Here’s how to watermark your music in FL Studio secretly, so nobody can ever steal your beats.
Watermarking audio to protect your music
It’s devastating, but it has happened to me and may happen to you too. Some idiot runs away with your work that has cost you weeks or months to complete. That’s why in 5 dead-simple steps I will show how you can protect your songs and always prove they’re yours.
How to watermark music
I’m Cep and there’s a neat trick in FL Studio to convert any image to frequencies. This way you can add secret messages to your audio without anyone knowing. This is wicked stuff.
All you need Harmor. Harmor is a plugin that can turn images into frequencies. And this image can be the entirety of the Mona Lisa, or in our case, a simple watermark.
5 easy steps. Let’s go!
STEP 1: Create your watermark image
Open any image editor, such as Paint in Windows or Photoshop. It will be Paint for me.
Use the right resolution
In your app, use a canvas size with a resolution of 516 by 516 pixels. This resolution will naturally match Harmor’s frequency segments.
Use black & white contrast
Then, create a black background and add some white text or a white image. To Harmor, white means sound and black means no sound. So if you want your watermark to show in your song, make it white.
Save your watermark image
Just finish it up and then save the image. Thereby, you can use any common format, such as JPG, PNG, or OMG. Okay that last one was a joke.
STEP 2: Add your watermark image to Harmor
When you have a watermark image, go to FL Studio and open Harmor by clicking “Add” in the menu and select “Harmor”.
Show Harmor frequency spectrum
In Harmor, select the arrow button on the right-side to open the visual feedback window. We need this in a minute to see the spectral information of our watermark. Thereby, higher frequencies will appear near the top and lower frequencies near the bottom.
Choose the right preset in Harmor
Next, click on “presets” in the top-right corner and open the “Resynthesis” template. Now, let’s tweak some settings to set it up correctly.
Use the right frequency settings in Harmor
On the right-side and lower half of Harmor, select the “IMG” (image) tab. And in that area, set the “freq” (frequency) scaling to “Linear”, and the mode to “Hz” (Hertz).
Furthermore, go to the left-side of Harmor and find the frequency multiplier. In that area, use the frequency divider input box to select number “4” for now.
These settings make sure your watermark image will have the right shape as intended. But depending on the result, you may want to change some of these settings later.
By the way, Harmor is epic, but an absolute monster. That’s why if you’re new to sound design, start with a basic synthesizer, and get my book Synthesizer Explained. With this simple combination you can make original sounds in no time.
Add your watermark image to Harmor
Finally, add your image to Harmor by dragging and dropping it in the “image section” window. Alternatively, click the little arrow to open the menu, and select “Open image file…” Of course, find it on your disk and open it.
Don’t accidentally add the wrong photo. We need to remain innocent.
STEP 3: Finetune your audio watermark
Now, press a few keys on the keyboard in Harmor until you see your image appear at the top of the spectral window. If you don’t see yours, try pressing some lower notes on the left-side of the keyboard.
Shape your audio watermark
All you need to do right now is align and tweak your watermark to your liking. So, find a position and shape in the frequency spectrum by using some of the image settings.
- Use the “TIME” knob to control the starting point. So, position it just before the beginning of your text or image.
- Use the “C.” (coarse) and “F.” (fine) speed to change the width of your watermark.
- Use the image gain pixel “SCALE” to determine the loudness of your watermark sound.
- And use the Subscribe button to get the awesomest producer shortcuts.
Choose the right frequencies for your watermark
A great spot for your watermark is within the higher frequencies. The highest frequencies are least noticeable. Though, anything above 15.000 Hz will be cut from MP3 files. So, if you want your watermark to show, keep it below this frequency.
How to add the watermark to your song
Of course, this will make your watermark at least somewhat audible. That’s why it’s important to integrate it in your song. So, use your watermark creatively or as a special effect. Or just add it to parts where it goes by unnoticed, such as in the climax or during a riser effect.
As is, you can use the Harmor plugin in your song and your good to go. But there’s a better way, especially if you want to watermark all your projects.
STEP 4: Turn your watermark into a sample
Do this once and use it forever. Therefore, open the mixer in FL Studio by clicking the “Mixer” icon, and select the “Master” track. On the Master, click on an empty slot, and select “Edison” from the list of effects.
If only Thomas Edison knew he was a tool… in FL Studio. Okay, moving on…
Record your watermark with Edison
In Edison, click on the “View” icon, and make sure to check “Spectrum”. Spectrum mode allows you to see the frequencies of a sound, and thus your watermark.
Next, click the “Record” button in Edison, and play a key in Harmor for some time. Edison will then record your watermark. Thereby, make sure to find a key so that the text becomes visible and nests at the top of the frequency spectrum.
Once the whole watermark is captured, press the “Stop” button in Edison.
Save your watermark as a sample
Afterwards, clean up your sample by selecting and deleting empty parts or unwanted content. So, make it clear and tight.
The same applies to all samples: the better they are, the better your song. That’s why feel free to download my EDM sample pack by clicking this link. It’s a gift from me, so don’t let it pass.
Lastly, click the “File” icon in Edison, and select “Save as…” Give your sample a good name and location, and click “Save”. Your watermark is now armed and ready to protect your music.
STEP 5: Add the watermark to your music
Open any FL Studio song or project and simply drag & drop your watermark sample onto the Playlist.
Fit the watermark into your song
Then, double click on your watermark sample, right-click on the waveform in the sample settings, and select “Spectrum view”. This will show the watermark image instead of a waveform on the Playlist.
You can now move it around and put it on the right position in your project.
Analyze the frequencies of your watermark
To make it fit perfectly, it can be very helpful to see the frequencies of your watermark together with the music. Therefore, use a frequency analyzer, such as Wave Candy.
Comment below if you ever tasted Wave Candy. I want to try it.
Simply open the Mixer, select the Master track, click on an empty slot, and select “Wave Candy” from the list of effects. Then click on the “Spectrum” tab to use spectral mode.
Now just play your music, with your watermark, and look on the spectrometer window. You can use this information to ensure watermark visibility and finetune the position in your song.
Just fumble it in your project, and from now on you can protect your work and always prove it’s yours.