It can be difficult finding legal, copyright free music for video creation. If you create videos for Youtube, Vimeo or other online video sharing services, it is important to pay attention to copyright laws.
It’s no secret that strict copyright laws govern most commercial music. Youtube has become quite good at tracking illegal music in videos.
In many cases, if Youtube notices you have copyrighted music, they will either mute it or place ads there. Proceeds from the advertisements will go to the music artist or record label. Viewers may get the impression that you are making money from your videos – when in actuality you are not. Of course this is not desirable, especially for art slideshows, so it may be necessary to find music which is offered free of charge, without restrictions.
Find the other posts in this Youtube for Artists Series here:
To find legal, copyright free music, it is important to know some of the lingo:
- Copyright free – This means the performer who owns the copyright offers the music for free. There may be partial requirements in some cases, such as providing a music credit.
- Royalty free – A royalty free license allows video producers to use a video to pay for it one time, and use the music as often as they want.
- Public domain music – Music is considered public domain if the rights have expired, it has not had copyright to begin with, or the musician has proclaimed the music as public domain.
- Creative Commons License – Some music producers give their music a Creative Commons License. If searching for free music for videos, seek out music with a CC: By Attribution or Attribution – Sharealike.
When searching for your music, it is important to always pay attention to requirements, and to give credit where it is due.
How to Give Music Credit on a Youtube Video
Read the specific requirements given by the musician. Generally, credits should be given in this format:
Edmont Overture, Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Websites with Free Music – Royalty Free and Copyright Free
- Incompetech Free Music – This is the site I use when creating my Youtube videos. This website has loads of music from Kevin MacLeod, in a range of styles. Music on this website can be used for free with a credit within the video. A license can be purchased if you do not want to give credit, or in special circumstances.
- Free Sound Track Music – This site offers music under two categories: royalty free and free with credit.
- DanO Songs – Dan O offers his music as either free with a credit in the video, or royalty free when no credit is given.
- ccMixter – ccMixter is an online community for music producers and music lovers. There is plenty of copyright free and royalty music here for use in your Youtube video.
- Partners in Rhyme – You will find royalty free and copyright free music at Partners in Rhyme. This website also offers sound effects, midi files, free music loops and free audio software.
- Public Domain 4 U – Music where the copyright has expired or the owner has given it away freely is called public domain. Public Domain 4 U is a good source of many of those old tunes of the early 1900s, and is perfectly safe and legal to use in Youtube videos.
- PacDV – Music at PacDV can be used for free, but credit should be given.
- Musopen – Musopen has many tunes with expired copyright (public domain).
- Beatpick – Beatpick’s music is royalty free, but can be used in non-profit and non-commercial videos completely free.
- Jamendo – Has hundreds of thousands of songs, listed under various licenses… many of the are free to use.
For those of you wanting music for a Youtube video, I hope this list serves you well. If there are any other royalty free and copyright free music websites I have not mentioned, please include them below.