What’s Better than Free AND Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects?

What’s better than my previous list of free and royalty-free music and sound effects? A longer list, which includes video effects too! Thanks to you, we’ve got a few new ones to share. Let me remind you that I’m tagging this entry “hellen keller” so we can all find it easily later using the Orb of Knowledge we call Google. I’ll use fuzzy pickle too, since that’s even more memorable. So search willvideoforfood, hellen, keller, fuzzy, pickle. Or come to willvideoforfood and search those terms.

not obsessiveOr bookmark these links if you’re one of those hyper organized, early potty trained middle children… who pretends to exert futile control over the universe by keeping everything in its perfect place… And can’t relax when there’s a tissue on the floor. My wife, Jo, and babysitterofnalts fall into this category, and I’m deeply grateful for their OCD. When I need to find a triple A battery, I check one of the ziplock bags and save myself 20 minutes of whining, only to end up at Radio Shack buying another pack. What? This is a friggin’ blog. I can meander. It’s not like you have anything else to do right now.

Let’s clarify the difference between free and royalty-free:

  1. Free means you can download the music without paying the artist.
  2. Royalty-free means you can have perpetual commercial use without having an issue down the road. This is far more important, because if you use copyrighted music and don’t have a Creative Commons (see “more” below for a quick explanation of this) or royalty-free agreement than you’re breaking the law. That can get you booted from websites, restrict the use of your contents upstream (like television), and get you sued.
  3. Free AND royalty-free is rare, but some amateurs aren’t interested in commercializing their work or simply want to market it. Let me know if you’ve found definitive sites for these people. There’s a desperate need for a nice exchange between well-known video creators and hungry musicians looking for exposure.

mullet bandNote that $10-$30 per song is a fair price for good music that brings a video to life and isn’t used on 100s of other videos. I’ve spent more than $500 buying every GarageBand loop CD (try Mixcraft and Beatcraft if you’re not an “out of the closet” Mac user yet). So I can compose my own music fairly easily (to time with my edited video, retain control of how it sounds, and live in the bliss of of being above copyright infringement.

I’ve yet to buy a canned collection of music because many are too expensive (hundreds of dollars) or simply too cheesy. And most of our videos won’t earn even the $20 price on YouTube. It’s like buying $20 lemons to make $10 at a lemonaid stand. Not good bid-ness unless you have a big hit, monetize it in other ways or have a rich aunt.

Now onto your contributions (and I’ll add to these if you send more). I’m especially interested in finding more individuals like Kevin MacLeod that offer some of their music for easy and free download, and without royalties. If you’re a musician and you’re not signed, I’d strongly suggest you do this to select pieces. Once you do this, you can’t exactly revoke that permission (I don’t know if this would effect a record label’s interest in picking you up). But it’s excellent marketing.

FindSounds: This is a delightful search engine that serves up a simple interface for finding, sampling and downloading sound effects. And it’s free to use. BUT if you want to be safe, you need to find the original source and read the terms of use.

SmartAssMusic: Not free, but royalty free. Limited selection and confusing navigation bar, but a few really professional pieces for a decent price (around $20). There are a few free ones, but you need to register and credit the site. More importantly, these free ones are not for commercial use (so buy if you’re a YouTube partner).

Detonation Films: Ever wonder where Davideo gets his explosions when he doesn’t feel like making them himself? Here’s the site. But you’ll need to know how to overlay these on your footage, which is too much for my caveman brain.

What’s Creative Commons? Let’s say you’re not Disney and you don’t feel like suing everyone for fun. But you’re also not diggin’ the idea of people ripping your work and pawning it off as their own… or worse-yet making money on it. So now you’ve got a series of licenses that allow you to set the specific terms for how people can use your video, music or other art. Answer a few questions, get the license that is right for you, then simply place that identification on your work. It’s a free service and it’s a great vehicle for sharing creative work in fair ways.

21 Replies to “What’s Better than Free AND Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects?”

  1. This is where I’m stuck on the whole copyright issue, as long as I’m not making money on it why can’t I use it? I bought the CD!

    I was in the canned hippy grocery store today and they were popping in CDs and mixed tapes; more people go into that grocery store in a day than visit my web site and blog in a year, so I don’t get the a huge chunk of the copyright laws?

    I can understand why Corps. go after YouTube, there are ads on the channels, they are making more than covering their costs off absent creators, they are making profits.

    Maybe You Tube should share their wealth with the creators ripped by their users, since 99.9% of Tubers GIVE them the use of their stuff for free anyway.

