Whether you’re a freelancer, independent video maker, or a professional director, finding the right soundtrack for your content is crucial.
Music is just as integral to setting the mood as cinematography. The right kind of audio can determine how the audience reacts to your content.
If you use a tune that complements your video’s theme, it will be well-received by viewers. Simultaneously, put in a track that seems out-of-place, and it can spoil the whole mood.
With the growing popularity of independent content production, more users are looking for cheap, convenient avenues to access tracks and supplemental sounds for their media.
And because paying artists to create music is not an option for most freelancers and independent producers, budget solutions have become a dire need.
Here’s where royalty-free music comes into play!
Table of Contents
- What Is Royalty-Free Music?
- How To Find The Best Royalty-Free Music?
- 1. AudioJungle
- 2. PremiumBeat
- 3. Soundstripe
- 4. Music Vine
- 5. Pond5
- 6. Storyblocks
- 7. Bensound
- 8. YouTube Audio Library
- 9. Epidemic Sound
- 10. Productiontrax
- 11. TeknoAXE
- 12. Stock Music Site
- 13. dig.ccMixter
- 14. Purple Planet
- 15. Artlist
- 16. Hooksounds
What Is Royalty-Free Music?
Royalty-free music is licensing that allows subscribers to utilize tunes for different applications after a one-time purchase or subscription. Once purchased, users will not have to pay royalties to the track’s owner every time they use it.
If you acquire a license for a track, you’d be paying a single price whether your video received 1000 views or 100,000 views. However, it’s pertinent to remember that the owner still retains the copyright to the track.
In short, using royalty-free music may benefit users from a cost, legality, and ease of use stand-point. It can be a real lifesaver if you’re starting as a content creator or your work frequently requires the usage of music tracks in promotions or videos.
Startups, small media production houses, freelancers, and independent artists all swear by royalty-free music to add value to their digital content.
How To Find The Best Royalty-Free Music?
That brings us to the question: where can we find the best royalty-free music? Countless websites offer royalty-free music services in return for a monthly or annual subscription.
With so many options, it’s vital to ensure that if you’re paying good money to a royalty-free music platform, you need to get your money’s worth!
Here’s our selection of the best royalty-free music websites on the Internet!
AudioJungle offers tracks for as low as $1, and users can choose from a wide variety of genres, including pop, heavy metal, instrumental tracks, and vocals.
But that’s not all. It also offers sound effects, foleys, and music kits for animated content, allowing you to create your symphony of sounds.
AudioJungle is more than just a simple royalty-free audio portal. It also provides users with monthly freebies: stock photography, video effects, stock footage, and 3D assets.
If you’re a content creator, this is an all-inclusive fix for your content add-ons, letting you utilize a range of media.
Audio Jungle’s best feature has to be that users can commission their tracks using Envato Market, tapping into a collective of over 35,000 music creators, developers, and designers, to get all the styling you need for your content.
For as low as $1, users can utilize great background tracks, tapping into a diverse community of musicians and sound engineers for assistance, and even customizing their music through AudioJungle’s music kits.
- Monthly freebies
- Over 35,000 music creators
- Filters for tracks can be improved
If you’re familiar with the royalty-free library of Shutterstock, you will find PremiumBeat incredibly easy to navigate since it is a subsidiary of the same global stock photo library.
The interface makes it easy to find tracks. Users can tap into the special ‘curated by musical experts’ option to find expertly-produced samples, sorted by moods, genres, and instruments.
Additionally, every track is exclusive and cleared for copyright. What makes PremiumBeat easy to use is its seamless navigation, with clear explanations for every function and category.
The Shutterstock affiliation gives it a stamp of approval from many users, and you can rest assured that you will be getting the highest quality samples, soundtracks, and videos for your content.
The pricing for PremiumBeat starts at $49 for a standard non-commercial web-based license and $199 for a premium license to access professional content.
Even with the basic $49 license, you can access all the original, professionally produced tracks.
