Music is important for the soul, but it’s also important for creative video products. Whether you’re creating a product/explainer video, building awareness around a brand or cause, or working on a personal project for fun, you’ll almost always need music to complement your visuals. But where do you find this music and what are laws do you have to worry about? Read on for a high-level analysis of music copyright and some resources to find free tracks for your videos.

The Importance of Music Licensing

Music royalties are an important part of the commercial process for an emerging or established artist. Therefore, unless specifically deemed otherwise, attributing credit and paying for the content is ethical and practical. Not all music licenses are the same, however and there are types of licenses that don’t make you pay unless you’re using the song to make money and some that don’t make you pay at all.

A License to Sync

By definition, a music license is, “the right, granted by the copyright holder or his/her agent, for the broadcast, recreation, or performance of a copyrighted work.” A “synch” license is a term for synchronizing visuals and sound. The synchronization license is the copyright most relevant to the producer or director of a film using audio in their project.

Paying for Sound

Purchasing music is not required in all situations, but it is the standard process when creating professional work. Whenever someone publishes their music with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO), their content then goes into a database where anyone can buy it and pay the appropriate royalties. Royalties are recurring payments for the music.

Royalty-Free Music

Royalty-Free music allows a person to purchase a license only once and allows them to use it as long as they want without having to pay continued royalties in the future. This type of license is great for one-time sales and not having to worry about fees from use.

The Public Domain

Music in the public domain is available for anyone to use without needing to purchase a license or attribute credits to the creator. Essentially, these works are usually those that have expired their royalties or have been purposely assigned as open-source.

The Creative Commons

The Creative Commons license is a type of public copyright that allows creators to give others the right to share, use and add upon existing work. There are many types of of creative commons licenses, including those that are free for only non-commercial use, commercial and noncommercial use and those that do and do not require attribution to the author.

Now that you have an understanding of the types of licenses out there, it’s time to check out some places where you can find this content! Be sure to do additional research on the type of license you’re using and the appropriate laws that apply.

Free Music Licenses

33 Websites that offer Free Music – If you want a long list of websites that offer free music (as in free-free), then go no further. Great list put together by the group at McCoy Productions.

Free Music Archive – The Free Music Archive also has a pretty hefty list of free music that it’s curated throughout the years. You can support the movement by donating to the cause!

Youtube Audio Library – The king of video couldn’t be any less than the prince of audio and so Youtube’s extensive music library highlights its commitment to creators. Paid and unpaid music.

Paid Platforms

Getty Images Contrary to it’s name, Getty has more than just images. Alongside a suite of stock photos and videos are licensed music products that you can purchase.

AudioJungleWith deals starting as low as $1, AudioJungle is a serious option for purchasing royalty-free music. Which means you pay a low price and only once!

MusicbedAnother website where you can buy royalty free licenses, music bed is a great platform that serves some of the greatest brands in the world, including yours!

AudioblocksThe subscription economy has gotten stronger and Audioblocks has taken advantage of it. Check out this site for a monthly payment that gets you the music you need.

All rights reserved Salient.