Music can be a crucial factor in creating visual content online for your brand. But where can you find music for commercial use?
More specifically, where can you get it for free?
Before we dive into the resources available, let’s talk about commercial uses.
If you’re wondering if something is considered a commercial use, consider using it for your business. If what you are creating is in any way intended for your brand, it is likely for commercial use.
For use directly related to making a profit, it is almost definitely commercial.
If you take the floor or market your business without making any money directly from the content, it’s still best to play it safe and treat it as commercial.
Using someone’s music or art without their express permission can result in omission – or worse.
Free music for commercial use
Free music is available for commercial use – even on reputable websites. Whether you’re looking for instrumental pieces to play in the background of your next explainer video or you need some hot sounds for your social media campaigns, there are plenty of great resources to choose from.
How can I use free music for commercial purposes?
Music can be a great addition to online marketing efforts – but how you use the music depends on the owner of the music. We will go into the deviations below. However, make sure that you do your research on the website you are trying to download music from to make sure it is within the parameters you are using.
Just because music is free doesn’t mean there aren’t any mapping requirements. Think of the attribution as your allusion to the creators or distributors of that music. Carefully review how each site requires credit for the song – often with a link in your video description or caption.
Furthermore, free doesn’t necessarily mean unlimited usage. For example, some places may allow remixing or adding lyrics while others may not. Check the license agreements on each website.
Is there really “free” music for commercial use?
Sometimes free music is completely free for commercial use. In other cases, you will have to pay a subscription fee to access some or all of the content.
The subscription often opens up more options for use or gives you a more extensive library to choose from.
Others have really free music, but usage may still be limited. So be sure to check out the fine print.
Royalty-Free Vs. Free Music for Commercial Use
When looking for free music for commercial use, keep in mind that “free” is not the same as “royalty free”.
Royalty-free means that you are not required to pay a license fee to the creators of the music. However, its use is still limited to certain formats, usage amounts, etc.
The songs on Bensound are billed as royalty-free music and can be downloaded free of charge with few conditions.
If you want to take advantage of the free option, click the black download button for the music you selected. When the window appears where you can choose between free or subscription, click the button again. This will download an MP3 file.
You can use the file in a variety of audio and video projects. The license terms can be found on the Bensound website. For example, you can use them in your videos with a link that gives credit to the Bensound website. However, you cannot use the music in podcasts or audiobooks, register it as your own, or remix the music.
You can search by genre and choose from a variety of options. Or you can search for keywords. When you find a song that interests you, click to learn more. This takes you to a page with information about the composer, a description, keywords and much more.
Bensound offers both free and paid subscription options. Free downloads are limited to a smaller music library than subscriptions.
The standard subscription allows for limited usage, including online videos or music in your bar or restaurant.
The extended subscription allows for wider usage, e.g. B. for films, stage productions as well as local television and radio advertising. There is an additional fee for the use of national television and radio advertising.
Bensound has specific rules about how the music can and cannot be used. They don’t allow you to re-mix music you use or add lyrics, whether you download them for free or with a subscription.
Additionally, you cannot resell them for international television or radio commercials, in podcasts or audiobooks, in meditation projects, or as music-only projects.
Audionautix is a passion project of founder Jason Shaw. He wanted to give people a way to get great music for their projects – including commercial ones – without getting tangled up in copyright issues. The website mainly features music created by Jason himself, which includes music from a variety of genres.
You can search for features like mood, genre, tempo, style, and more.
When you find something that interests you, click the “Listen Now” button to hear it. If you’d like to hear more about it, you can click on relevant tags to view other similar songs.
When you’re ready to download, click the “Download MP3” button.
While the music is free to download, including for commercial use, attribution is required.
Free music archive
Free Music Archive was compiled by WMFU, a radio station in New York and New Jersey, to make original music available to authors on the Internet. Its origins are based on the belief that copyright laws can be out of date and hinder digital creativity.
They believe that creating a place for music makers to share their music with Creative Commons licenses will help musicians be heard by a wider audience while also helping other creatives improve their work.
As with other free music for commercial websites, you can search for different genres. You can also click the links of individual artists to see more of them, or scroll down to the “List of Artists” link to see all of the available creators.
To hear a song or piece, click the play button. To download a recording, click the download icon (an arrow key points down). When you click this button, a small pop-up window will appear with information about the title and license information.
The website uses Creative Commons license definitions. So check the icons in the pop-up for information on how you are allowed to use the music.
The only thing you want to look for is that dollar sign with a line through it. This means that you cannot use this free music for commercial purposes.
If you don’t see this symbol, you can use it for commercial purposes. You can click for more information on each Creative Commons.
If you’re looking for free music for commercial use that is in the public domain, give MusOpen a try. MusOpen is a non-profit group focused on teaching music and getting more music into the hands, or rather, ears of the public.
By focusing on publicly available music, they provide access to tracks with expired copyrights and make those songs available for redistribution or reuse, including commercial use.
You can search for songs based on unique categories like romantic, happy, sad, relaxing, energetic, or funny. You can also search by composer, instrument or period.
As you surf you can listen to each track and see license information next to each. Look for those without the dollar symbol with the solid line – this symbol indicates that it is not for commercial use. Those without this symbol can be used for commercial purposes with proper mapping.
To download songs, you need to create an account.
DL Sounds is based in the Netherlands and is run by a group that produces original music for creators around the world to use in their multimedia projects. Since their music is made by them and is not available anywhere else, they can provide fresh music for digital projects.
In addition to the songs, they have sound effects and loops, short, repetitive sections.
You can search in the search bar or go to the Music tab to browse all of the songs and search by genre, mood, file type, or even beats per minute.
Most of the music on DL Sounds is only available by subscription. They offer a one- or three-month subscription with unlimited downloads.
However, they also offer free music for commercial use. Look for the “free” symbol at the bottom right of a song’s graphic (see below):
Once you find free music for commercial use, your creative ideas could actually become a reality. Your ideas are only limited by the license agreements and mapping requirements of each website.
Using the resources above, you can take inspiration from the original tracks, public domain options, and much more as you think about the videos and other marketing projects you want to create. From how-to videos to quick social media posts, all of this music can improve your marketing efforts.
Which free piece of music inspires you to create something new?