Big Time Rush Wiki

"Music Sounds Better with U", retitled "Music Sounds Better" in later releases, is a song by Big Time Rush. It was released on November 1, 2011 as the lead single from the band's second studio album, Elevate. Taking a sample from the 1998 Stardust single of the same name, the band worked with American producer Ryan Tedder and Noel Zancanella to write and produce the song, a synth-pop dance track that also features American rapper Mann.

Upon release, "Music Sounds Better with U" received generally positive reviews from critics, who have described the song as an "addictive, polished and sugary pop song".[2] The song received moderate success on commercial radio, reaching #1 on Billboard's "Kids Digital Song Sales" in the week of November 19, 2011.[3] Ryan Seacrest of described the single as Big Time Rush's opportunity to "break out of the box" and pursue a more mature, mainstream sound, compared to their previous releases, which had been closely tied to their Nickelodeon television show.[4]

A music video was released on November 13, and follows the members of Big Time Rush as they party and dance in an empty warehouse, surrounded by their friends.

Background and composition

Ryan Tedder

OneRepublic member Ryan Tedder, who produced "Music Sounds Better with U".

On August 1, 2011, the band met with professional producer and OneRepublic member Ryan Tedder in Denver, Colorado, with the intention of writing a "smash" single for their upcoming album.[5][6] Big Time Rush wrote the bridge, while Tedder brought them the structure of the song and completed it.[7] The band described Tedder as an "amazing" producer, remarking that he was "instrumental" to the song's creative process, and they recalled instinctually feeling an "instant hit" upon their first listen.[7] The song takes a sample from the 1998 single "Music Sounds Better With U", the only song released by French house group Stardust, a trio comprising vocalist Benjamin Diamond, DJ Alan Braxe, and producer Thomas Bangalter, the latter of whom is best known as a member of the electronic music duo Daft Punk. Stardust's own single samples a guitar riff from Chaka Hahn's 1981 song "Fate". According to James Maslow, "Music Sounds Better" is a song that has gone through "a few generations", and Big Time Rush was honored to continue its legacy and "make it into their own."[7]


Production was helmed primarily by Tedder, who created the instrumental track with fellow OneRepublic members Noel Zancanella and Brent Kutzle. Chris Rojas assisted with additional vocal production.[8] Kendall Schmidt said that the single took "a long time" to create, with the band going "back and forth" with Tedder until they achieved the desired sound.[7] They created "nine or ten versions" of the song before they were satisfied.[7]


Big Time Rush with Mann during the shoot for the "Music Sounds Better" music video.

The band members initially were not expecting to have another artist featured on the song, but when the label opened up a "spot" for a feature, rapper Mann "jumped at the opportunity" recorded a version of the song and sent it over to the band, only weeks before the official release of the single.[9] The band "fell in love" with Mann's addition to the song and, upon compiling the track, unanimously agreed that the finished product was "exactly how 'Music Sounds Better' should sound."[7]

The final version track was engineered by Smith Carlson, Bobby Campbell, Terrence DH, and John Hanes, and mixed by Serban Ghenea, with Fabien Waltmann providing additional programming. The final master was completed by Chris Gehringer at Sterling Sound.[10]


Big Time Rush first announced "Music Sounds Better with U" in a live Ustream on October 18, 2011, in which they confirmed that their second album would be titled Elevate and that "Music Sounds Better" would be the lead single for the album. Three days later, on October 21, Kendall Schmidt appeared on KIIS.FM's "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" for a brief interview and to introduce the world premiere of the single.[4]

"Music Sounds Better" was released as a digital single on November 1, 2011. The single was the namesake of the Better with U Tour, which was announced on November 9 to promote both the single and upcoming album. An accompanying music video premiered live on Nickelodeon as part of the Big Time Rush: Music Sounds Better with U behind-the-scenes television special, aired on November 12, and was officially released for digital download on November 13. "Music Sounds Better" appears as the opening track on Elevate, released on November 21.

