How, where and when to download free background music for your videos?
Do you need background music for your videos or media projects?
It’s easy to think that, because music can be found pretty easily for free on the Internet, we can use it freely as well on any video that we’re making.
Nothing further from reality.
Let’s see first the pros and cons of using free music and then explain later on how can we download it:
Of course… it’s free.
Easy to find.
Perfect for using it in personal projects.
You will not be able to use it in professional projects.
You will have to attribute the author (mention it) somewhere.
Every webpage and every song are under different free licenses. You must read and understand what they mean, one by one.
The free license can change at any given moment by the author.
Youtube algorithm, called Content ID, can detect that you don’t have the rights to use that music.
You will not be able to monetize your video or product that uses the music.
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.
Not playing by the rules can lead to bad surprises, like your video being removed from Youtube or Facebook because of Content ID, copyright complaints, and even in the worst case scenario a lawsuit, since the ignorance of the law does not exempt from its fulfillment.
To clarify the subject, we have made a brief summary below with all the basics:
Some concepts that you need to know before downloading free-music
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’.
Music 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
Here is the author himself who establishes the limitations for the reproduction, distribution, diffusion and copy of his work.
There are 6 different types ofCreative 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.
these icons help us to differentiate the Creative Commons licenses
Take into consideration before downloading a song!
First of all, have in mind that almost always, if you download a non-copyrighted song for your project or video and it’s free, it’s going to be under a Creative Commons license.
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 below:
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!
Pages to download Royalty-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 are hundreds of songs on mp3 format for their immediate download.
Musopen: On this web page you’ll find royalty-free classical music classified by the composer, from Bach to Beethoven.
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.
I don’t want to risk my project or I don’t want to attribute the artist. What should I do?
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 on 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.
In any of these cases, it is best to purchase a paid license.
And this doesn’t mean an expensive an time -consuming process, you just have to visit Envato Elements, for example, perform a search for the type of music you need, download it and use it.
Subscriptions are cheap, since for 14.50€ per month you can access a whole library of thousands of songs and download everything you need.
Paying 14.50€ a month may seem a lot to a person who is used to buy them on iTunes or download free songs, 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 viewed and not for a simple personal use.
Artists who create royalty-free music are not usually famous artists, but a team of people working in a studio or a company dedicated specifically to it, as in our case.
There are, as well, other monthly payment services for which you can access a library of more than 300,000 royalty-free songs.
The best known isEpidemic Sound, and this is the service that most famous YouTubers and big channels use.
The pricing starts at:
MONTHLY VISITS ON YOUR CHANNEL
Up to 5 million
Thanks to this service, you can monetize your videos without any further problems and you will never receive a copyright claim from YouTube again.