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This is my ultimate guide to royalty free music. So if you’re working on a commercial or personal video, these websites are your best friends. I haven’t made many videos in the past, but I’m getting more interested in them, so I figured I would share some valuable resources I’ve recently stumbled upon.
Royalty free means that you can use copyrighted material or intellectual property without the need to pay license fees. So basically after paying a one-time license fee you can use the song as much as you want. For more information about how music licensing works, check out this article.
Please Note: This list contains free and paid resources. It’s very important for you to read the fine line about licensing and usage.
By the way, if you work with any sort of video you, you should strongly consider starting your own music/sound library. By creating one you will drastically improve your workflow. Simply buy an external hard drive, preferably 1TB or more, and start building your collection. So with that being said, let’s get started.
Motion Array – Motion Array offers a huge library of royalty free music of which members can download unlimited amounts. Their selection includes a wide variety of genres from indie to hip-hop and everything in between. Paying members get unlimited access to their whole library, however they also offer a free membership which gives you access to hundreds of royalty free music tracks. All of their music, even the free tracks, are licensed for both personal and commercial uses.
Freemusicarchive.org – The Free Music Archive offers free downloads under Creative Commons and other licenses. You can search by genre or by some of their favorite mixes.
Freemusicforvideos.com – Another wonderful place on the web where you’ll be able to find hundreds of cheap songs. They offer a few selections for free, and they are always changing, so be sure to check in frequently at this site.
Incompetech.com – This website is run by Kevin MacLeod. As long as you credit him you can use his music for almost any kind of project. If you’re not 100% sure about using his music check out the FAQ.
Vimeo.com/musicstore – This site has been known for helping people do everything they need to create beautiful videos. They have a great mix of free and very low-cost tracks that will get you started on the right foot.
Machinimasound.com – Another great resource for the creative mind to explore. They allow you to search by genre, and give out plenty of free tracks that will help you make your videos.
Musicrevolution.com – Most of the songs they offer require payment, however in their free section you can get a standard license for 40 tracks.
Pacdv.com – Since 2001, PacDV has been producing royalty free sounds for filmmakers, sound designers, music producers, film students, and multimedia developers. They also offer a service that allows you to make your own sounds using their digital instruments. All they ask in return is a quick mention in your credits.
Museopen.com – If you’re like me and a fan of open source software, you might find this site similar. They offer music at absolutely no cost, but most of their music is classical.
Sonnyboo.com – Sonnyboo is a wonderful resource for filmmakers. They provide free docuemnts, music, videos, images, sound FX, articles about movie making, storyboards, and fonts. All the royalty free songs are composed and performed by Peter John Ross. You’ll need to credit them if you wish to use their music commercially.
Soundclick.com – This site offers hundreds of songs. Simply sign up for a free account and search for songs labeled under Creative Commons.
Publicdomain4u.com – Like the name suggests, this website provides public domain music you can use for your projects. Every single song on this website can be used by members of the public.
Opsound.org – Music on this website uses the copyleft license developed by Creative Commons. Basically, Copyleft allows you to take a creative work and modify it freely. The only catch here is that your new modified version has to be free as well.
DanoSongs.com – Dan-O is a gifted composer who offers his music completely free of charge for you to use. This gives him a chance to shine for only the cost of a link and mention in your credits.
Freesoundtrackmusic.com – This site offers hundreds of free songs at no cost. Just like DanoSongs.com all they ask of you is to credit the composer and link back to their website. One cool thing I like about this site is that you can search for compositions via color codes matched to different emotions.
ccMixter – They describe their website better than I can, so here you go: “ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, share, sample, mash-up, or interact with our music.”
Beatpick.com – If you’re making a non-profit video, you have a range of options to obtain free music from this website. If you plan to use a song for any other reason, then you’ll have to pay for licensing. No worries thou, their pricing is very reasonable.
Premiumbeat.com – Looking for more choices than some of the other sites listed? Premiumbeat is your answer. With thousands of hand-picked songs for you to use, this is the goldmine of royalty free music. They offer sounds in both MP3 and WAV format. Most licences run about $40.
Audiojungle.net – Part of the Envato Marketplace family, AudioJungle offers royalty free audio files starting at $1. Here you will find high quality music loops, music packs, sound effects, source files, logos & idents.
Jewelbeat.com – This site offers some great tunes for only $2.99 a pop. They also offer their entire music library of 30,000+ songs for only $299.
Freesound.org – A collaborative database of CC licensed sounds. Very useful if you’re looking for something specific. Simply type in your search term and you’ll be flooded with choices.
I hope this article has helped you. Feel free to bookmark it for future use. Good luck on your projects!