We all need music from time to time for websites, slideshows, YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations and such. Choosing the right music makes a huge difference to the impact. You need to be aware of any licensing issues that may haunt you regarding the music you decide to use. Avoid being liable for financial loss and costly litigation. Some sites allow you to use the music for personal use and others also allow commercial. Several have different license pricing based on how you use it. There are a number of sites available out there. Most have very limited selections. Here are a few sites to check out the next time you are looking. The key is to look for “royalty free”  music to avoid getting in trouble. You can also search for “Creative Commons License” which is being used by artists.

 

FreePlayMusic.com

  • Best site for YouTube music.
  • Free for personal use.
  • Business licenses $25 to $250 depending on use.
  • About 15,000 songs.

 

StockMusicBoutique.com

  • Has a free section with about 16 instrumental songs.
  • Can buy other tracks with full license for $59.
  • Can be used commercially or personal.
  • Need to credit them with visible link to their website.

 

RoyaltyFreeMusic.com

  • Different pricing models (single track, albums, and subscriptions)
  • $10 per track, $100 per album
  • Subscription model, $300/mo for 15 tracks and 300 sound effects
  • 20,000+ songs and sound effects

 

PremiumBeat.com

  • Different pricing models (Standard, TV/Radio, Mass Duplication, Film)
  • $40-60 per track
  • 2,000+ tracks

 

SmartSound.com

  • Different pricing models (singles, albums)
  • $40 per track, $100 per album
  • Also bulk (5/10/25-pack) pricing

 

RoyaltyFreeMusicWeb.com

  • $20 per track or license all 2,000 tracks for $200 (offer)

 

SoundSnap.com

  • Great for sound effects
  • Around $1 per sound, different packs you can buy (5/20/100/200)
  • Easy to search and sort/rank the sounds

 

 

57 Comments
  1. These look interesting, but they’re really more aimed at bigger businesses. As a content creator, I’m always looking for music to use. These pricing options are too high. I can not afford $10 on a track, I won’t get that back in the short term.

    I would advise to look not just for royalty free music, but for Creative Commons licensed music. There are several licenses, some don’t allow commercial use, so look out for that.

    One of the best known composers of free music is Kevin MacLeod. His website is incompetech.com. He offers a lot of music in various styles, all completely free to use for any purpose. The only limitation is that he requires to be credited for his work (under the Creative Commons Attribution license). That’s easy enough and doesn’t cost anything!

    There are some more sources of free music, Soundcloud has a lot of available songs as well.

    • Great advice. I totally agree.

      Above links are useful, but only for those willing to spend at least /some/ money on their soundtracks. If you’re on a very tight budget, or just not willing to spend money on music, your best bet would indeed be CC-licensed content.

      Same goes for other types of content (like photos), too! (Useful tip: Flickr allows you to search for CC-licensed content – it’s under “advanced search”!)

    • Thanks for the recommends. I’ll definitely look those up when I have more time to learn about making websites. I really want to make one on WordPress but I might just wait until I can afford one with my own domain and paid webhosting. Yay, Creative Commons!

      • You might also want to consider Musopen, which is an online repository of music in the public domain which you could use for any purpose, both commercial and noncommercial. Regarding the works you find on the site, they do recommend that you conduct your own due diligence to make sure that the music is indeed in the public domain.

        • Thanks for the recommendation! I agree, better to check thoroughly on the details of usage than break the law. Ignorance isn’t an excuse.

          That said, I like the page where you can browse the music depending on what you need or want. Mostly classics, I think I have something in mind to use them for.

          • There’s yet another free option. YouTube just announced a royalty-free library of 150+ instrumental works that are available for immediate download.

            Here’s the direct link to their official announcement, which also has a link to the library itself.
            http://youtubecreator.blogspot.ch/2013/09/free-music-for-your-youtube-videos.html

            I think this is great. It makes sense for YouTube to do this, as it may encourage more people to upload video, and at the same time, curtail copyright violations.

        • Thanks for the suggestions and alternatives, everyone! Music being the determining factor in augmenting impact towards the purpose of the video is definitely true. And sometimes finding the right song can be difficult when one has to consider the legalities and such. I’m already checking out the YouTube audio library, and I’m starting to like some of the music being offered there for free!

          I can’t wait for them to update more in the future, and I’m definitely saving this article for future reference!

      • Thank you for sharing. Of course you have to read everything thoroughly for copy right protection. This is something for me to keep in mind for my personal youtube videos.

