14 Sources for Completely Free Music for Video and Film
It’s hard to overstate the importance of music in post production. Particularly in short form projects, music sets the tone and can inspire the style. While custom music is wonderful and I have never once regretted hiring a composer, there are always situations where the budget does not allow for such expenditures. Although free licensed music is fairly common, it’s surprisingly hard to find consistent sources- even the Creative Commons site links to defunct and paid sources- so we compiled a list of the best sites to find music if your remaining budget is around the $0 mark.
These are pretty much all licensed under creative commons 3.0, so don’t be a jerk about it, follow the guidelines they’ve put in place. These composers and producers are offering you their product for free, the least you can do is properly attribute it.
A wellspring of high quality free music, FMA has done a lot of the work for us. They’ve created a large library of creative commons music, which is searchable by genre and license type.
The website of composer Kevin MacLeod, it is one of the earliest and best sources of creative commons music available. The feature film ‘Hugo’ is among MacLeod’s over 2000 IMDB credits. While FMA now hosts much of Kevin’s music as well, Incompetech’s search tools are more robust and intuitive. The mp3 versions of songs are freely available, but high quality audio files, often containing multiple versions of a given song are available for a very reasonable sum.
Like Incompetech, Bensound is a site from a single, prolific source, french composer Benjamin Tissot. While Bensounds terms are slightly more restrictive, you are still free to use tracks in videos, including for certain commercial uses.
Opsound is a library featuring Creative Commons music from many artists, searchable by genre and tag. The licenses of songs vary slightly by artist, but most are available for commercial use in videos. The site does make the distinction that use of a song in a video constitutes a derivative work, so for any No Derivatives licenses, you’d have to contact the artist to receive permission to use it in a video.
Netlabels hosts albums that aren’t all necessarily Creative Commons, but a high enough percentage are that it’s still a useful source. Be sure to check the license of any song you’re interested in, because they vary pretty significantly from artist to artist.
Under the umbrella of a source for collaborating musicians, digCCmixer contains thousands of free to use tracks, including a huge portion that are licensed for commercial use. The site features handy search functions, including an instrumental filter, license type, genre, instrument, and style tags.
While Pond5 is probably best known for stock footage and royalty free music to purchase, they also play host to a variety of free music. While many of their free tracks are lo fi archival music, they have a fair assortment of other works, including a good selection of classical songs.
A collection of, unsurprisingly, electronic music but with tracks in a variety of genres. Available under creative commons 4.0, requiring only attribution.
A source for music in a variety of different categories. The tracks can be used in commercial or non-commercial projects with attribution, but are subject to other restrictions, such as broadcast.
The site of composer Ian McCullough. He provides tracks for free under creative commons 4.0, requiring attribution and share alike.
Close to 60 tracks available under creative commons 4.0, requiring attribution. Music seems to be composed largely with ‘traditional’ software instruments.
In addition to footage, sound effects, and motion graphics, Videvo also has Creative Commons music. Licenses vary.
Fesliyan Studios offers music, with a focus on ‘score’ type tracks, for non-commercial projects and requires only attribution.
That’s right. That YouTube. They’ve created an audio library with free-to-use tracks. The licenses vary by track, but the vast majority appear to have no restrictions on use. As a bonus, they have also provided a sound effects library.