Finding and licensing music: it has got to be one of those painful tasks for anyone who creates videos or slideshows for clients, which is why we are reviewing a new player in town, Audiio.
When I started out in photography, I never imagined that I would be using music in my work. As I started shooting weddings and also families, I realized that slideshows or even brief video clips taken during the shoot could actually be beneficial in boosting my clients' experiences. Not just that, it can also be helpful in marketing your business on social media, especially as Facebook has grown to include video content.
As a creator, my musical needs concern finding tracks that fit wedding, couple, or family shoot slideshows as well as my YouTube channel that I occasionally dabble in by creating brief tutorials, travel videos, or to provide advice in photography. I have also started working on creating wedding highlight videos; this is where we found ourselves struggling the most when looking for suitable music! That is why I have been excited to test out Audiio, a music licensing company that offers something for everyone.
Founded by former Universal Music Group Artist Clay Jones and his fellow industry friends, Audiio came about from a series of coffee shop conversations. Wanting to shake up the industry a bit, the team dreamed of creating a licensing company that would set a new standard for quality and affordability to offer access to good quality music and appeal to filmmakers, regardless of how big or small their budget is. While building the platform, Jones started pitching music to ad agencies and landed one of their first syncs, which was a global broadcast advertisement for Mars Galaxy Chocolates. From then on, having seen the impact this had on the artist's fan base, the team was inspired to keep going. New music is added to the music catalog frequently, and the Audiio team works directly with a network of publishers, labels, and independent musicians. As of the time of compiling their FAQ's, Audiio hosts just under 3,000 available songs.
As its user, you can choose between a Single-Use License (starting at $49 per use) and Annual Subscription License ($199 per year). Currently, Audiio is also running a promotion where you can purchase a Lifetime Membership, which is the same cost as the annual one, $199. This offer ends on March 1, 2020. You can read detailed license terms for each plan here. Both Annual Subscription and Lifetime Memberships will allow you to access all songs available in the library and permit unlimited downloads.
First of all, the website is clean and straight to the point. You do not have to jump through many hoops to find what you're looking for; you simply head to the "Browse" section. This contains a search tab, giving you filter options, such as finding tracks by different genres, a particular mood, elements (such as bass, guitar, piano, and others), energy levels (low, medium, or high), vocals (female, harmony, or male), and whether you want tracks that are purely instrumental or vocal.
Now, this part of the website is where you will be spending most of your time looking for the right tracks. It is very simple to browse through different filtering options, and you can also select more than one, for example, if you were looking for a particular mood but you also wanted it to be instrumental only. As you tick your preferences, all applicable songs will appear in a list. Without having to click into each song, you can press play on your chosen track. The list also displays track length and its keywords. You can choose to favorite tracks also. This can be helpful when you have picked a few potential ones for your project but have not decided yet. If you need to share your chosen track with a colleague or a friend, there is an option to copy a direct link to each track. This link will show that song on the top of the page, followed by other tracks by the same author beneath.
Unfortunately, there was not an option to arrange tracks by length, be it ascending or descending; however, Audiio has already received this feedback and is currently working on implementing this option for users in the near future. But, what I did find helpful was featured playlists. If you are looking for a track to go with your wedding slideshow or highlight video, a suitable playlist is "Forever Yours", which contains soft country tracks, such as "Unfailing" and "Your Love" by Andrew Word or maybe a more electronic lyrical track, such as "Need You Right Now" by Jay Warren or the softer "Holy Rope" by Goldmyth.
The process of picking and downloading a track is simple: press the cart icon to buy the track and select a project type that applies to where the song will be used. Depending on which one you pick, you may also be asked to select where it will be distributed; for example, if you choose "School / University," you will be asked whether it will be distributed over Internet, TV, or streaming services, or at an event or in-store. This is because Audiio doesn't permit Annual and Lifetime Membership users to use tracks for broadcast television networks and equivalent paid streaming services. If that's what you require, you will be prompted to enter your e-mail address to discuss a quote. Other than that, you can use tracks for practically anything.
After you've selected your license, the song will automatically download on your device as a WAV format file. As I have only downloaded tracks using the Lifetime Membership, I cannot comment on the download process when using a standalone license for one particular track.
As for the choice of music, I found the playlists to contain a good variety of music. There is nothing worse than having a very limited choice of music that only fits a few occasions and becomes repetitive. Considering Audiio is promising to continuously keep adding new tracks, it appears to be a service that can grow with you and your business instead of forcing you to choose from a small selection of tracks that get updated only once a year or so.
What I Liked
- Varied choice of songs, in terms of style and length, to fit different needs
- Promise to regularly add new tracks
- Extensive filtering options in the search section
- Collated playlists
- Annual Subscription and Lifetime Membership users automatically are able to use tracks for personal and commercial usage (excluding distribution on broadcast television) and the license does not expire
- Canceled subscription does not expire your license
- Music can be mixed, edited and remastered, providing it is used according to your license
- Annual subscription and Lifetime Membership are a good price considering similar licensing companies on the market
What Could Be Improved
- Option to sort filtered songs by their length (although, as mentioned, it is currently being tested out following a similar request)
- Option to sort filtered songs ascending or descending by mood (low, medium, and high)
- A medium between Single-Use License and Annual Subscription to offer users a bulk purchase option without committing to a subscription
As you can see, in my opinion, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, but I am looking at it from the perspective of a single user. However, I believe there will be users who will be looking for something between a single-use license and annual subscription, especially if a team or an organization is looking to use same track, but need to share or use it under different social media channels run by different people within their organization. However, this may be resolved when submitting a request for a tailored quote.
Other than that, I found the available music library to be refreshing and full of songs that I would not mind listening to even just in the background as I am writing this. I can see something for everyone, whether you are a wedding photographer, a filmmaker, or a YouTube content creator. It is very convenient having a diverse but not overwhelming choice of tracks all in one place to fit different types of projects! I found the music overall fits my personal taste; however, that is a subjective opinion.
The annual subscription, but even more so the Lifetime Membership, is worth the cost if you regularly require music in your workflow and do not want the headache of having to source music through different websites every time. If you want to join the Lifetime Membership, you have until March 1, 2020 before the offer expires. If you want to trial songs with a free account, you can do so by heading to Audiio and registering first.
What do you think of Audiio?