Receiving a copyright claim can be terrifying, especially for small independent creators who have worked hard on a project, only to have it taken away from them due to using audio they didn’t own. It can be incredibly confusing to figure out what music you can actually use for your projects, since it may seem like all songs are available to you if you paid for them. While you may be able to listen to any song without copyright repercussion, you’ll have to double check the royalties of a song if you want to use it in a YouTube video or a work project. Thankfully, there are dozens of sites that provide royalty-free audio that anyone can use without ever fearing a copyright claim against them. While some royalty-free music does come with a stipulation (the creator of the song you’re using may require you to credit them somewhere in your work), you won’t have to pay a dime to anyone. Here are some great sites to check out in order to find music and audio clips that are royalty-free.
Best places to find free music, sounds, and other audio
YouTube has really gotten serious about removing videos that feature copyright audio in them over the past few years. As a way to discourage the use of copyrighted music, they’ve created their own catalog of royalty-free audio clips and music. While some require attribution, they are all completely free, and you can easily see which ones require you to credit the artist. You’ll also be happy to know that all of these clips can be downloaded for offline use in addition to their original purpose for being used in YouTube content.
PremiumBeat is a subsidiary to one of the largest stock images sites on the web (Shutterstock), so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular sites for finding stock audio. Some of their prices are a little high, but their selection of royalty-free music is probably the largest you’ll ever find. They also have curated most of the music themselves, so you can find the highest quality music easily through their editor’s pick playlist.
They also have an interesting YouTube channel dedicated to helping you find the right audio for your video projects. It can be very helpful when getting started with using audio clips.
While many sites, like Amazon, require you to purchase the rights to their music individually, Epidemic Sound gives you their music on a subscription basis. This means you have access to all music in their library, so long as your subscription is active. Even if your subscription is canceled, you’re only barred from making future content with their music. You’re still able to keep any content you’ve already posted online, so you don’t have to worry if you end up not wanting to continue with the service. This is the ideal site for content creators, such as YouTubers and Instagram influencers, since it gives you such an expansive library, instead of just individual songs.
Purple Planet is all about discovering the right sound to fit your project. Instead of sorting their music by genre, they sort by mood and emotion. Some examples are “gentle”, “playful”, and “creepy”. They provide royalty-free music for a price, and also their own, Purple Planet, free music for you to try. Most of their music is specifically created to be placed into YouTube videos. This means that you don’t have to worry about whether the audio will match your content as long as it fits the mood you’re going for.
This site may require you to understand music theory a little bit in order to fully utilize it, but if you understand concepts like “depth” and “power” then you’ll be able to create incredible videos using music that fits your exact concepts. Like Purple Planet, Filmstro lets you search by more “feeling-based” genres than actual genre titles. This lets you look for something that fits the exact mood of the videos you’re trying to create.
It may be strange to think about, but it’s sometimes harder to find simple audio clips over the plethora of royalty-free music there is. However, these clips do exist, and can be found at an impressively cheap subscription over at Storyblocks Audio. They also have royalty-free music, but their expansive collection of audio clips is the main benefit of using it.
We’ve also detailed some more intricate details about Storyblocks Video, if you’re looking for stock videos as well as audio.
Depending on what you need the audio for, it may be worth looking into a few of these options for putting a video together. However, for the most part, you’ll only ever have to go through one or two of these sites to get everything you need. So find the one that works best for you!