How PewDiePie uses music in his videos to engage viewers

So, this is the first in a series of video breakdowns where we look at popular (and not so popular) content creators to see what works and doesn’t work in the world of marrying audio to video! The idea here is to give you tips, tricks and ideas on how to implement the techniques used by successful video makers so that you can add your own spin on them and make even better videos.

Felix Kjellberg

We start with the infamous PewDiePie (aka Felix Kjellberg) who is a behemoth among YouTubers and pretty funny if you’re into crude humour (and who doesn’t like a bit of toilet humour!?). His videos make an emotional bond with the viewer through comedy and he establishes his branding through his personality and edgy editing.

PewDiePie’s use of music and sound effects is key to his videos, pay attention to how he creates the right tone for sections of his video with sharp shifts and cuts. However, as is common with most videos, he also tends to use a single track throughout the ‘meat’ of his videos to keep things moving along (albeit also heavily cut up as well!).

And remember, using a cool track can also be a good way of getting more shares of your video as people share music they like.

PewDiePie’s intro music

Unlike many YouTubers, PewDiePie tends not to have a distinctive intro and outro for his videos instead preferring to improvise in his usual erratic style of editing and that’s no exception in this video. And hats off to him, he’s carved out an interesting ‘mash up’ style of his own that is hard to replicate because, well, it fits his style of filmmaking!

While not having it works for ‘The Pewds’, having intro and outro music for your videos is actually a good idea as it helps brand your videos and differentiate you from everyone else. But remember to keep it short (around 5s max) as you don’t want people to lose interest from the get go, especially if you’re making regular content. It should feel familiar, but not overwhelming.

Synchronising visual cuts

As part of his editing ‘branding’, PewDiePie most likely lays his music over the original footage and then edits that footage directly with the background music locked in place. The result is a kind of gritty, chopped up / mash up effect which feels like he’s edited an original video into fragments and then reconstructed a story from it.

So if you want to have a fast paced video with lots of jokes inserted mid-flow, then this is the way to go (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it).

Audio effects and transitions

PewDiePie heavily uses sound effects when editing video to highlight important moments, jokes and parts of his message that people might not have noticed at first.

His videos are purposefully made crap you might argue, but this style of editing is often more time-consuming than normal editing! Grabbing a bunch of sound effects and music, warping them with plugin effects (like heavy distortion) and highlighting the absurdity of things with quick edits can be difficult as the pacing is important.

However, it’s a great way of engaging people in comedy, so I’d highly recommend adding sound effects and shifts in music if you’re creating prank, satire or other humorous videos. It can also work with non-comedy stuff too though such as fashion vlogging, journey / trip videos and even product reviews (as long as the sound effects aren’t comical of course!).

Shhhh, what about the silence?

Equally as important as the music and SFX are the spaces in-between. As you can see in the video above at around 1:17, PewDiePie often cuts back to silence to emphasise the humour of something or shift from one emotion to the next. It’s a powerful method of grabbing your attention.

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