Finding the right royalty-free music is sometimes the most difficult part of video production. There are several options when it comes to sourcing great music, with the price per song ranging from free to thousands of dollars depending on where it’s from and how it’s used.
Let’s take a look at some of your options, starting with the free options and going up from there.
Free Royalty-Free Music
(Say that five times fast)
Wistia Music Collection
The Wistia Music Collection consists of 8 tracks created primarily by Dan Mills, Creative Director at Wistia. To help video marketers find clean, simple, and kinda funky music for their videos, Wistia produced and released these songs for free for anyone to use.
Restrictions: Web use only. Film and broadcast prohibited.
YouTube Audio Library
Hidden away in your YouTube Creator Studio is the YouTube Audio Library. It has an eclectic mix of tracks to choose from, and they’re sortable by genre, mood, instrument, duration, and attribution requirement.
A big plus – if you monetize your YouTube videos, all of their tracks can be used without having to worry about being penalized.
Restrictions: Some songs require artist attribution in your video description.
Moby has been creating (in my opinion) great techno music for a couple of decades, and as a way to give back he created mobygratis.
He selected over 150 of his tracks to license for free. The caveat is that you must use the songs for independent or non-profit film/video projects. I personally used mobygratis for a short film I made a few years ago.
You need to sign up for an account and submit a request for any songs you want to use. Once they approve your request, you can download and use the track in your project.
Restrictions: Requires approval and can only be used in non-profit/independent work.
Small Budget Royalty-Free Music
AudioJungle is part of the EnvatoMarket family, and it offers a mix of both royalty-free music and sound effects. They have a pretty wide range of genres that you can search through, and you can search using specific criteria, like price, track length, vocals, and tempo.
Cost: Generally $12 – $19/song (mostly $19)
Restrictions: For general online use only (i.e. online videos, your website, browser-based games, etc)
At a previous job, I used Neosounds frequently because of their large selection and low-cost. One of the best parts is that the majority of their tracks come in multiple variations, like a slight variation, a 30s cut, or an 18s loop.
You can browse their collection by music style, mood/emotions, video genre, or instrumentation. Between the massive selection, the variations for each song, and the low costs, Neosounds is a solid place to start your music search.
- $7.95 – $34.95/song for Standard License, depending on the length of the track (covers most people)
- $24.88 – $244.65/song for Extended and Premium Licenses – read their FAQ details.
Restrictions: Standard License, no restrictions on non-monetized online content. The FAQ details the apps/TV/radio/film restrictions.
Medium Budget Royalty-Free Music
PremiumBeat is probably the most well-known royalty-free music service. They have a very slick website that makes it easy to search by genre or mood.
Like Neosounds, the majority of their songs are available in a variety of cuts (15s, 30s, 60s) and loops. The difference is that when you buy a license, it includes all of those cuts – they’re not piecemeal.
Overall they strike a very nice balance between quality of music and cost. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular.
- $49/song for Standard License (this covers most usage)
- $199/song for Premium License
Restrictions: Standard License can’t be used in TV, radio, trade shows, or showroom displays, and it has minor restrictions with films, apps, and games – read their license for details.
Tunefruit offers a solid and wide selection of good quality songs. They also keep it simple by making them all the same price (well, for the same license type).
You can only search by using genres, keywords, and track length, so it might be a little difficult to find what you want. They also don’t offer different lengths of tracks, so you have to buy the single track and modify it as needed.
- $64/song for Tier 3 (Corporate) License
- Other licenses range from $20/song (student projects) – $500/song (broadcast advertising).
Restrictions: Tier 3 – Corporate video, trade show, digital signage, microsite, apps, explainer video, photo tour
Big Budget Royalty-Free Music
Epidemic Sound has a pretty expansive collection of royalty-free music, which you can search through by genre, mood, movement (basically intensity), (physical) places, energy, tempo, and length.
They also group their music into albums with names like “Release Me” – kind of like Spotify’s mood playlists. Each album focuses on a certain genre or feeling, and it has a variety of artists and songs in it.
Overall I’d say it’s a great selection of songs, and they all (subjectively) sound great. They also offer a unique monthly subscription license for prolific YouTube channels who put out a lot of content and don’t want to deal with constantly buying single songs.
- $99/song – Standard License
- $249 – $2999/song, depending on ad platform and geographic reach – Advertising License
- $15 – $150/mo for unlimited access – YouTube License (prices vary depending on monthly channel views)
Restrictions: Standard License – can’t be used on any advertising (TV, radio, online ads, social media, company website)
Marmoset Music has a very high quality catalog and a number of filtering options, a couple of which are pretty unique. You can filter by mood, energy, length, vocals, genres, and instruments, and you can also filter by arc (how the intensity changes over a song) and if it’s customizable (you can work with Marmoset to modify the song).
Their license structure isn’t the best, and they come in at the top of the price range, but with the ability to find a song with the right intensity and the option to work directly with Marmoset to customize a piece, they might be worth it to you.
Cost: $199 – $999/song, depending on the number of employees – Small Business License
Restrictions: For use in a film or slideshow that highlights an organization as a whole, i.e. company highlights, event coverage, culture highlights, etc. Can’t be used in a specific product or service video.
You have to contact them for a custom license if you want to use it for a product video, unless it’s a crowdfunding video – they have a special license for that.
Subscription Royalty-Free Music
ArtList threw away the “one fee, one song” model and instead offer a yearly subscription to use all of their music – which can still be used if you cancel.
They give you options to search through their catalogue using mood, your video’s theme, instrumentation, or genre. They also have an Artist Spotlight section.
Restrictions: Licensed for use in video production only (including film, TV, podcasts, games, VR, etc)
Music for Makers
Music for Makers is all original tracks created by Logan Nickleson. He offers arguably the simplest and most flexible music license of any royalty-free music platform.
You can use the music pretty much anywhere, and you can even continue to use the music if you cancel your yearly subscription. Not a bad deal.
As an added bonus, if you sign up for his mailing list, you get a free song each week.
Restrictions: Must be used in another creative work, aka no restrictions except you can’t resell the music
Is there another site you use for music that I didn’t list? Tell me about it!
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