As an independent film director, producer, music supervisor, or creator, you’re probably well-acquainted with the need for music.
The challenge, of course, is in finding the right music for the right moment in your film(s).
Scouring the internet aimlessly is the old way. Today, there are a multitude of licensing companies you can take advantage of to get connected with the right music faster. Premium option Audiio is one such option many filmmakers have found to be worthwhile.
In this hands-on review, we’ll look at whether Audiio is indeed the perfect music licensing service for your next project. So let's get into our Audiio review.
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What Does Audiio Claim To Be Able To Do For You?
Audiio was founded by former Universal Music Group artist Clay Jones along with some industry cohorts, who work with independent musicians, publishers, and labels to find the best talent. Audiio has successfully licensed music in over 80 countries in a variety of projects – global television ad campaigns, nonprofit fundraisers, and more.
One of the advantages of Audiio is that it gives you a license that covers all video platforms. So, no matter where you publish (YouTube, broadcast television, etc.), you can rest assured you’ve gone through the right channels to obtain permissions.
Audiio claims to have a thoroughly curated library of high-quality songs by over 450 artists, and they add new music daily.
They also offer 30,000+ sound effects created by the likes of Netflix, LucasArts, and Lionsgate.
So, overall, Audiio has a straightforward value proposition, and we’ll spend the remainder of this guide looking at whether they deliver on their promises.
How Much Does Audiio Cost?
Audiio offers three plans depending on what your needs are. They are as follows:
- Lifetime Music: $299 billed one time gives you access to the music catalog, unlimited downloads, YouTube monetization, and upgrades for TV, OTT, and theatrical.
- Audiio Pro: $16.60 per month ($199 billed annually) gives you access to music and sound FX catalogs, unlimited downloads, YouTube monetization, universal license, and no upgrade fees.
- Lifetime SFX: $199 billed one time gives you access to Audiio’s sound effects catalog, unlimited downloads, YouTube monetization, and no upgrade fees.
We find these fees to be more agreeable, though we find the pricing scheme a little unclear. There is room for improvement here.
The Audiio Music & Sound Effects Libraries
It’s one thing to be a music licensing company. You might even say they’re a dime a dozen these days. Quite another to be a music licensing service that’s been designed specifically with filmmakers in mind (and claims to have all the right tracks for your projects).
This is the crux of this review. Because it’s not really about the size of the music library. There are plenty of massive libraries out there. It’s about how easy it is to use, whether it has the right selection of music, and how fast you can find what you’re looking for (how many times have you had to spend hours, even days and weeks looking for appropriate music?).
So, let’s talk about Audiio’s music and sound effects libraries.
How Much Content Is Available?
Audiio offers music by over 450 artists and 30,000+ sound effects.
We couldn’t find an exact count of how many songs are on Audiio, but it’s easily in the thousands. There is certainly more than enough to justify the asking price.
What Types Of Tracks Can I Expect To Find On Audiio?
Obviously, with tens of thousands of content assets, there’s no way we could cover everything Audiio has to offer inside their library. Naturally, we still took some time to play and listen through a bunch of tracks and sound effects, just to get a sense of what’s on offer.
First, we’ll talk generally about some of what we found, and then talk more specifically about a few tracks.
Generally, we found good variety with the music. Many of the tracks feature modern production, with hand claps, drum machines, trap beats, synths, and everything you’ve come to expect from modern pop (except with more depth, artistry, and layers).
There are songs that have a bit of an Asian flavor to them. There are tracks that instantly conjure images of a couple caught up in a romantic moment. There are quirky hip-hop beats, sexy and sultry salsa, slow echo chamber atmospheres, sanguine and euphoric synths (with auto-tuned vocals), funky pop beats, evocative slide guitars, lonely piano and strings, carefree indie, road trip acoustics, island ukuleles, and a great deal more.
Production wise, we find all tracks up to the same standards. So, we must submit that the “high-quality” claim is accurate. The tracks we listened to were all very “now,” which is probably what most filmmakers are looking for, but for our tastes it would still be nice to hear some 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s style tracks.
Commenting on sound effects, on the other hand, is sort of like trying to thread a needle in that we could talk about the effect, its quality, how it sounds to our ears, and so on, but the message is sure to get lost in translation (because sounds are meant to be heard, not read).
What we will say is this. The amount of sound effects available, as well as their quality and application potential are quite stunning. We’d be surprised if you couldn’t find what you were looking for, regardless of category or intent.
As for specifics, we’ll share a little bit about some of the tracks we listened to. Again, the following only represents a small sample of the sum, which we know to be substantial. With that disclaimer out of the way, here we go.
“God” by Ryan Vetter
Found in the cinematic indie rock categories, we reckon “God” is closer to an abstract, atmospheric, ethereal track in the Bjork vein.
“Bird Dog” (instrumental) by Pendelton
A possible theme song for a renegade, cowboy type, complete with distorted slide guitars. A shorter, mood-setting track.
“Game Changer” by Firework Festival ft. Robin Hawkin
Firework Festival features vocals reminiscent of Adele, except with a less organic backing track. I could see it being used in a modern James Bond style movie.
