Are you looking for songs or sounds for your audiovisual work, new YouTube video or video game? To avoid violating copyright laws, being penalized and YouTube deleting your video (if you post it there), it is best to use royalty-free or public domain music, or music under a Creative Commons license — which gives you certain assigned rights by the author of the work. We know how important background music is in your creations and, in this article, we will show you several websites to download free or paid music that you can legally use.
Public Domain Music and Under a Creative Commons License
It is important that you understand these clear concepts for the use of music in your creations. Music in the public domain is royalty-free and free, so you can use it legally and freely. Usually, these are classical music or works that are no longer protected by copyright after a number of years after the artist's death.
Music protected by Creative Commons (CC) free licenses grants you certain legal permissions regarding the use, distribution and copying of the work in question. There are six types of Creative Commons licenses, which you can consult here, and each one has different characteristics. Always be sure to check which license governs the song you want to use and its conditions.
Note: the Attribution (BY) license is ideal for sharing and monetising your videos on YouTube, as it allows you to use a song for commercial purposes, distribute it and create derivative works, as long as you give credit to the original author of the music. It is the license with the most permissions of all.
YouTube Audio Library
YouTube Audio Library, is the ideal tool if you are preparing your next YouTube video. The platform offers you a catalog of songs and sound effects, which you can download for free and add directly into your videos when you upload them from their settings. Some titles are free and others are under Creative Commons license. Music is classified by categories (genre, instrument, mood, duration, and attribution). You will see the Attribution symbol next to the download icon if you must mention the author in the description of your video.
This website is a bank of high quality music under a Creative Commons license that you can download for free for your projects. In Mixter you can find free music for commercial use and you only have to give credit to the author. The platform has a music player, an integrated search engine and allows you to filter the list of titles by license type and publication date. Currently, over a million Dig.ccMixter songs accompany videos and games.
Incompetech is a well-known website that offers you a catalog with more than 15 genres of music and free sound effects for your videos and audiovisual projects. It is possible to use Incompetech songs in your Youtube videos and monetize them! Also, you can use this music in video games, live shows, movies and podcasts. You should only attribute the authorship to the creator of the music.
Free Music Archive
This website is run by the American broadcaster WFMU and has a huge archive of high-quality songs from thousands of independent artists to download for free. You can search the musical themes by genre, subgenre, duration, type of license, publication date and ranking. In the Free Music Archive you find music in the public domain and music protected by Creative Commons licenses. You just have to choose the topic of your interest and check the characteristics of the license.
SoundCloud is a streaming platform and a collaborative community of creators, in which its users can promote, share and distribute their music. In addition, it allows you to follow your favorite bands and artists, who publish their new releases there. You can access and download an author's music for free if he has activated the download option. Likewise, take into account the exploitation rights granted by the Creative Commons license of the theme you download.
Bensound is a very intuitive website, with hundreds of royalty-free songs, organized by category, that you can download and use for free in your online videos, animations, as background music on your website, for educational purposes, among others, as long as you credit Bensound.com. This free license applies to all titles with a black download button.
Musopen is a unique place on the net where it is possible to find free royalty free music for commercial use and even its scores and educational material. The website offers you a large collection of classical music in the public domain, has a search engine and allows you to filter the results by composer, period, instruments, mood, duration, rating, licenses and audio quality.
Jamendo is an open community of independent artists who want to make their music known and many of them allow you to obtain a license, for a single payment, to use their songs in videos and multimedia projects permanently and worldwide. On Jamendo you find a music library with 240,000 titles under Creative Commons license, organised in different categories. There is also a search engine, a music player and the possibility of downloading a trial version.
Free Music Projects
Free Music Projects offers royalty-free music that you can download by purchasing one of its four licenses, each with different rights depending on how you want to use the music (personal, business or commercial). The website features a listing of songs, various categories, a player to listen to the trial versions and is mainly focused on audiovisual and multimedia projects, websites, radio, television, cinema, business, marketing and advertising.
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