Finding free music online for commercial use, and why terminology matters.
When finding free music online for commercial purposes, understanding the difference between “royalty free” and “free royalty free” terminology will help you avoid penalties and potential disasters which could discredit or sink your business. Once you read this article, you will know how to avoid this pitfall and you will have several legitimate sites to shop for free music online. But first you should know why this is so important. Don’t say you didn’t know.
For a small business owner on a tight budget, videos may seem out of reach because good video needs good music. For anyone hoping to make money on YouTube with video by generating ads (monetization), finding music to accompany video can be daunting.
Music is subject to royalty and copyright laws. Infringement can lead to penalties and law suits. Also, it’s not honest! How does one navigate the maze of copyright, royalty and registered trademark laws to avoid infringement? It can seem daunting and overwhelming.
In understanding the difference in terminology between “royalty free” and “free royalty free” you can rest assured in finding music that is legitimately available for your commercial venture. Let’s unpack what “royalty free” means and why it might not be available to you for commercial purposes.
- When you find a piece of music that is “royalty free”, it DOES NOT mean that you can download it and use it commercially for your business. All it means is that the music is free of royalties and it is still subject to copyright and licensing.
- “Royalty Free” does NOT mean it is free for you to use as often as you like. It means that if you purchase a track you can use it once for one commercial production only. That means one video only.
However, “Free Royalty Free” music is different altogether and may be freely used for commercial purposes (monetization). It is not subject to royalties and licenses and multiple video productions can be made with the same score or soundtrack.
Here are several websites that offer free royalty free music.
The music is free provided you credit them for the use of that music and embed that attribution on the video itself. (The site “Free Stock Music”) requires no attribution. To credit the music, do so either in the description on YouTube or on your site’s video landing page. And always check the conditions of use for each site:
Incompetech is the premier source of free royalty free music. It is user friendly and allows you to select music based on genre, mood, or by instrument. Another nice feature is its large library. You can preview the music too.
CCMixter has a ‘Free for Commercial Use’ licensing option. Go to the menu and select this option.
Josh Woodward is a musician who writes, records and produces his own music.
Youtube.com music can be searched by genre, instrument, mood or duration and music can be bookmarked. Before downloading music from YouTube, be sure and check the site’s ContentID system or a claim by the original artist or their publisher.
Freestockmusic.com requires no attribution. It’s Facebook page describes it as 100% free production music. No fees. No catch. Unlimited downloads.