So you have created an excellent video, great. Now all you need is a right music. Obviously, you can not just use any music from Radiohead or Ketty Perry, for your YouTube video. YouTube doesn’t work that way. You need to have a copyright or written permission for the music you use.
But worry not, there are a couple of places where you can find high-quality royalty free music. But before we come to that, let see what will happen when you don’t follow the rules.
What happens when you use someone else’s music?
Let say you use a popular song as a background music. Soon after you upload the video, YouTube algorithm (called contentID) will detect copy-protected music. And then start looking into it.
Once the algorithm confirmed that the music is not yours, they will send you an email asking if you have written permission from the original creator. If you have a written permission, you can send that to them. And in case you don’t, then you have two choices –
1. You keep the video, but any revenue that comes out of it will go to the original creator of that music. Usually, these are the big media house that has the rights to that music.
2. Or you can replace the copyright music from the YouTube’s audio library and get to keep all the revenue you get from these videos.
Sometimes you might get copyright violation strike from YouTube, even when you use your song. In such cases, you can file a dispute (you’ll get this option in the email they sent) with them. Though, this might take some time to settle, as Google don’t have much manpower and relies mostly on algorithms.
I have been a YouTuber for five years and have tested many websites that claim free music. But most of them either ask for a one-time fee or only support non-commercial usage.
But luckily, there are few ways to get completely few music, though. So, let’s check them out.
Free Music For YouTube Videos
YouTube understand that creator needs quality music to make awesome videos. And when they don’t get one, they tend to use other copyright music.
And with that in mind, YouTube started YouTube Music Library. Back in 2013, when it first started, it has only 100 songs, but now that number has grown to thousands. It has a collection of high-quality free music, which you can filter music by mood, genre, duration, etc. and off course you can use it commercially.
But why YouTube is being so generous?
Well, they are not, they are still helping themselves.
It’s in the best interest of YouTube to give creators free high-quality music for their YouTube videos. If the provide free music, people won’t steal other works. Thus YouTube spends less time dealing with copyright infringement and user enjoys free music. Everybody wins.
Another good new is, you can even use this music, to monetize your old videos that contain copyright music. To do that, goto the video manager, click on the edit option next to the video that has monetization pending and replace song from YouTube audio library.
Do I have to give credits?
Since YouTube is already paying the composer, it’s not necessary to give credits. However, YouTube suggests writing the artist and track’s name in the description. However, certain music (that has a symbol of a man inside a circle next to it) needs attribution in the description. Screenshot below.
Founded a decade ago by Kelvin Macleod, Incompetech is still providing free music. Over the years they have developed a good collections background music. It has the variety of genre you can use for commercial and non-commercial projects, provided you give attribution to the owner.
The songs are not just limited to YouTube, you can use them anywhere you want like – films or video game, presentation or any other offline or online commercial use. Just make sure you give the proper credit to the creator. If you don’t want to give credit the owner that you can buy the license.
The music collection is pretty good, you can search tracks by mood, genre, length, tempo etc. Or check out their most popular or most recent uploaded list. Though, one thing that I have noticed is, most of the popular songs on IncompeTech are already available in YouTube audio library, as the creator – Kevin MacLeod and YouTube have some sought of business agreement.
Unlike Incompetech which is run by the single person, ccMixer is a community site. It offers some (set the Filter to – free for commercial use) royalty free music for commercial use, under Creative Common 3.0.
This means you are free to use, modify or remix the music even for commercial projects but you have to give credit to the creator. You cannot claim the ownership or redistribute the tracks, which is a fair bargain in our opinion.
However, from my personal experience, finding good background music on ccMixter is not easy, since most of the songs there have lyrics. Also, once I got a copyright claimed from the song I got from ccMixter even though, it was free for commercial use and proper attribution was there in the description. I ended using other songs from YouTube Audio library.
How to give credit?
This is a bit tricky. No one defines how and where to give credit in videos. Some creator asks users to include the song’s title and owner info in the end of the video while others are OK to see their name in the video description.
The general rule of thumb, give credits in such a way, that person looking for the name of the song, has no problem in finding it. If there is a description, go for it, but if you using the video for offline presentation then it’s better to include the creator name in the outro.
4. Fl studio
This is not a website but a program that lets you create your music (mostly instrumental).
One thing I’ve noticed about good royalty-free songs is that – they are very few of them. And those few are often widely used on several YouTube channel. So, if you looking for something unique, like a couple of theme songs for your channel, then it’s better to make your own music.
And Fl Studio is the best software to make professional music using home PCs. Getting started is easy, there are many YouTube tutorial that will help you with basic functions and operation. We recommended this series FL studio beginner series from New Boston.
I have used this software to make my music for some videos, and it took me 5 hours (starting from the scratch) to make it. And although I won’t say, it was the best music to my ears, it was pretty good for the tasks, I wanted to achieve.
It’s a popular YouTube Channel from the UK, that offers high-quality instrumental music for free. One condition is, you have to give credits in the video description, which again totally makes sense, by looking at their quality of music.
Although it’s a YouTube channel, we recommend, using the NCS website to pick up songs, since it allows you to filter tracks according to categories, most viewed, and playlists etc.
At the time of writing this article, they have uploaded 308 tracks, all available for free. Though, there are some fine restrictions as well. Like the songs are free for independent Creators and can be used on YouTube and Twitch. If you’re a brand or a commercial organization looking to use their music on YouTube or anywhere else, it’s better to contact them first.
Chilllphops is another hidden gem like NCS. It also offers some (* not all) high-quality music for free, even for commercial usage. All you have to do is give credits to the creator. Though, it’s bit confusing, which music is free and which are not.
However, according to their terms and conditions, the music is free to use only for YouTube similar ad-supported partner programs. If you want to use their music, outside of this scope, contact them.
The official website encourage users to create a free account so that they can track who’s using their music, but it’s not necessary, you can use their music even without creating an account with them.
If you are serious about you video, then avoid free music websites. They are not good for long run. Instead use YouTube audio library and if have time, create your music.
There are many other small resources and YouTube channel, where you can find some hidden gems. For instance, a Reddit user has shared this awesome spreadsheet with links to all places, where you can find good music for YouTube videos.