Few things bring the world together quite like music. We live in a time which is increasingly divided, and yet music continues to be a unifying force. What’s more, music has the ability to transcend time, space, race, and gender—from Bach to Beethoven, to The Beatles to Beyoncé, music remains one of the most varied of art forms. That said, it’s also an art form which often requires a fair amount of equipment to do professionally. For example, if you don’t have a full band or orchestra on which you can depend, you might need to look to other options—and that’s where something like a backing track comes in.

Whether you’re looking to get in some busking, sing for musical theatre, or record a commercial for radio or television, here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the best backing tracks for you.

Type of Track

One of the first things you’ll want to think about, when selecting a backing track, is the type of track you want to select. What type of music is most befitting the occasion or venue in which you will be performing? The best backing track sites offer thousands of different options. Simply type the song you want into the search engine and it will provide you with the results. You can even, in some cases, choose between different versions of the same track—for example, different takes by different artists, or live and non-live versions.

Acoustics and Compatibility

The two most important things to consider from the technical side are the acoustics and compatibility of any given track.

When it comes to acoustics, different types of tracks and environments are going to have different requirements. For example, if you are looking to perform live outdoors, you’re going to need a track which is loud enough to be heard over the hustle and bustle of the crowd, while still not drowning out your own voice. On the flip side, if you are working in musical theatre, you’re going to want to test any given track you might purchase in the confines of your own theatre. Different theatres have different acoustical setups, so be sure that the track you’re choosing meshes well with your theatre’s sound needs and requirements.

What’s more, if you are looking to record a track for an advertisement, audition track, or other purpose, you’re going to want to make sure that any backing track you might use is compatible with your recording devices. You’ll also want to be sure that, if necessary, you can convert the music into a sound file for your computer, which is compatible with your sound editing software. In addition, if you are recording for a TV advertisement, you’ll want to make sure the sound is balanced with, and synced to, the video signal.

It’s true that there are many things to keep track of when it comes to selecting a backing track, but that’s only because of the wealth of beauty and talent for which they and, indeed, music in general allows.