Thursday, February 2, 2012


Where can you find royalty free music at no charge? There are actually quite a few musicians that offer their music under the Creative Commons License, it is sometimes just hard to find them through all the sites that ask a lot of money to use one song.


Some artists allow you to use their music in commercial productions whereas others only allow you to use their music in personal productions. So look at the license agreement carefully. Most music is licensed under Attribution, so in your production you should credit the author of the music. If it is a slideshow or a video presentation then you should include a credit to the artist such as:
Music By Artist Name

To play it safe, contact the artist and let them know how you are using their music. It is great that they allow you to use their music at no cost to you.

I suggest making a donation to the artist. Based on other's recommended donation amounts, I suggest that you send the artist at least $5 for each song that you use.


At this website Kevin MacLeod offers his royalty free music creations under the Creative Commons License. There are many different types of instrumental music at this site.

pacdv offers a few instrumentals for you to use royalty free. They just ask that you mention "Music by" in your credits.

Musopen is an online music library of copyright free (public domain) music. At Musopen they obtain recordings of public domain music that have no copyrights so that visitors may listen, re-use, or in any way enjoy music. Most of the music is of classical piano or symphony pieces.

Taylor Hayward offers a few piano songs that are copyright free so you are free to use them in any way, commercial or non-commercial.

Offers a few songs that you can use in your productions as long as you credit the songwriter - Peter John Ross.

I recommend that you sign up with a free account at to take full advantage of its many differnent music artsists and genres. To find royalty free music at no charge under the Creative Commons License click on the soundclick link above and then change License Type to Creative Commons (Free), select the Genre and click go.

This site includes many different genre's of music by many different artists under the Creative Commons License. The difficult part at this site is just downloading one song. When you go to an artist's page and click on an album it wants you to download the whole album. But if you are listening to the album with the jamplayerwebthere is an option at the bottom to Export this playlist: M3U. If you pause the music and click on M3U then the songs should open up in your Media Player and you can click the next and previous buttons in your Media Player and also click on File -> Save As... to save the song you

Derek Audette offers his royalty free music under the Creative Commons License. Most of these are instrumental pieces that are either dark, moody, or hard driving.

5-18-11 - Note: Seems to no longer work under creative commons, but asks you to pay for exclusive created music with Apple Garage Band and Sony Acid that you can use. Download them here.

This site contains recordings of songs that were published prior to 1922 and are now in the public domain which means the public is free to copy and use the works in any way.

This website offers a collection of music from a variety of artists and genres under the Creative Commons License. In the left hand menu click on artists or genres.

Open Music Archive offers recordings of songs that are over 50 years old so their copyright has expired in the UK so the recordings have become Public Domain. However, if you are from another country other than the UK then the recordings may not be Public Domain yet. See the FAQ for more information.

Dan-O at has also released a number of songs, which are free for commercial or non-commercial projects with attribution. There is a pay-what-you-feel-is-fair donate button, however.

FREE MUSIC CLIPS usually sells royalty free audio tracks for a price but they also offer a few instrumental 30 second samples that you can use for free for anything you want.

Kathy Stemke
Award Winning Author/Educator/Freelance Writer

Trouble on Earth Day earned the Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval
            Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep won the Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval
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Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks for all the links, Kathy!

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Anonymous said...

I'll check out some of these links. I can see a pattern of free. Free books on Amazon. Free music. This is a topic with people on both sides of the fence. Some are for it as they see opportunity for exposure and sales from other products and services. Others see free downloads as a threat to their livelihood.

Unknown said...

That's true, Stephen. I can see both sides.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Oh, wow! A part II! Very nice, Kathy! And with the details that let anyone do it!

Heidiwriter said...

Wow, this is great information to have. Thanks, Kathy!!

anthony stemke said...

A very well organized, concise article for those wishing to utilise music.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Thanks for the info and the links. It's really helpful.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Thanks so much Kathy--these are always so tricky to track down. Wonderful to have them handy in the same article. Most are new to me too so even better.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this list.

NancyCL said...

This is great information, Kathy. Thanks so much for all your hard work with research and sharing it with us! :-)

Unknown said...

Your welcome my friends.

Unknown said...
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