- Affiliated with Shutterstock
- Easy to navigate
Soundstripe has gained a following among a new crop of content creators who swear by its usefulness and original beats.
It beats most of its competitors in convenience and ease of navigation, effortlessly becoming one of the best royalty-free music sites.
One distinguishing factor that differentiates Soundstripe from other sites is that it’s a subscription-based service instead of one that offers individual licensed tracks.
However, once signed up, subscribers get unlimited access to choose from Soundstripe’s carefully curated collection.
It is also straightforward to navigate; the playlists and interface are quite similar to Spotify’s libraries, and scrolling through them is a breeze.
Furthermore, it’s intuitive and easy to use for just about any user. Soundstripe’s standard license starts from $135 a year, granting users unlimited use.
And if you’re someone who requires a credible stamp of approval, know that Amazon and Microsoft are amongst its user base.
- Easy to navigate
- Varied collection
Music Vine was launched in 2015 in Leeds, UK, making it a relative newcomer to the industry. Users might be slightly restricted in the choice of tracks, as the current list is limited to 2062 tunes from 146 recording artists.
However, that should be no reason for you to dismiss it as a credible option since their priority is quality over quantity.
Most royalty-free audio portals offer over-synthesized, artificial-sounding audio snippets, which only bring down your content’s value.
Therefore, Music Vine is your go-to solution if you’re looking for meaningful tracks with realistic performances and actual instruments.
The site is easy to navigate for users, with curated libraries and playlists categorized by genres, instruments, and duration.
Music Vine licenses can vary by usage and audience size, starting as low as $40 for a single web project and an audience of 1 million. It goes up to $334 for a film project and an audience of more than 10 million viewers.
- Authentic content
- Curated libraries
- Limited tracks
Pond5 proudly markets itself as the “largest collection of royalty-free stock video and creative assets.” And it’s true!
Subscribers will be getting a reasonably extensive collection of soundtracks and videos to cover all their content goals.
Pond5 houses a library of 500,000 soundtracks, with a thematic grouping of music covering every mood and occasion. This collection includes music samples for meditation, adventure, or even war!
It even offers customized sound effects, after effects, and stock videos if you’re looking to supplement your content with snippets of sound.
Users have the luxury of choosing between three packages: individual sounds that cost around €16 per track, pre-purchased credit bundles, or monthly or annual memberships, costing €155 and €755, respectively.
- Extensive collection
- Varied genres of tracks
With Storyblocks, users can access upwards of 100,000 tracks with unlimited use. It also offers no restrictions as to how many downloads users make use of.
The playlists are continuously updated and replenished with new tracks so that you can find music for every theme.
With such a diverse library of tracks, users always have something new to choose from, and each sound can be used royalty-free for personal and commercial purposes.
However, navigating the website can be a bit more challenging than other services. If you’re used to browsing platforms like Spotify, you might find the format slightly different.
Users can either search for music tracks themselves or be prompted to choose sounds based on different genres and moods before suggesting relevant tunes.
The pricing pattern for Storyblocks can be broken down into monthly services costing $79, annual services costing $149, and customized enterprise subscriptions priced individually.
- Diverse libraries
- Customized subscription plans
- Not easy to navigate
What defines Bensound’s quirky yet useable nature is that it takes its name from the French composer and musician Benjamin Tissot!
Initially, you might find this site slightly harder to navigate, but that’s because it is busier than other portals.
Once you get the hang of it, it becomes easy to use as it allows you to access tracks right away with no distractions. If you’re short of time and want to dive into some samples, Bensound is your best bet.
Even if you’re unsure of which genre or music category you’re looking for, Bensound is an excellent option for you to test out the aural waters and play it by ear.
The most attractive feature that this portal offers for users is that they can use individual tracks for anywhere on the Internet under a Creative Commons License, as long as they credit Bensound.com.
If they want an all-inclusive scope of sounds and cannot credit Bensound, they can always purchase a license, starting for €129 for a year-long subscription.
Furthermore, you can find a diverse collection of royalty-free music, ranging from varied genres, like acoustic, folk, and electronica.
Chances are, the next time you find yourself intrigued by a track on YouTube or Facebook, you can use it for your content under Bensound’s Creative Common License. If that doesn’t work out, you can always purchase the license!
- Creative Commons License
- Diverse collection
- Not easy to navigate
YouTube needs no introduction as its brand name adds an unparalleled authority to whatever they venture into.
Users can access plenty of soundtracks and sound effects free of cost, grouped by genre, mood, instrument, and duration.
To find the track of your choice, you may have to conduct a deep dive, but anyone who uses YouTube will be well acquainted with its interface!
YouTube’s official sound library features useful filters, categorized by different parameters like duration and genre, making it easier to find audio snippets that suit your requirements.
Besides, the sound effect library is an excellent platform for finding audio content for short videos. If you’re working on a tight budget, YouTube Audio Library is the perfect fit for you!
- Affiliated with YouTube
- Easy navigation
- Limited tracks
Epidemic Sound is used by many because of the convenience and simplicity that it offers. While other royalty-free sites make a show of providing free soundtracks and then slipping in hidden charges, this site truly stands by its word when it says it’s royalty-free.
Epidemic Sound is all-inclusive, incorporating all the legal rights you need into one license. It also provides easy navigation with a vast collection of varied tunes.
With this site, a single track license will cost £79 for a standard track, while YouTube subscriptions are available for as low as £10 a month.
The unrivaled functionality makes this one of the most accessible royalty-free sites out there.
- No hidden charges
- Limited tracks
Update: this website is not active anymore.
Productiontrax is a community-centered effort towards providing people with royalty-free music. They produce excellent music, sound effects, and stock audio safe from copyright claims and can be customized to fit your content’s scope and needs.
This site gets rid of pesky credits, subscriptions, and contracts, letting users get all their desired sounds and tracks directly from here.
Be it stock music, production music, or unique sound effects, this is a one-stop-shop for all your audio media needs.
The browsing experience might be a little rusty, as it lacks the easy navigation of some of the other platforms.
Moreover, it seems to be missing out on customized libraries, giving users the option of choosing from a specific drop-down menu.
However, removing subscriptions redeems the site as you can dive in and buy individual tracks in a relatively straightforward manner.
And as they only offer Individual tracks, each is priced between $15 to $60.
- Community centered site
- No subscriptions need
- Hard to navigate
Similar to Bensound, TeknoAXE grants users the Creative Commons License umbrella, under which they can access and use countless tracks, as long as appropriate credit is given.
TeknoAXE covers an extensive range of dance and party tunes, from breakbeat to dubstep. So, if you’re looking for upbeat tracks, this site may be the perfect choice for you.
Furthermore, true to its metal-head-sounding name, it also features countless metal and rock tracks.
However, we will have to rank this site on the lower end of the spectrum because of its design.
The visuals are rather striking to the eye, and users may find it hard to navigate with the lack of a search bar.
To find the right track, you will need to click through different categories tediously. But that’s salvaged by the CC4 license, which allows you to use sounds for commercial purposes.
- Unique tracks
- Creative Commons License
- Not aesthetically pleasing
This site boasts one of the most significant collections of tracks from renowned musicians. You’re likely to find samples from this site used by high-end production houses like Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.
If you require multiple tracks, use their volume discounts or subscribe to their MusicPack, giving access to numerous tracks for around $100. in comparison, single full-length tracks will cost you approximately $45.
The only factor that keeps Stock Music Site from getting a higher rating is its haphazard layout. The site interface is quite crowded and is not pleasant to look at.
However, if you’re looking to access multiple tracks at low prices, this is a helpful solution.
- Extensive collection
- Easy to access discounts
- Difficult layout
Ignore the unusually phrased name, and you’ve got an incredibly easy-to-use site with attractive icons and user-friendly navigation and interface.
With dig.ccMixter, you get access to thousands of hours of free music, ideally suited for commercial projects.
It also features an extensive collection of instrumental tracks suitable for animation and video game projects.
Also, it is closely linked to its sister site, Tune Track, which features a broad collection of music from professional artists and composers.
Users can avail licenses for simple soundtracks from YouTube and website videos for as little as $44. In contrast, more extensive soundtracks for commercial film and television projects fall under the business license, costing around $222.
While the user experience is somewhat lacking, the unique music collection covers up for it.
- Customized license plans
- Suited for commercial projects
- Difficult user interface
Purple Planet is very fun to use! The name is reminiscent of the hippie-era, and the layout is inspired by pop-art, with a purple theme resembling a planetarium.
This creative layout is complemented with even easier navigation; the music is divided into genres categorized by its musicality and emotional theme.
So, rather than featuring straightforward rock, country, and pop categories, Purple Planet allows you to choose from music categories like cute, mellow, active, and creepy.
It sounds kind of wacky, but it’s undoubtedly helpful if you’re a content creator looking to find music that sets a particular narrative or mood.
Purple Planet features an independent library of royalty-free music, and the variety is nothing to write home about. However, it still works well for small indie commercial projects.
Standard licenses can be bought for as little as $8, while unlimited broadcast licenses range around $40.
- Aesthetically pleasing layout
- Tracks grouped by mood
- Not an extensive collection of tracks
Artlist has a slick and professional layout, optimized for the creative types. The website effortlessly fuses this unique aesthetic with a vast collection of indie tracks.
If you are an artist or an independent video maker, Artlist’s collection of indie tracks will appeal to your tastes, catering to arthouse content styles.
The website is optimized for easy navigation, making it straightforward to find fresh tracks, with the soundtracks grouped according to mood, genre, and themes.
While other royalty-free sites feature conventional popular tracks, Artlist features unique artists and albums that it’s currently spotlighting, allowing you to tap into undiscovered, obscure music tracks.
Also, the filters let you select songs based on their total duration and tempo.
Furthermore, pricing is slightly higher, with an annual subscription of $199 for an unlimited license, granting you unlimited downloading and lifetime use for commercial projects.
And while it’s not precisely royalty-free with its high price, you get access to an extensive range of indie tracks.
- Features niche artists
- Easy navigation
Coming to the last site on our review, Hooksounds is a community-based platform featuring more than 100,000 members, with a vibrant and carefully curated collection of music.
You know you’re in good hands because the music is produced by a group of handpicked artists, catering to all kinds of genres and music styles.
Like some of the other sites in this review, Hooksounds is covered under the Creative Commons License, so any music released here is free of copyrights, allowing you to use and download them however you want.
The wacky genre listings will also catch your eye, featuring categories like Enthusiastic and Ukulele. With more inexperienced people entering the content production world, these make it easy for them to locate certain sounds.
Besides that, you can always browse tracks based on the artist’s name. Users have access to several different licenses, with the basic package costing $24, while the broadcasting license goes up to $580 for commercial television and film projects.
The best feature about Hooksounds has to be its exclusive and unique collection of music, composed specifically for this website. They have tunes you won’t find anywhere else on the Internet!
- Community-based site
- Creative Commons License
What is Public Domain Music?
Copyright laws do not protect public domain music. You can use these tracks without requiring any permission or paying anyone for them. The only problem is that it’s challenging to find public domain music that may be relevant to you.
Is Royalty-Free Music Free?
Most royalty-free music sites are not free and require users to pay a one-time licensing fee or a subscription for a certain period. While you can find some royalty-free music sites, most of them will be limited in their scope.
What Is A Creative Commons License?
Creative Commons License is a categorization system used to classify different music licenses. Many artists want their music to be used, but only under certain conditions. If you fail to abide by these conditions, it can result in your video being taken down or even a lawsuit.