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?
If you want the easiest option, you need to use Royalty-Free music.
Using this kind of music, you make sure to follow the legislation -something essential today in the online 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 for little details like this.
How do I know what kind of music is Royalty-Free?
Virtually all the music you hear in your everyday life is protected by copyright and Royalty-Free music is purchased specifically on the pages that are on the green list below.
Sound effects and music for games: the best marketplaces to get it
To make it easier, we made a list of the major online platforms from which to download your music. You can then buy the song or sound effect properly licensed and forget about any copyright problems.
The price of the licenses varies in every marketplace, but the sound effects are usually much cheaper than the songs, as their duration and the time it takes to record them are also lower.
These are the main marketplaces from where to get royalty-free music and sound effects for your video games:
- Epidemic Sound: A royalty-free music library that currently has over 300,000 songs to choose from.
- Envato Elements: Offers unlimited music downloads for an amazing €16.50 monthly subscription, plus a ton of sound effects.
- AudioJungle: It has a huge library with nearly half a million songs 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 breaking glass to famous songs with lyrics. Sound effects typically cost only $1 and the price for songs starts at $29 for the ‘Standard’ license.
- Artlist: Another great website for unlimited music downloads. Here the subscription is paid annually instead of monthly.
- Premium Beat: Licenses are usually a bit expensive -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.
- 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.
On Audiojungle, you purchase the songs individually, instead of being a subscription and so those are the prices:
|Type||Price for License||Buy|
|Songs||Between $15 and $29|
|Sound Effects||Between $1 and $4|
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 as 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:
Free Royalty-Free Music & Sounds (Download for free)
What if I want to use a famous song in my video game?
Well, in this case, everything changes. It is possible to use them, but it is a much more complicated and costly task, both in terms of time and money.
Many famous artists or record companies refuse to give up their rights to use their songs in video games because they don’t want to associate their name with a particular brand or product, others give up their songs for free and others claim large amounts of money.
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 essential when making any artistic creation, such as a videogame, to make sure that you are complying with current legislation on audiovisual rights.
Not only will we be avoiding future legal problems, but we will also be supporting other artists through our purchase.