        • Yes, with music we must take copyright issues quite seriously. Companies, organizations and individuals can be very aggressive in making sure their content is being used without authorization. Getting DMCA takedown notices can be an unpleasant and troubling experience.

          It’s all the more important if you have the content on a Web site you own. The last thing you want is for your hosting company and/or domain registrar to shut you down because they received the DMCA takedown notice. This can and will happen so it’s well worth the effort to do what is possible to avoid these unhappy scenarios.

        • It’s good to see people sharing more information on how to use music legally in media presented in the internet. Many do break the law because of how the internet is difficult to regulate although in the end, those who follow the rules tend to last longer in the business.

          • Yes, I think the situation is improving. There is more music available than ever that is royalty free, so it’s well worth it for people to make sure they stay on the right side of copyright laws.

            Web site owners and bloggers especially need to be mindful. Aside from the other risks I mentioned above, getting DMCA takedown notices can also negatively impact search engine rankings. Google has said that sites that are repeat offenders also risk getting a penalty.

    • I totally agree with you Daedalus! I can’t afford $10 on a single track! Maybe if I was a business making serious cash that would be different, but as it is, I’m not. Thanks for telling us about Kevin MacLeod. I didn’t know about him and after researching I’ve seen that he does have some good music for me. So, thanks a lot for that! There is no problem for me to acknowledge I am using his music and give him credit.

  2. I had not heard of any of these websites besides freeplay and premium beat. I’ll have to check out the others. While I don’t think that anyone would sue me for using music during one of my presentations, I will definitely have these sites in mind if I ever make a presentation to more than the usual 10 or 20 that I usually present to. I have heard really good things about freeplay so if anyone is interested in these sites, that might be the one to start with.

    • While no one is going to sue you, there’s the opportunity to educate your audience on the use of copyrighted material. It adds a little ‘Hey, did you know?’ at the end of your presentation. People walk away feeling that they received a presentation from an individual that is informed.

  3. Thanks for these suggestions! I really appreciate it and I definitely can use your tips since I started to get more involved in the internet. I haven’t really started my website but this just gives me the possibilities I can use that are legal. I know how copyright laws are constantly broken in the internet but with the knowledge we acquire from websites such as this one, there’s really no excuse to break the law.

  4. Wow! Great share. Links look pretty great.

    I started my YouTube channel last year and uploaded a few videos after gaining the partnership but most of them couldn’t be monetized since they had copyrighted content.

    This definitely seems like a better way to go about it. Might start uploading them again!

  5. Thanks for sharing these resources. I don’t make the editing of video and sound a professional activity, but in many cases I need to use these services to acquire some licenses and create my own material.

    Generally, it is difficult to meet the costs of the big companies, but the choices you offer in these recommendations are adaptable to a modest budget and provide a quality material. Copyright is a very controversial issue in today’s internet age, but while there is’t definition about it, we should try to respect each other’s work, and if necessary, afford it.

  6. Great article. Sure, the options have a bit of a price-tag, but if all you need is a good song for a project, you probably can’t find much better quality. I’ve always struggled music. I make a lot of things, but not music. I always end up advertising my latest video game mods in music-less agony. It’s good to see the options that I have, and it’s definitely worth investing in to me.

  7. Thanks so much for this list. 🙂 As a YouTuber, I’m often on the look out for new music resources for my videos as I got sick of copyright take down notices and my videos been blocked from my viewers. This list will certainly assist me in finding new music for my channels videos. I was wondering would personal use count as a youtube video with no advertisements. I guess as soon as you add advertisements it’s commercial. You should also scout out for a few completely free websites with royalty free music and maybe in a new article suggest which youtube channels provide the public with royalty free music.

    • A fellow reader commented above about Youtube providing royalty-free music, while we’re waiting. 😉 And yes, as soon as you add advertisements, you’re supposedly earning from it and would count as commercial use. That said, Youtube has really been very proactive in taking down videos with copyrighted content by someone else so this article is very useful.

    • Yes, this is a perfect resource for those of us with youtube stations that get a lot of traffic. This way we can add another element to our videos without breaking any laws. It really adds to the value of David’s post. I’ve past the link on to several friends, many of whom have highly trafficked youtube channels.

  8. Awesome list of music for promotional media and creative material alike. I’d heard of stockmusicboutique.com before and recall their free instrumental section being pretty good.

