Whether you’re working on a video, podcast or even something more ambitious like a film, documentary or event, music has an incredible power to transform. Sometimes I’ll be working on a video that seems to be going nowhere – I chuck in a piece of music and bam! Everything falls into place like a slo-mo jigsaw puzzle.
But wherever music involved comes the subject of copyrights and licensing. If you’ve invested plenty of time and money into your project, then maybe it’s better to bite the bullet and spend some money without the hassle of royalties. That being said, there’s plenty of free options, as long as you’re willing to do some digging.
So here are some great sites that can gear you up with tracks to suit any mood or occasion. Some of them are free, others charge flat fees or follow a simple subscription based model. Either way they’re effective sources for easily getting music for any creative project.
AudioJungle is not just a great place for getting cheap stock music, but also sound effects, ambients and introductory logo sounds (like those you get at the start of a newscast), so you’ve got sound to suit any occasion. You could basically produce an entire movie soundtrack with the files available to you at AudioJungle.
Price Range: 10 – 20 USD per track.
Music for Makers
Want a free song every week? Try Music for Makers. People I know who use Music For Makers are mainly impressed with quality. Although it is a paid, subscription based service, they also have another feature: If you sign up by e-mail, you’ll receive one free song every week. This allows you to judge the quality and see if it’s right for you.
The best thing about the free song is you can use it however you want. It’s basically yours, and for free.
The paid service is much more comprehensive, offering an almost infinite range of genres, styles and moods, and allowing you to adjust pieces of music to suit your likings and needs.
Price Range: 10 – 25 USD per track, 35 per month for 5 songs per month, or 199 per year to unlock all their music.
Thinking of the right piece of music to suit a situation can sometimes be a bit difficult, but luckily Music Bakery makes that so much easier. You can find music by Style, Category or Mood. And like Music for Makers, when you purchase a song you are given it in a range of lengths for a variety of purposes, from introductions to credits. The quality is fantastic and will instantly put you into the states of mind that each piece inspires.
Price Range: 47 USD per music package
Like Audiojungle, Premium Beat is a great place for both Music and SFX. It’s called ‘Premium Beats’ for a reason, which explains the higher price. But as we’re all grudgingly beginning to accept, you get what you paid for.
The site has an excellent search functionality. You can search by popularity, genre and mood, and sort by factors such as Beats Per Minute (BPM), length and loops set.
Price Range: 49 USD per track, 40 – 60 USD for SFX packages
Don’t let the strange name fool you, Incompetech is one of the best sources for free stock music. All that its creator asks is that you provide credits.
That creator, by the way, is Kevin MacLeod, legendary producer who has composed music for games like the Stanley Parable, web series like CGP Grey, CollegeHumor and films like Hugo. But that only scratches the surface of Kevin’s impressive C.V, and Incompetech will allow you to experience a lot more.
The site doesn’t have the best search functionality, so you’ll find yourself sorting through many, many files. But the time you spend discovering all sorts of sounds is part of the fun of Incompetech. You’ll immensely enjoy the experience of using this site.
This CC (Creative Commons) site provides free music for three separate categories: film/video; commercial projects and video games. Music is searched by tags, so you’ll find yourself digging through a bit, but like Incompetech, that’s part of the fun of using CCMixter.
That’s right, good old Youtube is a haven for composers uploading free music. Some of these talented musicians have been offered to work under contract on big-budget Hollywood films and video games, but many of them choose instead to share their creations through video streaming.
If you plan to use theor music, you need to be sure if they have specified if A) they own this music and B) they have given you permission to use it (and for what purposes – ie, commercial use). Composers uploading to Youtube do not always state their conditions, so the best idea is to get in touch and ask what their terms and conditions for allowing you to use their music. Who knows, you might find yourself hiring a very talented composer that Hollywood’s finest couldn’t!