15 Best FREE Websites to Find Royalty-Free Music

Royalty-free music

Finding a great tune for your next video might be a real challenge. If you manage to find the right music, it can enhance your video message like nothing else. At the same time, a bad tune might ruin the whole thing, giving it the wrong tone and message.

If you take a look at YouTube, almost all videos have music. Every day, it’s becoming a real challenge for video-makers to find the best royalty-free music, especially if they are on a shoestring budget.

Before we continue, we need to address what royalty-free music is and what it isn’t.

What Exactly is Royalty-Free Music?

Royalty-free music is a type of music licensing that grants the buyer the right to use the music in different applications upon a one time purchase, without having to pay royalties to the owner for recurrent use.

So, are there free royalty-free music?

Some artists and audio providers do allow you to use their music for free without paying the upfront fee. However, they retain the copyright to the song. The artist decides the type of license the music has. For more on licenses, check further down this blog.

Free Websites To Find Royalty-Free Music

Now that you know the basics of royalty-free music, I’ll share some great websites with royalty-free music. You will also find my tips on how to search and use music in your videos.

I hope it will help you find compelling music files and make your videos even better.

Here’s the list of  best royalty-free music sites (researched and tested):

  1. Wave.video
  2. Icons8
  3. HookSounds
  4. YouTube audio library
  5. Facebook sound collection
  6. Purple Planet
  7. Soundcloud
  8. Bensound
  9. Epidemic Sound
  10. TeknoAxe
  11. Josh Woodward
  12. free-stock-music
  13. Artlist
  14. Soundstripe
  15. PremiumBeat
  16. Bonus: Audiojungle

Here’s what I liked or didn’t like in each one of these websites.

1. Wave.video

In the audio library of Wave.video, you can find more than 300,000 royalty-free music clips. They come from premium and free audio providers. What I like about Wave.video is that you can preview every royalty-free music together with your video, cut, and edit it right in the browser.

Royalty-free music in Wave.video

2. Icons8

Icon8 royalty-free music

Great place to find some cool tunes. You can find thousands of tracks from small indie and jazz groups to classical pieces. Moreover, Icon8 provides not only music but video and photo stock, icons, as well!

3. HookSounds

Free stock music - hooksounds

HookSounds gives you access to exclusive royalty free music that you won’t find anywhere else as it was composed specifically for the website. Users can browse the catalog by artists, tags, moods, and more, which makes the navigation easy and smooth. HookSounds offers several music licenses that serve different purposes – the free license is for personal use only.

4. YouTube audio library

The official sound library of YouTube offers useful filters (genres, instruments, vocal, duration) that make your search process as short and precise as possible. In addition to that, the YouTube audio library also has a sound effect library, which makes it worth to be bookmarked.

YouTube free music collection

5. Facebook sound collection

Facebook sound collection is a part of Creator Studio. It strongly resembles the looks of YouTube audio library. However, they offer fewer filters, and some of the songs I found were quite heavy (30-70 Mb). But give it a try anyway: your next best free music might be hiding here.

Facebook sound collection

6. Purple Planet

As the name implies, this website is indeed purple. It is an independent library of royalty-free music that has been sorted according to how music makes you feel instead of by genre. If you still need the traditional genre filters, you might want to look elsewhere. It doesn’t exactly have a robust collection of royalty-free music, but they are all free to use with attribution. It offers commercial and broadcast licenses starting from $8 and $40.

Purple Planet royalty-free music

7. SoundCloud

If you are a YouTuber, this refreshing collection of royalty-free music on SoundCloud can be handy. I used this collection many times and here’s my verdict: you can always find some cool background tunes for your travel or talking-head videos. But don’t forget to put credits in your description.

SoundCloud royalty-free music

8. Bensound

Bensound offers a nice collection of royalty-free music from different collections: cinematic, acoustic/folk, electronica, etc.

