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A Complete Guide to Free Music for Video Content Creators

Jourdan Aldredge

Mar 30, 2023

When first starting off in film and video, there are a lot of ways to make your projects stand out. From upgrading your camera and lenses to leveling up your video editing skills and tools, the potential for growth early is exponential.

However, the further you get into your professional career, the harder it becomes to see major improvements from video to video or project to project. At a certain level, most cameras shooting 4K video are going to look the same. Most lenses and most video editing apps hit a plateau as well.

Yet, the one area in which you can always improve your videos might surprise you. Music is the great equalizer in film, video, and content creation. It separates the bad from the good and the good from the great. But how do you get the right music for your projects? 

And, more importantly, how do you find music that is actually free to help you along the way. Here’s everything you need to know about “free music” and how you can use it in your videos.

How to tell if free music is actually free

Let’s get this out of the way early here, “free music” online is incredibly hard to find. And, more often than not, free music is not actually free. Even in the few instances where you might find a free library from some old website from circa Y2K, chances are they won’t be of a good enough quality to matter.

That being said, there are a few resources out there that have opened up their libraries to allow for free music — albeit with a limited quantity and with the not-so-hidden goal of giving you a taste as you start your career.

We’ll get into more options below (of course including Soundstripe’s free music options), but read more here if you’d like to truly explore everything about “free music” and how to tell if free music is actually free.

What is royalty-free music specifically?

Now that we’ve covered the elephant in the room for “free music” and how it does (and doesn’t work), let’s move on to talk about royalty-free music and what that term means. Again, there’s lots of misnomers and mis-information out there about royalty-free music and what all it can cover.

From a basic definition, royalty-free music is music which has been licensed to a specific user to use for a certain purpose. Royalty-free music is not “free music” and it is not free for anyone to use anywhere.

That being said, companies like Soundstripe are the ones which create and act as an intermediary between musicians and content creators and video professionals and can — for a subscription or per song price — cover the vast uses of music for their users and subscribers.

There’s a lot more to be said and learn about royalty-free music though, including how it works in the world of music and sync licensing. If you’d like to really explore everything there is to know about royalty free music, definitely check out this blog post on what royalty free music is.

Tips for working with free music on YouTube

Moving on from the definitions for free music and royalty-free music, we can now talk about one of the main uses for music licensing and royalty-free music for video. Love it or hate it, and for better or worse, the biggest platform for hosting video and/or creating video content these days is YouTube. 

And like other social media and video hosting platforms, YouTube is very strict about copyrights and copyright infringement on its app. As it stands today, you can’t just download your favorite Taylor Swift song off the internet and use it in your company’s marketing video for free and without licensing rights.

And even more so, unless you’re creating the background music for your videos yourself, if you do want to eventually monetize your videos you’ll need to be able to claim ownership or licensing permission for any music or media featured in your videos.

Which, when it comes to free music, becomes tricky. Suffice to say, the best way to use free or royalty-free music in your YouTube videos would be to use a subscription service like Soundstripe which can protect your music and your channel from any copyright violations and allow for worry-free monetization.

For free music in particular though, there’s a lot more to know and understand about YouTube and the rules which regulate it which you can read in this free music on YouTube tips article.

How to download free music

Finally, to wrap things up, let’s go over how you can safely and securely download free music which you can actually use in your films and video projects. While there are plenty of other options outlined above, your best bet will always be to use a trusted service like Soundstripe which can guarantee protection and indemnification for posting on YouTube and abroad.

With Soundstripe, you can rest assured that your music has been properly vetted, secured, and licensed — as well as mixed in house and created by talented musicians from across the world.

Head over to Soundstripe and create a free account to experience the best music for your videos.