12 Best Websites to Find Royalty Free Music

If you’re into producing videos or podcasts, music is a critical aspect of your production.

Music has the power to evoke the right emotions, and thus your choice of music has a big impact on how effective your content is.

If you have the budget for it, having a music producer create bespoke music for your content is ideal. But it can cost quite a pretty penny.

Another option is downloading music off the internet, but if you’re not careful, you might download music that’s owned by someone else and you might be fined in the thousands of dollars, or worse, jailed.

Avoid the hassle and the heartbreak by sticking to free or royalty-free music instead. Here are the best websites to browse and download royalty-free music.

What Types Of Music Can I Download Legally?

First order of business: making sure that you download the right type of music.

When you browse these websites, you’ll see different types of music and licenses. It might get confusing figuring out where, when, and how you can use a certain type of music, so let’s break it down.

Music royalties are payments made to the copyright holder to use that music for a specific purpose for a definite period of time.

For instance, if you wanted to use a John Legend song for a marketing video, you’d have to contact the copyright holder of that song and draw up a contract indicating what music you’re using and which specific part, for what purpose, and how long you can use it for.

The usual condition is that you have to pay royalties every time your video is viewed.

Royalty-Free Music gives users the right to use copyrighted music without having to pay royalties for recurring use of the content.

If a piece of music is royalty-free, it allows the buyer to pay once and use the music for as long as they want.

Royalty-free music is NOT the same as free music.

Free music can either be public domain or under a Creative Commons license.

Public domain refers to all works, including music, that are not protected by copyright and can be used without asking for permission or being required to pay the original artist.

That means public domain music can be used by anyone for any purpose for as long as it’s in the public domain.

On the other hand, a Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work.

The idea is that every CC license ensures that licensors and artists get the credit they deserve for their hard work even as they release their work without requiring payment.

Some CC licenses prohibit end-users to incorporate such work in commercial content, that is, if the end-users stand to profit from the end product.

For more details about what each CC license involves, check out the Creative Commons website.

Where To Get Royalty Free Music

Now that you know what kind of music you can expect, let’s look at the list of the best websites to get royalty-free music.

What you’re looking for is a website that has an easily searchable music library, a simple attribution process, and a wide variety of genres, artists, and moods to choose from.

1. Artlist

Artlist offers a variety of sound effects and music. They’re primarily geared toward films and videos, but you can use them for web videos, TV, video games, mobile apps, and any other platform.

They offer three tiers of annual subscriptions: one for sound effects only, one for music only, and one for both sound effects and music.

Their licensing terms are uncomplicated; once you’ve paid the subscription fee, you can use what you download in perpetuity.

Website: Artlist
Type of music offered: Royalty-Free

2. PremiumBeat

PremiumBeat offers a wide variety of high-quality music and sound effects for use in many different projects.

The music you purchase from this website is royalty-free, meaning after a one-time fee, you can use the music you’ve purchased as many times as you want.

They also offer a large number of free music that you can use for both personal and commercial use without having to worry about being flagged or sued for copyright infringement.

Website: PremiumBeat
Type of music offered: Free, Royalty-Free

Free music

3. Bensound

Bensound has a diverse collection of music, though their collection is probably not as vast as Artlink or PremiumBeat.

They have two options for licensing: Standard and Premium. Review these licensing options carefully so you can balance your budget with your needs.

Their free licensing option lets you use their music on online videos as long as you credit the artist with attribution.

Website: Bensound
Type of music offered: Free music with attribution, Royalty-Free

4. YouTube Audio Libary

YouTube has its own repository of music tracks and sound effects that are available to be downloaded or added straight to a YouTube video.

They offer both free music and free music with attribution required, so carefully check the license of the music that you’re downloading.

Website: YouTube Audio Library
Type of music offered: Free music, Free music with attribution

5. AudioJungle

AudioJungle offers millions of audio tracks, sound effects, and music. It’s updated weekly, so you always have a fresh music library from which to choose.

You have the choice to buy individual tracks (some for as low as $1) or get a monthly subscription to get unlimited downloads.

Website: AudioJungle
Type of music offered: Royalty-Free

6. Free Stock Music

Free Stock Music is exactly what it sounds like: a library of free stock music you can download straight away.

The selection may be limited but considering it’s free, this may not be too much of an issue.

Website: Free Stock Music
Type of music offered: Free music with attribution

7. Free Music Archive

Free Music Archive carries thousands of free and royalty-free background music and sound effects.

They offer both public domain and CC-licensed tracks, so review the licenses before you download them.

Website: Free Music Archive
Type of music offered: Free music, Free music with attribution

8. Freeplay Music

Freeplay Music is another library with high-quality music for both personal and commercial use.

If it’s for personal use, you can have unlimited use of the music for free, but for commercial purposes, there is a fee to use the music.

Website: Freeplay Music
Type of music offered: Free music with attribution, Royalty-free

Music sign

9. IncompeTech

IncompeTech is a site run by Kevin MacLeod, who has listed around a couple of thousand tracks in his site, free for use as long as you credit him.

You can also pay a fee per song if you want to use the music without attribution.

Website: IncompeTech
Type of music offered: Free music with attribution, Royalty-Free

10. Amazon Music

Of course, the online store that offers millions of products would also be selling music on their site.

The range of the tracks in Amazon’s music store might be limited, compared to the others on this list, but the pricing per track is similar to the pricing per track of a studio-released album.

Website: Royalty Free Music On Amazon Music
Type of music offered: Royalty-Free

11. Stock Music Site

Stock Music Site looks less polished than what you would expect from a site that carries almost a million music tracks that have been used by major studios in their productions.

The range of artists and genres is more vast than the others, but the downside is that their price range is a bit higher as well.

Website: Stock Music Site
Type of music offered: Royalty-Free

12. Soundstripe

Soundstripe offers thousands of music tracks and sound effects, with hundreds of new tracks per month.

You can filter them by mood, genre, and even beats per minute, which ensures you find just the right type of music for your purposes.

Soundstripe offers subscription plans enabling unlimited downloads of tracks from their site.

Website: Soundstripe
Type of music offered: Royalty-Free

Final Thoughts On Royalty-Free Music

Before you go ahead and check out our list of websites to get royalty-free music, let me leave you with one crucial tip.

Always read the fine print.

Terms of user licenses may vary per website, and if you download the music, that means you’ve agreed to those terms.

For instance, you might have purchased the music for personal use and not for commercial use; that means you can’t use it for videos, podcasts, or anything that will earn you money.

You might also have agreed to attribute the source when you use the music for any purpose, and they may have a specific format for attributing them.

The fine print also contains definitions for “proper use.” The majority of artists don’t want their work used for productions that incite violence, advocate discrimination, and promote pornography.

The bottom line is, reading the fine print first is the smart thing to do before you download any music from these sites.

Other free assets

If you’re a content creator, free assets help you create your content without worrying too much about your budget. Check out our list of sources of free stock images.

Have you tried to download music illegally, knowingly or unknowingly? Or have you tried to download royalty-free music for any purpose? Share your experience with us in the comments!

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