Let’s Create a Source for Free Royalty-Free Music

Let’s help build a killer index for FREE royalty-free music. Ever search for free music online? How about royalty-free music? It’s hard to find good stuff. Now let’s complicate it further. Free, royalty-free music? Nearly impossible.

But the need is there, and the benefit is high for:

  1. Viewers/listeners: Who can discover new talent, and enjoy videos without hearing the same ridiculous loops from every editing software package.
  2. Video creators: Who can stick to what they do best, but create better videos with the help of talented usicians.
  3. Musicians: Who can gain exposure from the large audiences of video creators. What a great way to market your work. If I was a musician, I’d certainly offer a few songs for free (in exchange for credit), and I’d market myself to popular video creators in hope that they’d use my tunes and credit me. I do this often, but it helps when musicians are aggressive (and talented).

Kevin MacLeod, the infamous talent behind Incompetech.com, has changed YouTube forever by offering his music for free AND royalty-free use. That means we “partners” can use it without fear of the copyright police. We want to use good music (not just our own attempts to score via Garageband or other layman tools.

Offering free music, of course, is a generous gesture by MacLeod and others, but also a brilliant marketing strategy. As I’ve written before, I’ve commissioned custom music from MacLeod to thank him… and he was fair on price, excellent in quality, and extremely fast in turnaround. It put MacLeod on the map, and is a smart strategy for any talented musician looking for fast and free exposure.

Kevin’s friend Frank Nora is offering HOURS of his music without any cost and for royalty free use. He doesn’t ask for credit, which makes me want to credit him even more! Kevin has a few other friends who have taken his approach to marketing their talent. I hope to include their websites to this post.

Are you aware of other musicians who offer their music for free? Let’s create a one-stop showcase for them, and see if we can push it up on Google for searches for “royalty-free free music” or “free royalty-free music.” If it already exists, please let me know!

Currently Google searches like those yield a lot of websites that promise it, but are actually selling really cheesy, outdated collections of canned gunk. The kind of thing that is almost bad enough for a parody of a corporate video, but not quite bad enough.

Thanks musicians! Thanks video creators that help publicize these talented musicians and make videos that are more fun to watch. And thanks to you WillVideoForFood peeps that can help make it easier to find ’em.

19 Replies to “Let’s Create a Source for Free Royalty-Free Music”

  1. I mentioned some sites in a comment on your video. The site I’m linking to now is mine, but it has links in the left sidebar to the other sites I mentioned. SongFight, Masters Of Song Fu & Nur Ein. Each site has a different stance on copyright, and usually the musicians just give the site permission to host there music for the contest & archive it. BUT, a lot of these musicians are the type of people you’re looking for. A lot of them release their music as creative commons so people can feel free to use them as long as they are credited.

    A lot of the people have contact info on the sites, so you just need to send them a message & say, “Can I use this?” or “Are you interested in being a part of this?” I’ve done that in the past & got a lot of cooperation.

  2. Awesome project Kevin. An index would be one thing but it’d be awesome if this can get set up to something that you can sample the music all from one place too, see whats new, etc. I’ve thought about doing this a few times, and even promised to make a video about this topic but just haven’t yet. Here are some sites I use although incompetech is by far the most diverse & complete right now.




    http://old.thesixtyone.com/#/tags/song/show/YouTube/youtube+safe/ (my own project of tagging music on t61 that was youtube safe.. I haven’t updated it in a while though)

  3. I didn’t put a website up as I am taking down the one I own now because I am going to use my own name for my music instead of what I used. Where do you want me to upload some songs for this. My music is more ambient – new agey… as I am old like you Kevin ;). Here is one piece I do have on YouTube right now that could be used in videos but I do have about 5 hours worth of music I am willing to lend out for this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzmYdUnRsvo

  4. Hi Nalts!

    I graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Film Scoring and have been working here full time in the department for five years since graduating… there are tons of starving Film Scoring students looking for work in film and media in addition to their studies..I think YouTube would be a great outlet for them. Already they pair up with Emerson, Boston University, etc. film departments to score those students’ films for free. I would suggest perhaps reaching out to students here as well as other schools with a Film Scoring program (NYU offers it as a minor and USC offers it as a graduate program… Berklee has an undergraduate program for Film Scoring). Even if it’s not specially a score for a video, I’m sure they would love to send in generic music of different genres for free use just to get their name out there, etc.

    Anyhow, just wanted to share. Been a Nalts fan for a long time… thanks for the recent everyday Orbit entertainment 🙂


  5. OMG it would be a Great Resource. Not just an Index of FREE music, but a Social Network. Also a place where amateurs could upload their own original loops/music for everyone to share. There might have to be some monitoring.

    It would be a great to also tie into YouTube. Ya know when a YT video is embedded on a web site. it shows up under the video (Huff Post as an example). For that piece of music, it would list what YT Videos it shows up in. It is what FlashKit dot com Should have been.

    Keep on YouTubin!

  6. Wow! No spelling errors! I’m impressed.

    Ok, one, but I think it’s just a typo:
    “Video creators: Who can stick to what they do best, but create better videos with the help of talented usicians.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be “musicians”.

  7. Pingback: iPod downloads?
  8. A great royalty free music site is http://www.audionautix.com/ .
    Jason Shaw has put up some great music there and you only need to credit him.
    I know it’s been hard for me to find good royalty free music, so this is really awesome for you to be doing this! Keep up the good work Nalts!

  9. I support this campaign to the end of the earth! It’s a sad world we live in where free music costs money.

    The guy above me beat me right to it, I was going to mention AudioNautix. However, there’s also this one with a few good tracks on it, but this is all I have to contribute. Huzzah.


  10. The ONE issue I do see about creating 1 Site for all these Artists/Musicians/Amatures is that There are Ads (i.e. Adsense) on their own sites. Each User should be able to add their own “Ad” Code to their Profile/Pages/Music etc.

    Would not want anyone missing out on Traffic/Revenue that they would get from their own hosted site.

    What do you think??

  11. Great idea! I appreciate it when other people use one of my songs and I’m sure the attribution increases traffic to my website. Most of my songs are pretty short and silly, but some of them might be useful under the right circumstances. The video/song page on my site is pretty easy to find. I should probably post more instrumentals since they are easier for others to incorporate into videos.

  12. IndyMogul has a thread on their forums devoted to this very same thing. users provide links to places where people can download their music so long as they are credited, no other restrictions. They try to keep the first post in the thread updated with all the links. so I’m going to link there. http://forum.indymogul.com/showthread.php?t=24199

    some of the links are broken bu many are not.

  13. Mr. Safety tried to do something similar about 2 years ago, but dropped it quickly. It can become a hassle, especially if the artist wants to eventually market their music, get signed, etc. — but it’s so worth it and a perfect fit.

    Either way, I’d love to be one of the many musical artists that offer up my music for free. My band’s YouTube channel is ParisByAir (and there are about three dozen songs as free downloads through ParisByAir.com). We were even signed to Sony’s Columbia label many moons ago, but have plenty of newer stuff that was never commercially released.

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