Where do you get your non cliché music?

Is royalty free ukulele music dead? There seems to be a strong trend against the sweet ukulele music you find on TV adverts and YouTube – whether that’s a cat video, prank video, beauty guru tutorial or and even a Minecraft tips and tricks synopsis. A growing number of viewers feel it is cliché, overused and are growing tired of hearing the same music used everywhere:


The feeling is so strong about this miniature-sized guitar used by legends like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole that it’s worth picking apart why and highlighting where trends are going so you can sound current. So, are you a uke-hater? Do you hate that “damn free royalty ukulele” as one user called it and want alternative background music for your YouTube videos? If so, further down this page I’ll show you some non-cliché music that’s quickly becoming popular here on Instrumental Background Music so you can sound freshé rather than cliché!

Why do people use cliché ukulele music when it seems so unpopular?

Although royalty free ukulele music has been used and abused over the last couple of years, youtube beauty gurus and fashion vloggers creating make up tutorials are not the only ones to blame for it being everywhere. Upbeat music like this is popular with businesses, YouTube pranksters, filmmakers and even podcasters for a number of good reasons and I believe it will continue to be popular in future despite many disgruntled people voicing their opinion online. Why? Because ukulele background music ticks a number of boxes for video makers:

  1. It’s light-hearted and unobtrusive so it works with videos with lots of voice over or dialogue in them. That can be really useful for things like business explainer videos where the focus is on key messages rather than synchronising visuals or highlighting nice cinematography in your films.
  2. Whatever you might feel about it, people generally like ukulele music because it sounds upbeat and uplifting and makes you feel happy most of the time according to psychologists.
  3. It’s often easy to edit this type of music to video. Most ukulele tracks you’ll find out there like The Happy Life can be cut to picture quickly and easily due to their versatile verse-chorus structure.
  4. It simply works with a lot of types of videos. While hearing that repetitive strumming, bells and whistling might make you want to pull your hair out at times, it’s a quick and simple way to add a motivating tone to your videos which is why so many people use it.

What background music is popular on YouTube these days?

If you look at YouTube giants like PewDiePie and Casey Neistat, then you’ll generally see stuff like comedy music, Dance and things like kid’s music to chill hop and cool electronic breakbeat stuff. But right now, the current trend is that chill hop and jazzy breakbeat stuff is definitely where it’s at. It’s something we can see on various popular YouTube channels, but also in Google Trends where we can see demand for it is soaring:


As a result, tracks like Glitched Out, Smashup and Space Drift are gaining a lot of popularity:

Buy this track

Buy this track

Buy this track

There’s also increasing interest in big epic orchestral trailer music, probably because it can be used in a variety of contexts from creating suspense, excitement, feelings of ‘epicness’ (shit word, I know) or even comedy to make epic fails fail even more epically. Powerful tracks like Epic Warfare also incorporate a slightly heavy metal feel into the mix which is popular in a lot of videos these days all without being cliché.

A few pointers on how to avoid sounding cliché


The first step is to see what is current and emulate (not imitate) it, so that you look and sound current rather than cliché and dated. Look at the leaders in your niche / sector and look for music that they’re using – remember, this is also true for video content as well as music.

Just by modelling yourself on specific influencers in your market that set trends and establish what is cool or not, you’ll be moving further away from those who just copy what everyone else is doing. Look for the mavericks who are testing the status quo, or even better, you could go the next step and become a leader in your niche by using unusual music or using music in an unusual way – essentially creating a new style. Although it’s a bit thin on the ground at present as we’re filling up the catalogue in other areas first, our Exp3rim3ntal collection has tracks that are good for this kind of approach.

Then there are music genres that are timeless in that they will always be in demand, albeit less than popular genres of music. Think Jazz, Rock, World music etc. These genres often don’t make the mainstream because they are not pushed by popular culture, the media and record labels in the same way as more current music genres like EDM, Reggaeton and R&B. Don’t forget that they can be great for moving away from cliché.

And finally, sometimes it’s less about the music you use and more about the content you’re creating. Ask yourself if you’re just repeating what everyone else says – if you are and not getting much success, then it’s about experimenting a bit with your content so you have your own unique flavour. In music, the process of ‘finding your sound’ is a similar process. To sound different to the millions of other musicians out there, you need to experiment with instruments, playing styles, genres and production techniques until you find something that represents you. And if you do it for a while, you’ll stand out naturally.

What do you think?

So, I’ve talked about alternatives to the world of ukulele background music here and how you can avoid sounding cliché – what do you think is going to be the next wave of popular music?



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