But be careful, though, because if you choose music that has been previously licensed and do not pay for its use, you will be committing an illegal act and may pay large amounts of money in terms of copyright penalties.
To avoid this kind of situation there is the so-called stock music, and throughout this guide, we will explain what exactly it is, its differences with other types of music and where you can get it safely, legally, and economically.
What is Stock Music?
Stock music, in short, is a general term for music that has been recorded and can be purchased as part of a large music library.
In fact, it is also known as library music or archive music, because stock music belongs to a large music archive that anyone can access.
This type of music is not usually created with a specific use in mind, that is, to be used in a specific project, but can be used in any project, mainly audiovisual, such as the following:
In the same way, as with stock photography, where you can access libraries with a multitude of photographs for use in the project you want, it is also possible to find stock music libraries where you can find the perfect music for your audiovisual works.
After this description, you may still have the same doubts as before, but do not worry, because we will gradually solve them.
I have told you that anyone can access stock music, but that doesn’t mean it is free. So that you understand it, we will show you the two types of stock music.
Types of stock music
Basically, when we talk about stock music, we can talk about licensed and royalty-free stock music.
Licensed stock music
Licensed stock music is limited to certain uses and its cost will vary depending on several factors:
Of the project (if it is a video game, a TV program, a YouTube video, etc.)
From the distribution channel (if it will be published on the Internet, at an event, on TV, etc.)
Of the investment in advertising (if it is promoted on radio, television, Internet, etc.)
The size of the company acquiring the music (if it has less than 50 employees, more than 100, etc.)
And other possible factors depending on where the stock music is purchased.
As you can see, the price of licensed stock music can vary considerably depending on several factors, something that can really upset our budget.
In order to avoid this, the following option arose:
Royalty-free stock music
Unlike the above, royalty-free stock music has no limitation on the use of the music you have purchased.
In other words, once you buy the song once, you can use it according to the parameters that are set, as many times as you want, regardless of the number of impressions, company size or other factors that the copyrighted stock music does take into account.
In addition, the cost of royalty-free stock music is significantly lower, since there are no special permissions to be obtained and no additional licensing fees to be paid. You usually pay a fixed price for the song and forget about everything else.
Therefore, this option is the most recommended for audiovisual projects with tight budgets or commercials with a high reach that could result in large royalty fees.
In turn, this type of music not only saves you money but also saves you time, since it has been created specifically for certain uses in audiovisual productions such as:
Radio and TV broadcasts
Ads and program headers
Corporate and educational presentations
However, it should be said that the use you can make of the song depends on where you acquire the music track. There are platforms that limit the use of their songs to certain media, such as television only.
This is not usual, but there are some cases in which it is so.
However, do not worry about it, because we will present the best platforms for you to acquire the perfect stock music for your audiovisual project.
Where can I buy royalty-free stock music? The best service
On the Internet, you can find a multitude of platforms that offer royalty-free stock music. However, you don’t need many, but rather you need the ones that best suit your needs.
That’s why we’ve chosen the best four platforms on the market to make it easier for you to choose. In this way, you won’t lose time trying to search for better options.
The 3 best platforms for acquiring licensed stock music
Once we have seen the two platforms to buy stock music individually (by song) now we are going to present you with the 3 best subscription services where you can find the best music for your audiovisual projects.
Epidemic Sound is one of the top references in the licensed stock music industry. Since its creation in 2009, this Swedish company has been able to get into the pockets of many creators of audiovisual content.
The reason for this is an extensive music library with more than 30,000 music tracks and more than 60,000 exclusive sound effects that you will not find anywhere else.
Epidemic sound has two types of subscriptions: the ‘Personal Plan’, whose audience is independent content creators, and the ‘Commercial Plan’ which is more focused on companies in the sector.
The former has the following features:
Unlimited downloads for the duration of the subscription
No copyright issues, as all music is copyright-free
Music library with new songs every week
Possibility to monetize your audiovisual projects
Special features like ‘Find Similar’ to find music tracks similar to the one you liked, or ‘Stems’ to remove sound elements from the song as you like
With respect to the ‘Commercial Plan’, not only does it have the same advantages as the ‘Creator Subscription’ but it also provides its users with the following added benefits:
One simple authorization for all client productions
Covered on all online platforms
Unlimited use in digital ads
Its monthly cost is $49/month, or if you prefer to make a single annual payment, its cost will be $299/year. However, they are offering a free month for new users to test the platform inside at no cost.
You probably already know Envato, the great giant of digital markets focused on creative solutions. In fact, I already told you about it when I introduced you to AudioJungle, which is also part of this marketplace.
Envato Elements, on the other hand, is also a musical solution from Envato but different from AudioJungle.
It’s a monthly subscription service where you have access to a large sound library with over 90,000 audio tracks including songs and sound effects.
All of them are filterable by speed -in beats per minute or BPMS-, music genre, and duration, among other filters. Their songs will be perfect as an accompaniment to your audiovisual project because the vast majority are instrumental.
Among their characteristics, we can find the following:
Full access to the catalog and its weekly news
Unlimited downloads as long as the subscription remains active
Unlimited use on all your videos
No copyright claims
You can unsubscribe at any time
Unlike Epidemic Sound, Envato Elements maintains the same cost for your monthly subscription: $15 / month. As you can see, an affordable price for a premium music service.
Artlist.io is the platform that completes the podium of services that offer licensed stock music. Despite being the youngest service of the three -it was created in 2016-, this Israeli company has arrived with strength.
