Video is the way of the future. And no matter what you use it for — video marketing, education, blogging, or anything else — a perfectly paired soundtrack is one of the keys to your success. But finding free music for your videos is tricky.
Depending on your budget, paying for the commercial rights to music may not be an option. And even if you can pay for music, buying the rights to popular tracks may still be out of your price range.
Naturally, this pushes most creators toward finding free music for their videos.
The good news is that there are plenty of places to get free background music for all your videos. Or if you have a video music budget, you can find very affordable sources that give you tons of royalty-free tunes per dollar spent.
The Biteable video maker has a library with hundreds of music tracks for videos. Every track is included, with no extra charge. But if you need even more music for your videos, you can easily import tracks from other free music libraries directly into your Biteable videos.
To help you in your quest, we’ve assembled the ultimate guide to free music for videos. So read on, music lover. Pretty soon you’ll have all the jams you need, for every single video you make. You’ll be unstoppable.
Free music for videos: is it really free?
If you’ve ever included music in a video, you’ve probably heard of things like “royalty free music” and “copyright free music.” The term “public domain” may have crossed your search bar.
Two of these are truly free music; you don’t pay a cent to use them in your videos. The other will cost you a little bit, but it’s much less expensive than purchasing popular music from a record label.
Here’s what all the “free music” terms mean. Make sure you understand them before you seek out background music for your next video.
Royalty free music
Royalty free music is not completely free. But it’s usually very affordable.
The reason buying the rights to popular music from a record label is so expensive is because they usually demand royalties. If you make any money from the videos you created with that music, you have to pay some portion of your profit to the music label.
Alternatively, you can pay an ongoing fee — like a subscription — for continued access to the music. However, if you ever stop paying the royalty fee, you can no longer use any videos that include this music. The music label can even demand that you take old videos down because you’re no longer paying for the music.
Royalty free music, on the other hand, has none of these ongoing costs. With royalty free music, you pay for the music one time, up front. That gives you access to the music forever. It’s a much more affordable way to source music for your videos.
Most royalty free music creators charge a very modest fee for their music, the idea being that they’ll make more money if more people can afford to buy their music. Some creators charge nothing at all and require only that you credit them when you use their music.
Ultimately, royalty free music isn’t completely free. But it is sometimes worth the nominal cost. And most royalty free music libraries also have selections of copyright free and public domain music (read: totally free), which we’ll cover right now.
Copyright free music
Copyright free music is truly free music. Usually this means the music creator surrendered the copyright. If no one owns the rights to the music, no one can charge money for it. Anyone can use copyright free music in videos without paying extra for it.
Some creators of copyright free music use a “pay what you want” pricing model, where you can make a donation, if you’d like. But there’s no payment required.
“Creative commons” is a term that gets thrown around in this space, too. Creative commons is music that has a copyright, but the copyright is written to allow people to use the music as if it were copyright free, without requiring the creator to surrender their copyright. Usually, if you use music on a creative commons license, you have to credit the artist.
Public domain music
Public domain music is the same as copyright free music. However, public domain music is free because the copyright has expired, rather than the creator surrendering the copyright.
Copyright law specifies that a copyright lasts for 70 years after the creator’s death. Works owned by a company have a copyright that lasts for 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation, whichever comes first.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do much research to find out if a piece of music is in the public domain. Free music libraries specify the licensing on their music. If you’re not sure, music published on or before 1924 is almost always in the public domain.
Completely FREE music for all your videos
These are our favorite sources of free music for videos (besides the Biteable music library, of course!).
Just make sure you read the licensing requirements for any free music you use. Free music often requires that you credit the artist in your video or that you only use the music for videos on a certain video platform.
YouTube audio library
YouTube marketing is one of the best ways to use video. YouTube knows music is important for ads. So they have their own library of audio tracks.
The YouTube audio library is great because the music selection is excellent, and you can search and browse music the same way you would search and browse videos on YouTube. There are also playlists for each type of music.
Finding music in the YouTube music library is very intuitive. However, this music library still uses the YouTube interface, which is certainly not designed to help you find what you need and get out quickly. You could get sucked into the YouTube black hole if you’re not careful.
Licensing: Copyright-free, royalty-free, creative commons
Free music archive
The Free Music Archive offers a broad selection of free music, mostly available through creative commons licensing and public domain availability. It’s one of the few places where you can get free music for commercial use.
Although the Free Music Archive has a large library, it takes a bit of work to sift through. There is a search feature, but you can only search music by license type, genre, and length.
But even with the limited search functionality, this is still one of the best places to get completely free music for videos.
