In the era of technology, the demand for music or sounds across a number of applications has been increasing. Music has a place in a number of areas -- films, phone applications, video games, personal YouTube channels, or even a new company that wants to create a TV commercial to promote their business. The music we choose to accompany our digital media can have profound effects on our audience -- it can determine whether they like or dislike a film, buy a product or if they will return to our page to watch another video. Unless you want to pay big money to have a well-known pop star’s music in your video, you will likely turn to a royalty free music site to supply the sounds in your video. This is why we have put together a list of the ten best royalty free music sites for 2020. We have taken the time to cover site and subscription logistics so you don’t have to! We will discuss..
A royalty is a payment that a buyer makes to a person who owns the rights to the music they wish to use -- this is so the buyer has the right to ongoing use of that music.
Although the word “free” appears within the phrase “royalty free,” -- this does not mean a person can use whatever music they like free of charge. Unfortunately, a payment must still be made to be able to use that music.
Royalty free music sites are similar to stock sites for photos. It is a kind of stock music that is produced for unlimited use across a number of domains. Once paid for, the person using it owes no additional fees to the producer or composer.
The royalty free license eliminates the need to negotiate licensing fees with the Performance Rights Organization and gives the buyer the ability to use the music without having to pay for royalties each time it is publicly displayed.
The person who wants to use the music on a certain site can make a one time only payment for the music license and they can use it for as long as they desire.
For example, someone may want to make a short video and post it to YouTube. If they choose to find music for their video on a royalty free site, they make a single payment and can use the music for one month or five years despite the number of watches. A video can be watched 100 times or 10,000 times and still the person pays a single unique price for the music.
Essentially one payment means unlimited use and access. So, with that explanation in mind, let’s get to the best websites that will satisfy your digital, creative music needs!
Artlist is a professional and visually appealing site that offers a wide range of music selections. Their content is high quality and the website is easy to use -- browse by mood, video theme, genre or instrument type, including vocals. This site can be a good fit of a number of different content types.
They offer three music licensing plans to choose from. The first is a music + SFX license that is $299 annually or $25 a month and includes a universal license, unlimited downloads and lifetime use. The second is a music license priced at $16.60 a month or $199 annually and includes the same universal license, unlimited downloads and lifetime use. The last plan is an SFX license valued at $12.41 a month or $149 annually.
All of their licences come with unlimited use and downloads which can be used for as many projects as desired.
Audioblocks lets you, “Download all the music, sound effects and loops you need with a low-cost subscription.” Their site is home to more than 110,000 tracks -- and that’s just the music! They also have photos, illustrations, motion backgrounds and more.
They offer different plans based on if you’re an individual or business. The cheapest you can get is a Basic Audio subscription for $8.25 a month or $99 a year, but this only lets you download three music tracks a month. Unlimited Audio offers just that -- unlimited downloads of music, sound effects and loops for $12.42 a month or $149 annually.
AudioJungle is somewhat different. The site is a bit more difficult to navigate and less visually appealing, but overall still great when it comes to your options! The site offers 1,100,212 music tracks and sounds that start at $1 and go up from there.
The main difference is that you must pay per track or bundle and each sound is priced differently. Some tracks are in the single digits in terms of price, but most typically fall between $10-30 and can go as high as $50 or more. This site would be best used for someone needing to make one or two projects with sounds, but would be less economical if you would be needing music for multiple ongoing projects.
Bensound offers royalty free stock music for YouTube and other digital media projects. The website was created by French composer and musician Benjamin Tissot. It offers a number of different tracks that can be filtered by the type of music or sound you’re looking for.
The interesting thing about this site is that the music can be used under the Free License as long as credit is given to Bensound -- they even provide an example on how to properly cite their music.
However, subscriptions can be bought -- they offer three -- Standard License, Extended License and National & International TV/Radio Advertising. The Standard License priced at 139€ or $150.16 gives you unlimited lifetime rights to all of the music on their site. They have an easy to understand chart that details the types of licenses they offer and the perks that come with them.
Epidemic Sound offers 30,000 music tracks and 60,000 sound effects and counting because they add new tracks every week. The site is relatively easy to use -- browse by albums or sound effects and the world of possibilities blossoms from there.
They offer a number of different subscriptions. The three main packages are Personal, Commercial and Custom. However, there are single track licensing options with their own pricing.
Personal is specified for those who are posting content on their personal channels -- unlimited downloads of tracks and sound effects that have already been cleared for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch and podcast! Save on the headaches for $144 a year or $15 a month. Commercial is to be used for businesses making commercial productions and includes everything from Personal and more for $299 a year or $49 a month.
To top it off they offer a 30-day free trial on Personal and Commercial subscription packages!
Filmstro is an interesting site. If you select, “Explore Library,” you can browse by mood, film and video genre, music genre or instrumental palette. The options are numerous and can be used for a range of projects.
The pricing section is where it gets interesting, all subscriptions can be monthly or annual. They have a specific subscription for YouTube -- appropriately named “YouTuber.” This one comes in at $8.25 a month or $99 annually and is copyright cleared with unlimited use. The two other packages are Pro -- $20.75 monthly or $249 annually and Pro Plus -- $41.58 monthly or $499 annually. Both are copyright cleared and include unlimited use -- with other perks depending on which one you select.
Music Vine is a cool place with clickable boxes for all your music needs. They offer ten different filtering options -- and that’s just the beginning! Overall the site is very beautiful and simple to use -- it even says so.
They also offer two types of subscriptions -- Pro Lite and Pro Standard. They market Pro Lite for small-scale productions and Pro Standard for full clearance marketing, entertainment and informative content. Pro Lite comes in at $19.99 a month or $239.88 a year. Pro Standard equals $35.99 a month or $431.88 a year.
On Pond5’s website you’ll see the description, “Explore the world’s largest collection of royalty-free stock video, with music, motion graphics and more to elevate your video projects.” They have a lot to offer with a wide variety of music genres and sound effects for every mood.
They offer plans for every project. The first is a free account with a pay as you go mantra -- meaning you pay per track. They also have a monthly or annual Pond5 membership -- $999 annually or $199 monthly. Lastly, they have custom plans and are willing to work with your needs!
The creators of Shutterstock bring you Premium Beat! This is a great website that allows you to search for basically anything. They also have categories of music -- collections, genres and moods. This site is a go to for the name alone, reputable, high quality and no messing around.
Premium Beat keeps it simple with two license subscription options -- Standard and Premium. The Standard option is priced at $49, while the Premium option is priced at $199. Their licensing page also offers a handy checklist of the perks that come with each license type, so you can be sure to select the one that best fits your needs.
Soundstripe is pretty! Right on the home page you’ll see they boast that they’re trusted by Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, Whole Foods, Volkswagen and more -- that’s pretty impressive. When you click browse music, there are so many filtering options, you could find your perfect track on the first search.
They offer three subscription types -- Standard, Premium and Business. They all contain an unlimited music license but Premium and Business allow access to over 35,000 sound effects and 3,000 songs, Standard does not. Standard will run you $11.25 a month, while Premium is $21 a month -- the subscriptions are billed yearly unless specified.
Whether you are looking to find music for a personal YouTube channel or subscribe to a reliable royalty free website for your business, one of the sites in this list is sure to be a fit for your creative needs.