A great soundtrack can take your video project to the next level. Finding inspiration is easy; the hard part is finding music that’s affordable and doesn’t violate any copyright laws.
Luckily, video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo have started building their own music libraries for creators to borrow from if they can’t rely on talented friends, and there are plenty of songwriters online who are willing to share their tracks as well.
Many of the songs on these sites are completely free to use for your project, with no royalties or licensing fees. For the tracks that aren’t free, you’ll pay a one-time licensing fee to download the music and you’ll be supporting an artist.
Here are a few of our favorites:
If you have some editing skills, this collection of samples, remixes, and a cappella tracks is great for incorporating into your own music to use in your video. Beastie Boys, DJ Vadim, and other well-known artists have tracks on here that are legal and free to sample under a Creative Commons license.
The editing software itself is pricey, but it comes with 1,300 royalty-free sound effects that you can download through a free software update. They can be accessed through the built-in Music and Sound Browser.
Our own web video team recommends composer Kevin MacLeod, who has a treasure chest of tracks in styles ranging from “Disco and Lounge” to “Elegant Piano” that he allows other people to use for free under a Creative Commons license. (Ask him for a quote if you want to commission something original.) The site also has instructions on how to get a Sans Attribution license for television or radio, and how to properly attribute the pieces on YouTube so the videos won’t be taken down.
This socially savvy network has a special section just for tracks that were uploaded under a Creative Commons license. This means you’re free to use them as long as you follow the guidelines established by the artist. This is a good place to find tracks that don’t sound like background music. Just like ccMixter, SoundCloud has a few artists like Snoop Lion that will lay down a beat and invite other musicians to make a remix.
Inside the YouTube video editor, you’ll find a library of pre-approved tracks that you can use in your video free of charge. You won’t recognize most of the songs (although there is a cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in there somewhere), but there are many styles to choose from to suit your mood.
Vimeo also has a catalog of songs for video creators to use. Some of them are free, while others start at $1.99 per download. As on YouTube, the selection here is outstanding.
Want more? Check Out: 10 Royalty Free Music Sites Every Online Video Creator Should Know
Image by Aleksander1.
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