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Where to Find Free Music for Youtube Videos

Updated on May 19, 2013

Finding free or cheap music for video is always an essential task for producing your videos. Music can add emotion and depth to your videos and increase the production quality.

Creative Commons Website

A very useful website that has been translated from legal speak into normal human, readable language.

Creative Commons or "Royalty Free"

Before you start your search for music, you must know and understand the terms used for licensing music. Royalty-free and Creative Commons are often mixed together. Royalty free means that you don't need to pay royalties on the music, photo or video that you've purchased. Creative Commons is the license that people release their work under.

Creative Commons is a way for people to easily allow or restrict what you can and can't do with their work. Tracks released under Creative Commons will list out, in easy format the rules for using the music.

You can easily look for works that are available for commercial use and find tracks that can be edited and modified to your liking.

Creative Commons and YouTube

YouTube does not currently require a print license to use Creative Commons tracks. You are able to dispute claims and YouTube will release the claim if you link them the Creative Commons 3.0 License.

Disputing Copyright Claims

If your audio has been wrongfully blocked on Youtube, here's a helpful guide on how to get your audio back and how to dispute a claim.

What License Should I Look For?

If you're on YouTube and you are monetizing your videos, you'll want to make sure that you find works that are available for you to use commercially. Non-commercial licenses will be designated by the dollar sign crossed out in a circle or written as "NC".

If you want to edit or tweak the music for your video, avoid a licenses that says "ND" or non derivative works.

I would recommend you search for music that is available for you to use by Attribution or the "BY" function. This music can be edited, used commercially and only requires you to give credit to the original creator.

Collaborate With YouTube Artists

YouTube is a community of creators and chances are if you ask someone if you can use their music in your video, they'll usually give you permission to as it benefits both your channels (they get exposure to your audience and you get music for your video). It never hurts to ask anyway, the worst that can happen is they say no.

Contacting YouTube Artists

When messaging the YouTube artist whose music you want to use, be sure that your videos could be beneficial to them. Show them a video of what you've done and explain why you would like to use their music. Be sure to let them know you will give them full credit!

Be sure to give them credit, with a link to their website (if they have one) and their channel. It's also a common courtesy to just put a little text in your video or credits within the video with their name, channel name, website, etc. They're doing you a favor by allowing you to use their music, so make sure you return the favor!

This could lead to potential traffic to your channel, as they could tell their audience about your video and it could also lead to potential collaborations down the road. Always be sure to keep your friendships and relationships with YouTubers on both a professional and positive manner. You never know what opportunities can come from a casual encounter.

Creative Commons Music Databases

How to Search for Creative Commons Music

Searching for Creative Commons music has become a lot easier on websites than it used to be. Each website listed below will have the option in their search engine to look only for music that has been released under the Creative Commons License. Additional information like whether you can use it in commercial settings, or whether you need to attribute or link back to the artist is listed, often graphically.

What's your favorite website for music?

See results

Recommended Websites

Incompetech - one the largest and most well known database. Every track on this website is available for use, both commercially and non-commercially. There's even an option to buy the track to get a license (if you wish to bypass having to attribute). One of the only problems I've ever encountered is that since it's so well known, and I've used a lot of the tracks myself, you begin to release that certain songs are used in hundreds of videos on YouTube. However, it's hard to complain because I love Kevin MacLeod's music.

Danosongs - Like Incompetech, this small website is a list of songs available for commercial and non-commercial work with just giving credit and linking back.

Soundcloud - a community website where artists are able to upload their music and release them under different licenses. This is by far the easiest website to search for exactly what you want. The Creative Commons license is displayed right at the right of the track, so you can easily tell if a track is available for commercial use without having to navigate to another page to check the license.

Searching for Creative Commons music on Sound Cloud.
Searching for Creative Commons music on Sound Cloud. | Source

Jamendo - a large website that has multiple options for cheap and free music. One note I have with this website is that you do not have to buy the license in order to use the track, for certain tracks under certain licenses. If the license is "By Attribution" there is no need to purchase a license for your YouTube video - just credit the artist and link back to their website.

YouTube - to access the creative commons, copyright free music open the video editor on YouTube. While it's not a spectacular library, it's at least an option if you find something you like or don't really require anything special for your video.


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