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Top Ten Best Free Music Sites For Videos

Introduction

Background music and sound effects can dramatically impact a production. And together, they play a crucial role in how your audience perceives the emotion, mood, and story throughout a scene. It also sets the tone of the film and inspires its style. But in today’s world, using un-original music in your final edit is tricky. And the last thing you want is to pour hours into editing and producing a final video, only to have it taken down and banned due to copyright infringement. Ouch.

In comes copyright-free music, fully produced songs free of unnecessary confusion and ongoing royalties. Instead, you can use these songs freely in your productions without worrying. And many are apt even when the videos are of a commercial or advertising nature. But while fairly common online, it’s not the most straightforward venture to find a consistent, high-quality source here. Not every site offers clear guidance on their licensing and usage. With that, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best free music sites for videos.

10 – FreeSound

free-sound-logo

Licensing: All CC types, Public Domain

Commercial use: Yes

Established in 2005, Free Sound aims to be the ideal option for videographers wanting special effects. It offers a vast database of samples, recordings, sound effects, and snippets. You’ll see tens of thousands of sounds ranging from acoustics to full thrillers on the site. But, you can also find other sounds like effects, noises, ambiances, and foley, to create a soundscape in your video. So, it’s unlikely you won’t find what you’re looking for here. The licensing on the site does vary, however. But most files use the Creative Commons Attribution license, making them suitable for commercial use with credits. Overall, while not as modern as rivals, Free Sound offers plenty of variety. And it’s a powerful option for those wanting to add soundscapes, effects, and exciting ambiance to their videos.

 

 

9 – Free Stock Music

free-stock-music-logo

Licensing: All CC types, Public Domain

Commercial use: Yes

Free Stock Music is an excellent resource to acquire commercial-ready songs in surprisingly high-quality formats. On the site, you’ll find genres ranging from Indie Pop to World Music. But you can also search based on mood, tempo, keyword, and song length. Unlike most platforms, they offer standard MP3 files, along with higher-quality WAV and AIFF, for greater fidelity. Yet, they also provide 1,500+ songs with a Creative Commons Attribution license, ready for any commercial purpose with credits. As such, Free Stock Music is an excellent option if you want commercial ready music but need higher fidelity files too.

 

 

8 – Musopen

musopen-logo

Licensing: All CC types, Public Domain

Commercial use: Yes

Musopen is a non-profit aiming to make music accessible by offering royalty-free music along with helpful educational materials. And it remains one of the most popular and extensive public domain resources around. On the site, you’ll find songs organized into various moods. But, you can also search by composer, instrument, period, and license type. Most of the songs on this site are orchestral pieces using the Public Domain or Creative Commons Attribution license. But, each track varies in its licensing. Some are ready for commercial applications. Others aren’t. Even so, you can grab clips from historical composers like Bach, Beethoven, and more. Plus, they also provide sheet music if you’re musically inclined to record the piece yourself. Overall, Musopen is an excellent resource for filmmakers wanting to add classic sophistication to a scene. And it’s the best platform for classical music around.

 

 

7 – Audionautix

Audionautix-logo

Licensing: CC BY

Commercial use: Yes

Audionautix is a free audio library created by US-based composer Jason Shaw. You’ll find his arrangements organized into genres from Jazz to Trip-hop. But, you can also search by keyword, mood, and tempo. Interestingly, his music is also specifically YouTube-friendly, and you can download songs for monetization without potential claims. Otherwise, all tracks use a Creative Commons Attribution license, ready for commercial use with credits. Overall, Audionautix has quite a selection despite being created by a single man. And it’s easy-to-use.

 

 

6 – Purple Planet

purple-planet-logo

Licensing: CC BY, Royalty-free

Commercial use: Yes

Purple Planet is an independent team who’s created quite the library of royalty-free music. But rather than organizing the library traditionally, they’ve assorted them by feel. Thus, you’ll find music categorized into moods on this site to find relevant songs based on the energy conveyed to the listener. Most tracks offer a Creative Commons Attribution license, ready for non-commercial use with credits. But, you can use the song’s on YouTube with monetization enabled or even smaller projects. Otherwise, you can pay a small one-time fee to use the songs in commercial and broadcast applications, if needed. While not as famous as rivals, Purple Planet offers a healthy selection of stock music.

 

 

5 – Jamendo

jamendo-logo

Licensing: All CC types, Royalty-free

Commercial use: Yes

Jamendo is a comprehensive artist community. And to date, they have over 300,000 released songs, making it among the biggest resources around. On the site, you can search for music based on the type of project, publishing platform, along with genre, theme, and duration. And they break the site down into a free streaming side, focused on collaboration and finding independent artists, where most of the tracks offer a Creative Common Attribution license. The other side focuses on Licensing royalty-free music for commercial applications. The usage on the free side varies. But, you can find both commercial and non-commercial ready songs. Even so, Jamendo is an excellent platform for exploring and finding new radio stations, playlists, and communities. And it’s a solid option if you want to grab songs for mostly non-commercial applications.

