Need a new video production for your company? You’ll have to enhance it with the perfect music track. One of your first thoughts might be to sneak in an mp3 of a recent hit. It’s too risky to download a track illegally because you can get sued for copyright infringement. At the same time, you might not have the budget to hire a composer or pay royalties for a chart-topper.
Your best bet is royalty-free music, and it helps to know where to find it.
Here’s a list of 26 places where you can download royalty free music for your video production, together with a quick side-by-side comparison of royalty-free licensing, Creative Commons licensing, and public domain.
How Free is Royalty-Free Music for a Video Production?
A piece of music may carry the “royalty-free” label, but that doesn’t automatically mean that it’s absolutely free. It just saves you from having to pay royalties every time you use the music in video production. There are countless royalty-free tracks that are also free for download, though. Also, some royalty-free licenses come with limitations, such as prohibitions against remixes or commercial use.
It’s fairly easy to confuse royalty-free music with compositions in the public domain or under Creative Commons (CC) licenses. This bullet list should help you differentiate the three:
- Again, royalty-free music simply doesn’t require you to pay royalties. However, depending on where you’re downloading your music, you may have to register or pay minimal membership fees beforehand.
- Public domain music is completely free and no longer has copyrights attached to it at all, either because the rights have expired or been waived. You can include such music in remixes. The only limitation is that you can never claim a public domain track as your own, even if it’s part of a video production that has gone viral.
- Soundtracks under CC licenses are all free to download, but their creators still have copyright, so there may be additional conditions based on the specific license. In addition, the CC license suite has undergone a couple of revisions, with version 4.0 being the latest release. The differences between versions might be minute, but it wouldn’t hurt to do some research. Here are a few common CC licenses:
- Attribution (CC BY) just requires you to give credit to the musician.
- Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY NC) only allows you to use the track in a non-commercial video production.
- No Rights Reserved (CC0) is the CC equivalent of public domain, because simply waiving copyright and releasing music into the public domain doesn’t always go as smoothly as some composers might hope.
All music in the public domain or under Creative Commons licenses are royalty-free by nature, but not all royalty-free tracks are downloadable for free. The list below features sites that provide royalty-free downloads for your video production, though we’ve indicated whether the music is further covered by Creative Commons or in the public domain. Also, some sites have tracks with varying licenses, so be sure to check the license for whatever you’ll be downloading.
26 Sites for Awesome and Royalty-Free Background Music for Video Productions
US-based producer Dan-O has helpfully arranged the songs on his site into genres that you can scroll through. You have to pay before actually using your chosen royalty-free music on DanoSongs, but once you do, you can freely use it in commercial video productions. Dan-O doesn’t even require attribution. You’re just not allowed to remix the songs or steal credit.
License one song by donating $10, or license all songs on the site in one go by donating $50.
2. Free Soundtrack Music
Free Soundtrack Music is the only site on this list which lets you search by color association. That’s right, you can look for royalty-free music that sounds green or orange. If you choose a track for your video production, you just have to credit the composer/producer and mention the site’s URL in your project in return. There are also exclusive tracks which you can download and license with credits ($4.50 for one track, $7.00 for two, $15 for six).
3. Partners in Rhyme
Aside from sound effects and midi files, Partners in Rhyme also has an abundance of royalty-free music for you to download. Some tracks cost money while others are absolutely free from the get-go. If you’re using a track from PIR in your video production, you’ll need to credit the site–just link to PIR on your site, mention them in the credits, or send them a thank-you email. PIR site has even put up a downloadable authorization document in case users need to prove that they have the right to use a particular royalty-free music track for a video production.
4. Moby Gratis
Drop by MobyGratis.com for royalty-free tracks from renowned electronic music composer Moby. Once you’ve decided on a track to download, all you have to do is fill up a short form including a short description of what you’re using the music for, and you’ll get a high-quality music file in your email within the next 24 hours. Take note that his music is only free for non-profit and non-commercial video productions, though.
