Music is a surefire way to add mood and interest to your YouTube videos. Unless your video is of the rare type, not available anywhere else, you’ll find it hard to hold the attention of your audience without music.
Adding music to videos is part and parcel of video editing. Music can easily be added to a video clip by dragging and dropping an audio clip to the video editing timeline.
Music clips are readily available, too. We’ve seen many including their favorite music in their video clips. This is well and good if you’re sharing it among your friends through your phone or some social media platforms.
However, if you’re uploading videos to YouTube, you can’t simply include any music track you like in your video.
Music that is attached to a video on YouTube must be non-copyrighted. YouTube has a strict policy when it comes to copyright infringement.
So, if you’re applying for a YouTube Partner Program, you can’t succeed if your channel videos contain copyrighted music.
If you’ve already been accepted into the YouTube partner program and you upload videos with copyrighted music you’ll get a Content ID claim.
Your video will either be blocked or the revenue you earn from the video will go to the copyright owner, instead of you.
So, you want to avoid the above two scenarios. You must upload only non-copyrighted music with your YouTube videos or free copyright-free music for YouTube.
There are two types of non-copyrighted music you can use with YouTube videos. The first is paid royalty-free music. Purchase of a music track will entitle you to a license to use it in your video productions.
The other type is free royalty-free music. You don’t have to pay to use this music.
If you don’t have the budget to buy royalty-free music, check out these sites to download free non-copyrighted music for YouTube.
By music we mean not only background music or song, but also sound effects and ambient sounds.
Where to Find Copyright-Free Music for YouTube
Freesound has been around since 2005. Over here, you can find hundreds of thousands of sound effects, ambient sounds, and even background music.
The site reports that as of May 2021, they have 500, 000 audio clips in its library.
The free audio tracks have Creative Commons licenses attached to them, ranging from CC0, CC BY, and CC BY-NC.
Briefly, this is divided into clips that you can use freely without offering credit to the copyright owner and those that you need the credit the owner for its use.
The one condition that is attached to all the clips is you can use the clips unmodified. This means the audio clips must be part of the main work. You can use it as background music for a video, but you can’t upload it as an audio file only anywhere.
Audio tracks are offered in the AIFF, FLAC, MP3, and WAV formats.
You need to register an account to download music from the site.
Check out Freesound
MixKit has restrictions when it comes to using the free audio clips at its site. You can’t use them in CDs, DVDs, video games or in TV or radio broadcasts.
Thankfully, you can use them for YouTube. You’ll be fine if you use a MixKit audio clip as part of a video you’re creating. Ideally, as background or mood music.
Music is categorized according to genre and mood. Tags are also available to simplify your search.
Genre covers cinematic, classical, rock, and corporate music, among others.
Under mood, you have dramatic, mysterious and aggressive among others.
Mixkit which also offers free stock video footage also throws in sound effects as part of its audio offering.
Sound effects include whooshes, barking dogs and insect sounds, among others.
Mixkit is one site where you’ll surely find the free non-copyrighted music for YouTube you’re looking for.
If you need songs to express a mood in your video, then you should head to Josh Woodward’s site.
They’re available as vocal songs and instrumental songs.
He has over 200 plus songs available for free download in the MP3 format.
Over here you’ll find songs of a variety of genres – pop-rock, acoustic, folk-rock, dark acoustic, experimental, and hard rock, among others.
You can search songs by mood – funny, dramatic, weird, etc – or by themes – war, love, loss, and regret, etc.
You’ll need only provide him with attribution for using the songs under Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution. He lists how you should provide the attribution in the FAQ section.
If the MP3 format is not to your liking, you can grab his Epic Bundle which comes in the lossless FLAC format (CD quality). That would set you back by $40, however.
If the songs really benefit your work, you may want to offer him a donation.
Check out Josh Woodward’s site to discover the best free non-copyrighted music for your YouTube project.
Dig CC Mixter
If providing attribution for the free music you use is of no issue to you, then CC Mixter may just be the site to delight you.
Music at CC Mixter is divided into 3 categories – instrumental music for film and video, free music for commercial projects, and music for video games.
If you’re looking for free non-copyrighted music for YouTube, you would want to check out the free music for commercial projects section.
As mentioned earlier, you must give credit to the copyright owner of the music for any clips you use.
Some of the music clips are available for only non-commercial use.
There are also clips that are released under the royalty-free ccPlus license. It means you’ve to pay to use them. You don’t have to provide credit if you choose this option.
Check out Dig CC Mixter for copyright-free music for YouTube videos.
Sound Jay is essentially a site that provides free sound effects. However, it throws in free music tracks on the side.
Tracks are free to use. There are the usual limitations, though. You can only use a track as part of a main project.
You aren’t also allowed to sell the tracks and can’t use them for meditation, relaxing, or sleep music.
You don’t have to provide attribution for the audio clips you use. And you aren’t expected to make a donation.
Check out the screenshot below to get an idea of the copyright-free music for YouTube videos offered at Sound Jay.
Take a look at Sound Jay to get some free non-copyrighted music for YouTube.
Incompetech Film Music
At Incompetech Film Music you can’t search for the music you want. There isn’t a search box available.
However, you can click on a tag of a particular music track and see what turns up.
For example, clicking on the piano tag (screenshot above)brings together whatever piano music available.
Clicking on a tag also provides you with the music categories available. You can’t access these categories if you click on a music track or on the home page.
If you want to use the music tracks here for free, you need to provide attribution.
With the free option, you’ll be given a standard license except for Premium audio clips.
But the free option only allows you to download music in the MP3 format.
If you need music in the WAV format, then you would have to purchase an extended license.
For that, you would have to fork out 20 Euros for each song. But then, it entitles you to additional downloads.
Check out Incompetech Film Music.
The owner of the Sound Image site emphasizes attribution. The free music here includes soundtracks, sound effects and ambient sound.
Music tracks are classified by genres – action, fantasy, sci-fi etc.
They’re offered as single tracks and packs. The collection would include a number of music tracks in a collection.
You can get a single track for free if you wish to download it in the MP3 format. You’ll have to pay for it if want it to be in the OGG format.
There are no free downloads for the packs.
What differentiates Sound Image from other similar sites that offer free copyright free music for youtube is, you’ve to provide attribution even for purchased OGG clips. This seems to be quite an unreasonable demand.
One more thing to take note of is crediting the owner on the description section of the YouTube video isn’t enough. According to the creator, people don’t usually read the description section.
So, you’ve to provide the credit(s) on the video itself. The whole idea is for the composer to get the widest possible exposure.
Despite all these demands, Sound Image is still worth considering when it comes to free non-copyrighted music for YouTube owing to the wide range of music tracks available.
Check out Sound Image.