The best sources for high-quality free royalty-free music on the Internet are:
- Youtube Audio Library: Within its audio library has both music and sound effects of all genres, 100% free. Most of the times we would have to attribute the author. More information on how to do that below.
- Free Music Archive (FMA): Free songs under Creative Commons license. To use them, we should mention the artist in our project.
- Jamendo: A mix of musical community and marketplace for downloading songs under license. You can download free music for your projects if they are only for personal use.
- Bensound: Over 70 songs ready to download. The use is limited to personal projects, if we want to put their music on professional ones or on Youtube we will have to purchase a license.
- Incompetech: Royalty-Free Music. Creative Commons licensing by attribution is free (attribution MUST be given to make this legal), but they do suggest a $5 donation as a kindness. If not, we can buy the music for $30 each.
- NewGrounds: Experimental sounds and songs for video games. Enter here only if you didn’t find what you’re searching for, they have good music.
Vimeo: You can find on Vimeo both free and paid songs. The Free ones are under CC licenses. Service Discontinued on Nov.2016!
Take into consideration before downloading a song!
First of all, have in mind that almost always, if you download a non-copyrighted song for your project or video and it’s free of charge, it’s going to be under a Creative Commons license. If you are not sure of what this means, you can read it in our in-depth guide about what is royalty-free music.
This means that most of the times we will have to attribute -mention- the artist.
Attribution means that we have to explain in the video description (or inside the project) who’s the author of the music. For example, if we use the song Odyssey Drums, from artist Kevin MacLeod and we downloaded the song from the web page Incompetech.com, we should write a phrase like this:
Odyssey Drums from Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution license (Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International – CC BY 4.0)
That said, still, it’s very important to read carefully all the terms (there are 6 different Creative Commons licenses and each one has his own different terms) and legal advice of the web page from which we are downloading the music. If you don’t find any term or you’re not sure about the conditions, don’t risk yourself or your project.
Not playing by the rules can lead to bad surprises, like your video being removed from Youtube or Facebook because of Content ID, copyright complaints, and even in the worst case scenario a lawsuit.
I want to use the song in a professional project or I don’t want to attribute the artist
Maybe you’re in one of those situations:
- You want to use royalty-free music but you don’t want to mention the artist.
- You want to use the song in a Youtube video and monetize this video.
- You want to use the song in a professional project, like a corporate presentation, an indie movie or a broadcast advertisement.
Then the best thing is to purchase a license. Licenses are cheap and are paid only once, in opposition to royalties. For example, for adding a nice song in a Youtube video, you can purchase a standard license from only $19, and that’s a cheap quantity for having peace of mind.
You can check our article instrumental music for commercial use for more information about it.