The first feature film to include music and sound effects was ‘The Jazz Singer’ in 1927. Ever since then producers realized the value of mixing sound with the moving picture. The right music can add energy, elicit emotions and set the mood to any video and film.
Most videographers don’t have the Hollywood budgets to have their work scored, and using music that you don’t have permission to use can lead to lawsuits and getting banned from sites for posting. So, what’s a video creator to do if they want to add the value of music to their work? The answer to that is finding copyright-free or royalty-free music. They are not the same thing even though they are often wrongly referred to as such. Here are 16 Copyright Free Music Sources for Videographers & Editors.
This list features sites with copyright-free and public domain music, along with other sites featuring creative commons licensing. Depending on the license, some music may require attribution. Always check the license, and be sure to give credit back to the creator!
There are different types of creative common licenses. You can find out more here. On the other hand, royalty-free music means that you pay for it once and it can stay in your project forever. For this article, we are going to focus on copyright free, public domain, and creative commons sites and databases.
Scott Buckley is an Australian composer who created a Creative Commons music library for video use as long as he is given attribution. The music is cinematic in nature and high-quality.
The Freesound site is a collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, and recordings that are released under Creative Commons licenses. Here you can find music and sound effects. Use the browser to get more specific searches. The site is a little cumbersome to use. Finding good music here can be a diamond in the rough. But this a great place to find random real recordings and sound effects.
Musopen provides free sheet music and recordings without copyright restrictions. The music tends to be classical in nature. The site is free to use but has a limit to how many downloads you can use at the free level. It has membership levels for more downloads with higher quality.
CC Trax is mostly techno and electronic music. There is a search browser on the opening screen. You can easily see what type of license each song has and you can even search by type of license.
This is a little different than the other sites. This provides beats that you can use to loop and create your own songs with.
Play around with the beats and samples that are provided and you can create something of your own and make it unique to fit your video perfectly.
Their tagline says it all “Creative Commons music from around the world wide web, selected by our independent curatorial crew”. They really encourage community interactions on this site and allow people to set up their own accounts and even share their own music mixes.
Bump Foot is a non-profit netlabel in Japan featuring techno and house music. Songs on here are available for use for non-commercial uses.
The site states “All music in this online collection created by Jason Shaw. Released under Creative Commons License 3.0”. The opening page allows you to narrow your search based on genre, mood and tempo.
Free stock music offers free music daily to its site without charging. You’ll need to create a login to access it, but most of the site is filled with ads for another paid site, audioblocks.com.
This is a pretty neat option for independent and non-profit filmmakers. A very nice selection of about 200 pieces of music created by Moby for noncommercial use.
Over 1533 music tracks covered under the Creative Commons license. There is a mixture of electronic, rock, and orchestra music options.
This site has tons of music for noncommercial use. It also has podcast by its member showcasing songs from the site.
There is a wide range of free to use music on this site. Definitely check this out if you are running out of options and need music for your next video or vlog.
Created by a composer and musician based in France, there are some nice quality sound files here. When downloading you’ll have a pay version and a free version of each song. The difference between the two is what you are allowed to do with them.
Their front page states what they are all about: Free Soundtrack Music is a system for soundtrack music composers to post their music online for royalty-free licensing to video producers. ALL of the music in this online library are available for royalty-free use in films, videos, video games, YouTube videos or other digital multimedia productions.
If you are posting your work on YouTube, they have their own music library you can use. It is filled with tons and tons of different options to choose from and you can filter by mood, genre, creator, and more. Definitely check out this library when looking for some great background music to put in your next video.
As you can see there are a lot of opportunities online for videographers looking for music. The variety and quality vary but there is plenty of value to be found. Make sure you double-check the licenses for each music element you use. Each music piece may have different requirements and types of permission for how you use it. Some are free for any use. Some are for non-commercial use. Others may require that you credit the music producer.
If you feel like copyright-free music isn’t quite meeting your needs consider royalty-free options. Sites like soundstripe.com, pond5.com, audiojungle.net, and audioblocks.com have music you can license for your projects at various affordable rates. Soundstripe.com and Audioblocks.com have monthly memberships you can pay for that allow you access to thousands of songs.
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