As they state on the website, they operate under the Creative Commons license. This means that you can use the music on YouTube, Facebook, and other purposes. But you will need to credit Bensound. If you don’t want to credit Bensound, you can buy the license.

Bensound royalty-free music

9. Epidemic Sound

Epidemic Sound offers a vast collection of royalty-free music for any social channel. Although not free (subscription starts at $15/mo), there is a free trial to give you a feeling of what you can get with the full subscription.

Epidemic Sound royalty-free music

10. TeknoAxe

These folks have a weird-looking website, which might be a little challenging to navigate. There is no search box, so you’ll have to click through different categories in order to find the right track. All the music is under CC4 license (which means you will have to give credits when using it in your project).

TeknoAxe royalty-free music

11. Josh Woodward

Josh Woodward is a real person who wrote and recorded all the 200+ by himself. You are free to use any of the songs for whatever person, as long as you credit Josh and mention his website.

Josh Woodward royalty-free music

12. free-stock-music.com

This website with a pretty straightforward name offers  royalty-free music for your YouTube videos or projects (blog, vlog, podcast, social network, etc.) All they ask in return is to give them credit.

Royalty-free music com

13. Artlist

Artlist Royalty-free music website

Artlist partners with a large number of indie artists to make original tracks that are used by companies like Microsoft and Toyota. It takes an unusual approach to its pricing with a flat $199 annual price for unlimited downloads on all the music it offers. It does not offer free royalty-free music, but the paid plan gives you access to its advanced filtering system.

14. Soundstripe

SoundStripe Royalty-free music website

Soundstrip lets you create your own playlist if you don’t want to explore their well-curated playlist that already features genres like action and weddings. Apart from music, they have over 40,000 sound effects for your video. Like Artlist, it offers a yearly subscription plan starting at $11.25, and it doesn’t have a free plan.

15. PremiumBeat

PremiumBeat Royalty-free music website

PremiumBeat has a diverse collection of royalty-free music that might make great soundtracks for your videos. The site is backed by Shutterstock, so you can expect quality music and playlists. PremiumBeat boasts that you can’t find its music anywhere else on the internet. You can get all its tracks for $49.

Bonus: Audiojungle

Audiojungle Royalty-free music website

Audiojungle makes our list of best royalty-free music sites due to its cheap $1 tracks. Also known as Envato Market, it has a global community of musicians and sound engineers that keep it stocked with the best stock music in all genres. One of its unique features is its music kits, which you can use to customize your music to your taste.

How to find the best royalty-free music

When you look for a music track for your video, the main goal is to match your video and audio perfectly. There are many dimensions of how your videos (and music) can be described: tempo, mood, theme, style, and many more. Trying to describe your videos can help you find the best music for your video.

Here are some examples of how you can find the right track using keywords from different dimensions:

Adjectives:

Inspiring, relaxing, romantic, groovy

Emotions:

happy, sad, cheerful, anger, surprise

Music style:

Rock, jazz, jazzy, rap, electronic, idm

Instruments:

Acoustic guitar, piano, blues sax and etc.

Tempo:

Slow 45–70bpm (beats per minute), Fast 120-200bpm

Themes:

background, relax, city, forest, sport, travel, etc

Pro tip: If you still don’t know what kind of audio you need, try to find a professional video piece with the same style and topic on YouTube and describe what music they use in the video. This way you can understand what kind of instruments, genres, and tempo you’re looking for.

How to choose the best free music for your video?

Here are some tips to find out which music track best suits your video and how to understand it:

  1. Find the common mood of your video. It can be a romantic one, rock’n’rollish, dark, mysterious, etc. Choose a track to highlight the mood.
  2. If you have a voice or voiceover in your video, avoid using music with words over another voice or important sounds. Be sure the volume and dynamics of your music work well throughout the whole video and that the voice and other sound effects play along well together.
  3. Sync an action in your video with the music change or the “first” or the “last” beat. It’s an easy way to make a great sound transition from one part of your video to another.
  4. It’s always great to try out 3-5 different music tracks that seem to be great for your video footage. Send the version to a friend or two (perfect, if they are sound designers) and ask for the opinion.

