Are you looking for royalty free music for YouTube or other video projects on social media? The right track can transform your video and wow your audience, but the last thing you want is an unexpected copyright claim.
Sourcing totally free royalty free music to use in YouTube videos can be a minefield, and full of frustration. Simply typing "royalty free music" into Google returns hundreds of sites, many who require a one-off payment before the tracks they offer are actually royalty-free.
What's more, if you want to use music for commercial purposes (i.e. make money from its inclusion in a video in any way, including the monetisation of a YouTube video), the search can become even trickier.
The 6 Best Sites for Royalty Free Music 2016
In this blog post, I have put together a list of the best online resources for royalty-free music tracks, in particular this list only includes sites that do not charge for commercial use of the songs available. The criteria for narrowing down the list included:
- Tracks had to be royalty free, even for commercial use
- Plenty of tracks to choose from, including multiple genres
- Searchable library of music
- Easy attribution process
In each case, I provide some key facts about what the site has to offer, and what steps are necessary to credit the composer, where required. In most cases where the track is used on YouTube, attribution can be included within the video description.
1. YouTube Audio Library
"You can use the YouTube Audio Library to get free music and sound effects and ad-supported music to use in your videos."
Key Facts about YouTube Audio Library - www.youtube.com/audiolibrary
- Hundreds of royalty-free music tracks and sound effects, searchable and can be filtered by genre, mood, instrument, duration, and attribution (attribution required or not required).
- Music and sound effects can be added instantly to already-uploaded YouTube video, or downloaded to work with offline.
- If you see an attribution-required icon (icon of a person) next to a track, make sure to credit the original artist in your video description. You can monetize your video since free music isn't claimed through Content ID. If you're prompted to show that you have commercial use rights to the music, just make sure to include the music's exact title and that you downloaded it from the YouTube Audio Library.
"Anyone can use any of my music in any project. There is no charge for a Creative Commons license. It does require that you credit the music."
Key information for www.incomptech.com
- Hundreds of music tracks available. Search and filter music by emotion, genre, length, and tempo.
- Tracks available as compressed MP3 files.
- Updated regularly with new music.
- Credit must be given in a visible spot and in the following format:
[Track title] Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
"100% royalty free license that allows you to use the music in all types of productions, for worldwide distribution, forever. There are never any licensing fees. There are never any fees nor obligations for using Free Stock Music."
Key Information for www.freestockmusic.com:
- Hundreds of free tracks across a variety of genres, www.freestockmusic.com
- Cinematic, Classical, Corporate, Country, Easy Listening, Electronic, Hip-Hop, International, Pop, Rock n' Roll.
- Formats available include MP3, WAV, an AIFF
- Free sign-up required.
- Doesn't appear to have been updated since 2013.
- No citation required.
4. TeknoAxe Royalty Free Music
"Everyone may use my music for videos, student films or other projects you may think of not limited to those categories. You can use my music for monetized videos on YouTube, commercials or shows that are for commercial purposes."
Key information for www.teknoaxe.com
- Over 1000 music tracks, covering genres including electronic, orchestral, rock, and techno.
- Tracks in MP3 format.
- Citation required to comply with C.C. 3.0 license: A link to the TeknoAxe YouTube Channel, a link to the TeknoAxe website, a link to the YouTube video of the music used, or a link to the specific webpage on my site featuring the track used.
5. Machinima Sound
"Legacy Tracks are what was referred to as “Free” up until April 25, 2015, and they still are free to use, only the name has changed. Legacy Tracks are all licensed under Creative Commons Attribution, and you are free to use these for commercial purposes when providing credit (credit is referred to as Attribution in legal terminology)."
Key information for www.machinimasound.com
- Dozens of royalty free tracks across a wide range of genres, from chiptune to trance. Look for those marked as Legacy.
- Tracks available in MP3 format.
- Free music is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International. Attribution required for online video platforms and other applicable media. Attribution text found on download page. Example:
Music used: Fields of Green by Per Kiilstofte https://machinimasound.com/music/fields-of-green/
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
6. Josh Woodward
"Want to use my music on your YouTube videos? I'd be honored! You can download all of my songs free free from my site. To save on my bandwidth bills, only compressed MP3s are available for free."
Key information for www.joshwoodward.com
- Over 200 tracks grouped by genre, theme, and mood. Searchable by name, and can be filtered by length and tempo.
- Ordinary and instrumental tracks available.
- Tracks available in compressed MP3 format.
- You need to provide attribution. Somewhere, easily visible to anyone who will see your work, mention my name and the song title in the credits, along with a link to the song on my website. Example: Music - "Let It In" by Josh Woodward. Free download: http://joshwoodward.com/song/LetItIn
Over to you
I hope you found this list of completely free, royalty-free music for YouTube videos and other projects useful. I tried to include only the best sites here, but if you think I've missed any out, let me know in the comments below!
Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.