You might want to avoid expensive commercial music licensing fees. And you know what, it's perfectly fine.
I had a lot of fun building this list for you. While testing the royalty free music, I was often hooked to a track.
It was a refreshing experience from all that commercial music.
This guide lists sources of free royalty music that in most cases, you can download for free. Some that fall under the Creative Commons License will only require you to provide the credit back to the author.
You'll find music for your radio station, jingles, podcast or your next YouTube video. Some of which are considered "podsafe".
We have added a couple of extra resources at the end, which sell the rights per track if you don't find what you are looking for...
Where to find royalty-free music
Here are the popular choices for free/licensed royalty-free music:
It’s one of the most popular and well-known music streaming websites. There are over two million albums and over eighteen million artists on the platform. You can stream, download, and listen to over 150M+ tracks.
While there is a fair share of commercial music, you can search for royalty free music. In most cases, those tracks will be available for download.
Amazon also provides thousands of free music downloads. This makes it a diverse location to find new music. You can search for music by sorting through the genre, the ratings, the length of the song, the artist, the album, the title, or based on reviews.
You can preview all songs before downloading. You need an account, but you won’t go through a “sales” process. Since the music is free, you won’t end up paying anything. It gets counted as a digital order which you can keep track of like any other order through Amazon.
The Free Music Archive was founded by the WFMU, an independent freeform radio station in 2009. You can find high-quality legal music downloads according to the genre or on curated playlists.
The music comes from artist collectives, freeform radio stations, netlabels, concert organizers and performance spaces.
A user account is not required to listen, download, or search through music. But since music tracks are pre-cleared for certain types of use, check the license type attached to each file before downloading. You can read their licensing guide to find out how everything works
One can also create personal blogs, share mixes, and tip artists.
It provides free music downloads for personal use under the Creative Commons licenses. You will need to open an account for this.
Jamendo aims to support music creation by giving back to independent artists. To do this, it licenses music to YouTubers, radio stations, large organizations, and apps.
Unlike other websites, you buy a one-time license that gives you certain privileges.
Another great thing about Jamendo is the active community that shows appreciation for some of the best tracks.
It's a lot easier for radio stations to sort the tracks and curate the most popular ones. If you don’t want to go through every song one by one, you can also download playlists created by the community.
Looking for background music for your YouTube videos, podcast, promo videos or radio shows?
There is a platform tailored for just this need.
Launched in 2016 —Foximusic has an extensive & expanding library of premium background soundtracks.
The tracks are sorted into genre/moods. For instance, corporate, inspiration, funk, electronic, action, acoustic, happy, etc.
And the licensing is simple. Once you obtain your track, you can use it in unlimited projects!
Bensound offers music for multimedia projects (animations, websites, online videos, presentations) for free under the Creative Commons License, but you have to credit Bensound.com.
However, to use the music for commercial projects like TV/radio advertising, you'll require a license. You can purchase a license for an individual track, or pay for a yearly subscription, which gives you access to their entire library.
NoiseTrade has a highly-engage tribe of over 1.3 million. It allows users to discover new music. And enables artists & labels to get in touch with their fans.
Before downloading free music or ebooks, you will have to trade your email address and postal address. If you like the content, you can leave a tip for the artist or share their work on Facebook or Twitter.
CCmixter is a global community of musicians, which fosters collaboration without borders. Singers upload their vocals and musicians can upload original samples.
Producers & DJs then use the samples to create remixes. You can also find free music downloads for commercial projects at dig.ccmixter.org.
The platform has provided music tracks and sound effects since 1996. Music tracks are categorized in collections. For instance, the Classical Piano collection has 10 tracks.
You won't need to submit cue sheets or report to performing rights organizations. After you buy the music, you can download it or have a DVD shipped to you.
More free/licensed royalty-free music sources
10. Purple Planet Music
Purple Planet Music produces music on this platform, and they provide free downloads for personal projects.
At Incompetech, you will find music by Kevin MacLeod for free, but some for some uses you will need a license from him.
You can find royalty free videos, images, sound effects, instrumental loops, all on Audioblocks.
It is a source of royalty-free background music, where you subscribe to a monthly or annual plan to access their music.
Here you find royalty free music from Dan-O, but you will need to donate to use his music in your project.
15. Free Soundtrack Music
It is a platform for musicians to upload soundtracks for video producers, with some music requiring a licence acquired by buying credits.
Based in South Africa, you will find well-curated playlists such as world music, fashion, horror, and more.
Sound effects on PacDV are free to download and use without the need to buy any license.
18. Public Domain 4U
You will find music that has entered the public domain such as classical music, country, blues, gospel and more.
Musopen offers downloads as well as music education resources for students and teachers.
On BeatPick you will find more than 30,000 royalty free tracks collected for over 12 years.
Pay per track
Acoustic Bro offers music by Alexander Kochetkov a music producer, musician and composer.
You will find a great collection of royalty free music, photos, after effects, sound effects, illustrations, footage and Photoshop PSD files.
23. Premium beat
You will access handpicked music curated by industry experts.
24. Getty Images
Besides offering stock images, you will find thousands of tracks with easy to understand usage guidelines.
25. Shutter Stock
Shutter Stock offers free loyalty music and two types of licencing to make the pricing easy to understand.
26. Stock Music
You will find curated royalty free tracks, and you can request a custom music composition from their talented artists.
It's a music social community that allows musicians to get discovered and license their tracks for different uses.
Opuz offers an extensive collection of background music for all kinds of use, with pricing varying by the track's duration.
On BeatSuite you will find an extensive collection of stock music, and you can have your music produced in their studio.