royalty-free music

Best royalty-free music for 2024

Picture this: You’re in a room full of important VIPs. They’re watching a video of your next project pitch. But instead of excited nods and whispers of agreement, you see a mass of confused, even pained faces. Oh no! What went wrong? Well, the content was good. But the last-minute royalty-free music you used wasn’t. It was loud and overly dynamic. Enough to completely overpower the content’s value.

Now, in a world where the cost of living keeps rising, nothing beats getting something for free! But if you’re sourcing music for a crucial project, getting involved in licensing complications isn’t worth the trouble. So, royalty-free music is your next best option! Although many audio and video producers and content creators know this, the question is, where can you find affordable royalty-free music that best translates your brand message to listeners? This guide will discuss 5 royalty-free music platforms and how you can use different music types in your creative projects.

What is royalty-free music

Royalty-free music is a license that you pay a once-off fee to use legally over a lifetime. Making it more affordable than rights-managed/copyrighted music. Using royalty-free music is like getting your caffeine fix from an affordable coffee plunger instead of an expensive coffee machine. Both will serve up that cup of joe you desperately need. Just at different prices.

Think of this: you created a video for a website. Regardless of whether the video is on your website for 12 months or 12 years or if you receive 1000 or 10 000 site visitors, you’ll still pay a once-off fee to use royalty-free music.

And whether you’re making a promotional or social media video, there’s an assortment of royalty-free music platforms available that cater to your music needs.

Where to find royalty-free music

Although there are multiple royalty-free music platforms, here are 5 of the best sources that you can access with either a one-off payment or a monthly/yearly subscription.

1. YouTube Audio Library

Royalty free music: YouTube logo

Like most platforms, the YouTube Audio library contains creative commons, while others are works in the public domain. The music is copyright-safe as long as you credit the track’s owner. There’s a helpful filter to search through genres, instruments, moods, and duration terms for specific results. And if you need information on the legal usage of a track, you can find it in the music policies section.

2. SoundCloud

Royalty free music: Soundcloud logo

Soundcloud is a famous global streaming service with a pretty mixed bag. You’ll find quality work from talented musicians, but you’ll also have to wade through less stellar ones. However, the platform has a valuable ‘like’ tracks feature. So the number of likes a track shows you its popularity, which helps you find your diamond in the rough. But you must read the licensing information and crediting guidelines for commercial use before downloading and using a track.

3. Free Music Archive

Royalty free music: Free Music archive logo

The Free Music Archive is the brainchild of WFMU radio and includes genres like Blues, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. This license allows for commercial use and even has a dedicated section for musicians and filmmakers. You also get access to the Tribe of Noise. A platform that lets you connect with other musicians and content creators to share musical ideas and comments.

4. Envato Market

Envato Market logo

Envato Market offers diverse music, sound effects, music packs, and music kits. A music pack has track bundles, while a music kit has about three tracks that you can filter by genre or mood. Click on the Popular Items tab to find trending genres, kits, and sound effects. Other categories include weekly bestsellers, new releases, and top royalty-free music.

There are also two bonus features. First are modular kits that allow you to manipulate and customize tracks, which differentiates your choice from others using the same basic track. And the second is video templates, web themes, and game sound effects that you can use to vamp up your project.

5. Incompetech

Incompetech logo

Incompetech has over 2,000 pieces by the same composer. All tracks are free if you credit the website and creator. In the Electronic and Rock collection, you can choose from sub-genres. Like disco, funk, blues, and classic rock. While The Everything Else Collection features jazz, famous classics, and Danse Macabre, among others. Film scores, lighter fare, piano & heartfelt melodies, and world music collections are also available.

How to use royalty-free music in your creative projects

Whether you’re making YouTube Shorts or radio ads, you need inspiring background tracks. Ones that evoke the specific emotions necessary to drive your message home.

Here are 5 music types you can use in your creative projects:

  1. Cinematic music: epic-sounding tracks that evoke strong responses in listeners by creating a movie feel. Making it alluring to audiences during grand announcements or product launches. 
  2. Classical music: follows the Mozart Effect, which shows that classical music improves memory retention and helps a person focus. It has a calming effect on audiences, allowing them to focus on something or remember a particular moment.  
  3. Electronic dance music (EDM): is upbeat music that helps listeners recall exciting memories and emotions, like riding your first roller coaster. Use it to stimulate happy or excited responses.
  4. Ambient music/sound: this could be music without a persistent beat or sound effects like the buzz of traffic or rainfall. It enhances a particular mood or atmosphere.
  5. Rock music: rock communicates something raw, gritty, and unapologetic. It’s loud and dynamic, so it suits projects with a specific focus and motivational action.

Final thoughts on royalty-free music

Now that you know where to find high-quality royalty-free music, you can get back to creating from short videos to films and games. Without worrying about copyright takedown notices or cease and desist letters. And though it’s unlikely that Hans Zimmer will write the accompaniment for your next project, you can find good quality royalty-free music on platforms like YouTube Audio Library, Soundcloud, Free music archive, Envato Market, and Incompetech.

And though managing a project is never easy, you can check a few things off your plate when you post a project for free on Voice123. Like opting for additional services from voice actors to ‘add music’ or ‘add special effects’ so you just receive one complete voice over project. Because with Voice123, your projects are in good hands.

FAQs about royalty-free music

Is royalty-free music free?

It depends on the site. Music on Incompetech is free as long you credit the composer, while music and audio tracks are available from $1 on Envato Market.

Where can I find royalty-free music?

You can acquire different genres of music on sites like YouTube Audio Library, Incompetech, or Envato Market.


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