free music for youtubeIt 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:

Youtube for Artists
Promoting Art with Video
Ways to Get Youtube Views


To find legal, copyright free music, it is important to know some of the lingo:

  1. 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.

  2. royalty free musicRoyalty 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

Promote Art with Video

Read the specific requirements given by the musician. Generally, credits should be given in this format:

Edmont Overture, Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


Websites with Free Music – Royalty Free and Copyright Free

  1. 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 love

  2. Free Sound Track Music – This site offers music under two categories: royalty free and free with credit.

  3. DanO Songs – Dan O offers his music as either free with a credit in the video, or royalty free when no credit is given.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 music

  7. PacDV – Music at PacDV can be used for free, but credit should be given.

  8. Musopen – Musopen has many tunes with expired copyright (public domain).

  9. Beatpick – Beatpick’s music is royalty free, but can be used in non-profit and non-commercial videos completely free.

  10. 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.

Post a Comment Blogger

  1. Hello -

    I've found that YouTube itself is a great place to choose free music for your videos.

    On my first video, I did get permission from a record company to use a specific song I wanted. And like you said, YouTube put advertising on my video and my page, even though I had followed the record company's instructions on credits. So I went to the Audio tab in Video Manager on my YouTube Channel and found that there are well over 100,000 songs to choose from.

    You can narrow the search to songs that match the length of your video, and songs that are ad-free. I've done 3 videos now and have been able to find perfectly appropriate music for each one right there on YouTube. Here's my channel if you want to see examples:

    Happy searching,

  2. We've written a few articles about using music on YouTube including copyright issues and using free music. Worth a read for those new and experienced in the industry. Check it out here:

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