Free Music That is Royalty-Free But Not Public Domain

The biggest difficulty in getting music for your videos, if either you can’t make it yourself or haven’t the time to create your own, is that it is expensive.  There may be a great deal of free music out there these days, but it’s not licensed for commercial use and for making alterations.  And that’s what you need: a license that allows you to use the music commercially and to make adjustments like syncing it to your video or mixing it with other music to make the soundtrack work with your video.

I’ve been searching quite a bit for music that is no-cost to download, royalty-free and lawful to use with YouTube and other videos for commercial purposes such as promoting yourself, your website or your products.  Or publishing with ads.  Or as products such as tutorials.

Despite the fact that there are many, many hits in the search engines for relevant sites, most contain the same information and most don’t lead you to really free music you can actually use the way you will want to use it.  So, I’ve put together this very brief list of my own.

YouTube — — You’ll remember from my prior post that YouTube itself has hundreds of thousands of licensed music clips to use with your videos and will automatically insert it for you.  The problem is that you have to be willing to have ads play with your video.  And you cannot monetize your movies.  They use the ads to pay for the license.

Incompetech — — A huge collection of excellent, free, royalty-free music by Kevin MacLeod that you can use just for giving him credit.  You can also buy the music if you don’t want to give credit.  If you use his music a lot, or if you use it for commercial video, he’d really like you to donate something, but he doesn’t require it.  Furthermore, you can customize his music through Smart Sound — .  

One of the best features of his site is that you can search his music by “feel.”  That is, if you’re looking for a “relaxed” feel to the music, just check the box and hit the search button.  

AudioFarm — — All kinds of music is available for both personal and commercial use.  For the purposes of including it in your videos, you are looking for the category “soundtracks” and a Creative Commons license that merely asks you to credit the creator.  Each of the usable selections has a Creative Commons license designation in the descriptive text.  

digCCmixter — — You’ll find thousands of creative commons licensed mixes especially labeled for film, YouTube, soundtracks, etc.  Each is clearly labeled how it can be used.  Much is available for commercial use with attribution.

Free Music Archive (FMA) — — I found this site hard to browse or search.  You have to find the music you like and go to each selection’s page to see what license is available.  Although it’s all Creative Commons licensed, most of it seems to be non-commercial, no derivatives.  It’s a real time-consumer to find something useable here.

Legal Music For Videos – Creative Commons — — This is a mixed list of creative commons licensed music sources, of which only a very few may be used commercially.

So, there you are.  It’s not a list intended to be comprehensive of all the various little places you can find a bit of free music.  It’s a list to save you time and give you the most for your search efforts.  If you have done searches and found some great links to free, royalty-free music, let me know about them under the comments section.

(My lawyer made me say this: Remember, I’m not an attorney.  I’m only telling you my own understanding and my own reading.  If you want complete information on the legalities of using music with your videos, you should find an attorney or other legal advisor.)

Are your YouTube videos jailbait? Get legal music now!

This is part one of a series of articles I plan to publish about legally getting and using music for your videos, whether on YouTube or other video sites.

In addition to the wide range of entertainment, self-improvement and motivational or inspirational presentations, videos on the web are used extensively for training and tutorials, webcasts, marketing, self-promotion and SEO.  In fact, right now, videos are the hottest “thing” in SEO.  And the right music can enhance the performance of video in getting views and traffic. So a critical issue is how to get (or easily create) and use only music that is lawful to use.

The number of people who unlawfully use videos and music for commercial and self promotion purposes astonishes me.  It’s no secret that you can pay huge penalties for copyright violations.  And it’s not that difficult to get legal-to-use music.

I was very interested in the outcome of the German legal actions against Google for the number of videos folks uploaded to YouTube with illegal music tracks on them. 

I’m sure that the court’s judgement will result in some changes on YouTube.  If you’ve not been paying attention to the legalities of what you’re doing with your videos, now’s a good time to start.

If you’re using music with videos, and you don’t have the rights to it, not only can you have your videos removed from your channel, but also you can end up being banned from YouTube — or other video sites.  Furthermore, if the rights owners want to make an example of you, you could go to jail and pay large fines.  Even if you never earned a penny from the video.

Google’s facing possible fines in the billions of dollars just because other people put illegal music on YouTube.  Let’s avoid that for ourselves as individuals and businesses.

In my forthcoming articles about legal music for videos, I’ll be covering:

1. Royalty-free music.
2. Public domain music.
3. How to generate your own music tracks with software made especially for non-musicians.  

Today, I’m starting with the fastest, easiest way to get legal music for your videos: YouTube’s own AudioSwap.  Here’s a video that explains it perfectly.

Three video series on video marketing for small business

I’ve been following several companies on Twitter. One — eTelligent Strategies — is a marketing consulting company that has been creating some very helpful videos for YouTube. Here is a series of three videos they’ve put together with tips on getting started with successful video marketing. If you like their series, you might want to follow up by visiting them at and look for their blog.

Other than the high quality of the videos themselves, there are two excellent features of these videos. They are no more than two minutes long (but truly cover the topic), and there is a written article below each of them that covers the same material.

In Video #1, Tracy Swain hosts this series from and begins by explaining how valuable video marketing is to your overall marketing and promotion strategies. As she tells you, video marketing allows you to reach a larger audience, build your brand, and develop your SEO.

In Video #2, Tracy tells you the top three essentials to getting started with video marketing: Do your research, make sure your content has high perceived value, and be consistent in uploading more and more content until your efforts pay off. But you already know that marketing of any kind never stops, right?

In Video #3, Tracy talks about three common mistakes beginners make when starting with video marketing. She reminds you that you really need to have a reasonably high quality to the video — you can do it yourself, but learn how to do it yourself first. Second, you should remember that YouTube is a social platform and be sure to check your comments and make your videos the beginning of an ongoing conversation. Third, you should share and promote your video in as many venues as possible.