Music You Should Never Use

Music is an important part of any showreel. When the audio fits the visuals, it can vastly enhance the viewing experience. When the music doesn’t fit… the opposite happens.

And sometimes the music fits the movements, but the song is inappropriate because it’s…

  • overused
  • associated with a more popular video
  • overused because of that association

Why is this a bad thing?

Copying the music from a popular video is a simple, quick way to add excitement to your own showreel. But! Realize that viewers will probably have already seen that popular video – and when they hear the music start to play, their minds will drift over to that video, instead of staying focused on yours. Originality is key to an interesting video. With that in mind, here are a few of the most notable songs you need to avoid.

Anything Copyrighted

Ideally, you’ll be able to find good music that isn’t copyrighted; i.e., it’s public domain or has a Creative Commons license. If you’re not that lucky, try to find music that’s recorded by a smaller label. Sony, EMI, and Universal are all infamous for having videos pulled from YouTube that use their songs. If you do decided to use a copyrighted song, make sure it’s by a small, lesser-known label. Try to not edit the video so that only that exact music will be appropriate. In other words, CYA.

Anything by Pendulum

Already used by:

I Like to Spin – Ryan Doyle

Best of 3Run 2010

Team Traverse 2011

Pendulum is very strongly associated with parkour, largely thanks to Ryan Doyle and 3Run. If you’re going for a classic, old-school freerunning vibe, you may be able to get away with using Pendulum. Otherwise… no. Don’t get me wrong, Pendulum is awesome, but they are overused.

Anything by The Glitch Mob

Already used by:

Storm Freerun Vol 1

WFPF’s Rachel Scarbrough – Team Traverse

Red Bull Art Of Motion – London 2011 -The Glitch Mob – Monday

Anything by Skrillex

Already used by:

Parkour Dubstep | Skrillex – Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites

OMG Parkour Park

Mike Wilson Showreel 2011

Where is gravity? – Release 2011

Take Flight Apparel ran a contest a while back for the best PK video set to Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. Result: tons of somewhat mediocre videos using Skrillex.

Bring on the Thunder – Ereez

This is a song about Call of Duty, which explains its popularity. It also doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a parkour video unless the editing is aggressive enough to match the song.

Already used by:

Shade Forest Jump

WE ARE STORROR

Nathan “Webster” Jones

Beat of the Moment – Sound System

Already used by:

Parkour and FreeRunning, which has 30 million views.

Note that this song is a YouTube AudioSwap option.

Android Porn – Kraddy

Already used by:

Sasha “Cionn” Hauser

Battle of the Year 2010 – Yak Films

Gravity Defying Strength

A lot of other videos use it as an intro or a transitioning song.

Lux Aeterna/Requiem for a Tower – Clint Mansell

This song is most often associated with the Lord of the Rings Two Towers trailer. Not even Damien Walters can make a video that’s more epic than that. You’ll just look sad and desperate if you use this song.

Already used by:

Chase Armitage 2009 (although he can get away with it because of who he is)

And pretty much every movie or video game trailer ever. Even Wikipedia says so.

Lights (Bassnectar remix) – Ellie Goulding

Already used by:

Winter Wonderland – Chloe Bruce

Tempest Freerunning Academy, which has nearly 5 million views at the time this was published. Don’t even think about using this song. You will remind viewers of Tempest.

Nothing is Older than Yesterday – Kamo and Crooked

Already used by:

Olivier Pitot – Speeders

Best of 3Run 2010 (Technically not that exact song, but extremely similar.)

American Freerunner

Evolution – Krysiz

Already used by:

Evolution – le parkour

14 million views and the #3 result of a YouTube search for parkour. Don’t even.

Finding Alternatives

The newgrounds.com audio portal has a massive selection of free-to-use music that’s sometimes surprisingly good. The electronic selections are particularly worth browsing through.

If you’re the too-lazy-for-discovery type, MakeUseOf’s Sound Sundays generally have pretty good stuff, usually from Bandcamp or Soundcloud. Of course, there’s also the old standby of Pandora Radio – in addition to Grooveshark, Spotify, and Rdio. Browsing YouTube’s related videos is also a good waste of time. It’s also worth it make a Facebook/Twitter/G+ post asking your friends what their favorite indie or obscure bands are. You’re almost guaranteed to get  There’s no dearth of ways to discover music. So please, if you’re making a showreel, don’t use any of the music above. For everyone’s sake.

–Alan

PS: Never again will I use pink Comic Sans font on a cover picture.

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  • Covalence

    other overused songs in general:
    bodies by drowning pool or w/e
    a song by linkin park

    those are just personal gripes, but still great article! do you plan on making an article on how NOT to edit a video/showreel by any chance?

  • Feenixcity

    I found the article useful and reminded me of forgotten titles to past parkour.traceaur vids…who was that sound to Cole/Chase/Ryan et al…?