nature videos

Ambient Song We Love: Inward by Flux

3. Classical Music

Conductor conducting an orchestra

Classical music was the original soundtrack music. Classical music is a huge genre that is as varied as the instruments in an orchestra. It can be slow and soothing or so fast and powerful that you might have to grab your chair just to hang on for the ride. In a world filled with synthetic and pop music, you may be able to stand out by surprising your viewers with some powerful “old school” beats.

Perfect For: Product showcase, PSA, nonprofit, dramatic/artistic, vlog, nature, and whiteboard videos

Classical Song We Love: Luster by Moments

4. Corporate Music

Businesses are hungry to connect with their audiences, and video is a key way to do that. As attention spans continue to evaporate, video offers a reliable way for businesses to introduce themselves to new leads, showcase their corporate values, provide exciting product demos, offer helpful tutorials, and more. This appetite has kept plenty of video marketers busy and has also forged a new genre of music.

Corporate music is designed specifically for the types of videos businesses are most likely to create. It tends to be upbeat, motivating, and engaging without stealing the stage from the product or person in the video.

Perfect For: Brand/introduction, corporate culture, behind-the-scenes, testimonial, tutorial, product review, product showcase, and webinar videos

Corporate Song We Love: The Game by Mike Arnoult

5. Drama Music

Did you just feel the hairs rise on the back of your neck? We did too. Drama music is all about creating a chilling, creepy, sad, or contemplative mood. It’s the perfect option for your scary videos, but it can also move viewers if you want to showcase an important social problem. Not every video can be poppy and happy, so when you need to slow things down, choose this melodic option.

Perfect For: Nonprofit, PSA, artistic/dramatic, scary/horror, sad, and contemplative videos

Drama Song We Love: The Dawn by Caleb Etheridge

6. Ethnic Music

Performers playing bongo drums

The world is filled with music, and there’s no better way to stretch your musical ear then to explore ethnic songs. Ethnic music will introduce you to new instruments, beats, and rhythms that you can then use to intrigue and inspire your listeners. It will give you greater depth as you assemble your music library as long as you treat the music and its culture with thoughtfulness and respect.

Ethnic music is a huge category. It includes everything from African rhythms to Celtic bagpipes and everything in-between. It may be appropriate if it fits the culture or origin of your company, product, or subject of your video. Be careful with how you use ethnic music in your videos. There’s a big difference between appreciating a culture and stereotyping it!

Perfect For: Travel, avant garde, artistic, and cultural videos

Ethnic Song We Love:  Caribbean Life by A Drummer

7. Hip Hop Music

When music is meant to share the stage with the video content or even be the star of the show, you’ll want to use big beats and deep-cutting rhythms that will captivate your viewers. Hip hop is both powerful and emotive. It has a strong connection with urban culture but is also widely embraced by mainstream audiences.

Perfect For: Sports/athletic, montage, tech/robotics, competition, workout/exercise, gaming, motivation, and stunt videos

Hip Hop Song We Love: Drop It On Me Girl by Kick Lee

8.  Jazz Music

Saxophone lying on top of an old piano

It’s hard to keep your feet from tapping when you get a taste of great jazz. This music genre is all about freedom, expression, and celebration. It often includes saxophones, trumpets, piano, bass, drums, and trombones. It’s difficult to describe jazz. It can be soulful and smooth or exuberant and raspy. It has a long history and a lot of cultural poignancy, especially in the southern United States.

Jazz music isn’t something you regularly hear in videos, which is why this genre is ripe for exploration. Give your viewers something a little different.

Perfect For: Brand/introduction, tutorial, vlog, behind-the-scenes, animation, reviews, product demo, presentation, testimonial videos, montages, and personality videos

Jazz Song We Love: Hot N’ Spicy by Triads

9. Pop Music

If you’ve turned on the radio in the last fifteen years or so, then you’re already familiar with the catchy melodies and upbeat rhythms of pop music. It’s easy to look down on pop, but the music charts don’t lie. Audiences love pop and connect with this fun, frilly song genre. Pop music also has a big presence in the world of video editing. If you want to inject some positive energy into your video or get your audiences grooving in their seats, pop is the way to go, especially if your videos are geared toward millennials, teens, and tweens. Katy Perry and One Direction couldn’t agree more.

Perfect For: Product showcase, company culture, behind the scenes, vlog, tutorial, montage, and artistic/drama videos

Pop Song We Love: Endless Days by New Wave Sounds

10. Rock Music

When it’s time to go big, then grab your electric guitar and turn up the rock music. Rock is your key to powerful beats that will instantly grip your audience and get their hearts racing. This music is all about wailing away on an electric guitar, cranking up the synthesizer, and hitting that cymbal like you mean it.

For video editors, rock music is where you go when you want your music to dominate the video. Think big stunts, athletic performances, and explosions!

Perfect for: Sports, racing, competition, gaming, stunt/trick, building/engineering, montage, and workout/exercise videos

Rock Song That We Love: Just Take My Money by Caleb Harris

More Song Genres to Explore

There is a lot of music out there. This article only covers a small sample of genres. We haven’t even touched dubstep, trance, or synthwave. Don’t let the sheer volume of song genres overwhelm you. Instead, embrace it. Start exploring the ten genres we’ve outlined here and then let the music take you. Discover sub-genres and sub-sub-genres. All of it will expand your music literacy and make you a better video editor. Instead of just trying to repeat what everyone else is doing, you’ll forge your own video soundtrack path.

At Soundstripe, our music library includes 49 different song genres, and we’re adding new songs to our catalogue all the time. Take your time and explore. Our affordable monthly or yearly subscription lets you use as much royalty free background music as you want. We make it easy to expand your musical horizons. Check out our subscription options today!