When it comes to shooting video content, finding the right music is just as important as using the right camera.
Music plays a vital role in setting the mood of your video and provoking emotions. Depending on what type of music you add to your video content – whether it be happy, sad, nostalgic or suspenseful – you make viewers feel something while watching your work. This allows them to form a deeper connection to you as a creator.
But as many of you know, when you’re creating sponsored content, ads or monetised videos, you can’t just use any old track. You need to use royalty-free music. That is music that no one owns the copyright to, so no royalties need to be paid. If you don’t, you run the risk of having legal action taken against you or your video content being permanently removed from your account. For platforms like YouTube, this means you lose the monetisation of that video.
You may also know that the struggle to find great music – that suits your style, feels original and doesn’t trip automatic copyright filters – is real.
So where can you find bangers that can give your videos an edge without breaking the bank?
Hack 1: The YouTube Studio audio library
YouTube has an extensive library of tunes you can download and use, without paying a cent for. Here’s how to access it:
#1 Log in to YouTube with your Google account.
#2 Head to ‘YouTube Studio’ in the top right corner.
#3 You’ll then be prompted to create a channel if you don’t already have one. But don’t worry, you won’t need any content or subscribers to use this feature.
#4 Then scroll down to the ‘Audio Library’ tab and you’ll find a bank of copyright-free music available for direct download.
#5 You can filter the songs by genre, mood and duration which makes it simple to find a track that fits your style of video.
YouTube also shows the attribution information for each track. Some tracks require a simple attribution link or title in your video description, but most will be tagged as ‘No attribution required’.
They also provide access to sound effects that are 100% free to use in your videos to give them that extra punch. This library is always being updated with fresh tracks and the range of genres is constantly improving.
Hack 2: Filtering your searches on Soundcloud
Soundcloud is a hub where aspiring artists and producers upload their new music. And here’s a little secret that not many people know… stacks of these songs are available for commercial use.
Here’s how to find royalty free music on Soundcloud:
#1 Search for your desired genre in the search bar.
#2 Then filter your search in the ‘Commercial use’ tab and select ‘To use commercially’.
#3 The resulting songs have been tagged as copyright free and can be used with proper attribution.
#4 You can then also select the option ‘To modify commercially’ which allows you to remix the track and make it your own.
One thing to be wary of is that sometimes artists on Soundcloud will make it big and get signed to a major record label. This can have implications for the copyright of their tracks. If you want to double check, a quick Google search of the artist and song you’d like to use will normally tell you if that track has since been signed to a record label. Otherwise, this is a great way to find new tunes for commercial use without any upfront costs.
Hack 3: Support record labels that champion creative commons use of music
Record labels are often thought of as the bane of a creator’s existence when it comes to copyright. But not all labels are out to get you. Some are huge advocates for creative commons use of music since that is one of the best ways for new artists to be discovered.
Monstercat is one label that fosters innovation and collaboration through sharing music. They first made a section of their music catalogue completely free to use for creators. Now the label has made their entire music catalogue available for commercial use with their Monstercat Gold program which is only $10AUD a month.
Other labels that provide their entire catalogues for free commercial use with a subscription-based support model are Liquicity and Spinnin Records which also has a YouTube channel dedicated to royalty free tunes.
If electronic music isn’t your thing, it’s worth checking to see if your favourite record labels have a similar subscription-based model or a catalogue of royalty-free music. More labels are hopping on the trend as they know the power the internet holds in creating viral tracks.
Hack 4: Subscription-based audio libraries
You’ve probably seen ads for these audio libraries if you’ve ever typed ‘royalty-free music’ into Google. These libraries give you access to a massive amount of royalty-free music and sound effects for a recurring monthly fee.
A great option to go with is FILTER by Songtradr as they’ve been specifically set up for content creators. Their personal subscription option provides great benefits such as unlimited downloads and usage and control over your monetization, given their tracks are cleared for sponsored social posts. This is perfect if you’re pumping out a large volume of video content each week.
So why should you pay for a subscription if there are free audio libraries out there? These subscription-based libraries give you access to customer support that isn’t available with the free libraries. It’s also a competitive space so these companies are constantly updating their offerings to remain relevant. As a result, you’ll never struggle to find the track you need for your videos after a quick browse.