    Ultimately, You Tube is responsible, they say they can’t control the violation of use, but actually we all know most of that is BS. They are just dragging their feet. However, the copyright laws are ridiculous and until You Tube rallies the troops these laws won’t change and the reason You Tube doesn’t rally the troops; which they could with a vengeance, is because they stand to lose more from the public having creative access than from the corporations of which they are part of. Think about it…

    So the laws have to be changed, and really only the people can do that, but the people could have had Bush arrested years ago and look how well that turned out.

    Maybe all these tubers should start a partners collective, get enough creators you can buy everyone a camera or pay for some blogs and web sites

    – too pinko-commie or just a hobby or maybe I should just stay out of canned hippy grocery stores.

  2. I’d say the odds of people bothering you about copyrighted music on non monetized videos are the same as winning the lotto. Look at all the music videos in the top rated section that are CLEARLY not with permission, and used to drive visits to cell phone websites. Plus- you’d be adding something. These are just ripoffs. If I was the copyright owner I’d go after them and your grocery first.

  3. When you bought the CD, all you bought was the right to listen to and enjoy the music. The original copyright law which is intended to protect the creators doesn’t apply to new & emerging media, how could they have ever anticipated YouTube and social networking and the like?? The DMCA is a hug fail and rather than admit the leaders will stand by it and claim that it’s a wonderful wonderful thing.

    The power here does not rest solely with the people, the artists could actually step outside of the box and work with people on fair use issues if they could actually wrestle the rights away from the record companies who have a stranglehold over their little kingdoms. I think you’d find a good many artists that would be more than willing to allow fair use of their creations as long as the person using their art respects their claims and expectations during use.

  4. You better hope there are no typos in this post or you can be sure that marilyn will give you shit about it. She’s the spelling Nazi.

    P.S. Don’t tell her I called her a Nazi.

  5. I am the OCD, everything is organized, anal-retentive type. Everyone at work loves it, though, because my computer lab is easily the most organized and efficient classroom in the school.

    I AM the spelling Nazi, and proud of it. Where would our civilization be without correct spelling and proper grammar? People would be going around saying stuff like “your a fag”.

    Well, gotta go meet a friend for a beer. Have a great weekend everyone. Oh, wait! I can read and post on the weekend!! See you later!

  6. I’m back. Just a quick beer. Or two. Or maybe it was three. I can’t remember. Anyway, I’m back home now. Hi everybody!

    (Hi, Dr. Nick!)

  7. “I’d say the odds of people bothering you about copyrighted music on non monetized videos are the same as winning the lotto.”

    If that were the case I should be a billionaire by now!
    I’ve had at lest 6 videos removed for stupid stuff.

    Now I have a UMC against me, whatever the hell that is? Had to make it private until I, 1st understand what that is, nothing about it in the youtube glossary. 2. take time to dispute it, not sure I’ll even bother.

    I constantly have to run around after some lame comment about something or other and make videos private or remove them and I’ve never made a dime off of one. I’ve just made people laugh, wonder, and brought a tear to their eye.

    Not only have I had to battle with the big corporation’s complaints I have to deal with anal retentive tattle tales. THAT RIGHT, YOU HEARD ME, TATTLE TALES! That’s what you are. Dirty Snitches!

  8. Jischinger wants a dirty sanchez?

    Oh God, Jischinger. Please don’t share your perverted fantasies with us.

  9. hey matt, guess what! the record companies want to start charging Used CD stores royalty fees.

    I still don’t get it, what should I be doing when people, friends and strangers, come over for a party and I put the music on? Do I make them each buy the CD first or make them wear ear plugs?

    And what if I want to play this copy written music and perform a creative dance at this party and everyone brings some chips and dip and tosses a couple of bucks in for snacks and beer. Do I have to document this and send it to the Record Label Company, just in case? And what if my friend in Italy, sitting next to a friend of his, who is a stranger to me, is on his computer during the party and we are tele-communicating visually on a web cam and he hears the music and sees the dancing and gets so excited he starts to dance with his friend who is a stranger to me, do I have to make him and the stranger to me pay royalties?

    And what if I have a whole lot of friends who have friends that are strangers to me who want to see this creative dance to copyrighted music at a different time because they have to work to pay their taxes so that the military can protect the freedom the record labels have to do business in MY COUNTRY!