The song was also released as a physical single exclusively in Germany, where it was released in stores on December 9, 2011. "Epic" is included on the B-side of the CD.

Music video


Big Time Rush ft. Mann - Music Sounds Better (Official Video)

The accompanying music video was directed by Marc Klasfeld and was filmed in a warehouse in Vancouver, Canada between October 24–25, 2011.[9][11] The video depicts the band members talking to their dates and partying, interspersed with close-up shots of the individual members against a blue background. An alternate music video was additionally created for airing during Nickelodeon commercial breaks, directed by Marcus Wagner, who directed several promotional videos for the band. The video is one minute in length and depicts the four members of Big Time Rush writing and recording in a studio together.[12]

Live performances

"Music Sounds Better" has been performed on every tour since its release, having been featured on the Better With U Tour, Big Time Summer Tour, Summer Break Tour, Live World Tour, and Big Time Rush Live setlists. In place of Mann's verse, the band sometimes replaces it with a vocal bridge, while at other times, one or members of the band perform the rap themselves.

Big Time Rush performed the song live on the the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2012.


Chart Peak
AT40 25
Chart (2011) Peak
US Billboard 200 12

Credits and personnel

Credits transcribed from the liner notes of Elevate.[8]

  • Written by Ryan Tedder, Noel Zancanella, Brent Kutzle, Mike Caren, Eric Bellinger, James Maslow, Kendall Francis Schmidt, Logan Henderson, Carlos Pena, Thomas Bangalter, Benjamin Cohen, Dominic King, Frank Musker, and Alain Quême
  • Produced by Ryan Tedder, Noel Zancanella, and Brent Kutzle for Patriot Entertainment LLC
  • Co-Produced by Mike Caren
  • Engineered by Smith Carlson, Bobby Campbell, and Terrence DH
  • Vocal Production by Chris Rojas (RMI) / Mixed by Serban Ghenea
  • Engineered for Mix by John Hanes
  • Additional Programming: Fabien Waltmann
  • Mann appears courtesy of A2Z Entertainment / Beluga Heights / Mercury Island Def Jam
  • Contains a portion of the composition “Music Sounds Better With You,” written by Thomas Bangalter, Benjamin Cohen, Dominic King, Frank Musker, and Alain Quême. Published by Universal Music – Z Songs o/b/o Imagem London Ltd. (ASCAP) / Songs of Universal, Inc. o/b/o Notting Hill Music UK Ltd. (BMI) Universal Music – MGB Songs o/b/o Universal Music Publishing MGB Ltd. (BMI) / Bradco Music (SACEM)

Track listing

  • Digital download
    1. "Music Sounds Better with U" – 3:09
  • German CD single
    1. "Music Sounds Better with U" – 3:09
    2. "Epic" – 3:27
    3. "Music Sounds Better with U" (Instrumental) – 3:02
  • German digital download
    1. "Music Sounds Better with U" – 3:09
    2. "Music Sounds Better with U" (Instrumental) – 3:02


Several remixes and alternate versions of "Music Sounds Better with U" have been officially released as B-sides or bonus tracks:

  • "Music Sounds Better with U" (Instrumental)
  • "Music Sounds Better with U" (Karmatronic Club Remix)
  • "Music Sounds Better with U" (Karmatronic Club Mix)
  • "Music Sounds Better with U" (Karmatronic Radio Remix)
  • "Music Sounds Better with U" (Karmatronic Dub Remix)
  • "Music Sounds Better with U" (Halatrax Radio Remix)

Acoustic version

Big Time Rush released an acoustic version of "Music Sounds Better" on streaming platforms on April 15, 2022. It was recorded during press for the Forever Tour in February 2022, with guitar played by Cody Perrin.[13]


Lyrics transcribed from Elevate liner notes.[8]

I try to write this down
The words just don't come out
It's hard to say how you feel
Been down the longest road
Said yes when I meant no
I lost control of the wheel