 

 

4 – Incompetech

Incompetech-logo

Licensing: CC BY, Royalty-free

Commercial use: Yes

Incompetech is one of the largest libraries of royalty-free music around. A surprising feat considering this 1,300+ track library is created by a single American composer, Kevin MacLeod. You’ll find the tracks arranged in various collections and moods ranging from Rock Classic to Film Scoring and Noire. Additionally, you can also filter using topics, lengths, and more. Most songs offer a Creative Commons Attribution license, with the proper credits provided on the download page. But, you can purchase higher quality files or an extended license for a one-time fee. Overall, while not the broadest music platform, Incompetech remains an excellent resource and a highly accredited one on IMDB at that.

 

 

3 – Free Music Archive

Free-Music-Archive-logo

Licensing: All CC types, and Public Domain

Commercial use: Yes, but it varies

The Free Music Archive (FMA) is a collaborative platform run by the US-based radio station WFMU. And since 2009, they’ve become a key driving force in this space, garnering one of the largest catalogs of free music online. You’ll find most tracks carry a Creative Commons Attribution License. But each track varies based on the artist’s request. By default, they group soundtracks into 16 different genres, ranging from electronic to pop, folk, and old-time. But, you can also browse hundreds of subgenres or by the charts reflecting the most popular releases too. Plus, you can search based on the license type. Overall, FMA is a solid option for those wanting a more interactive high-quality library. Yet, one that comes from one the most renowned freeform US radio stations.

 

 

2 – DigCCMixter

DigCCMixer-logo

Licensing: CC BY, CC BY-ND, CC BY-NC, and Royalty-free

Commercial use: Yes, but it varies

The ccMixter platform is a shared artist community compiled of thousands of musicians, signers, and DJI’s globally. And it’s a great resource to find thousands of unique one-off tracks. You can browse featured picks, categories or tags, and find out more about specific artists. Most artists on the platform offer Creative Commons Attribution licenses, letting you use their music freely with credit. But, the rights vary based on the artist’s request. You can purchase an extended license through TuneTrack though to remove restrictions, if needed. And it’s a great resource to find unique, high-quality background songs.

 

 

1 – Bensound

Bensound-logo

Licensing: CC BY, Royalty-free

Commercial use: Yes

Bensound is a complete royalty-free audio library of more than 400 tracks produced by a single man, Ben Tissot, based in France. Bensound features anything from catchy jingles to full original songs across eight genres, including cinematic, electronic, and acoustic. You can browse the library with filters, ranging from genre to popularity and tags. And all of the songs use a Creative Commons Attribution license, letting you use the pieces freely as backgrounds with credit. But, you can also purchase a license if you want higher quality files or want more usage options. There, you can use the songs for professional marketing, commercials, or advertising campaigns. Overall, Bensound becomes an excellent source of finding high-quality background music. And one that’s supremely easy to use and convenient.

 

 

What to look for in free music sites for video

Licenses

The main thing to look for on these sites is the types of licenses they offer. And from there, you’ll want to judge whether the license options match your project needs. The main types are Public Domain, Royalty-free, and Creative Commons. Generally, it’s best to err on the cautious side here to avoid legal issues. Thus, your best bet is CC0, CC BY, Public Domain, and Royalty-free songs.

Public Domain 

Files listed here belong to the general public and are entirely free to use without permission. These are files that have no copyright. So you can distribute, copy, and modify these files as you wish.

Royalty-Free

These are files you can use commercially by paying a one-time fee for the rights. After which, you can use the file as much as you’d like without paying ongoing fees (royalties). You can also often find free music in this category, albeit with limited restrictions and lower fidelity file formats.

Creative Commons

Lastly, you can find plenty of free music licensed under Creative Commons. These are public copyrights that ensure authors get credit when deserved and standardize copyright permissions. Below are the most common ones.

  • CC0 – these are free to download, modify, use, or share without restrictions and crediting the artist.
  • CC By – these are free to use as long as you give credit (attribution) to the artist. And you can usually use these in commercial settings.
  • CC BY-NC – these require credit, but you cannot use these files commercially. This includes monetized YouTube channels. If you plan on doing so, you’ll need permission from the artist to avoid a potential infringement.
  • CC BY-ND – you can only redistribute these files with credit. But, you cannot make derivatives or adaptations, which includes embedding them into a video. As such, it’s best to avoid this license type for this purpose altogether.