Here are the best sites to find royalty free music for all your multi-media projects.
We've rounded up the best royalty free music sites that have free music for use in projects such as YouTube videos, podcasts, websites, animations, or other video or music applications.
Royalty free music doesn't mean free music. Royalty free music comes with a license that allows you to use the music forever. Licenses can be fee based, or like most of the sites listed here, the licensing terms specify that the authors be credited in anything that uses their music. Some of these sites require creating a free account, others don't need registration.
Royalty free images are the same - royalty free is often confused with free of charge. Many sites say royalty free images, which means there's a license that usually has a price attached to it.
Royalty free (RF) music and sounds can be songs, sound effects, sound loops, clips, tracks, whatever you might need to add sounds to a project.
Here are some of the best sites to find royalty free music:
YouTube Audio Library
The YouTube audio library includes free music and sound effects that can be used in your projects in MP3 format. Search by genre, mood, instrument, duration and attribution. A Google account is required to access the audio library. As far as I can determine, the audio files can be used for projects outside of YouTube. The good thing about using the audio library is that the chance of using a copyrighted track or receiving a take down notice is almost non-existent.
TakeTones has mostly instrumental short songs in MP3 format. Search by genre, mood, or instrument across several categories: corporate, rock, pop, kids, cinematic, ambient, hip hop, jazz funk, folk, and electronic. TakeTones is five professional musicians who have composed quite a bit of music as a result of collaborating with advertising and creative agencies. There's not a huge amount of music, but what's there is great quality. The site requires registration to download music. To create an account, click the shopping basket on any page that has tracks listed. You can choose from different licenses, including free with attribution. The blog has many tutorials, ranging from using After Effects to adding subtitles to a YouTube video.
ccMixter started in 2004 with a series of remix contests hosted by Creative Commons in conjunction with Wired Magazine featuring The Beastie Boys, David Byrne and other innovative musicians. It features instrumental music and loops for film, videos, and video games and commercial projects in MP3 format. No registration is required to download any music. Use the search box to look for music by genre, instrument, etc. or use the tag cloud for specific filters. There are additional filters for license and all time, recent, latest, and instrumental only.
Downloading music here is a little different than other sites, clicking on the download button opens a music player in the browser window. Chrome based browsers can click on the three dot menu and select download. Firefox based browsers can either right click on the player as choose Save Video As (it will be saved as an MP3) or hit the play button and right click anywhere on the player and choose Save Audio As. The download will be saved as an MP3.
Bonus: when you download music, the download dialog box shows attribution text that can be copied as plain text or HTML. There's also a handy link to a video on how to use ccMixter music on YouTube.
Free-Loops specializes in sounds and loops in wav, MP3, aif and mid sound files with an emphasis on Drum Loops, Drum Kit Sounds, Synth Loops, Midi Files, Sound Fx, Vocals, and Bass. No registration is required to use the site. There isn't a search function, but the Audio Category drop down box lists all available options.
Bensound has a mix of instrumental songs and songs with vocals. No registration is required to use the site, and you can search for songs in acoustic/folk. cinematic, coroporate/pop, electronica, urban/groove, jazz, rock and world/others .Click on any song to download. The download dialog box contains information about license restrictions. Music can't be used for audiobooks, podcasts, song making or remixing. The site provides plugins for Fruity Loops, Cubase, Audacity, and other software.
Audionautix contains a variety of mostly instrumental music spanning many genres in MP3 format. Search by genre, mood, title or tempo. No registration is required to download any music. Music is created by the site owner, Jason Shaw. Genres run the gamut from acid jazz to symphony. The selection isn't large but there are some great tracks. Clicking on the download button opens a music player in the browser window. Chrome based browsers can click on the three dot menu and select download. Firefox based browsers can either right click on the player as choose Save Video As (it will be saved as an MP3) or hit the play button and right click anywhere on the player and choose Save Audio As. The download will be saved as an MP3.
In addition to music, Incompetech is known for their great selection of free graph paper. All the music on the is created by the site owner, Kevin MacLeod, is in MP3 format, and doesn't require registration to download. Search by feels (bouncy, eerie, calm), tempo, genre and length. There's a page for collections of music, though it doesn't include all the music on the site. There's a full list of every piece of music on the site and a new beta site and quick picks can be searched by most downloaded, longest length, slowest or fastest pieces of music. Songs often include a link to the song on YouTube or to listen on iTunes. Bonus: the text to provide attribution for each song can be copy and pasted from the listing.
Musopen focus is classical music. The site requires registration to use and has three plans. The Lite plan is free and allows 5 downloads per day in standard (lossy) audio in MP3 format. You can search by instrument, composer, ratings. license and quality. They also supply sheet music, apps, and educational materials to the public for free without copyright restrictions. If you like classical music, there's a free classical music stream to listen to.
mobygratis is a selection of 200 tracks by Moby, some unreleased, some from a back catalog, and some new releases. Licensing is through an online application. Find the music you'd like to use, click download, fill in a simple application telling a bit about yourself and the way the music will be used. You will receive a high quality AIFF download via email instantly to use in your edit, along with a copy of the mobygratis Non Commercial Licence Agreement.
The application to use the music requests the following personal information before you receive the download link: email address, first and last name, phone number, street address, city, state/province, country, and postal code.
Details requested for a license are film title, creator/owner/director of film, brief description of the entire film, description of the scene where the music will be used, a description of yourself, and how the film will be used.
The next section is confirming your information and agreement with a series of statements related to use by checking boxes next to the terms. The last section of the application is reviewing and accepting the information you provided and acceptance of the license terms, and filling out a CAPTCHA to prove you are a human.
The page to download music contains a usage agreement affirming that you've downloaded and read the license agreement in full. You can download the music three times. The site says the application process is simple. It isn't difficult, but it's time consuming, and other sites require no registration or registration with a name and email. Worth it if you're a Moby fan or there's something there you really want to use.
Facebook and Instagram users have access to the Creator Studio Sound Collection. There are currently 3500+ tracks that can be sorted by genre, mood, duration and amount of vocals. The sounds are owned by Facebook, and Facebook says they are free and clear to use in any videos shared on Facebook and Instagram. While it's always good to abide by licensing restrictions, I've seen songs from the Sound Collection in various videos across YouTube and other sites.
Next time you need sounds to go with your project, one of these sites will likely have something you'll like.
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