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.)