When you’re sending a GIF to a friend or posting it on social media, you’re communicating your mood and reaction. What better way to show how you’re feeling than to find a matching song? Putting popular songs on GIFs makes it funnier, more emotional, and more entertaining.
By definition, however, the GIF file format does not support audio. A GIF is more like an image than like a video. While a video file can store sound, location, timestamp, and more data, a GIF only stores a series of images. Therefore, in order to add music to a GIF, you will also need to convert your GIF to a video file format like MP4.
In this article, I’ll describe how to add music to your GIF using a free, online tool called Kapwing. Kapwing is an online photo, GIF, and video editor for casual creators that helps people make modern media formats in the browser. You can use it on any device (phone or computer) for free. Read the tutorial or watch the video tutorial below.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to add Music to a GIF in four steps:
- Loop your GIF to the Right Length
- Upload your GIF
- Add Music
- Create and Share
In my example, I want to add the intro to the song “Panda” by Designer with a GIF of Santa dancing before Christmas. I think the effect is a hilarious clip I could post on Reddit or Instagram or send to my friends through WhatsApp.
Step 1: Loop your GIF to the Length
The first step is to prepare your GIF. Most GIFs only last one or two seconds, so you’ll need to make your GIF longer to go with the music. If you don't want to loop the GIF and just add music as-is, you can skip Step 1.
One easy way to make your GIF longer is to repeat it multiple times in a row. Open Kapwing’s Video Looper and upload your GIF, either by selecting it on your computer or phone or by pasting a URL for a webpage like Giphy.
In this example, I found my GIF on Giphy. I pasted the Giphy URL of Santa dancing into Kapwing’s loop tool.
Once the GIF loads in the editor, choose the number of times you want the GIF to loop based on how long you want the final output to last. Consider making the video long enough to contain the whole section of the music you want. Kapwing lets you loop your GIF up to 10 times and has tools for Trimming and Adding a custom watermark.
Once you’ve chosen the settings, click “CREATE” to process your looped GIF. After a few seconds of processing, Kapwing gives you the looped GIF as an MP4 file, although your file doesn’t have sound yet!
To add music, click the "Open in Studio" button to import back into Kapwing's main video editor.
Step 2: Upload Looped GIF to Studio
Now, you're in the Studio, Kapwing's main online video editing product. You can get here through the "Open in Studio" button, or you can click “Get Started” from Kapwing's homepage and upload the GIF you want to add music to. Once your GIF has loaded in Studio, it will look something like this:
Notice the options to change the aspect ratio of your canvas on the left hand panel. If you want to resize the GIF for a social media platform, use these options to adjust the size and position of the GIF layer.
Step 3: Add Music
To add music, click the “Audio” button in the Studio toolbar. There, you can upload a music file or paste the link to the YouTube video with the music you want. I used the song “Panda,” so I just imported it from YouTube.
Kapwing supports MP3 or MP4 uploads (it will extract the audio, if you upload a video file). To specify a section of the music you want like a chorus or specific lyric, click the “Trim audio” button to define the start and end time. You can also adjust the time in the GIF that the music starts playing and the volume of the music.
When the video preview sounds correct, click “DONE” to return to the Studio. Now, you can also change the volume of the song, if you want to.
Step 4: Publish and Share
Kapwing’s studio also lets you add visual elements to your video like stickers, text, borders, custom watermarks and more. Feel free to try out Kapwing’s tools — you won’t lose your audio. In my example, I added the text “Getting ready for Christmas like” to transform my musical GIF into a meme for Instagram.
Once your GIF looks and sounds right, click “Publish” to process your musical GIF! The Kapwing Kittens will process your file in the cloud and return a wonderful GIF with the music and GIF combined. You can share the URL withe your friends or download the MP4 file to publish on social media.
I hope this article helps you make funny, cute, romantic, sad and celebratory GIFs to share with your loved ones. Music can add to the mood of any visual content, so adding tunes to your stickers ups your communication game. Enjoy!
Note: GIFs with music can make for great Instagram promotions if you’re an artist or are marketing a music event. Check out this Instagram post with music on an animation.