DID YOU KNOW? Moby has sold more than 20 million records worldwide. Considering his fame, his library of royalty-free music is a steal!
5. Motion Array
Just sign up for a free account on Motion Array, and you’ll get access to all the site’s sizeable library of free-to-download music files. There are also monthly and yearly subscriptions that place everything on the site at your fingertips. If you have some time to spare, check out Motion Array’s tutorials and pick up a new video production technique or two!
Register with AudioJungle and you’ll have access to more than 800,000 pieces of awesome royalty-free music perfect for any video production. The site starts you off with updated lists of top tracks and new uploads. While none of the tracks are free to download, the prices are low, starting at $1 each.
7. Freeplay Music
Freeplay Music’s licenses for commercial video productions carry higher price tags than other options on this list. A license for a YouTube commercial will cost $250, for example. However, the sheer quality of the 50,000+ royalty-free tracks in this library are worth it.
BeatPick’s incredibly powerful search function makes it a breeze to choose your video production soundtrack from a pool of 30,000 pieces of music. You can add potential soundtracks to your Beatlist or click “License Song” to find out a track’s price.
9. Free Stock Music
Public Domain with License Available
Free Stock Music is exactly what its name indicates: a library of royalty-free stock music for your video production needs. Grab a commercial license here, and the site will back you up with $20,000 indemnification!
One of the first things Lickd tells its visitors is that it’s built for YouTubers. In fact, you need to register with your YouTube account. Prices vary according to the average number of views you’ve gotten for your videos uploaded within the last 90 days. For example, if your video productions rake in an average of 50k views, you’ll be paying $8 per track. Once you’re placed in a price band, you pay the same amount for any piece of music, even if it’s one of Lickd’s top tracks. You get your first track for free, by the way.
Say hello to more than 100,000 royalty-free tracks available for commercial and personal video productions! You can get a basic license on Audioblocks for $9/month or an unlimited audio license for $15/month.
12. Epidemic Sound
Epidemic Sound boasts of multi-platform licenses for creators and businesses to keep copyright matters sleek and simple. There are also single track licenses for casual users who just need one or two pieces of royalty-free music. If none of the site’s initial offerings match your video production needs, though, you can also ask for a custom license. Aside from that, the site’s search tool is wonderfully user-friendly.
DID YOU KNOW? Together with fellow music producer Adam Anders, Epidemic Sound co-founder Peer Åström composed several original songs for the hit TV series Glee.
CC BY 3.0
This site doesn’t just have 2,000 royalty-free tracks, but it also lets you search for video production music by genre, instrument, or mood. You can download tracks from Incompetech one by one for free and just credit the site, or you may download the whole library at once for a one-time fee of $38.
14. Purple Planet
CC BY 3.0
The site starts you off by presenting 20 moods. Click on the mood that best matches your video production, and browse away! You can use the music here for monetized videos as long as you attribute your soundtrack to Purple Planet. If you need high-quality files, though, the site offers the option to buy licenses, with non-broadcast and broadcast options available at $8 and $40 respectively.
15. Josh Woodward
CC BY 4.0
Each of the 200+ royalty-free tracks on this site is composed and produced by Josh Woodward, yet all he asks in return is attribution, whether in the credits of your video production or in a mention on social media. If you can’t get enough of his soundtracks, you may also donate $40 and download what he calls the Epic Bundle, which includes all the tracks on the site, plus loops, stems, cuts of different lengths, and alternate and unmastered mixes.
CC BY 4.0
Music producer TeknoAXE has almost 1,500 original tracks on his site, with more and more royalty-free music uploaded every week! You can download and use any of these tracks freely in your monetized video production. Upon download, you can create license permission documents that you can present to YouTube if needed.
CC BY 3.0
All 200+ royalty-free tracks on Audionautix are creations of music producer Jason Shaw. They’re also all free to download for use in monetized video productions, though donations are certainly welcome (“coffee for us, karma for you” as Jason puts it). If you want a piece that’ll be exclusively for your brand, you can ask Jason to compose an original track for a fee.