Licensing: Royalty-free, creative commons, public domain
Soundcloud is designed to help independent artists promote their music. As such, creators decide what people can do with their music.
Many artists on the site allow listeners to download and use their music for free. That makes Soundcloud a good place to search, especially if you need a cool, indie vibe for your video’s background music.
However, the interface is intended to help listeners discover new artists. So the search functionality isn’t optimized for finding music to use in videos.
But there’s a ton of really great music available on the site. And it’s also a great way to support independent musicians, if you value that.
Licensing: Royalty-free, copyright-free, creative commons
ccMixter is a site that’s supported by musicians who want to have their music featured in videos and other projects. When a musician uploads to ccMixter, they give express permission for you to use their music in your videos.
One of the benefits of this system is that there’s a lot of free music on ccMixter specifically designed for videos and commercials. The artists want their music used in projects with large audiences. So they make a lot of music crafted for this purpose.
The site is supported by a Patreon account, where you can offer monetary support, if you wish. But it’s not required.
Licensing: Copyright-free, royalty-free, creative commons
mobygratis is a library of free music from the artist Moby. All the music on the site is made by Moby or artists that work with Moby.
The music is incredibly high quality. It’s also surprisingly varied, considering that all the music is created by a relatively small collection of artists.
The catch is that you can only use the music for videos that don’t bring a profit. That makes this free music library best for personal projects, like birthday videos and school assignments, or for a nonprofit charitable organization or church video.
Licensing: Royalty-free, creative commons
Silverman Sound Studios
Silverman Sound Studios belongs to musician Shane Ivers, who creates tons of music that he offers for free on his website under a creative commons license. You just have to give proper credit for the music when you use it.
There’s enough free music to fill up over 30 categories. It’s an impressive selection of styles from a single musician.
However, it takes a bit of browsing to find what you need. The search functionality is pretty basic. But there’s music for just about anything you might need.
Shane also creates custom background music for videos. That’s a paid service, which is how he’s able to provide so much music for free.
Licensing: Creative commons
Paid royalty-free music for videos
Paid royalty-free music libraries don’t offer completely free music. But paid royalty free music services are a great way to get all the music you need on a very modest video production budget.
Taketones is a royalty-free music library that uses a subscription model to pay creators for their music. You pay a small subscription fee for access to all the music on Taketones. It’s a simple and affordable way to get music.
Taketones is great because their music library is extensive (they even offer sound effects). And it’s extremely well curated. Their music is categorized by mood, usage type, audience, instrument type, and popularity. This makes it quick and easy to find the right royalty free music for any video.
Pricing: $19/month for Creator plan, $49/month for Business plan
Stockmusic.net offers royalty free music, which is pretty standard. However, their pricing structure and web interface are definitely above standard.
Their pricing structure is a single yearly fee. The yearly fee is less than some paid libraries charge per month. And it’s a great value, because Stockmusic.net has a ton of royalty free background music perfect for videos.
Also, the Stockmusic.net library is incredibly well curated. You can search for music based on tempo and track length, in addition to the normal search categories like mood, instrument, and genre.
This enables you to quickly narrow your music search, grab what you need, and get back to making your video.
Pricing: $19.99/month Unlimited subscription
Media Music Now
Media Music Now is a royalty-free music library packed with music from professional soundtrack composers. But the price is quite reasonable.
One of the best things about this arrangement is that there’s music for almost everything. And the entire library is incredibly well categorized and curated. There are genres, moods, and instrumental types, and each of those categories is subdivided into even more specific categories. There’s also a huge collection of sound effects and an option to get custom music for your videos.
The only point of friction with Media Music Now is that the payment system is a little complicated. You purchase credits on the site, then use those to pay for access to the tracks you want. It’s not terrible. But it adds a step to the transaction.
Pricing: $43.60/month for 30 credits per month, $79.04/month for 60 credits per month, $141.42/month for 120 credits per month
Audio Network is a royalty-free music library with a focus on providing music for advertising.
You can use music from Audio Network for other purposes, too. But their licensing and pricing packages are designed specifically for businesses that need music for advertising videos. This is also useful if you plan on monetizing your videos.
In addition to the strong licensing for creators to advertise and monetize content, the library is quite extensive. It’s also well curated. There are nearly 100 musical styles, moods, instrumentation categories, and genres to help narrow your search.
Musicbed is a royalty-free subscription service that has a whole library of music composed by filmmakers who understand what makes a song perfect for video.
As such, the advanced search function is quite helpful for finding music for your own videos. The music library is separated into categories, but you can also search by tempo, track length, and instrumentation.
