How to choose royalty-free music for your videos

Check out the best sites to find soundtracks for your videos.

Many details must be taken into consideration when recording a video. 

In addition to the quality of the image and the narrator’s audio, the soundtrack is one of the elements that make the video more attractive, because it helps to create an atmosphere for the viewers, helping them connect with your video content.

But not all music can be used as a background element in the videos. Why? Because of copyrights.

By using copyrighted music, in addition to ensuring your video will be sanctioned by the platform, the artists or their representatives can sue the owner of the video for the unauthorized use of their music!

The law in most countries protects music productions. Therefore, before adding music to a video, it is crucial that you analyze whether its use is royalty-free or restricted.

In this article, we’re going to talk a little about how to get music for your videos and recommend a few websites where you can get royalty-free music.

Free music archive Facebook Sound Collection Dig cc.Mixter YouTube Audio Library Bensound Incompetech Open Music Archive Artlist
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Why is the soundtrack important?

Although it’s not the main element, the soundtrack makes the video more attractive for viewers.

Movies and series, for example, all have soundtracks, created to fit perfectly in each scene, as is the case of Game of Thrones and Star Wars, among so many others.

Changing the subject from movies and focusing on the production of video content, soundtracks help create an atmosphere, making it easier to help viewers form a mental image while watching your video.

The soundtrack also serves to convey a message, arouse curiosity and consequently, strengthen your brand in your viewers’ subconscious.

In addition, science reinforces the power of music, especially upbeat music, which has total interference in a person’s creativity and you, the author of the video, can take full advantage of this!

What precautions should you take regarding copyrights? 

The big issue here is that not all music can be used as a soundtrack, since they are copyright protected.

There are several consequences for the illegal use of a soundtrack, at least for those who seriously wish to work with content creation.

In legal terms, using protected music for commercial purposes may entail criminal and civil penalties, including the payment of fines.

There are also penalties applied by the video-sharing platforms themselves. YouTube, for example, prevents the monetization of videos with copyright-protected music.

This means that the channel owner cannot display advertising in the video, with Google AdSense, for example, even if it reaches thousands of people.

In many cases, it is common for YouTube to mute the audio from the video, compromising the content Producer’s credibility with the audience. 

How does copyright law work? 

Copyright is a legal instrument that protects authors and creators from having their work reproduced without permission. It protects creations such as literary, musical and artistic pieces of work, among others. 

Therefore, the best option for video content creators is to look for public domain music. Keep in mind that it’s important to check your country’s copyright legislation.

In the USA, for example, According to the Copyright Act of 1976, songs published before 1923 are of public domain. 

YouTube has its own usage restrictions on copyrighted music. Basically, the copyright owners can determine if and how their music will be used on the platform. 

If there’s a copyright claim on a video, it could be muted, blocked entirely or even be prohibited from showing ads. In fact, the copyright owner can agree to run ads on the video and monetize from it, preventing the video content creator from monetizing that specific video. 

How to get music for videos

Copyrights allow owners the right to distribute, either royalty-free or not, the use of their compositions.

Many composers release their music without any restriction, which can be included for free in soundtracks.

One widespread myth about the use of music in videos is the ten-second rule. Actually, it doesn’t exist. Copyrighted materials cannot be used in any way without authorization, not even for ten seconds.

And is crediting the author in the video’s description enough? Also, no! In order to use copyrighted materials, you have to pay for them.

To know if a song can be used or not, you need to analyze the details laid out by the composer or the owner of the rights.

In order to make life easier for those who need royalty-free music for soundtracks, certain platforms provide music collections to be used for free by anyone, including for commercial purposes.

The major advantage of using these channels to search for a soundtrack is the certainty that all content made available are royalty-free. 

Free music archive

Free music archive is a database for songs. 

As described on the site itself, this isn’t only a repository with royalty-free music, but it also contains quality and varied soundtracks, which are characteristics that make Free Music one of the best options for those who need music for soundtracks.

To find the right song, people visiting the platform can browse by music genres, which makes the search process much easier.

One of this platform’s major unique features is that is also works as a blog. Those responsible for the platform not only advertise royalty-free music, but also articles that can inspire you when it comes to producing your content. 

Facebook Sound Collection

One of the most famous social networks in the world, Facebook prohibits the use of copyrighted music in its videos. Even those of a non-commercial nature were being prohibited for sharing on the platform when a copyrighted song was used as a soundtrack. 

More than prohibiting the use of these resources, Facebook offers users a database with thousands of royalty-free music.

Facebook’s Sound Collection is available for all platform users. You can search by genre, style, track length or even amount of vocals.

Dig cc.Mixter

Dig cc.Mixter allows users to not only choose and download royalty-free music, but also make their music available so other users can download it. 

According to information provided by the platform, the tracks available on the page have already been used in over a million videos and games.

One of the great advantages of using Dig cc.Mixter is that you don’t need to register to access the material. Just select the desired track and download it. 

If you want to, you can play the track on the website itself, which will certainly help you pick the best track.

YouTube Audio Library

YouTube’s royalty-free music database is vast. This is because the platform is concerned about the content being produced and made available to users.  

Having a royalty-free soundtrack database is a form of encouraging the use of these resources in videos, creating increasingly relevant content for those who are searching for a given subject. 

Access to the YouTube Audio Library is free and you can search by genre, instrument, mood and track length.


Bensound is a website that allows users to search and download royalty-free music. There’s an important detail regarding the use of the downloaded tracks.

When downloading for free, users can use the track only in non-commercial videos, such as those of a personal nature (posted on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram).

In order to exploit the video commercially, you need to buy the right to use the soundtracks. The currency used on the platform is the Euro. 


Incompetech follows the dynamics of the aforementioned services. However, browsing within the website is a little more rudimentary. The search criteria are mood, genre and track length.

Within the website, you can play the tracks and download the content for free, in mp3 format, without any user registration being required. 

Open Music Archive

Open Music Archive is a collaborative project started by Eileen Simpson and Ben White and that nowadays includes the participation of thousands of other artists, who help keep the platform operating with a variety of royalty-free music.

When compared to the other collections mentioned, Open Music Archive’s only issue is with its search system. In the search box, users can only enter keywords referring to the song’s title and the composer’s name, for example.

In order to find a track, users need to know exactly what they are looking for.


If you’re looking for unlimited, high quality and royalty-free music, Artlist is the perfect choice for you. This website offers direct and unlimited access to an entire catalog of high quality music licensing for a single annual subscription fee of $199.

It doesn’t matter if you want to download 10 or 100 songs from their library, the price doesn’t change. And this is just one of the incredible advantages of Artlist, they offer a huge variety of cool indie tracks that is certainly going to take your productions to the next level.

Do you want to use copyrighted music? Here’s how you should proceed

If you wish to use copyrighted music in your video, you need to be very careful. Even before recording the video, you need the composer’s authorization in order to use the music.

This authorization must be provided by both the artist as well as the publisher/recording company, which is responsible for the distribution of the song.

However, the entire process of using copyrighted music is complex. Therefore, it is important to evaluate carefully if this investment is worthwhile.

Pick your soundtrack 

Picking your video’s soundtrack is one of the most important steps in the creative process, because the music can generate rich material, with great potential for viewer involvement. 

Therefore, make sure that you select tracks that are related to the content you’re covering and that respect the copyrights, because this will make all the difference when it comes to conveying a more professional image. 

In addition to the soundtrack, it is essential that you pay attention to audio quality. With this in mind, check out this article on audio quality parameters and tips

See you next time!



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