Check out more than 130,000 royalty-free sound loops and tracks on Looperman! Take note that the site also hosts a community of over 2 million musicians who are looking to improve their craft, so it’s considered courtesy to comment on a track and say that you’ve used it. Just remember to credit Looperman in your video production. Aside from that, there are great resources for any budding musicians on your video production team.
Musopen is your go-to place should you need to bring Chopin or Beethoven into your video advertisement. This site is full of public domain classical music, as well as sheet music and education material for various instruments. Just create a free account, and you’re all set!
20. Free Music Archive
License Varies (mostly within CC)
With the tagline “It’s not just free music, it’s good music,” the Free Music Archive has almost a thousand choice soundtracks sorted into genres. If you later grow fond of a particular artist, you can enter their name into the search bar. FMA also features charts where you can discover user favorites.
Note: Double-check the license of the music you’re downloading for your video production. Some tracks on here are only for personal use.
DID YOU KNOW? FMA started as a project by US radio station WFMU. It has recently been acquired by camera gear rental company KitSplit, but its library remains free to download.
License Varies (Royalty-Free to CC BY)
Looking for fresh, high-quality background music that is also royalty-free? Natentine is one site you’ll want to visit. All you have to do is browse its library by mood or by category. From there, you may download a track for free and use it in online videos, non-profit projects, or apps. Or you can grab a one-time license that lets you use the same track even in commercials, movies, broadcasts, and physical locations for just $45! No wonder Natentine lays claim to “the simplest music licensing ever.”
License Varies (Royalty-Free, CC BY, or CC BY-NC)
“You already have permission,” CCMixter assures you from the moment you land on its site. There’s a search bar where you can enter a genre or an instrument, but you might also want to take a look at its Tag Search function or its Featured drop-down list. Under Featured, click on “Free for Commercial Use” and you’ll find almost 4,000 royalty-free tracks which you can use in your video production without any worries.
License Varies (Royalty-Free to CC BY-ND)
French-based composer Benjamin Tissot has also put up a library of royalty-free background music, which you can fully access without creating an account. Bensound makes it easy for video creators to find what they need, thanks to numerous tags, a list of genres, and a search bar. Once you’ve found the perfect background music for your video production, you just have to credit Bensound.com. Also note that all the music here is under a noDerivs license, so you can’t include it in remixes.
24. Machinima Sound
License Varies (Royalty-Free to CC0/Public Domain)
Machinima Sound offers a selection of free-to-use Legacy Tracks, made of all video production music uploaded to the site before 2015. Not that the newer tracks are extremely pricey, though. Aside from being royalty-free, they’re pegged at just $8 per track!
License Varies (Royalty-Free to CC0/Public Domain)
Sure, you need to create an account to download from SoundCrate, but the free account lets you download up to 5 royalty-free tracks a day already. You can use the music for your commercial video production without attribution, too. Get access to SoundCrate’s exclusive content at a price of just $49 a year.
26. YouTube Audio Library
License Varies (CC BY to CC0/Public Domain)
Worried that your video production might land you a lawsuit once it goes up, especially on YouTube? Fear not, as YouTube has its own library of royalty-free music! Some of the tracks here require you to credit the creator in your video production, while others don’t ask for attribution at all. Plus, the library often has fresh additions on the list.
ALSO READ: Create an Effective Video Advertisement with These 9 Simple Tips
With these 26 royalty-free music sites, you can find the best music for your video production without breaking your budget or stepping on any copyrights. If you have a hard time deciding between tracks or figuring out how to best use music in your video later on, feel free to ask for help from the professionals at Mustasa Republic.
We can lend you a hand with musical scoring, as well as color grading, special effects, and other video production and multimedia services. Let us work with you in bringing your ideas for your next video ad to life!
Found this post helpful? Visit our blog for more video production tips.