How to Add Music to Video in iMovie

iMovie is nonlinear video editing software designed for use on macOS or iOS systems: Mac computers, iPhones, and iPads. This unique software makes it easy to edit videos, music and images without modifying your original files. And, because it's so user-friendly, you can use it to create spectacular videos for platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram Reels, and Facebook.

The ability to create awesome video clips is now at your fingertips. But maybe you want to add some music to go along with your visuals. Importing and including audio in your iMovie clips can seem tricky, so we've put together this guide to help you master this step.

How to Add Music to iMovie on an iPhone

Apple includes a large collection of music, soundtracks, and audio effects created by popular artists and composers in the iMovie database. You can then add these audio files to the video you are editing. The following steps will show you how to add music to iMovie on an iPhone:

  1. Open your project on the timeline.
  2. Navigate to the "Add Media" button, an icon that looks like a plus sign.
  3. Tap this button to open the menu. In this menu, choose the “Audio” option.
  4. Next, tap "Soundtracks" to view the various built-in music offerings.
  5. Tap a soundtrack to preview it. Not all soundtracks are downloaded. If the track appears grayed out, you'll need to click on it first to download it before tapping on it to preview the song.
  6. To add the soundtrack of your choice to the project, click on the "Add audio" icon next to the soundtrack. This icon looks like a small circle with a plus sign placed inside it.
  7. iMovie will automatically import the song, position it at the start of the video clip, and scale it to the length of your project.

Once you've added your audio clip to your video project, you can tailor it to your needs. For example, this is where you'll change the length of the clip or add a second song.

How to Add Music to iMovie on an iPad

Adding music to iMovie on an iPad is relatively similar to adding music to an iPhone. So let's see how:

  1. Open your desired video project in iMovie on your iPad to view it on the timeline.
  2. Look for the "Add Media" icon on the screen and tap it.
  3. Click on “Audio” and then on “Soundtracks” to browse through the different music options available in the displayed menu.
  4. You can sample each song by tapping on it. If a music file is not yet downloaded, it will appear in a lighter color. Tap on it to download it first before tapping on it to preview the song.
  5. To add any music you want to your iMovie video, click the "Add Audio" symbol next to the song.
  6. iMovie will import the song into your project and place it at the start of the reel, extending the music to span the length of the video.
  7. Once this import is complete, you can adjust the duration of the audio clip or add a second one.

How to Add Music to iMovie on a Mac

iMovie for Mac comes with a comprehensive sound library that includes jingles, songs, and sound effects. Applying music to your iMovie project on a Mac is somewhat different from how you would add it on an iPad or iPhone. Here's how:

  1. Make sure your project is open in iMovie.
  2. Navigate to the top of the browser and click on “Audio”.
  3. In the sidebar that opens on the left, find "Sound Effects" and tap it.
  4. In some cases, you may need to click the "Media Browser" button to open the browser.
  5. If you want to preview a song, hover your cursor over your selection in the menu. A “Play” button will then appear next to the music you have chosen. Click this button to listen to the song.
  6. Another way to preview a song is to select it, then click inside the waveform at the top of the Media Browser. Then, when you're ready to hear the preview, press the "spacebar".
  7. Once you find the song you want to add to your project, select it and drag it onto your project timeline.
  8. To add the music file to a particular video clip, drag the music file below the clip until a vertical bar connecting the video and audio files appears. Now when you move this video clip, the audio track moves with it.
  9. If you want to add music from a file on your Mac instead, click "File" at the top of your screen and choose "Import Media." This selection will open a window that allows you to browse the files on your Mac and add them to your project.

How to Add Music from YouTube

Importing music into iMovie directly from YouTube is tricky because many of these songs and videos are copyrighted. However, you can import music into iMovie from YouTube Studio, the YouTube platform that lets you manage your YouTube channel. Check out these steps to get started:

  1. Open YouTube Studio on your computer.
  2. Go to the sidebar on the left side and select "Audio Files".
  3. At the top of the new window, you will see a “Free Music” tab. Click on this tab and a window with a list of songs free to use will appear.
  4. You can preview these songs by clicking the "Play" button next to each one.
  5. Once you've selected a song you like, download it by clicking the "Download" icon on the far right.
  6. Now open your iMovie project.
  7. Go to your computer files once your project is open and open your "Downloads" folder. Find the music file you just downloaded and drag it into the media area of ​​iMovie. (The media area is the open space on the left next to where your video clip plays.)
  8. You can then drag this audio file to the timeline below your video clip when you're ready.

Now all you have to do is organize your music video according to your visuals.

Can I add music from Apple Music?

Apple Music is Apple's music streaming service and is comparable to Spotify or Amazon Music Unlimited. DRM or Digital Rights Management protects audio files on Apple Music, preventing you from using the music anywhere other than the Apple Music app.

Can I add music from Spotify?

iMovie only supports particular audio formats such as MP3, WAV, M4A and AAC. Spotify protects its music files with DRM and encodes them in the OGG Vorbis format, which iMovie does not support.

Audio added

Adding music to your iMovie project is relatively simple once you get the hang of it. Follow the simple steps in this guide and you'll be making movie magic in no time.

Now all you have to do is find that epic track that will bring your iMovie project to life!

Have you ever added music to your iMovie project? Did you use a method similar to those described in this guide? Let us know in the comments section below.

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