Pages to download Free Music
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.
- Soundcloud: In between the millions of songs that there are on Soundcloud, there’s some that are available for free use. You will distinguish them because there’s an option to download it legally.
- Audionautix: Well classified between genres and moods, there’s hundreds of songs on mp3 format for their immediate download.
- Musopen: On this web page you’ll find royalty-free classical music classified by composer, from Bach to Beethoven.
Vimeo: You can find on Vimeo both free and paid songs. The Free ones are under CC licenses. Service discontinued by the company on Nov.2016!
Click on any of these links to download songs that can be used in your personal projects without a problem. However, it is essential that you understand under what kind of licenses these songs are, to know how far their use extends and what you can and cannot do with them.
The world of royalty-free music on the Internet is complex, as there are a wide variety of types of licenses and it is not always clear which we should stick to. To clarify the subject, we have made a brief summary below with all the basics:
Concepts that you need to know
- What does copyright mean?
Royalty-Free Music primarily refers to a type of music license that allows the buyer to pay the corresponding license only once and use the music for as long as desired in a single final product.
However, this term has been extended, often including also free music that we can use in our projects – either Public Domain or Creative Commons as we will see below – and also has been widely confused with the term ‘music without copyright’.
- Músic under Public Domain
Music under Public domain consists of all works that are not protected by copyright and which can, therefore, be used without permission or without having to pay to the original author, either because this has expressed it or because some time has already elapsed since his/her death (that amount of time, usually between 50-70 years depends on every country or region). If you want to know more about it, visit our article about Public Domain.
- Music under Creative Commons Licenses
On this kind of music is the author himself who establishes the limitations for the reproduction, distribution, diffusion and copy of his work. There are 6 different types of Creative Commons licenses, some more restrictive than others and it is essential to know them well if we want to use some song on our projects.
Take into consideration before downloading a song!
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!
I want to use the song in a professional project or I don’t want to attribute the artist
Imagine that you are making a video or audiovisual project. 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.
It will not be the same to put it in a video on our website as in a national television commercial.
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 $19, and that’s a cheap quantity for having peace of mind.
Paying 19$ for a song may seem like a lot to a person who is used to buy them on iTunes or download free songs from a Torrent program, however we have to keep in mind that both products have nothing in common: we are paying a license to use that music in another final product that will be distributed and not for a simple personal use.
Artists who create royalty-free music are not usually famous artists, but a team of people working on a studio or a company dedicated specifically to it, as in our case.
This is an example of a royalty-free song created by Snail Music and placed on a Youtube video: