Music can make or break your video. Having a nice music bed can add a feel and bring more emotion to your video.
Music sets the mood. It can draw the viewer in and keep them watching. Plus it can illicit a feeling that make the viewer to associate to your brand. But you can’t just use any music you want. Music can make a strong impact whether you’re creating a testimonial video or a montage of clips from event.
Your marketing budget likely does not enable you to hire a musician to create custom tracks for you. In order to add music, you either have to pay royalty fees to the artist, or find royalty-free music that you can use for free (typically with credit) or for a fee (don’t confuse royalty-free with free!). There are tons of places to find music on the internet. Here are some of the best royalty-free music sites I’ve used.
Best Royalty Free Music Sites
Epidemic Sound has a diverse music library carefully created by composers, producers, instrumentalists and artists regularly featured on major streaming platforms. They offer unlimited downloads, unlimited uploads, and are based on a subscription model.
Cost: There’s a 30-day free trial. Subscription: Start at $15/month. Cancel anytime.
Free Stock Music
True to its name, Free Stock Music is completely free. They offer a large selection of 100% royalty-free, free music tracks. It’s free to sign-up and no attribution is required.
Cost: Free. As a registered user, all of the songs on the site are available to you and you may use them freely and legally in your own projects, royalty free. There are never any fees nor obligations for using Free Stock Music, but you can share or credit the site.
All of the music on Incompetech is from musician Kevin MacLeod. There are hundreds of music tracks available as MP3 files which you can easily search and filter. The music is all free as creative commons.
Cost: Free under creative commons license. Only requirement is you must attribute required in a specific form by crediting the author, the website and the license – more information can be found in each song’s download window.
Josh Woodward is another independent artist who offers his music totally free as long as you credit him. He’s an acoustic indie rock singer/songwriter from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Josh has released 11 albums in the past decade, but has chosen to give away all of his music for free. The site has more than 200 songs as free downloads.
Cost: Free. On YouTube, you must give attribution in the description box. In non-YouTube videos, you can credit the song directly in the video at the end of the video itself.
ccMixter has over 120 original tracks for film & video, commercial projects, and video games. You can search for free songs to use as long as you give credit.
Cost: Free to use, even in commercial projects but you must give credit to the musicians. If you don’t want to give credit you can buy a license for a sliding scale, royalty free fee.
Music for Video
Music-for-video is licensing its music catalog of more than 150 albums on a lifetime membership basis. When you decide to buy their license you will never have to pay every month/year ever again. The license has no expiration period and has no hidden, monthly, or yearly recurring payments. Plus, all future music updates will be available for free to licensees. With a free account you can search, browse and download low quality files to test in your project.
Cost: there is only a one time fee of €290 (about $300 USD). There is no subscription, no annual renewal. No recurring fees forever. This includes unlimited downloads and use in any commercial video for lifetime. You can use the tracks for all media, worldwide, in perpetuity; broadcast use is included. This simplified license is unique in the royalty-free music market.
Premium Beat is a music library from Shutterstock. They’ve curated over 10,000 tracks that you can segment by genre, mood, artists, instruments, beats per minute, and duration.They charge per song and each license includes the full length song, plus shorter tracks and loops.
Cost: They offer simple licenses for each song. You can pay either $49/track for the standard license for web-based, commercially distributed content or the premium license which is $199/track for non-web advertisements or on revenue-generating content.
Soundstripe partners with over 80 artists to produce songs that you can filter by mood, genre, pace, instruments, key, vocals, duration, and beats per minute. On Soundstripe, you can create an account, follow artists, playlists, like songs, and create your own playlists. They tout the caliber of musicians they work with and the quality of their music and add about 300-500 new songs each month. They have a simple fee so you can use the songs for any video use. A single royalty free license covers it no matter what the video is used for.
Cost: The standard subscription is $19/month or $135/year for the music library. Premium also includes sound effects and pre-release access and costs $252 per year.
Artlist partners with indie musicians and offers thousands of tracks that you can filter based on genre, mood, tempo and more. Their belief is that high quality music licensing doesn’t have to be expensive nor does it have to be complicated.
Cost: Annual subscription: $199/year or $16.60/month. This includes unlimited downloads and use in any commercial video for lifetime.
Music Vine is based in the UK and collaborates with over 200 independent musicians to produce more than 3,400 tracks that you can segment by style, mood, energy, vocals, and duration. The pride themselves on their categorization and filtering so you can really drill down to find what you are looking for. Expanded categories to include production types, occasions, eras and cultures. Music Vine dedicates a section of their website to their artists, letting people follow them and explore their music.
Cost: They have a few subscription choices. Pro-Lite starts at $19.99/month and is billed annually. It gives you access to the entire library and is good for small personal and business productions (see site for limits). There is a “Creator” subscription for YouTubers and more social media influencers. It starts at $13.99/month (billed annually) as long as you credit the music. They also have pay-per-song license which starts around $36 and goes up from there depending on length and usage.
With over 300 tracks in the genres of acoustic, folk, cinematic, corporate, pop, electronica, urban, groove, jazz, rock, world, and more, Bensound provides plenty of musical options for your video’s soundtrack.
Cost: Free. You can use Bensound’s music under the Creative Commons License for free as long as you credit Bensound.com.
HookSounds is an exclusive, well-curated music site that offers a variety of original tracks, composed by hand-picked artists from all over the world. Regular stock music can sound very generic and uninspired. HookSounds has more modern and unique music which can set your video apart. HookSounds has its own distinct sound and all the music on the site is exclusive.
Cost: $29/month which includes unlimited downloads, no copyright claims or royalty fees, and access to entire library. You can also just license a single track starting at $24.
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