Music on the platform can also be categorized by where the crescendo lands in the track. Need background music that rises to a climax, then falls off? Looking for a soundtrack that stays steady through the entire runtime? You can separate those out with the search function. Overall, the music is impressively easy to sort through.
Musicbed also structures all of its licenses for professionals who get paid to make videos for clients. This is comforting for ad agencies or video editors, because the licenses make it very clear that you can use the music for client work.
Pricing: $19.99/month for Individual subscription, $99.99/month for Business subscription
Artlist offers both royalty-free music and sound effects for videos. Arlist has a massive music and sound effects library, thanks to a staff of artists who add new music to the library every day.
The library is relatively easy to search, though it doesn’t have some of the advanced search functionality that other sites offer.
However, if you only need background music for videos or just want the sound effects, Artlist has pricing packages that give you access to just one or the other.
Pricing: $25/month for access to the entire library, $16.60 for music only, or $12.41 for SFX only
Music Vine has music for all sorts of videos, but the licensing and interface is geared toward professional projects. Overall, the music library is amazingly curated. There are a whole bunch of filters that you can use to sort through the music.
Search for music based on the type of video you’re making, the type of instrument you want in your soundtrack, or even the location where your video takes place. There are a lot of ways to find what you need in the library.
The licensing is great if you’re making videos for commercial use, because it’s designed to scale with your budget. The lite subscription covers you until your video profits exceed $3,000. Then you’ll need to upgrade to the standard license. It’s a creative pricing scheme that’s built to give small creators access to high quality soundtracks.
Pricing: $19.00/month for Pro Lite, $35.99/month for Pro Standard
Soundstripe offers a massive music and sound effects library that grows by over 200 tracks every day. The platform also takes a collaborative approach designed to help music creators get paid fairly for their work. Independent artists have made a combined $3.6 million dollars for contributing to Soundstripe.
Additionally, Soundstripe is one of the only music libraries that has an API for app developers. If you need music for an app, you can use the API to pull music from Soundstripe on demand for a more varied soundtrack, or to offer royalty free music to your app users.
The only real downside is that the search functionality on Stripe is pretty basic. The best way to find music is to type a search term into the search bar. The good news is that their music is all very well tagged. So most searches generate results.
Pricing: $12.50/month for music, $20.50/month for music and SFX
Filmstro offers all the standard features of a royalty free music library, with a couple of extra perks.
First, Filmstro has royalty free background music composed specifically for video games. Most libraries have a game music category. But not many royalty free music libraries have so much music written specifically for video game soundtracks.
Also, Filmstro has an app. And it’s not just a gimmick. The app enables you to edit and modify tracks to fit your video needs. You could edit your music with other software. But using the Filmstro app ensures you won’t violate your royalty-free license by modifying the music.
Pricing: $14.99/month for YouTuber subscription, $37.99/month for Pro account, $74.99/month for Pro Plus account
Neo Sounds might not have quite as many tracks as some other royalty-free libraries. However, they do offer something that most other music libraries don’t.
You can try tracks from Neo Sounds before you buy them. You can listen to tracks on the website, then download a copyright-free snippet that you can plug into your video maker to see if the music fits the way you want. If it works, then you can buy the whole track.
However, because they let you test drive the music, there is no subscription option. You have to pay per track. But the licensing enables you to use the music for just about anything, including international broadcast TV shows and movies.
Pricing: $34.95 per track for standard license, $87.38 per track for extended license
Select Music caters to smaller creators with smaller budgets. But the music is extremely high quality. And the library is very well curated.
The search function is also well developed. You can search for music based on genre, mood, instrumentation, tempo, and track length. It’s good enough to find music that fits your project pretty quickly.
However, the pricing is what helps Select Music standout. Their pricing structure is ideal for creators with more modest budgets.
Pricing: $9/month for Personal subscription, $19/month for Standard subscription, $29/month for business subscription
Apple Music royalty free music library
Apple Music may not be the first place you think of for royalty free music. But you do get a selection of royalty free music with an Apple Music subscription, which you may already have.
The library is relatively limited. But an Apple Music subscription is less expensive than most other royalty-free music libraries. And you can listen to all the other music that comes with an Apple Music subscription.
This is a decent option if you only need a few songs. If you need music for several videos, or you need several different types of music, Apple music might not have enough selection for you.
Background music gets your videos to the front
Now you have a whole pile of places to get feature and background music for videos, no matter what your video budget looks like.
If you’ve got more music than videos, Biteable can help. Biteable is packed with all the templates, stock footage, photos, and animated text you need to quickly create stunning videos that demand a stellar soundtrack.
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