'Cause you know that
Things get so bad
You've got my back
Make me want to sing
And girl I'm singing 'bout you
No sweeter sound
Than what I found
No perfect love
Could be more perfect than us

Ooh, baby, it feels like, it feels like
The music sounds better with you, baby
It feels right, it feels right
Everything's better with you

I used to think that love
Was something fools made up
'Cause all I knew was heartbreak
I couldn't help myself
Let this heart go through hell
There's only so much
A heart can take

Things get so bad
You've got my back
Make me want to sing
And girl I'm singing 'bout you
No sweeter sound
Than what I found
No perfect love
Could be more perfect than us


Every song, every rhyme, every word is better with you
Every day, all of the time, every day
The music sounds better with you

She's my music enhancer
When the music plays, she's my dancer
When I'm around her, everything's faster
Every question I have, she's the answer
I'm head over heels, can't explain it
It's so surreal
When I'm around you, baby
You make me feel like...
Everything's better with you


The music sounds better with you
The music sounds better with you





  1. PenaVega, Carlos [@TheCarlosPena] (August 1, 2011). "in the studio with the boys and Ryan Tedder.. making a a smash!!!!!" (Tweet). Retrieved 17 April 2022 – via Twitter.
  2. Rubenstein, Jenna Hally. "NEW SONG: BIG TIME RUSH, 'MUSIC SOUNDS BETTER WITH U'". MTV News, October 24, 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  3. [1]
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ryan Seacrest (host). "On Air With Ryan Seacrest",, October 21, 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2022. An archive of the radio broadcast is available here.
  5. Henderson, Logan [@1LoganHenderson] (August 1, 2011). "Hangin with Ryan Tedder at the studio! One of the coolest studios I've seen....Denver's pretty rockin!" (Tweet).
  6. PenaVega, Carlos [@TheCarlosPena] (August 1, 2011)."in the studio with the boys and Ryan Tedder.. making a a smash!!!!!" (Tweet). Retrieved 22 April 2022 – via Twitter.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Big Time Rush (hosts). "Big Time Radio", iHeart Radio. March 7, 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2022. An archive of the live radio broadcast is available here.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Elevate (Media notes). Nick Records, Columbia Records. 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "MannsWorld: BTS "Music Sounds Better" with Big Time Rush". Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  10. Elevate (Media notes). Nickelodeon Records, Columbia Records. 2011.
  11. Big Time Rush. "Big Time Rush - Windows Down - Behind The Scenes". 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  12. Dream Big Pictures. Marcus Wagner Music Videos – "Big Time Rush | "Sounds Better with You"". Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  13. "Big Time Rush - 'Forever Tour' Press Day Q&A". Retrieved 22 April 2022.



V·T·E Songs in Big Time Rush
Season 1 "Big Time Rush" · "Famous" · "City Is Ours" · "Any Kind of Guy" · "This Is Our Someday" · "Halfway There" · "Stuck" · "A Shot in the Dark" · "Count on You"
Season 2 "Til I Forget About You" · "Boyfriend" · "I Know You Know" · "Big Night" · "Nothing Even Matters" · "Make a Beautiful Christmas" · "All I Want for Christmas" · "Yardsquirrel's Christmas" · "Oh Yeah" · "Dance, Dance, Dance" · "The Mom Song" · "Worldwide" · "Paralyzed" · "Superstar" · "If I Ruled the World" · "Blow Your Speakers" · "All Over Again"
Season 3 "Love Me Love Me" · "Time of Our Life" · "Cover Girl" · "Elevate" · "Movin' Up to Bel Air" · "Windows Down" · "No Idea"
Season 4 "Like Nobody's Around" · "With Ur Love" · "Picture This" · "You Dumped Me for Her" · "24/seven" · "Confetti Falling" · "My Friends" · "Song for You" · "Run Wild" · "Untouchable" · "Get Up" · "Crazy for U" · "We Are"
Big Time Movie "Can't Buy Me Love" · "Help" · "A Hard Day's Night" · "We Can Work It Out" · "Revolution" · "Music Sounds Better with U"