And one of the reasons is because of its Universal License that covers, practically, all uses.
Any song you download can be used in most audiovisual products, with social networking videos, movies, or commercials being the most prominent.
Among its most notable advantages are the following:
Unlimited downloads for the duration of the subscription
Lifetime use of downloaded songs
Library renovated month by month with new music tracks
Monetization of your videos through YouTube
Use in any project, whether commercial or not
This magnificent license costs $199 per year, about $16.60 per month. One payment and you will have access to its great library where you will find one of the best sources of stock music on the Internet.
Take a look at it and, if you like it, you can get two months free by subscribing to their newsletter and accessing through the following button:
AudioJungle, the best for purchasing individual licenses
Of all the royalty-free stock music platforms, AudioJungle is possibly the best one to get individual licenses per song.
It has one of the largest music libraries you’ll find on the Internet, with over a million audio tracks, including songs and sound effects.
Owned by the giant digital marketplace Envato, this marketplace has individual licenses for each song whose cost varies depending on the number of plays or downloads that your audio-visual piece has.
For example, if you use a song in a video with less than 10,000 plays or downloads, you will need the ‘Standard’ license, which costs between $26 and $29 per song.
But if you are assuming that your AV work exceeds that a number of plays or downloads, then you will need the ‘Mass Reproduction’ license, with which you will have no limit on downloads and plays. In this case, the price per song will be between $80 and $100.
But AudioJungle also has sound effects and different licenses depending on the use:
Can only be used on one project
Between $1 and $5 per license
Can be used in several projects
Between $3 and $15 per license
As you can see, a very affordable cost for projects where the budget is tight. All this added to one of the biggest music libraries on the whole Internet.
So, if you need single songs to use in your audiovisual works, there’s no doubt: AudioJungle will be your best ally.
Looking at the top four licensed stock music platforms, you may have the following question:
Are there sites with free stock music?
Yes, there are.
They are sites that have what is known as public domain music and music licensed under creative commons.
However, they are an option that we do not recommend for sounding an audiovisual piece, for several reasons:
Although these are royalty-free licenses, it is possible that, in the future, their authors will choose to sell their rights to other organizations, in which case they may ask for certain financial amounts.
Since it is free music, it will have been downloaded and used in many projects. Therefore, it will not offer you the levels of quality or originality that your audiovisual piece needs.
Below we leave you with the free sites to find the most famous stock music on the Internet.
YouTube Audio Library
YouTube Audio Library is the sound library of the Internet video giant. In this music library, you will find stock music in the form of songs and sound effects 100% free.
But it has certain limitations. Apart from having to mention the author of the piece of music in your audiovisual work, you can only use the music in this library for free if the video is published on YouTube.
Otherwise, you will be in breach of the music track’s copyright and may be penalized financially.
Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive is one of the best-known platforms for finding free stock music under the Creative Commons licenses.
Through its website, you can download their songs for free, legal and at no cost. But, just as with YouTube Audio Library, it will also be necessary to mention the artist of the music track in your audiovisual piece.
Is stock music the same as production music?
It’s true that, at this point in the article, you may be familiar with all this stock music, which may lead you to ask the question above.
The truth is that it is a question that many of our readers have asked us and, therefore, we want to answer it here to clarify it once and for all.
Indeed, stock music and production music are the same thing.
Both terms refer to the same kind of music: songs that have been specifically created to be used in audiovisual works such as radio programs, TV series, video games, podcasts, movies, or corporate videos, among others.
Therefore, you may conclude that…
Stock Music Libraries = Production Music Libraries
However, there are many audiovisual productions that, instead of going to stock music libraries, choose to have personalized music.
Another option to add music to your audiovisual productions: Personalized music
If your project has a big budget and you can dedicate an important part of it to music, or if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the bookstores with stock music, maybe you’re looking to create personalized music.
It is about one or several songs that are composed and produced with only one purpose: to offer you a unique and unrepeatable sound for your audiovisual project.
To do this, you will need to go to a professional composer who will be in charge of shaping that sound you are looking for. Or you can go to an online music production studio that will do the job for you. Some of the most renowned ones in the sector are:
But you must bear in mind that this option is the most expensive of all. Just as in any other sector, having a personalized solution adapted to your needs requires a great amount of time and economic resources.
Now you can clearly say that you know everything about stock music.
You have already seen that stock music, also known as production music, library music or archive music, is nothing more than music that has been created to be used in projects, mainly audiovisual.
You’ve also learned that it can be free or paid, the most recommended being the paid one because you won’t have future problems with copyrights, you won’t have to mention the author and it will offer you the originality and quality that your project needs.
In turn, this music can be licensed or royalty-free, and each of the options has its pros and cons.
On the one hand, licensed stock music is limited to certain uses -it cannot be used for any project- and, in addition, its cost is variable since it depends on numerous factors that will make the acquisition of such music more expensive.
On the other hand, royalty-free stock music gives you the same facilities and advantages as licensed stock music, but it has other added benefits, the most notable being that it has a fixed price and is cheaper than other options and that the songs are designed to be used in audiovisual projects.
From both options, you have been able to discover which are the best platforms on the market.
All of them are great options, similar to each other, but with their characteristic aspects. Now it’s up to you to know where to buy the best stock music.
Pablo Olóndriz – Legis Music Founder-
Pablo Olóndriz founded Legis Music in 2016 and, since then, has been working non-stop on the online Royalty-Free industry, managing to build a great source of information for people who need amazing background music for their projects and videos.
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