“Wolves And Sheep” by Joe Marson
A slow, melancholy, blues tune played as a rock tune. It features modern distorted vocals and heavy guitars.
“We Came To Fight” by Willyecho
Another moody, minor key song that would be perfect for an action flick. I could see it working nicely over the ending credits too.
“Alliston” by Hunting Stories
A song in a Lumineers or Mumford & Sons vein, except with less organic elements. More atmosphere, and less “stomp.”
“Get Loose (Instrumental)” by Yellen
One of my favorites on this list, with a funky groove, horns, guitars, and all. It also comes with a layer of synths. Might be great for spy, action, Sci-Fi, and psychological thriller films like The Matrix or Mission Impossible.
How Does Audiio’s User Interface Stack Up?
When it comes to presenting large volumes of content, the user interface plays a key role in delivering a streamlined and enjoyable user experience.
Is the interface intuitive and easy to use? Is it fast-loading? Can you find what you’re looking for? Is there a search function and filters you can use to get to what you want faster? Can you sort your search results? Are there categories and playlists to streamline discovery? Is there a way to save your favorite picks for later? Are the tracks tagged with genre, length, and tempo? All that and more.
And at the outset, we find Audiio’s interface more than competent. It’s simple, clean, attractive, and fast loading.
In addition to their search function, you can navigate through their substantial library using the buttons in the left sidebar – music, SFX, playlists, favorites, recent, and create.
When you click on “music,” you can sort through the many tracks by taking advantage of the submenu. Here are the main options you can choose from in the submenu:
- Mood: aggressive, authentic, burdened, chill, cheerful, earthy, empowering, epic, gritty, hopeful, happy, loving, peaceful, quirky, rebellious, romantic, sinister, sorrowful, tense, vintage, whimsical, and youthful.
- Genre: acoustic, ambient, Christmas, cinematic, classical, electronic, faith, folk, hip-hop, indie, jazz, lofi, pop, rock, R&B, soul, singer-songwriter, and world.
- Instrument: acoustic guitar, bass, banjo, claps & snaps, cello, drums, electric guitar, humming, horns, organ, percussion, piano, saxophone, strings, snaps, synth, ukulele, violin, whistling, woodwinds, and world.
- Video theme: serials, corporate, documentary, education, fashion, food, games, landscape, nature, night life, road trip, slow motion, sports, technology, timelapse, travel, vlog, and weddings.
- Build: steady, ascending, middle crescendo, multiple crescendo.
- BPM: You can select between 45 to 250 bpm.
- Vocals: ambient, female, male, ooo’s & ahh’s,
- Duration: 0 to 12:00 (we’re not sure what the point of a 0 second track is).
- Instrumental or lyrical only. Whether you’re looking specifically for tracks with just instrumentals, or just tracks with lyrics, simply check the option that applies.
The good news is you can combine any number of these criteria / filters to find what you’re looking for. The bad news, or at the very least the “not so good” news is that the more criteria you combine, the less likely you are to find a track that matches your search. Still, you can get in touch with Audiio directly if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for.
The music player is also subtly quite good. It features album artwork, the title and artist of the track, the soundwave (which shows you builds and dips), the track’s category, its length, and tempo. It’s this subtle attention to details that makes Audiio quite compelling.
In the playlists section, you can navigate through moods and genres, like:
- Feeling Great
- Best of 2021
- And others
When you know you’re looking for a track in one of these categories, but don’t know exactly what you need just yet, the playlist function comes in quite handy.
The SFX section is laid out a little differently, but the concept is the same. You can browse through various collections like fierce (bold, dramatic), momentum (intense, eerie), and aura (uplifting, inspiring). And there are a ton of others, like water, ambience, whoosh, weather, footsteps, technology, Walla, cartoon, hits & risers, transportation, and many more.
Of course, the SFX section has a search function too. With so many effects to choose from, trying to find what you’re looking for without search would be quite the task.
Audiio uses the same basic sound player for their SFX library as they do their music library.
In the favorites section, of course, you can save whatever tracks you’ve found that might be a good fit for your project, and that’s a convenient, essential feature overall.
We don’t see any glaring omissions, errors, or challenges with their interface, so we must commend them on creating an outstanding if understated user experience.
Audiio Review, The Verdict
In summary, Audiio has tens of thousands of content assets you can take advantage of as a filmmaker. Whether it’s music or sound effects, the tracks are decidedly high quality and abundant in quantity and scope.
The self-serve nature of a music library means you’re still going to be doing some searching on your own. That said, there’s search, categories, and other selectable criteria to help you find what you’re looking for faster. And Audiio’s interface is certainly one of their strong suits.
All this taken together means Audiio has the potential to become your go-to source for all your filmmaking music and audio needs.
We’ve asked all the pertinent questions throughout this review and have laid out the answers, but one last question to ask before signing up for Audiio is:
Do they have what I need?
As we explained earlier in the review, many of their tracks are “now.” They feature modern production from instrumentation to mastering. And that is good for most creators, but if you’re looking for something a little more 80s, for instance, you might need to broaden your search, and there are other options out there (unless a modern synthwave track works for what you need).
Overall, Audiio offers incredible value, and is worthy of your consideration as you go to work on your next film project.