    Thanks for the recommendation on freeplaymusic.com! I love how clean and easy their interface is to navigate. Between these recommendations and Youtube’s new royalty free track section, some great options are posed before anyone in need of a track or two.

    • Also nice to see a variety of music one can really use for different projects. I know older stuff are public domain, but it’s good to also find modern music that’s free to use.

  9. I generally use the creative commons section on YouTube or just do a simple Google search to find free songs I can use with my videos. The prices in the article seem to high for widely used music, but that is your choice, i assume. I would take some time and develop my own music for your video. There are some nice programs out there, like Fl Studio, that has tutorials that show you how to start creating your own music and creating beats for a video or presentation. Nonetheless, I appreciate the sites above and I will still look at them myself to get some future ideas.

    • I honestly would love to experiment and try to create my own music but I don’t have the time. I’m wondering now if the music you get for free is comparable to the paid ones or if it’s just a matter of one having extra service over the other.

    • I also could not afford to invest this money in my projects. Thanks for mentioning the CC in Youtube. I figured, in Germany, everything that could have right in any country is blocked by the GEMA anyway, so… probably what’s left is fair game. But a special filter is even better!

  10. I recently found out how expensive royalty free music could be when I was making a promotional video for YouTube. If you expect little or no return on the video you are adding music to then the best option would have to be Creative Commons like others mentioned. Although if you’re lucky like me you may know a musician or have a close friend who will make a short song for free.

    Something people haven’t mentioned is using websites like Fiverr to get short songs or sound clips for cheap. This is hit or miss so really make sure you choose wisely on sites like this.

    • I love Creative Commons for everything! They’re what makes it easy for me to not break copyright laws. On another hand, I might try to start making musician friends then. >.>

      Kidding aside, what are the dangers from getting songs for cheap from Fiverr?

  11. I’ve always loved good music for my YouTube videos, however, I don’t believe I would use sites like these; their prices are simply much too steep. I can’t imagine myself paying over 25$ for a single track – it’s simply not in my budget.

    I personally use Kevin MacLoed. He offers royalty-free music for free, and offers plenty of choices, perfect for any occasion. It’s so much easier not to worry about if you can or can’t put a certain song in a video!

  12. Thank you for this. My current collection of songs for AVPs is rather overused. I think I should check out new songs for my future projects. Music is cheap and expensive at the same time. It’s cheap in the sense that it takes real talent to make music and not all people can compose so I think they should charge more. On the other hand, it is expensive because the budgets for video projects aren’t that high. I can edit a short video for at least $100 but if a track costs $60, there won’t be enough left for me. If I raise my price, there will be less clients.

  13. For those looking for free alternatives, Youtube has small set of royalty-free background music up for grabs in its own Audio Library (http://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary). It’s a good move by Youtube because it helps curb copyright violations by its users, at least when it comes to choosing background music for uploaded videos. It’s a limited selection but the audio library seems useful enough for amateur video editors to get started.

    • Great response from youtube to help prevent copyright infringements in their site. Nothing worse than having spent valuable time of one’s life to create and edit a video to the beat of good background music just to have it flagged overnight.

      This saves us a lot of headaches. Being from youtube itself, you should have no problem using them. Bravo!

  14. This is a great info for those searching for the safe and best music which fits apt to their presentations. The point of attractiveness also lies behind the background music playing throughout the presentation. There are many who wish to combine music with their presentation but find it out of their budget. For those this information would sound awesome and be very helpful. This is a great collection of sites which helped me recently. A secure royalty free music for free is remarkably appreciable one to share. Thank you!

  15. Wow, thanks for these great sites! I’m sure many people will find these useful, including me. I always hate finding out I can’t use music that I want to in my videos.

  16. I do not do too many videos on Youtube … But I must say that this is a good offer.
    Often blocks Youtube videos for copyright. This is really something that bothers me sometimes.

    This tip or the offer you refer is good, but what do I do if I do not like all music. thank you anyway.

    There is the trick to change the sound a bit to avoid embêtté thereafter. This is the one I use because Youtube does not recognize the music.

  17. Great list thanks. I agree that you really do need to choose the right music for the right presentation ect. I think having access to 2 or 3 of these sites would be good but could get pricey especially for smaller firms to have access to all of them.

  18. This is a nice alignment of sites that you have provided here. Finding Royalty Free Music has been a hassle for me since a few years ago, all just to put up a few videos on YouTube that wouldn’t even make it past that website. And man are the prices costly for the tracks. But thank you for giving a list of sites that put the music up for availability.

