You might remember a while back when I provided a list of places where you can find free music for your YouTube videos. As you know, if you’re a part of the YouTube Partner Program and you want to monetize your videos, you need to ensure that your videos do not contain any copyrighted material. That means you can’t just pull your favorite song off the radio, even if it’s the perfect fit for your video.
But you already knew that, right?
As a quick refresher, the five sources of royalty-free or copyright-free music that I mentioned last time around were:
- YouTube Audio Library
- Free Music Archive
I encourage you to read (or revisit) that previous article for more information about each of these sources. Remember that not every track listed on every site is royalty-free either and you do need to give proper attribution when requested, so read the fine print carefully.
But where else can you find free music to use with your podcasts, YouTube videos, and other similar online productions?
The objective of ccMixter might not exactly align with the interests of the budding vlogger on YouTube, but that doesn’t diminish the relative value of the website in any way. The goal of ccMixter is to provide a platform where you can “collaborate with 45,000 musicians around the world.”
Some of those musicians upload original samples of their music. Others upload original a cappella recordings. And then producers and DJs on the platform combine them to form original remixes and songs. But you, as the podcaster or YouTuber, can also download a lot of the musical content on here to use for your creations too.
The music, samples and remixes posted on ccMixter are shared under Creative Commons licenses. Not all CC licenses are the same, so be sure to read the specifics for the song you want to use to check about commercial use, attribution, and so on.
Free Soundtrack Music
The name of the website Free Soundtrack Music seems pretty descriptive, wouldn’t you say? There, you will find a grand selection of royalty free music that can be used in films, videos, video games, YouTube videos, and other “digital multimedia productions.”
Remember, though, that “royalty free” is not the same as “copyright free.” It just means that you don’t have to pay ongoing royalties for their continued use. Some of the tracks there include a one-time fee, so just hunt for the recordings that are labeled as “free.” Then, be sure to include the name of the composer or producer, as well as the URL in the “credits” section as per the licensing terms.
What if you’re not so interested in providing attribution to the free music you want to use in your YouTube videos? In that case, you might be more interested in the free public domain music you can find at FreePD. The site is completely free to use and the music is 100% free with no attribution or copyright. That’s because they’re all public domain.
You can optionally pay $10 to download 800+ MP3 files all at once or $25 to download the 100+ WAV files (as well as the MP3s), but the free way is to download the songs one at a time. The songs are organized into several categories across the top of the page including upbeat, epic, horror, romantic, comedy, percussion and electronic.
On Musopen, you’ll find a variety of “recordings, sheet music, and textbooks” that have been provided to the public for free and without copyright restrictions. Yes, this means you can use the content as you wish for your digital creations. Musopen itself is a non-profit organization based out of San Francisco.
With the free subscription plan, you can download up to five files a day. The audio is standard (lossy). If you’d prefer to remove some of those restrictions, the $55 annual membership unlocks unlimited downloads, HD radio, and high-quality lossless audio, as well as the ability to get music before others. Above that is the $20/month benefactor level to request pieces of music too.
And finally, we have PacDV. In addition to a variety of free music, you’ll also find a number of free sound effects and free images there as well. The tracks can be used for free, but you do have to link back to their site and provide suitable attribution in your credits (like in your video description).
Part of the frustration here is that the site does not provide embedded previews of the tracks, so you will need to download the full MP3 to get at the music. You are also only shown a small handful at a time, so you’ll need to flip through the pages to see if you can find a suitable track. You do get mood/emotion tags like “determined” and “sentimental” to help you decide on the right song though.
Do you have a favorite source of royalty free music?