So you have created an excellent video. Great. Now all you need is the right music. Obviously, you can not just use any music from Radiohead or Ketty Perry. YouTube doesn’t work that way. You need to have a copyright or written permission for the music you use. But fret not, there are a couple of places where you can find high-quality royalty-free music. Let’s check those out.
What happens when you use copyright music?
Before we come to that, let see what happens when you don’t follow the rules. Say, you used a popular song as background music for your YouTube video. Soon after you upload that video, the YouTube algorithm (called contentID) will detect it.
Once the algorithm confirms that the music belongs to someone else, they will send you an email asking if you have written permission from the original creator. If you have a consent letter, you can send that to YouTube and case closed. In case you don’t have permission to use the song, you are left with three choices:
1. You keep the video, but the revenue goes to the original music creator or production house.
2. If eligible, you can use share the revenue with the production house.
3. If possible, you can replace the copyright music with YouTube’s audio library and keep all the revenue
Sometimes you might get a 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). Though, this might take some time to settle. Another YouTuber Tom Scott made a video on the same topic, you should definitely check that out.
I have been a YouTuber for seven 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.
Free Background Music For YouTube Videos
1. YouTube Music Library
YouTube started its Music Library back in 2013 and had only 100 songs then, 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 of course you can use it commercially.
YouTube Audio Library is a win-win for both YouTube and video creators. Creators get high-quality music for free and YouTube has to spend less time dealing with copyright infringement.
You can even use the music from YouTube Audio Library, to monetize your old videos that contain copyright music. Simply, go to the video manager, click on the edit option next to the video that has monetization pending, and replace the song from YouTube audio library.
Check out YouTube Music 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.
2. Pixabay Music
Pixabay is a popular online marketplace to get royalty-free images but they also offer music that is completely free to use. It hosts a library of high-quality mp3 tracks that don’t even require any attribution. The music is neatly categorized that will make your search for the perfect music track easier. Simply narrow your search based on the genre, mood, or even music movement.
Before downloading, you can listen to the soundtracks on the website and then decide if you want to go through with it. Everything else is fine but let’s talk about the music collection and the quality of the soundtracks. I’d say the music is decent and does a great job of complementing the montages for your videos.
Check out Pixabay Music (Free)
Founded a decade ago by Kelvin Macleod, Incompetech is still providing free music. Over the years they have developed a good collection of background music. It has a variety of genres that 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 games, presentations, 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 to the owner that you can buy the license.
The music collection is pretty good, you can search for 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.
Check out IncompTech
4. FL Studio
This is not a website but a program that lets you create your music (mostly instrumental).
If you looking for something unique, like a theme song 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 tutorials that will help you with basic functions and operation. We recommended this series FL studio beginner series from New Boston.
I once use FL Studio just to see how it’s, and it took me 5 hours to make a 1 min music. I won’t say, it was the best music, but it got the job done.
Install FL Studio
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.
Check out NCS YouTube Channel
6. Search on YouTube
Yes, you can find background music for YouTube videos on YouTube as well. Recently, I need an inspiration track for my 100k sub video, and the best one I found was on YouTube. It’s royalty-free and you can even monetize it. All they ask for is the credits in the video description, which is totally fair.
To get started, simply search for the type of song you want, like – ‘Royalty-free Inspiring Music‘. Listen to each search result and select the one you like. Though, make sure you verify that the upload is genuine and not uploading someone’s else content. So, look for the signs up constant upload comment, connected social media accounts, etc.
Here is the background music used in a popular YouTuber – CGP grey. And according to its description, the song is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0. This means you can sample, remix, re-edit, or do whatever you want with the video, as long as you give credit to the source.
I recently, discover some hidden gems on Soundcloud and it completely blew up my mind. There are tons of talented music artists on Soundcloud and most of them are pretty cool with sharing their music for free. All they ask is for a credit link or a small donation.
However, it’s quite challenging to find good music artists on Soundcloud. So, far I’ve come up with two ways-
1. Go to Soundcloud official website and search for the type of song you want to like – hip hop music etc, then click on Track in the top left > Filter Result > To use commercial. Though, just like the previous one, make sure to verify the identity of the uploader.
2. This method is quite untraditional. Most popular YouTube creators also, use music from SoundCloud like CaseyNeistat. So, simply go to the YouTube page of your favorite YouTuber, and watch a couple of their videos. If you find a good song, that you would like to use yourself, then check the video description. I’ve discovered some awesome artists using this method. Here is the video explaining it.
Check out Soundcloud
If you are serious about your video, then avoid free music websites. They aren’t efficient in the long run. It’s better to use YouTube audio library or 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.
At TechWiser we use SoundCloud and Epidemic Sound. The latter one isn’t free, so I won’t be going into much detail. But in a nutshell, consider it like Netflix for background music. You sign up for a subscription (starts at $15 per month) and while you are subscribed to the service, you can use any music from their library. Since it’s a paid service, the tracks are pretty unique also, the best part is, you don’t have to give any credits in your video.