Top 6 Best Royalty Free Stock Music Sites
Royalty free music has come a long way since the cheesy lounge style tracks you used to get. There are a lot of myths however it has improved massively over the last few years with much higher production standards than ever before. In this fast paced world video production companies don’t always have the time or resources to produce music in house – so that’s where royalty free music comes in!
The quality can vary slightly from one royalty free music site to the other as it boils down to how it’s vetted (whether the stock music is hand-picked or not). Price is also an important factor when deciding, which is where licensing models play and crucial part. You can find Royalty Free music anywhere from £4 to £500 on certain websites, which is less the production costs and more down to the licensing options.
Obviously there are a lot of royalty free music websites out there however we have come across a few which stand out. Take a look at our top 6 favourite royalty free stock music websites below based mostly on price, quality and licensing.
Value for Money → AudioBlocks
Average Track price: $99/Year (Unlimited Downloads) or 7 day free trial
- Hand picked and exclusive tracks
- Simple pricing and licensing models
- Free watermarked versions for you to test in your project
- Looped (15, 30 and 60 secs) versions or full track
- Help with finding the track you need
Flexible → Soundstripe
Average Track price: $15/Month or $135/Year (Unlimited Downloads)
- Music is licensed for any format (YouTube, TV Broadcast)
- In house stock music and curated list independent artists
- Sort by genre, mood, etc. Perfect for video editing music, no matter what type of project.
- Playlist categories to help you find what you need instantly!
- Filter functions allow you to search their database based on mood and the narrative of your video.
Reasonably Priced → AudioJungle
Average Track price: $19
- Cheap prices – Tracks start at $1 (the perfect option if you’re on a budget!).
- Simple licensing options
- Very easy to find a decent track
- Not all of their songs are exclusive however they have a massive library (over 350,000!).
- Certain tracks are made for looping
Simple → Pond5
Average Track price: $35
- Reasonably priced (musicians can set their own prices).
- Useful search and categorizing system, allowing users to search by duration, date of upload, artist, sales, views and price.
- All royalty free music is quality checked before being added to their library.
- Sample the track before you buy
- Option to contact the musician directly
Intuitive → Shutterstock
Average Track price: $42
- Intuitive search feature (keywords are screened to ensure the effectiveness of the search).
- Easily start adding additional keywords, genre’s, or duration to quickly find relevant music.
- Vigorous quality review process
- Sample the track before you buy
- Basic 2 tier pricing model which specific licenses to match your needs
Impressive → MusicBed
Average Track price: $199
- Popular artists as well as alternative/indie based musicians
- Higher quality stock music but slightly more expensive
- Search for songs based on specific style of music such as dubstep, gypsy, mysterious, and raw.
- Fun interface – visual waveforms allow you to preview the tempo and structure of a song.
Things to consider when buying stock music
When you’ve spent quite a bit of time looking for stock music, a lot of little things can add up to big time savings. Time saved looking for music, means more time to edit, which means a better, more polished project. Look for stock music sites which show waveforms on the tracks as it is incredibly helpful, especially when previewing a track in the browser as you can easily see where changes are going to occur and jump to them. Look for tracks that actually go somewhere, either with builds, breaks, solos or crescendos that you can then edit together as your project requirements dictate. Also think about the beats per minute (BPM) of the track you’re looking for. This is especially helpful when the client has asked you to change the music as your edit is likely flowing at the same tempo, and so finding a track with a similar BPM, or divisible BPM can help set you on the right course. Finally, look for stock music sites that allow you to download watermarked previews as you can then drop them into an edit and have a play (then decide later if you want to purchase the track!).
What Royalty Free Music licence should I purchase?
The two main types of royalty free music licences are Standard (for YouTube, personal websites, non-commercial video/films/theatre) and then Extended (for Television, Film & Radio Advertising). The first licence is the most common and allows you only pay one single price regardless of the amount of video views and how long it’s online. The second is a little more complicated and basically includes the standard licence plus a variable track usage fee (which includes an amount of plays or media copies).
Don’t bother trying to use copyrighted tracks, they sound great but will get you into all sorts of trouble if you’re caught! Royalty free music is a great way to quickly and easily license stock music for legitimate use in your video projects. So, next time you purchase royalty free music, feel good about it knowing that you’re supporting your fellow freelancer!
Do you have any you’d like to add to our list? Let us know in the comments! If you’re looking for stock video then check out our article on stock video sites.