  19. Excellent and useful post, thanks! I have avoided using music on my sites etc. because I didn’t know where I could find royalty-free music and/or music I could use legally. This is a great boon to those like myself.

  20. This is such a great tool for users of YouTube especially. A lot of time users will get caught with copyright issues and often times there videos will be deleted or they will have to take them down and fix it. This now will afford users the freedom of using the music they want without having to worry about any of these troubles. This is a great find and I’m glad I cam across it!

  21. I’ll definitely take these in too consideration, it would be a shame to use copyrighted music on a monetized video and lose all the funds, but looking at the price at my market it seems a bit unrealistic, great for popular You Tubers though.

  22. I really wish more artists were more relaxed on their policies of who can use their music. Its not like I am making any profit off of my Powerpoint presentation, so just let me use your song. But yeah, if you’re worried about getting sued and stuff like that, these sites are pretty great.

  23. Thanks for the list of these sites! Its really tricky and hard to find songs for school and work presentation power points nowadays. It helps that these sites could at least provide some music to entertain and engage my viewers when I’m presenting.

  24. Youtube also now have available royalty free music you can use for your videos. I’m glad they added that as one of their features as it’s really hard to find songs that can be used for commercial purposes. There are also some songs you can find in Soundcloud but always check for Creative Commons License.

  25. I personally use RoyaltyFreeMusic a lot in my presentations and projects back when I was still in film school. It has a lot of cool music from classical scores to contemporary. I also love the high quality they provide.

  26. It’s great to find free music you can use everywhere. Most royalty free music are really expensive and for the most part the free ones are either of poor quality or so bad you can’t really use it. Thanks for this list.

  27. Great list david! I was also looking for the royalty music since I am going to make an AD presentation for our internal organization. Anyway, would that count as commercial use? My company is very strict about copyrighted materials.that is why I don’t want to be in trouble for an ad that last 10 seconds amd has a 100+ audience only.

    Anyway, thanks for the commenters for the additional rsources. I’ll check up on the sites that you have mentioned. Thanks!

  28. Thanks for the rundown. I often find myself looking for music to use in presentations. The defaults available are really corny and terrible. I don’t mind paying a little bit if the quality is good and it fits with what I’m working on. I’m going to bookmark this page to return to later.

  29. This is such a great list. I will keep this in mind if I ever decide to use music for my YouTube Videos. I normally never use music because I feel like it is a distraction to my viewers. I might give it a try one day just to see how it works.

  30. Yes awesome. It’s so hard to find music that you can use without getting insta-pegged by YouTube. Hopefully there’s enough of this free music to go around (that hasn’t been overused).

  31. I have a class project coming up which will be posted to the schools youtube page. This is going to be a huge help. We’ll be able to have music in our video and can also avoid copyright issues at the same time. Helpful as always.

  32. YouTube also has it’s own collection of Royalty Free Music. When you upload a video, you can put music on it through the YouTube video editor. All you need to do is just insert the music into the video. The only downside is that you can’t edit sound channels, so if you need to edit a sound channel in a specific area, you’ll have to re-render the video and re-upload it.

    • Wow! I had no idea you could edit videos using YouTube directly! That is so awesome and cool! I might actually go for it later this year! I really want to start creating videos about my journey towards the Netherlands. It’s good to know you can edit your videos in YouTube, that is so awesome!!!

  33. This is a great option if you’re looking to create a multimedia piece like I am currently doing. This is a useful tool to present your original content. An idea is to approach the creators of the pieces and ask if you could have a custom made piece in case you are looking for something more specific, it’s good to be supportive and still pay for creativity.

  34. Great collection of links. One of my biggest worries about uploading videos to youtube is that some song is going to get the video flagged and deleted. I try to avoid playing any music at all when I create videos and when you do that you cant really take any breaks. You end up losing your voice a lot quicker.

    Likewise I’ve recently got into amateur game development and having a place with a bunch of royalty free music to just plug into games is great.

  35. Thanks a lot! I’ve been thinking of start Vblogging as a hobby on YouTube, and also because I want to document my journey to the Netherlands. Starting with me heading to another city in order to take the inburgering examen test, then hopefully head to the Netherlands a few months later. I’d like to do it also to help others in the same situation I am! Sounds like a lot fun, but I was worried about the music in my future videos… thanks a lot for sharing this!!!!

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