When it comes to design and build a video game, at some point we will need to add sound effects and / or background music.
The problem is that, of course, we cannot use any song downloaded from iTunes, Amazon or Google Play, but we need a special license so as not to infringe the copyrights and avoid problems in the future.
What kind of music or sound effects can I use in my video game?
You need to use royalty-free music or music under creative commons licenses. Period.
Using this kind of songs we make sure follow the legislation (something essential today in a globally connected world) because most chances are that your game is going to be played by people of many different countries.
The last thing you want to see when launching your game is that is involved in legal issues by little details like this, so it is best to follow this advice:
How do I know what kind of music is royalty-free and what is not?
Easy. Virtually all the music you hear in your everyday life is protected by copyright and royalty-free music is specifically on the pages that we detail below.
Sound effects and music for games: the best marketplaces to get it
To make it easier, we will detail here the major payment gateways from which to download our music. In them, you buy the song or sound effect properly licensed and forget about any other problems.
The price of the licenses vary in every marketplace, but the sound effects are usually much cheaper than the songs, as their duration and the time it takes to record it is also lower.
IMPORTANT! What is essential to take into account when purchasing a license for a song is the estimated audience of your game. That is, if your game is to be distributed globally and will reach millions of people, the price of the music will be greater than if distributed locally to a few thousand gamers.
For sound effects, though, you don’t have to worry about this aspect because they are all the same and the price does not vary by the audience.
These are the main marketplaces from where to get royalty-free music and sound effects for your video games.
Royalty Free Music (Commercial – Pay to download)
- AudioJungle: Definitely the best of them. It has a huge library with nearly half a million sounds and a search engine from which is really easy to find what we seek. Being a large website with so many registered authors, we can find all kinds of audio from the sound of a breaking glass to famous songs with lyrics. Sound licenses typically cost only $1 and the price for songs starts at $19 for the standard license.
- Premiumbeat: Another great marketplace. Licenses are usually more expensive than in the previous one, around $3 for sound effects and $49 for a standard song license, but we will have the highest quality in return.
- Pond5: While this website is a tad more difficult to navigate than the others, it’s also possible to find true musical jewels. Prices of sound effects start at 2€ and songs vary in price according to their duration.
- AudioNetwork: Prices range from 9€ for non-profit online games to 140€ or more. Music is classified by genre, instruments, mood and styles.
- Soundrangers: They have two special licenses for gaming: web based games and downloadable games that cover up to 500 downloads. For a bigger one, you’ll have to ask. Prices range from $39 to $79.
- SoundDogs: Prices vary a lot depending on the length of the song. They also have sound effects in their library.
- Prime Loops: This web page is specialized in music packs. They do not provide much information about the licenses.
- JewelBeat: They provide standard licenses (up to 1 million copies or downloads) for only $2.99 or extended licenses (unlimited copies or downloads) for $7.99. Probably the cheapest sound market we’ve seen.
- Lucky Lion Studios: Only one type of license that allows you to use the song however you want. Prices vary depending on the length of the song.
- Shockwave Sound: For using their music on games, we can choose the standard license (if it’s a non-profit game) or the extended license if it’s a commercial one. Prices are high compared to other marketplaces.
If you have a really tight budget, if you’re an indie author for example or you’re not being able to spend any money on music, the good news is that there are free sites that offer the same service.
The trouble is that:
- You will not find the same high quality than in the ones mentioned.
- You will have to read about the type of Creative Commons license each song has, as some do not allow to use them for commercial purposes.
- Most of the time, you will have to attribute its creator, that is, put his name in the credits of the game, for example.
But it’s also good to take a look at them:
Royalty-Free Music & Sounds (Free Sites – Download for free)
What if I want to use a famous song in my video game?
Well, everything changes. It is possible but is much more complicated and expensive. If your game has enough budget and it is essential that contains this kind of songs, we explained the necessary steps and how to do it in our article: royalty free music for commercials.
It is important when making any artistic creation, as is the case of a video game, ensure that we are complying with current legislation on audiovisual rights. Not only are we avoiding future problems in legal matters, but we will be supporting other artists through our purchase.