    The laws are ridiculous, and that’s putting it mildly. It stifles progress and creativity and until someone is turning a profit it should be fair use across the board, but I’m a reasonable person, 7 years max, then it’s public domain with credit forever, anything more is just immoral.

    One more thing, just where do ideas come from? As a player in the human collective some how I and everyone else that ever lived inspired or inspires everyone else, it takes more than a few grains of sand to make a beach, as it takes a hell of a lot of civilization to create a person who can come up with an idea. Though some people, who have won awards for popular ideas, I’ve seen them on TV, thank Jesus or God for these incredible ideas and as far as I know, no record label has every give either one of those two guys a royalty check.

  10. “They sell hippies in cans? What a novel idea!”

    I’ll let evie tell you.
    no you type.
    No, you type!
    Oh, for god’s sake!

    “the way i understand it is… during wwii and the cold war they created these canned-little-bigger-than-a-corner-grocery-stores; your iga’s, nationals, little a&p’s and such. the beatniks in the 60s found the type of foods these grocery store carried to be abhorrent, so they wrote poetry about it. howl, by alex ginsberg was really about an awful can of campbell’s pork n beans. artists, like andy warhol had a bad can of campbell’s tomato soup. maybe it had salmonella, i don’t know. anyway, the hippies came along and stopped eating that crap, because they were into el-na-tur-ral and all that be-here-now stuff and then they found yogis and gurus in india and they turned into vegetarians, which enlightened them to the dangers of pesticides, that evolved into organic foods, which was better eatins’, but it produced men with tofu breath who only brushed with raw carrots and french unshaven women who never wore deodorant, and they were endlessly mocked by the silent majority. so some of them shut up and went out into the wilderness while others started computer companies, got rich, went back to eating canned foods and invested in mega-canned-grocery-stores and just for old time’s sake they also invested in a few organic health food stores, but these stores were just for them and because of this, the silent majority would never let them forget their real roots, no matter how rich and mainstream they tried to become, they were quickly and forever labeled yuppies. meanwhile, the ones who went out into the wilderness, got lost so they came back and quietly settled naturally in local artist communities, which we all know are the dangerous and impoverished neighborhoods with no canned-mega-grocery-stores; just a few-canned-little-bigger-than-a-corner-grocery-stores, but those who were formerly-lost were poor and discovered that they were forced to eat the foods from the few-canned-little-bigger-than-a-corner-grocery-stores that were left, and they found this abhorrent. they missed the good and natural foods something awful and their bellies swelled and they spent many hours in the bathroom. then one day they suddenly remembered that they were still slightly radical, so they compromised and now the few-canned-little-bigger-than-a-corner-grocery-store also carries organic food next to the canned campbell’s pork n beans and tomatoe soup, as well as a ratty old couch on a braided rug, two beat up tables and two beat up chairs that hold two mixed matched chess set and a commodore 64 that is shackled to a giant 1960’s macrome peace symbol on the wall. so everyone is happy and that’s a canned-hippy-grocery-store. the end.”

  11. So, can somebody just tell me this? If i went to to a website that lists musicians that have the creative commons license (http://artistserver.com/) and use a song in one of my videos, BUT give credit, will I get sued? I’m still sorta in the dark here.

  12. “It stifles progress and creativity…”

    How does broadcasting someone else’s work promote creativity?

    The law is there to protect creators and their work. But there are so many facets and so many gray areas that to make laws that address each case-by-case situation would be crazy, so they do the “blanket” thing.

    And while you’re not necessarily making money with the licensed music you use in your videos, you are making a statement of some sort — a statement that the creators of those works might not wish to have associated with them.

    Having worked in radio for several years, I’m pretty sensitive to both sides of the argument… Yeah, the laws may be kinda dumb, but they are what they are, and they protect guys like me from having our stuff used where and how we don’t want it to be… There’s a GREAT article from Radio and Production magazine which a colleague of mine wrote on the subject, and it has since become the most-requested back article in the magazine’s history.


    My philosophy on the matter stems from YouTube’s slogan, “Broadcast yourself.” 1) Broadcast — “the laws” (inane as some may find them) say if you’re broadcasting ANYthing, you need to obtain the permission of whomever created it and/or pay your necessary fees to do so. 2) Yourself — not someone else. To me, it’s more fun to make my own music and videos anyway… Why rent from someone else when you can make your own for nothing and keep it and have it be protected?

    And as far as who they go after for infringement? Look at it like ants in your house: You know you can’t get ’em all, but that doesn’t mean you’re not gonna step on the ones you do see, right?

Comments are closed.