How to use royalty-free music and audio in your videos

How many audio tracks should I use in my editing?

When you edit your videos professionally (using Adobe Premier, Final Cut, etc.), you can use as many audio tracks as you wish. In online editors like Wave.video, you can edit 1-2 audio tracks. Mostly, first audio track can be used for background music, another for sound effects, and third for voice-over if needed.

Add music to your videos with Wave.video

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How many music tracks and sounds should I use?

The answer to the question depends on the structure of your video.

If there are an introduction, main part and conclusion like in the movies, you can use different music and sound effects for each one of these parts. It helps you separate these parts for viewers.

It’s ok to use one music track theme during the whole video.

But there’s still nothing wrong with using only one track on repeat for a short video. Some creators use one track theme during the whole video, mixing it with others.

Can I use royalty-free music for any purpose?

Be aware of the Creative Commons license and public domain usage rights. Understanding of these two things will help you use your free music properly in non-commercial and commercial use cases.

Additionally, on every website with “free” music, you will find usage rights information, clarifying what you can do. Often the only thing you should keep in mind using your royalty-free music is to give credits whether it’s a commercial or non-commercial video.

What is a Creative Commons License?

Creative Commons (CC) is a system created for classifying different kinds of music licenses. Many artists want their music to be used and shared, but only under certain conditions. Failure to follow the conditions can result in your video being taken down on platforms like YouTube or a full-blown lawsuit.

There are four distinct conditions of usage, attribution, and distribution:

  1. Attribution: The artist has to be credited whenever the music is used.
  2. Non-Commercial: Your work will be limited to non-commercial purposes.
  3. No Derivative Works: Prohibits the production of derivative sounds with the music.  
  4. Share Alike: Allows copied production, but the work will retain the original music license.

These four conditions are combined in 6 different ways to obtain six types of Creative Commons licenses:

  • BY (Attribution)
  • BY-SA (Attribution and Share Alike)
  • BY-ND (Attribution and No Editing)
  • BY-NC (Attribution and No Commercial Use)
  • BY-NC-SA (Attribution, No Commercial Use, and Share Alike)
  • BY-NC-ND (Attribution, No Commercial Use, and No Editing)

Royalty-Free Music FAQs 

Can I Use 30 Seconds of A Copyrighted Song?

Even though it is a popular opinion that under the “fair use” provision, it is safe to use less than 30 seconds of a song without consequences, it doesn’t make it necessarily true in all cases. Copyright law is complex, and your business is safe when it uses or pays for music from legitimate sources like Wave.video.

What is Public Domain Music?

This refers to music that doesn’t have copyright protection. You can use these songs without paying or receiving explicit permission from the artist. However, there are very few of them, and they may not always suit your intended use.

Is Royalty-Free Music Free?

Not all are free. You can make a one-time payment for the song’s license and use it as much as you like. Although you can get some royalty-free music at no cost, its use will be limited.

Is there a difference between free and paid royalty-free music?

Yes, free royalty-free music has a lot of restrictions. On the other hand, you can pay once for the music license to avoid any limitations to your work. Paid royalty-free music also generally have higher sound quality than free royalty-free music.

Is copyright-free music the same as royalty-free music?

No. Copyright-free music is songs with expired copyrights or whose rights have been sold to a third-party. Essentially, you can attain the copyright of copyright-free music. With royalty-free music, you can buy the right to use the songs, not their copyrights.

Can I make money from royalty-free music?

Yes. The music can be used for commercial purposes if explicitly stated in the license agreement.

Conclusion

Now you know some great places to find free music, and this article has helped to understand how to find the right one. As with everything in video editing, it takes some practice to understand what type of music works better for this or that kind of video.

What are your favorite websites for royalty-free music? Do you have any tips for finding the best piece of music for your video? Share in the comments below!

11 Best Websites to Find Royalty-Free Music

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